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French WW1 St Chamond...

...a visitor to Tankfest 2017 from La Musee des Blindes, Saumur

Having been a regular visitor to the annual Tankfest event at the Tank Museum, Bovington over the years, 2017 saw a tank in the arena I can't remember even having dreamt that we would see.  We were treated to the special sight of the one surviving St Chamond having come over from the French armour museum, the Musee des Blindes at Saumur in the Loire Valley.  It is a later variant, with the pitched roof.  This was a change from the early production versions which featured a flat roof.  This was to help enemy grenades roll off rather than explode on the thinner roof plate.  Essentially an armoured box built to carry the famous WW1 French 75mm artillery piece.  While parked in the static display area you had an opportunity to see inside where the gun and carriage is fitted simply by removing the wheels and clamping the axle to the floor of the tank.

An unusual feature of the St Chamond was that it had a small petrol engine which in turn acted as the generator for two electric drive motors.  That meant it sounds so unusual, quite quiet and with more of a 'whine' as it moved around the arena, and quite slowly of course.  All the same, the chance to see this not just close-up, but also to see this 100 year old machine actually in running condition and so beautifully presented, a display piece for the French museum to be justly proud of.  Well done to the Tank Museum in being able to secure this special guest for Tankfest 2017.

As there are kits of the St Chamond available in both large and small scales, I hope these pictures will help modellers in particular.


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