The Renault AMR 35 was a more heavily armed version of the AMR 33 light cavalry tank, and could carry a range of guns from a 7.5mm machine gun to a 20mm cannon.
The AMR 33 was a fast light tank, with a top speed of over 40mph, but it could only carry a 7.5mm machine gun. A total of 118 production vehicles were ordered, and it was seen as an improvement over early reconnaissance half tracks, but there were problems with the tracks, the lack of internal space, and the side-mounted engine.
The AMR 35 began life as the Renault ZT. It used the same riveted hull and turret construction as the AMR 33, but was redesigned to be easier to use and build. The engine was moved from the side to the rear, giving easier access for maintenance, making the fighting compartment larger and reducing noise. This required a slightly larger hull.
The biggest different was the increased flexibility of armament made possible by the slightly larger hull. The AMR 35 could carry the same 7.5mm machine gun as the AMR 33, but it could also carry a 13.2mm Hotchkiss heavy machine gun or a 25mm Hotchkiss anti-tank cannon. Originally those with a 7.5mm machine gun were designated as having Tourelle Avis No.1 turret and those with the 13.2mm heavy machine gun as the Tourelle Avis No.2. These types were later merged and all machine gun armed types were known as the ZT-1. Those with the 25mm gun in the turret were the ZT-2. The ZT-3 carried the 25mm gun in a casemate. The ZT-4 used the machine gun turret from the Renault FT-17 family. Finally the ADF1 was a command tank carrying two radios and a large loop antenna in a modified turret.
The first prototype was delivered for trials in April 1934 and was found to be an improvement over the AMR 33. It was ordered into production as the AMR Renault Modèle 1935, but is better known as the Renault AMR 35. The AMR 35 was ordered in several batches. The first, in 1934, was for 100 vehicles, split between 92 of the basic ZT-1 and eight ADF command vehicles.
In 1936 a contract was placed for 30 vehicles - 20 ZT-1s, 5 ZT-2s and 5 ZT-3s.
Later in 1936 another 70 were ordered - 55 ZT-1s, 5 ZT-2s, 5 ZT-3s and 5 ADFs. All 200 of the vehicles in these ordered had been delivered by the outbreak of the war.
Of the 200 vehicles 167 were of the ZT-1 type, split almost equally between 7.5mm and 13.2mm armed tanks. The other types were all produced in much smaller numbers - only 10 ZT-2s, 10 ZT-3s and 13 ADF 1 radio tanks.
The 25mm armed vehicles were designed to be used with reconnaissance groups attached to infantry divisions, known as Groupe de Reconnaisance de Division d'Infanterie, but too few were produced to be of any use.
Another 56 vehicles, of the ZT-4 type, were ordered for the colonial troops in 1936. Some of the hulls had been completed by June 1940, but no turrets were completed.
The AMR 35 was slower than the AMR 33, but the increase in firepower was very useful.
Production: 200 completed, 40 with hull only
Hull Length: 12.6ft
Hull Width: 5.34ft
Weight: 6.5 tons
Engine: 85hp liquid cooled Renault 4-cylinder gasoline engine
Max Speed: 34.3mph
Armament: 7.5mm machine gun or 13.2mm machine gun or 25mm cannon
Armour: 13mm max