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A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referente ao nazismo, fascismo ou outros quaisquer regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, aos seus líderes ou aos seus símbolos.

The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.


quinta-feira, 12 de outubro de 2017

17 cm Kanone 18 Mörserlafette - German heavy field gun - Under construction

Gunners!!!
      Now let's talk about a very powerful weapon of the WWII: The German 17 cm Kanone 18 heavy field gun. Achtung !!! This is a commission project for my friend Alois !

17 cm Kanone 18 German heavy field gun in action
History:
      The 17 cm Kanone 18 in Mörserlafette (German: 17 cm Cannon 18 on Heavy Howitzer Carriage) (17 cm K 18 in MrsLaf) was a German heavy gun used in the Second World War.

   In 1939 the 21 cm Mörser 18 began appearing in the German Army Corps level Artillery Regiments, replacing the obsolescent World War I-era 21 cm Mörser 16.
21 cm Mörser 18 captured by Allies
Germany - 1945
Captured German 21-cm Mörser 16 in Stanley Park
Vancouver - 1923
     The 21 cm Mörser was able to send a 113 kg  HE shell out to a range of 14.5 km, however by 1941 the German Army was seeking a longer range weapon and Krupp responded by producing a smaller 173 mm caliber increased velocity weapon utilising the same carriage, with the designation Kanone 18.
      The Kanone 18 quickly impressed German Artillery officers, firing a 68 kg HE shell out to a range of 29.6 km, the real surprise was the explosive power of the shell, which was little different from the 113 kg shell of the 21 cm Mörser 18. Production commenced in 1941, in 1942 production of the 21 cm Mörser 18 was halted for almost two years so as to allow maximum production of the Kanone 18.
17 cm Kanone 18 in Tunisia
The Afrika Korps gunners preparing the gun for firing
Tunisia- 1941
Design:
      A notable innovation introduced by Krupp on the 21 cm Mörser 18 and used by the 17 cm Kanone 18 was the "double recoil" or dual- recoil carriage, the normal recoil forces were initially taken up by a conventional recoil mechanism close to the barrel, and then by a carriage sliding along rails set inside the travelling carriage.
17cm Kanone 18 firing in Normandy
Notice the shield over the top recoil oil cilinder
The gunner seems to be expecting the worst...

      The dual-recoil mechanism absorbed all of the recoil energy with virtually no movement upon firing, thus making for a very accurate weapon. For all of its bulk, a full 360 degree traverse could be achieved by one man.
The same gun abovr...17 cm Kanone 18
Notice the gun in total recoil, after fire...
Afrika Korps - 1941.
      For travel both the 21 cm Mörser 18 and the 17 cm Kanone 18 were broken down into two loads, which was common for heavy artillery of the period, with the barrel being transported separately.
17 cm Kanone 18 waiting restoration...
The gun is dismantled for long distance transport
Sapun-Gora Diorama Museum - Ukraine.
The cradles of two 17cm Kanone 18 under transportation
     The carriage was well equipped with a series of ramps and winches which made removing the barrel a reasonably quick task for its time, but still required several hours. For short distance travel the 17 cm Kanone 18 could be transported intact.
17cm Kanone 18 traveling slowly in one piece.
North Africa - 1942
      The 17 cm Kanone 18 was considered a technically excellent long range artillery piece for the German Army, its greatest weaknesses was that it was expensive to build, and it required careful maintenance. It was quite slow to bring in and out of action, fairly difficult to manoeuvre and very slow to move off road, many were lost when their crews abandoned them to avoid capture by advancing Allied forces.
The haste in retreat ...
17 cm Kanone 18 ready for transport, but
abandoned by gunners.
This weapon was thus found, by the New Zealanders
North of Africa -1942.
Use:
      The 17 cm Kanone 18 was employed at the Corps level in order to provide long-range counter-battery support, as well as filling the same basic role as the 21 cm Mörser 18. See the movie below, with the 2 heavies guns in action:
     In 1944 some Allied batteries used captured 17 cm K 18s when ammunition supplies for their usual guns were disrupted by the long logistical chain from Normandy to the German border.
    It was also proposed for use on the Geschützwagen Tiger (only 1 prototype built), in the Sturmgeschutz Maus and Sturmgeschütz E-100 super heavy assault tanks. Nothing ever became of the proposal.
Geschützwagen Tiger - artistic view and prototype
Specs:

17 cm Kanone 18 Mörserlafette
TypeHeavy gun
Place of origin               Germany
Service history
In service1941–45
Used byNazi Germany
WarsWorld War II
Production history
ManufacturerKrupp (until 1942), Hanomag
Produced1941–45
No. built+/- 338
Specifications
Weightcombat: 17,520 kg
travel: 23,375 kg
Length8.53 m
Crew10

ShellHE shell: 68 kg 
Caliber173 mm 
Breechhorizontal block
Recoildual-recoil hydropneumatic
Elevation-6°to +50°
Traverse16° on wheels
360° on platform
Muzzle velocity925 m/s 
Maximum firing range29.6 km

The kit:
      The kit is the Trumpeter (#02313) German 17cm Kanone 18. The box art:
Trumpeter (#02313) German 17cm Kanone 18

      The kit is very good, very well detailed, as PMMS described years ago... Building by the book:
Starting by  the two side arms of the gun

In artillery pieces, alignment is everything !!!
Chassis and carriage frame

The beast is huge!!!
      Studying the byuilding of the chassis, I discovered that I had glued two inverted pieces. Glad I'd glued with a drop of welder...
Holly crap!!!
      It was easy to take off and reposition the pieces in the correct position !!!
Fixed...Uff!!!

Adding many details...
      My good friend Alois wants his girl in a firing position. I listen and obey, Pukka Sahib !!
Preparing the girl for firing position !!!

Done!!!

Adding details... Notice the big wheels!!

...and details...


      As I said before, I like to study about the weapon I'm building ... The kit comes with two (excellent) steel springs (see red arrows, below..) , to support the rear bogie. But looking at the spring in scale, I thought the thickness of the spring wire is a bit thin. I compared the actual photos of the gun and this impression seems correct: the spring has its wire with a very thin thickness ...
The kit with the original springs in the chassis rear...
      I compared the actual photos of the gun and this impression seems correct: the spring has its wire with a very thin thickness ...
The real spring. Notice the thickness of the spring's wire

      Well ... Let's test the theory ... I'll make the springs using a thicker wire ...
New springs in coo´per wire

Testing in the chassis...  No doubt!!
Chuck's right again!!!
Much, much better!!
      And the chassis almost ready, with gun and kojak, for size comparison. Indeed, this gun is very huge!!! 
Big, big  badda boom gun!!!
      And the building is 99% done. An absurd: why the trumpeter don't send a single shell for this big gun??? The kit is full in details, but dont have a SINGLE PROJECTIL??  WHY???
The adults are stupid!!!

The Kojak in the catwalk...Big girl!!!
      Details of the advantage of a good search: shooting tables in a real photo ...
German gunner aiming his girl...
      And the reason of the 2 plates in the kit:
The reason of the two mysterious flat parts in the gun ...
Bingo!!!


I do not settle for the Trumpeter silliness !!


      Next step: painting and markings. As usual, I like to made a profile as a guide for my markings. My friend Alois request an artillery piece in Russian Front. I introduce to you guys the 17 cm Kanone 18 Mörserlafette serving in the German Army Group North; German Eighteenth Army; 1st Infantry Division; 37th Artillery Regiment; A Battery in the Siege of Leningrad, March 1942.
Tod den Bolschewiki !!!

The bluish Panzer-Gray...first colors...

Stay tuned !!!
The end is near!!


sábado, 30 de setembro de 2017

Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L and Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L - case report

Mesdames et Messieurs!!
      The vehicles in focus, this time, is a true chameleon. For its robustness and reliability, it was used in several versions by its creators and modified for numerous functions by its captors. Let's talk about the Lorraine 37L and Lorraine 38L tractor and its numerous versions in French and German hands.
Lorraine 37L

Lorraine 37L - French supply tractor 1937 L


Lorraine 38L ambulance

Lorraine 38L ambulance  in German hands
SdKfz 135 Ambulans
History:
      The tractor Lorraine 37L or Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L, (Tank Supply Tractor 1937 L) was a light tracked armoured vehicle developed by the Lorraine company during the Interwar period or Interbellum, before the Second World War, to an April 1936 French Army requirement for a fully armoured munition and fuel supply carrier to be used by tank units for front line resupply. A prototype was built in 1937 and production started in 1939. In this period also two armoured personnel carriers and a tank destroyer project were based on its chassis. Mainly equipping the larger mechanised units of the French Infantry arm, the type was extensively employed during the Battle of France in 1940.

