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French Mech by Rob-Cavanna French Mech by Rob-Cavanna
Armament:
Head: 7.5 mm Reibel machine gun
Right Hand: 75 mm howitzer
Left hand: 47 mm cannon + 7.5 mm MG combo weapon.

Crew: 4
-----------------------------------
History:

When the French designed Charlemagne first appeared in the mid 1930s, it could easily be considered the most powerful specimen of walking armor in the world. Like the Char B-1 Bis, with which it shared both a myriad of mechanical components and factory space, the Charlemagne was very advanced for its era. During the Invasion of France, even the Pzf IV Seigmund, Germany’s best walking panzer of the time, had little hope against the much heavier armed and armored Charlemagne. France’s precious few defending Charlemagnes instead fell prey to other forces, such as artillery, and dive bombers, as much as native issues like poor tactical usage and insufficiently trained crews. Regrettably, the average French Military Commander’s understanding of rapid armored warfare was lacking enough with regard to conventional tanks, let alone something so cutting edge and tactically nuanced as a walking one.

Only in retrospect to the early years of WWII does the origin of the Charlemagne raise eyebrows among the Allies. Had the new technology been more in the international spotlight before the outbreak of war, perhaps then the Allies would have detected a major conspiracy which directly fueled the Nazi war machine, essentially jump-starting Germany’s own Pzf (panzer zu fuss) program. Hitler’s boisterous proclamations that the technology of walking armor was Germanic in origin, is mostly truthful. But the 3rd Reich’s sudden manifestation of armored colossus in 1939 would never have happened without the pioneering of France’s (then) superior arms industry that culminated in the Charlemagne weapon platform.

Though it would have been better to ask in 1939, the question remains, “If walking tanks are a German born concept, how could the French produce something like the Charlemagne before Germany unveiled its first pygmy Pzfs, of half the size and complexity?” The simple answer is that the tech was intentionally leaked by German sources to France. The next question then, is why should they? Why would Germany share plans for a war-changing weapon with a potential enemy?

Knowing that they had very limited resources post WWI, German war industry leaders agreed it would be best to see what happened when a country w/ much stronger assets had exposure to their secret blueprints. Let someone else bear the burden of developing a brand new technology from scratch! Difficult issues like power transmission to the legs, control interfaces, and articulate joint functionality were all resolved by French ingenuity and capital. As evidenced by the well-intentioned but ill-conceived Maginot line, France had a penchant for sinking huge sums into wild military ideas –desperate to ensure peace and security in the wake of the horrific First World War.

While France exhausted crucial time and massive resources developing a machine whose tactical statistics would be rendered obsolete just a few years later by Blitzkrieg tactics, Germany went back to basics and adapted the French breakthroughs to much smaller simpler mechs that could travel farther over land, and even be transported by larger vehicles with relative ease. What later came to be regarded as the Pygmy Pzfs, in the shadow of their much larger offspring. From the start, Germany’s greatest asset in this furtive arms race was its intellectual foresight for the new machine’s proper tactical usage and ultimate potential. In the beginning of Pzf development, Germany was less concerned with creating the perfect weapon from the outset, and more focused on the proper large-scale uses of such a weapon. Strategic application was the thing. Perfecting individual models would come later, after German industry had some time to rebuild. Training and advanced logistics of unit movement could be honed while their machines could yet not. Hence German Pzfs started small, while their creators dreamed big, and crews trained hard… under theoretical military doctrine hardly newer to the world than their curious bipedal mounts.

Though it was a revelation of new technology back in the 1930s, even then, the Charlemagne wasn’t without sizeable flaws -the worst of these being not just low tactical mobility, but also inferior strategic mobility. Not only was the vehicle ponderously slow, but it also suffered from very limited range. Short range means the frequent need to refuel, hobbling operational ability. Like its ally Britain, France’s early approach to armor design was mired in World War I style thinking, what more progressive tacticians would refer to as “trench mind”. Charlemagne was never designed for deep penetrating maneuvers, it was instead conceived more for defense rather than offense.

Although most of the Charlemagne's early tech solutions were abandoned in favor of more efficient and economical innovations, it's basic design DNA can still be detected in all successive mechs of WWII. Though never produced in sufficient numbers (or properly deployed ‘en masse’) to make a significant impact on France's military performance in the early war years, the Charlemagne is nevertheless the unsung Grandfather to all other WWII mecha.

