Schneider Tank

French Schneider assault tank Char d’Assaut (CA) of World War One.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

Schneider assault tanks move up to the front
Schneider assault tanks move up to the front near L’Eglantiers on the Oise. The short 75-mm gun is on the right of the superstructure, but one machine-gun ball mounting can be seen on this side. The crew are riding on top to avoid the uncomfortable heat of the engine inside.

Char d’Assaut Schneider
Type: Assault tank.


The idea of the Char d’Assaut Schneider (or Schneider CA) had been developed under the aegis of General Estienne, who imagined an armored tractor to tow armored sledges car­rying troops across the Western Front battlefields in a shock strike on Ger­man ditches.
For the groundwork of the armored tractor Estienne suggested making use of the track and chassis of the U.s. Holt farming tractor which at these days in 1915 turning into an extensively employed artillery tractor.

By simply speaking straight to General Joffre, the French C-inC, Estienne managed to get assistance for his prop­osal, and the armament company Schneider became associated as the de­velopment bureau.

The initial plans required 200 Schneider CA’s by the end of 1916, nevertheless design and manufacturing were so time-consuming that it was not before the middle of 1917 that significant tanks were ready for action.

The Schneider CA appeared as what was fundamentally an armored container placed over a basically unaltered Holt tractor suspension and track. The container equipped a pair of machine guns along with a short 75-mm M1897 (2.95-in) gun to the right side forward. The engine produced 55 hp (41 kW) and was supplied from a pair of petrol tanks which were placed close to the machine-gun mountings.
These tanks turned out extremely vulnerable to German fire, to the degree that one armor-piercing round could set the tank burning, a destiny that befell numerous Schneider CA’s after they moved into battle.
Top armor thickness was 11.5 mm (0.45 in), improved to 19.5 mm (0.77 in) on later tanks.

The concept of the armored personnel­-carrying sledge had been abandoned, and the Schneiders were used primarily for infantry support in the way of the day. They demonstrated to be below effective in this purpose, for their cross-­country characteristics were seriously limited.


By May 1917 a number of 300 had been manufactured, but afterwards the gun model was exchanged in manufacturing by the Schneider Char de Ravitaillement stores-carrying model, on which the right-hand gun position was exchanged by a door opening into the stores-­carrying section. Extra 8-mm (0.31-in) armor was put onto the sides of most tanks as the response of experience in battle, and possibly the best element expressed by the Schneider CA was that as the consequence of rough ex­perience the French army discovered how to apply and maintain armored vehicles in the field.

The French established their first armor school at Champlieu in October 1916 and very quickly found out that insufficient maintenance and absence of spare parts could eliminate a tank from the field as effectively as enemy fire.

A number of the first missions were fiascos as the consequence of insufficient schooling and maintenance, a popular of these being the assault on the Chemin des Dames in April 1917, when Seventy-six out of a total of 132 Schneider CAs engaging were sacrificed.

The last Schneider CA was produced in August 1918, but at that time, attri­tion and progress towards the Renault FT-17 had minimized the numbers operating to below One hundred.
Many of these were the unarmed transport model, however the gun Schneiders had taken their part in several missions during 1918, having an amount of good results in a few. However, the Schneider CA was an unsound and indifferent tank on the Western Front and turned out too vulnerable to getting fire when hit.
The most beneficial that may certainly be mentioned of them is that they educated the French army considerably concerning the restrictions and possibilities of armored warfare.

Animated 3D model Schneider Char d’Assaut (CA)

Specifications Schneider Char d’Assaut (CA)


Schneider CASpecification
Typeassault tank
Main Armament 1 x 75-mm (2.95-inch) howitzer right side forward
Secondary Armament 2 x 8-mm-Hotchkiss machine guns (one each side)
Length 19 ft 8 in (6.00 m; with ramps 6.32 m)
Width 6 ft 6 2/3 in (2.00 m)
Height 7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)
Armour max 0.45 in (11.5 mm); later max 0.77 in (17-19.5 mm)
Battle weight 16.6 tons (14,600 kg)
Ground pressure 0.72 kg/cm²
Power to weight ratio 3.83 hp/t
Engine one 55-hp (41-kW) Schneider four-cylinder petrol engine
Maximum speed 3.7 mph (6 km/hr)
Road range 30 miles (48 km)
Vertical obstacle2 ft 59 in (0.79 m)
Trench crossing 5 ft 75 in (1.75 m)
Climbing power 57%
Service delivery1917
Final deliveryAugust 1918
Total production figure c. 400

References and literature

An Illustrated History of the Weapons of World War One (Ian Westwell)
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War I (Chris Bishop)
Panzer und andere Kampffahrzeuge von 1916 bis heute (Christopher F. Foss, John F. Milsom, Colonel John Stafford Weeks, Captain Georffrey Tillotson, Richard M. Ogorkiewicz)
Panzerkampfwagen des 1. und 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)

Oval@3x 2

Don’t miss the daily posts about WW1&WW2!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top