Tracteurs de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L
in parade
      After the defeat of France, clandestine manufacture was continued in Vichy France culminating in a small AFV production after the liberation and bringing the total production to about 630 in 1945. Germany used captured vehicles in their original rôle of carrier and later, finding the suspension system to be particularly reliable, rebuilt many into tank destroyers (Panzerjaeger) of the Marder I type or into self-propelled artillery.
Marder I Lorraine
Development:
      In 1934 the order was given to design a munition supply vehicle to increase the operational range of independent tank units. The same year the Renault 36R was selected for further development; three hundred were ordered from 1938. 
le Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars Renault 36 R 
      However this tractor was only partially armoured; on 17 April 1936 a new set of specifications was drafted for a fully armoured vehicle to deliver fuel and munitions to tanks fighting on the frontline. 
Renault 36 R tractor abandoned in the French Campaign
     Early in 1937 the Lorraine company finished a prototype. It was a lengthened version of a proposed replacement type for the 1931 model Renault UE Chenillette tracked infantry supply tractor. 
Renault UE Chenillette
      In February 1937, the matériel commission, the Commission de Vincennes, was ordered to test the prototype and to complete an evaluation before 1 November 1937, even if testing would not yet have been finished. The prototype was only presented on 9 July and tested until 4 August. It was equipped with a 2371 cc Delahaye four cylinder 124 F engine. Although the vehicle attained a maximum speed of 30 km/h, this dropped to an unacceptably low 22.8 km/h when an intended fuel trailer was attached. 
Lorraine tractor with tracked fuel trailer
      It was therefore returned to the factory; after a more powerful Delahaye 135 engine and stronger clutch had been fitted it was again tested between 22 September and 29 October and now achieved the desired 35 km/h.