Out of retirement:

When Hamilton’s squad of "AWOL Allies" [link] find themselves in France at the spearhead of the Allied invasion, elements of the French resistance assist them in liberating a hidden stash of Charlemagnes stored in a secret bunker beneath the Maginot line, unused and still waiting for a frontal attack that never happened. They're old and outdated, but as an unofficial rogue unit, the gang will take whatever they can get. If unassigned to a combat unit, one could always sell such vintage war materiel on the thriving black market, or exchange them for more modern options.

Optimally, with some effort on the part of experienced engineers, the Charlemagne could be upgraded with modern equipment and components (both being engineering for universal fittings) to create a machine that remains respectably capable on the battlefields of 1945, against all but the heaviest monsters. In which case, the rare specimens are certainly no worse if not outright superior to the massively produced Big Joe and Kirov, being still slower than both, but remaining the best armored in its class.

-------------------------

Texture from:
Cgtextures.com [link]
cgkkies.com [link]

For additional info and schematics: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconltmoonpie:
LtMoonPie Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015
Man, the French keep coming up with new and awesome toys with which to run away in.
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015
Why run when you can surrender from the pleasant safety of a big ass mech? 
Reply
:iconacidpond:
Acidpond Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013
so does it have a drop guns and surrender button jk really nice art
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013
Note to self: French mechs are supermagnets for surrendering jokes... 

I'd better get used to it. Thanks for the compliment though. :D  
Reply
:iconaerasett:
Aerasett Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
Concerning persons denigrating armored French, I can remember just a small detail: B1-bis, 75H & 47AT, 1935 - M3 Lee, 75H & 37AT, 1941, and very American has been conceived to sherman from French plan.

The Charlemagne is present you with his arms standarts, but he could receive a certain number of different guns and probably more suited to the following the war (North Africa, Middle East & Indochina for FFL and do not forget more than the German one had much use Beute)

Vehicle

25 SA35
37 SA38
47 SA35
75 ABS39 (H)
APX 75 (H)
90 AA (FCM F1
90 SA Mle 45

Machine gun

Reibel 7.5
Hotchkiss Mle30 02.13

AT
47 Miss 37-39
75 SA Mle 39

AA
20 HS 404
25 Mle 38 - 39 - 40
37 Mle 30 Marine
75 Mle 32 - 39 Mle
90 Mle 26-30 (equal the 88 Flak 18)
90 Miss CA 39

Different cannon and howitzer 105
and finally, it is the Belgian tanks were equipped Caon pointing backwards.
Reply
:iconspyderrock48:
spyderrock48 Featured By Owner May 25, 2012
It's french, so obviously it has no real use in combat, but it looks cool! haha
Reply
:iconballisticcow:
ballisticCow Featured By Owner May 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this. The retro look is really menacing, especially with the high contrast, almost blood red background. Very cool!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner May 14, 2012
Thank you very much, Millie!

In my research I found a nicely designed website w/ a cool Maginot Line silhouette and thought, 'yep, that's how I'm gonna bullshit the background!'
Came close to doing a more neutral sky color, but ultimately opted for the punchy red. :P
Reply
:iconballisticcow:
ballisticCow Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
LoL! I am glad you went with the punchy red, looks wicked. :D
Reply
:icontylero79:
tylero79 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Student General Artist
So, it runs away from battle?
Reply
:iconwastelander7:
Wastelander7 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012
VERY cool work as always guys! And I can see why the design would be able to stand up on the battlefield. Multiple sloped armor surfaces, extra shields on the hip rotors (a GREAT ideal unless you want to be face down in the mud. I think it would be most vulnerable from the side, since you could get an oblique hit there fairly easily. (no sloped armor) From the front, the hip joint and groin area would be the most vulnerable, but, on a moving target in hedgrows and woods, those areas would be bears to actually get a direct hit on. Especially at long range. On the other hand, these boys would have a hard time in open terrain with the flat surfaces in the front. I also like the top loading cannon. Very practical for a machine of this type.

And I LOVE the feet! These things would have great traction on just about any terrain except quick sand or bogs. All in all, a very strong design. With more sloped armor and a heavier main gun it would probably be a match for almost anything of it's era.

