Renault R-35

Unit Card:


Set - Rarity - Number

Base Set - Rare - 2/48
39-45 - Uncommon - 14/60

Historical Background:

Our first unit is the Renault R-35, the second unit from the base set. (I could have started with the MAS, but generic infantry aren't really worth a thread of their own.) Although many players don't like playing as France, they are a very fun nation to play in year restricted battles, and the R-35 is one of their better units.

The R-35 was designed to be France's standard light "infantry tank," which resulted in heavy armor, low speed and good trench handling ability, all of which translate to AAM. It was also unreliable and a gas guzzler, which do not affect it in AAM.

Only two crew members served on the R-35: the driver and the commander. The poor commander had to move the turret with a hand crank, fire and reload the 37mm gun and MG, watch for enemy tanks and relay instructions to the driver all at once. Predictably this caused serious problems on the battlefield. While the Somua is the only French tank that takes a penalty for being undermanned, the R-35 really should have had a similar ability.

About 1,700 R-35's were built by France. Poland got about fifty of them, where they were used against the invading Germans. Romania acquired 75 R-35's, and in fact we have a Romanian R-35 from Eastern Front. The French R-35's fought in the Battle of France and in North Africa on both the Vichy and Free French sides.

During the Battle of France, the R-35 did not perform particularly well. This was primarily due to the fact that it was not used as it was intended to be. While it was well suited to slow assaults on entrenched infantry, its slow speed, mechanical unreliability and lack of armor piercing ammunition were ill-suited to blunting assaults by German panzer divisions supported by infantry.

The typical course of an engagement with an R-35 involved the R-35 shrugging off German fire and ineffectually returning fire. However once the crew had expended their ammunition or run out of fuel, they would bail and join the French infantry. Once the infantry fell back, the Germans would capture the relatively undamaged R-35.

After the fall of France, over eight hundred of the R-35's were captured by Germany. Some of these were sold off to nations like Italy or Bulgaria, but most were converted into artillery tractors or other vehicles. The most interesting of these was a 47mm tank hunter similar to the Panzerjager I.


In AAM, all concerns about running out of ammunition or fuel or suffering mechanical breakdown vanish into the aether. On the tactical level the R-35 excels and is distinguished by its excellent armor for its cost.

While the R-35's armament is poor, most German tanks available in 1940 will also have to get to close range to hit the R-35, so this isn't as big a drawback as it appears on paper. As a complement to the Char B1 and/or the Panhard, the R-35 is an excellent unit in most French armies.

When playing as Germany, I typically try to ignore the R-35 and focus on other French units. Once you've eliminated the Char B1's, Panhards and other more dangerous targets, you can try to take the objective and force the Renaults to expose themselves to close assault attacks.

France has very interesting early war tanks. They are a match to any early war German tank. Historically, there was little standardization in their light tank and this is represented in AAM with, 3 similarly priced mini: the Hotchkiss H-39, FCM 36 and this unit. All 3 have very few differences. This unit is the cheap alternative. While it has -1 speed compred to the other units, it still retain that 4/4 armor wich it is very good in early war scenarios. However, everything else is "okish" at best. Probably one of the most durable unit under 10 points and is still a good value.

A agree with the statement about the tank being a good low tech tank. a 4 armour tank for 9 points is very useful to have to clear out infantry.

Plastic Figure Notes:

Rescaled Renault R-35 from the 1939-1945 set (top, bottom)
compared to the original from the Base Set.
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