Production:
      The commission approved the type during late 1937, being especially impressed by the rugged suspension system. 
Lorraine tractor suspension
      It was decided in September 1939 to reserve the total production capacity of the suspension elements for the larger tractor.
      This implied that the shorter Lorraine replacement for the Renault UE, though also favoured over other candidates, would not be taken into production: an order of a hundred made early 1939 was that month shifted towards the longer version.
Chenillette Légère Lorraine shorter prototype
   In 1938 three orders were made: of 78, 100 and another 100 vehicles of the Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L (TRC 37L); in 1939 before the war a fourth order followed, of 100, and a fifth of 74 to which was added the replacement order of 100 for a total of 552. The first vehicle was delivered by Lorraine on 11 January 1939; 212 had been delivered on 1 September 1939.
Lorraines 37L with fuel trailers
ready for delivery to the field units.
      The ambitious plans made after the outbreak of war for the expansion of the number of armoured divisions meant that the Lorraine 37L orders had to be enlarged accordingly, bringing the total to 1012. The intended initial production rate was fifty per month, to be expanded to seventy. To assist in the manufacture a second assembly hall was erected by Fouga at Béziers of which it was hoped that it could produce at first twenty and later thirty vehicles per month. In reality this number was never attained; e.g. twenty were made in January, 32 by both companies in May 1940. On 26 May 1940 432 vehicles had been delivered to the army by Lorraine and Fouga out of 440 produced. Production continued after that date and an estimated total of about 480 to 490 had been reached by 25 June 1940, the end of the Battle of France.
Lorraine 37 L in a french village
Description:
      Being derived from a chenillette project, the Lorraine 37 L is a rather small vehicle, just 1.57 metres wide. Space had been found by lengthening the chassis to 4.22 metres, making it rather oblong. Lacking a turret or superstructure its height is also not excessive at just 1.215 metres. The small dimensions combined with a light armour — nine millimetres for the vertical riveted plates, six for the top and bottom and twelve for the cast rounded nose section — ensured a low weight: the basic TRC 37L weighs just 5.24 metric tonnes empty, the trailer adding 1.2 tonnes.
      Given the vehicle's low weight, the suspension is quite robust and exceptionally reliable in comparison with other systems used on French armour of the time, that were either too complicated or too flimsy. Six large road wheels in three pairs of bogies gave a low ground pressure and good weight distribution. Each bogie is allowed a vertical movement in its entirety, sprung by an inverted leaf spring assembly located just below the upper track run, the three assemblies being placed between the four top rollers.
     The tracks are 22 cm (8.7 in) wide. The drive sprockets are in the front and driven by a transmission in the nose of the vehicle. The two crew members, the driver on the left, sat in the forward compartment, the drive shaft between them. Entrance to the compartment is by two wide horizontal hatches, the upper hinging upwards, allowing the driver an unobstructed view if opened, the lower hinging downwards.
Driver station
      The centrally positioned engine compartment is separated by a bulkhead from the driver compartment in front of it. The external silencer is on the left of the vehicle under an armoured covering. All vehicles in the series were powered by a Delahaye Type 135 6-cylinder 3.556 litre engine developing 70 bhp (52 kW) at 2800 rpm, giving a maximum speed of 35 km/h and an average speed of about 20 km/h.
      The wading capacity is 60 centimetres, a trench of 130 centimetres can be crossed, an incline of 50% climbed. There is a fuel supply of 114 litres, allowing for a range of 137 kilometres. There are five forward drives and one rear drive.
      At the back is an armoured ammunition bin; a load of 810 kilograms can be carried, bringing the weight to 6.05 tonnes. As with the Renault UE, the TRC 37L was supplied with a tracked, armoured trailer with two road wheels per side, mostly used to carry a 565 litres fuel tank to supply the tank units; total load capacity is 690 kg for a total for the combination of 1.5 tonnes and a total weight of the trailer of 1890 kg.
       At 155 cm, the trailer is somewhat narrower than the main vehicle, and higher at 133 cm. It increases the length of the combination to 6.9 metres. The trailer also carried a Vulcano fuel pump and stowage boxes for lubrication oil, greases, water and assorted equipment to serve the tank maintenance teams.
Abandoned Lorraines and fuel trailers
German spoils of war.
Tactical function and operational history:
