Speed race between restored World War I Saint-Chamond heavy tank and a French Army Leclerc Main Battle Tank.
The Saint-Chamond, named after the commune of Saint-Chamond, was the second French heavy tank of the First World War, with 400 manufactured from April 1917 to July 1918. Although not a tank by the present-day definition, it is generally accepted and described as such in accounts of early tank development. Born of the commercial rivalry existing with the makers of the Schneider CA1 tank, the Saint-Chamond was an underpowered and fundamentally inadequate design. Its principal weakness was the Holt “caterpillar” tracks. They were much too short in relation to the vehicle’s length and heavy weight (23 tons). Later models attempted to rectify some of the tank’s original flaws by installing wider and stronger track shoes, thicker frontal armour and the more effective 75mm Mle 1897 field gun. Altogether 400 Saint-Chamond tanks were built including 48 unarmed caisson tanks. The Saint-Chamond tanks remained engaged in various actions until October 1918, belatedly becoming more effective since combat had moved out of the trenches and onto open ground. Eventually the Saint-Chamond tanks were scheduled to be entirely replaced by imported British heavy tanks.
The Char Leclerc is a main battle tank (MBT) built by GIAT, now Nexter of France. It was named in honour of General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, who led the French element of the drive towards Paris while in command of the Free French 2nd Armoured Division (2e DB) in World War II.
The Leclerc is in service with the French Army and the army of the United Arab Emirates. In production since 1991, the Leclerc entered French service in 1992, replacing the AMX 30 as the country’s main armoured platform. With production now complete, the French Army has 406 Leclerc and the United Arab Emirates Army has 388. The price in 2011 was €9.3 million, which made it the most expensive tank in history at the time.