      In 1939, the Lorraine 37 L was gradually introduced to the supply units of the tank battalions. This coincided with a change in tactical thinking about the use of armour. In the early thirties, French doctrine had favoured the construction of ever deeper defensive belts to counter infantry infiltration tactics to defeat enemy attacks before they could develop into full-scale manoeuvre warfare, a field at which the French were painfully aware to be less adept than their most likely adversary, Germany. Expecting any possible enemy to defend himself likewise, the armour branch of the French Infantry became much preoccupied with the vexing problem of how to break through similar in-depth positions itself, emphasizing close cooperation with the foot soldier. Far less attention was paid to the next phase: the envelopment of the enemy forces.
Lorraine 37L with fuel trailer
The calm early days before French invasion.
      The situation changed in the late thirties. Having at last built a considerable number of modern and well-armoured tanks, the Infantry became confident in its ability to break the enemy line, if sufficient artillery and air support was provided within a combined arms tactic. At the same time the political situation made it likely that large-scale offensives were needed to bring Germany to its knees. Though few officers advocated the creation of armoured divisions able to execute both the breakthrough and the strategic exploitation phase — these required trained personnel in numbers that simply would not be available — it was understood that the "manoeuvre mass" of tanks effecting the break would immediately have to envelop the defensive enemy position and defeat counterattacking enemy armour reserves, otherwise the momentum of the attack would be lost and the breach would not be kept open long enough for the motorised divisions and Cavalry armoured divisions to be launched to quickly occupy and hold strategic key positions.
      However, this posed a serious logistical problem: trucks would not be able to closely follow the tanks on the battlefield. The prescribed procedure for resupplying was for the tanks to return to their start positions to be refitted. While this had still been practical in the previous war with its much slower tempo of operations, it was unacceptable in modern warfare. The tanks would have to be supplied in the field to continue their advance as soon as possible. Thus a tracked supply vehicle was needed that could overcome the expected poor terrain conditions, with many shell-craters and trenches, and it had to be armoured to protect against shell-fragments, given that the breakthrough sector would likely be in range of concentrated enemy artillery.
      The type was provided to the armoured units of both the Infantry and the Cavalry. Each independent tank battalion of the Infantry, or Bataillon de Chars de Combat, had an organic strength of twelve Lorraine tractors: four in the peloton de reserve (supply platoon) of each of its three companies. The BCCs incorporated in the armoured divisions and equipped with the Char B1 or Char B1 bis had 27 TRC 37Ls: each of their three companies had six tractors in its supply platoon and furthermore a single tractor organic to each of its three tank platoons.
Lorraines 37L with tracked trailers going to battle.
Notice the Chars B1 in the rear of column.
France, May-1940.
      This extra allotment was made to compensate for the large fuel consumption of these heavy tanks, that, apart from being simply bigger, had also a rather limited range. Each group of three tanks was in their case thus directly followed by its own fuel supply.
      When, during the Battle of France, independent companies were formed, these too had their Lorraine tractors — a reduced allotment of eight if a Char B1 bis unit, otherwise the standard allotment of four. However, the older Renaults FT 17 battalions only used fuel trucks.
The tanks will get thirsty ... Lorraine 37L with fuel trailers
destroyed in the Battle of France - May 1940.
Notice the German truc Protz in the background
      Likewise, the TRC 37L was not in common use in the colonies; however, when the 67e BCC, which was equipped with the Char D1, was brought over from Tunisia in June, it was provided with tractors. The Motorised Infantry Divisions did not use the TRC 37L.
      In the Cavalry, each squadron of twenty tanks had three Lorraine tractors, for a total of 24 for each Mechanised Light Division. The AMR 35 or Panhard 178 units did not use the type, just trucks as its speed was considered insufficient. It was proposed to remedy this by fitting a stronger engine, bringing the speed to 50 km/h. The TRC 37L was also not present in the Cavalry Light Divisions.
      In practice, the supply vehicles would mainly move by road and meet with the tanks at predetermined rendez-vous points. Refuelling was relatively quick as the Vulcano could theoretically pump 565 litres in fifteen minutes.
Lorraine 37L roaring in the road with fuel
going to rendez-vous point with the Chars...
      To completely refill a heavy tank would normally take about forty to sixty minutes. The trailer fuel reservoirs could themselves be replenished by the company fuel truck carrying 3600 litres of petrol. The company supplies could again be restocked from battalion stocks, moved by trucks loaded with fifty litre fuel drums. This method of distribution ensured a sufficient fuel supply on the tactical level, but was too cumbersome for strategic movements: if large distances had to be covered on track, the tanks would be directly refuelled from fuel trucks.
Lorraine TRC 37L with fuel trailer

      When the Germans invaded on 10 May, French tank units had an organic strength of 606 Lorraine 37Ls; the numbers produced were thus insufficient to provide each unit with its official complement. About a third had to do without. That day French General Headquarters decided to increase the TRC 37L strength of 1e and 2e DCR with a half; these armoured divisions had been earmarked as reserves against an expected German breakthrough attempt in the Gembloux Gap and the low range of the Char B1 bis worried French command. To free enough tractors, 3e DCR, still in the process of being constituted, had to give up its twelve TRC L37s to 1e DCR. Ironically, the main German breakthrough would be at Sedan and 3e DCR was sent to block it — and despite its larger number of fuel tractors, 1e DCR would still be surprised by 7. Panzerdivision while refuelling on 15 May.
The harsh reality of War: Lorraines 37L and its precious fuel
destroyed by Germans on a French road.
The tractors were easy prey ...
      During the campaign, the TRC 37L crews quickly saw the need for some armament and began to improvise machine-gun mounts on their vehicles.

Variants:
Lorraine 38L:
      The first development from the TRC 37L was an armoured personnel carrier, the Voiture blindée de chasseurs portés (VBCP) 38L ("Armoured mounted infantry vehicle 38L").

      Like the TRC 37L, this Lorraine 38L was equipped with an armoured tracked trailer. The total capacity was twelve men: the driver and one passenger in the driving compartment, four in the former cargo bay, and six in the trailer.
Lorraine 38L with his armoured trailer
      To protect the infantry squad, high box-like armoured superstructures were built over both the bin and the trailer, with doors at their back. The loaded weight of the main vehicle was 7.7 tonnes. A total of 240 VBCP 38L vehicles were ordered, of which nine had been delivered on 1 September 1939 and around 150 by 25 June 1940.
The Infantry under cover in the Lorraine 38L
     In view of the war threat, the order was made before the prototype could be tested. Of all participants in the Battle of France, the French army would thus be the only to employ a fully tracked APC. The vehicles were intended for the Bataillon de Chasseurs Portés, the (single) mechanised infantry battalion within the Division Cuirassée, or armoured division of the Infantry. However, on 10 May, they had not yet been allocated to these units, who still used half-tracks.
Lorraine VBCP 38L with armoured trailer

      During May, the vehicles were hurriedly taken into use by the 5e BCP and 17e BCP of the 1re DCr and 2nd DCr respectively. The 4e DCr did not receive any.

Lorraine 39L:
      An improved model, the Voiture blindée de chasseurs portés (VBCP) 39L ("Armoured mounted infantry vehicle 39L"), was created by expanding the cargo bay to carry eight passengers, apart from the two crew members.
      This model had no trailer and a total capacity of ten persons; extra room was found by raising the upper deck - the passenger compartment was open-topped - and constructing a more forward sloped armour glacis, contiguous with the nose section; the type thus resembled postwar APCs.
Lorraine 39L prototype
Lorraines 38L (background) with trailer  and 39L (foreground)
side by side
      Some two hundred VBCP 39L vehicles were ordered, to replace the 38L on the production lines from the 241st vehicle onwards, but none had been delivered by June 1940, the manufacture remaining limited to a single prototype.
Lorraine 39L
      On the chassis of the Lorraine 39L, it was thought to develop a destroyer armed with a SA 37 47mm gun, firing back in a similar arrangement to the british Valentine Archer, but the fall of France interrupted the feasibility studies of this vehicle.
Chasseur de Char 39 (proposed)
Miscelaneus:
      Experimental and limited production models included tank destroyers armed with 47 mm SA 47 gun, the Chasseur de Chars Lorraine 37L and command post vehicles; probably a Voiture de transmissions blindée sur TRC Lorraine 37 L ER prototype was produced.
Chasseur de Chars Lorraine 37L prototype
actual vehicle and artistic view
Vichy production:
      In 1939 and 1940 the type had been mainly produced in the Lorraine factory at Lunéville. Early 1939 it was decided to erect a factory in a more southern location, less vulnerable to German bombing, at Bagnères-de-Bigorre. This Atelier de Bagnères had not made a single vehicle by the time of the armistice between France and Germany, but it was, like the other tractor-producing Fouga factory at Béziers, located in the unoccupied zone of Vichy France. Limited production continued after June 1940 for a total of about 150, although military models were not officially produced. Some of these vehicles had a shortened chassis, their suspension consisting of only two bogies per side.
Chenillette Lorraine 37L with two bogies
and shortened chassis
    Lorraine tractors were ostensively fitted for use in forestry and construction; in reality they constituted a clandestine armoured fighting vehicle production as they could be easily rebuilt. The AMX factory secretly produced armoured bodies for these vehicles, which were stockpiled. The type was called the Tracteur Lorraine 37 L 44.
Tracteur Lorraine 37 L 44.
Tracteur Lorraine 37 L 44 - rear view
       After the German occupation of the south of France in November 1942, many of these chassis were hidden. In the spring of 1944, the French resistance attacked the Bagnères factory on orders from London, the allies assuming that it produced vehicles for Germany. To prevent further attacks, the resistance was informed of and involved in the affair in the summer of 1944 by the promise to arm existing vehicles for their use. The first twenty of these were delivered in January 1945, after the liberation, and the factory continued modifying vehicles for the duration of the war at a rate of about 20 a month, often by fitting an armoured superstructure, armed with a light or heavy machine-gun, to the front or back of the chassis.

German use:
      A considerable number of Lorraine tractors, about 360, fell into German hands. Due to its reliability, the type was well suited to the mobile tactics the Germans favoured in 1941 and 1942.                   They were first used as such, renamed the Lorraine Schlepper 37L(f). As the Germans themselves had not produced a similar type, the captured Lorraine tractors filled a requirement for fully tracked supply vehicles such as Gefechtsfeld-Versorgungsfahrzeug Lorraine 37L (f) or Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper.
Two pics of the same Lorraine Schlepper 37L(f)
Lorraine 37L 
in german hands towing
a Pak 38 5,0 cm AT gun
Russian front - 1942.
Lorraine Schlepper 37L(f)Russian front - 1942

Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper
Lorraine 38L captured, with crude German markings
      In July and August 1942, Major Alfred Becker directed the conversion of 170 of these vehicles into the 7.5 cm PaK40/1 auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) or Marder I, a 75 mm equipped self-propelled anti-tank gun.
Lorraine Marder I
7.5 cm PaK40/1 auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f)
      At the same time, 106 were converted into self-propelled artillery: 94 into the 15 cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) and 12 into the 10.5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f). 
Sixty 15cm s.FH 13/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f) SdKfz 135/1
in the court yard of the Versailles Palace, France - 1942.
      Also, an artillery observation vehicle was provided: the Beobachtungswagen auf Lorraine Schlepper (f), 30 of which were produced.
Beobachtungswagen auf Lorraine Schlepper (f)
artillery observation vehicle
     A single conversion entailed the fitting of a Soviet 122 mm howitzer: the 12.2 cm Kanone (r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (f).
12.2 cm Kanone (r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (f),
fitted in an armoured train
      For a time, it has also been assumed that a 47 mm tank destroyer conversion existed: the presumed "4.7cm Pak181(f) auf PanzerJäger Lorraine Schlepper (f)", based on preserved photographs that, however, in reality depicted the French Chasseur de Chars Lorraine mentioned above, an ad hoc conversion built in June 1940.
      The Germans also employed the VBCP 38L as the Lorraine 38L(f).

German designations:
  • Lorraine Schlepper (f) - The Lorraine tractor as captured.
  • Gefechtsfeld-Versorgungsfahrzeug Lorraine 37L (f) - Supply vehicle
  • Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper - Ammunition carrier
  • 7.5 cm PaK40/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) - 170 Marder I, a 7.5cm PaK40/1 equipped self-propelled anti-tank gun.
  • 15 cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) - 94 self-propelled artillery vehicles, mounting 15cm sFH13/1 howitzers.
  • 10.5 cm leFH18 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) - 12 self-propelled artillery vehicles, mounting 10.5cm leFH18/40 L/28 howitzers.
  • Beobachtungswagen auf Lorraine Schlepper (f) - An artillery observation vehicle, thirty of which were produced.
  • 12.2 cm Kanone (r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (f) - A single conversion mounting a Soviet 122 mm howitzer on the Lorraine chassis.
Specs:












Lorraine 37L
TypeTracked carrier
Place of origin                 France
Service history
Used byFrance, Nazi Germany, Syria
WarsWorld War II
Production history
DesignerLorraine
Designed1936
ManufacturerLorraine, Fouga
ProducedJanuary 1939 - November 1942
No. built~480 by June 1940; ~630 in total
Specifications
Weight6.05 metric tonnes loaded
Length4.20 m 
Width1.57 m 
Height1.29 m 
Crewtwo

Main
armament
none
EngineDelahaye type 135 6-cylinder inline
70 hp
Payload capacity810 kg + 690 kg
Suspensionleaf spring
Ground clearance30 cm 
Fuel capacity114 litres
Operational
range
137 km 
Speed35 km/h 

The kits:
      I'm going to build these girls in parallel, to save time and empty my (stuffed) closet faster. The kits are the old RPM # 35052 - TRC Lorraine 37L...
RPM's box art - Lorraine 37L
... and the # 35057 Transporter Sd.Kfz 135 Ambulans.
RPM's box art - Lorraine 38L
      In these current times of sliding molds, photo-etcheds and kits with thousands of pieces and details, we can describe these two girls old, simple, crude, but with a little caprice and attention, they turn into beautiful pieces of collection. And usually accompanied by lots of fun ...
      In the workbench:
Two girls under construction...

The sprues...Parts very crude, but...let's go...

The pins of the suspensions springs

Glued in position...
     

Removing the wheel burrs with scalpel and Dremel...
Done. Note the left wheel...

Bogie parts under construction...

Bogies ok...

Surgery in the internal side of the chassis

Two Lorraine chassis done!!!

Starting the suspension in the chassis...

The two girls stands in their own paws ...
       The kit is very poor. This part should be closed with a panel, but ...
Where's the panel???

The misterious panel...
Time for a Beer-etched!!!

Done!!!

And rear fenders made by scratch with beer-etched...

      More details in metal: in the tractor one...


     And in the ambulance version:


      I'm not detailed the ambulance interior, because I plan to use a tarp over the passenger compartment, as these vehicles usually used. Painting with primmer:
Vallejo gray primmer
       The Tractor version will be a French version, while the ambulance version will be German, captured. As always, I research for markings and I like to make some profiles as guides. Here are the "works of art": The French version: Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L  - "SAINT MIHIEL" tractor - attached to 3/15° Bataillon de Char de Combat. The interesting in this Bataillon is that they wore an insignia of WWI's 510th Regiment of Combat Cars on the side of their vehicles. Cammo in yellow, green and brown.
Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
"SAINT MIHIEL" tractor
3/15° Bataillon de Char de Combat
France, 1940.
      The German version represents a Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L ambulance number 7 of the 7th Panzer Division, the famous Ghost Division. This vehicle was stationed in Bordeaux, around December 1940. Next year, this Division would be sent to the Russian front for Operation Barbarossa.
Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
Ambulance - 7th Panzer Division
Bordeaux, France - Dec. 1940
     Color base in the vehicles:

Panzer-gray is easy: color varitions...




      But the french cammo is a bit more complicated...
After the yellow, lets masking with Play-Doh!!

Green layer!!


And finally, the brow color...


Play-Doh, go home!!!

The French girl It is dressed up for the party...
      When I started applying the decals, I discovered that the French flags were without the blue color. Well, let's fix this later with a brush and steady hand ...
Uops!!!

"SAINT MIHIEL" tractor 

Notice the 510th Regiment of Combat Cars badge in the side...

Where's the blue???
German decals, from the kit and my
miraculous decals spare box

Ghost division..
Don't worry: this is not silvering...
The decal is drying...

The red cross was cut.
The missing part will be painted, later ...

Glossy aspect from the Future!!


and starting the weathering...



Value Gear stuff . The kit's tools wasvery crude, but...

Medic!!!



Ulálá!!!


French helmets: Infantry and tankers...
       As I said before, I wanted to make a tarp over the ambulance passenger compartment: I used the tracing-paper technique with PVA glue diluted in water ...
The tracing paper all wrinkled, when wet ...

In position, with PVA glue...

After drying, just do the painting ...
      And, behold, the girls were ready for action. First of all the French girl: Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L  - "SAINT MIHIEL" tractor - attached to 3/15° Bataillon de Char de Combat. France - May, 1940.
Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
"SAINT MIHIEL" tractor
3/15° Bataillon de Char de Combat. France - May, 1940.



Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
left side




Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
right side

Cargo bay view




Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
with Kojak and Rover, the dog.

Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L


Char B1 bis FANTASQUE and
Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L
side by side, for size comparison
       And the French girl with German colors: Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L ambulance number 7 belonging the  7th Panzer Division - Ghost Division. Bordeaux,  France - December 1940.
Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
ambulance number 7
7th Panzer Division - Ghost Division.
Bordeaux, France - December 1940.


Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
left side



Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
right side




Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
with Kojak and Rover, the dog.

Lorraine Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés (VBCP) 38L
and Lorraine Tracteur de Ravitaillement pour Chars (TRC) 37L


Au revoir, mes amis!!!
See you, soon!!