Awesomeness!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012
It's very much a mech-ified version of the Char B-1 Bis. The upper hull (chest) shares all the same angles and construction style as the front of a B-1. And similarly, the sides are just flat as a wall. My earlier sketches had more sloping angles, but I pulled it back to be more in keeping w/ primitive tank design.
The chunky waist and neck rings are like the one under a B-1's turret.

straight up passing the sloped component ideas to a Russian mech instead.
Reply
:iconwastelander7:
Wastelander7 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012
Da comrade, pass dem along ;) LOL
Reply
:iconmercenarygraphics:
MercenaryGraphics Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
A nice take on a Char B1!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmrrobotov:
MrRobotov Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Looks pretty awesome. :D
Reply
:icondoomsday-device:
Doomsday-Device Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yup. It's goofy-lookin' enough to pass as a French robot.
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
That was my hope...
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Yay, It's done! Really have to say it came out great!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
Man... Concept world group ALWAYS rejects my shit!
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Yeah, I also start to get annoyed by some groups, really really don't get their policy, how they work. Frustrating. I mean the stuff is fantastic, idea and technic wise! Start to hate some groups, even when knowing I shouldn't put too much thoughts into it, but I can't help myself! Start your own weird war group, being your own boss!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Just weird. They reject everything I submit. What I'm submitting isn't inconsistent w/ stuff in their gallery either. Feels personal somehow.
I know it shouldn't bother me, just gets on my nerves. Most other group people are very cool. :shrug: I should just enjoy that.

I've thought of starting a Wierd War II group, but I definitely do not have time to administrate. AND don't have patience to deal w/ filtering pro-Nazi jerks.
Between Alternate History, and Dieselpunk machine, seems like that angle is fairly well covered already.
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
So know what you mean! I am bothered and then I am even more bothered by being bothered. Enjoy the show and don't care about it, but sometimes I just can't help myself...aaaarg...again.
Administering a group is sure work, though a really sweet weird war group isn't really around, though the steampunk and dieselpunk groups are nice but they got soomuch distratction (at least for me...)
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
Exactly, for me too. More bothered by being bothered. It's silly and you know it, but can't help it.

But in fact one of the admins from Concept world wrote me back and gave a detailed explanation why he did not pick this one. Some major faults were apparently that it is A) not representative of my best work, and B) Camoflage pattern is too distracting from a design POV, which I can understand. From our perspective, we know that the image is doing exactly what it needs to do for OPDS, but they are judging on an entirely different aesthetic basis. Simply put, they have very rigorous standards very different from ours. But I'm very glad that one of the judges got back to me w/ a thorough answer about the rejection. He said to keep submitting. So, I'm glad for the merciful response and am now officially over it. Oodles more groups out there. And always nice to feel challenged to do better and grow.

Wanted to post a journal ages ago about "let's make a Weird War II group!" But the inevitable Nazi fallout... i don't have the stomach.
My moral compass tells me to reject any remotely pro-nazi submission or participation, but how would one accomplish that as a group admin? Research EVERY contributor and their affiliates? Read all their comments?
Too much headache, not enough simple fun. WWII can be a dark and sensitive subject as is. Very hard to strike the right balance. The easiest option would be to let the doors wide open, and I'm not into that either.
Don't want to contribute to anything twisted.

On the other hand, building a community of like-minded artists would be great. And as I've learned, all types of watchers and non-pro artists can have LOTS of great ideas to contribute. More brains the better. I'll never know everything there is to know about WWII and armored warfare, no matter how much I obsess. Unless I go live at the Bovington museum. Hmm....
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012
oooh shit, just deleted everything I wrote...meh, now i don't want no more...Till later
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012
man, I hate it when that happens! no worries.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
:highfive:
Yes, finally! More or less the way I hoped it would look.
Tried a lighter less colorful background, but there wasn't enough contrast.
After a couple more mecha, hope I can come back to do the MK.I asymmetrical jouster version.

Thanks for all your input on this one, Thomas. Helped me a great deal!
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Yeah,at last done! Was checking my inbox the last week too frequently cause all was itching to see the final result. Looks great! Dig the background, has the dark atmosphere of something big coming along. I'd probably put some concertina wire and concrete obstacles in the front, too give it a more defensive feeling, but getting things done is the way to go I believe! Mk I should defintely come along some time!
Just came to my mind, when seeing the Maginot line in the background: Although I know it doesn't really make sense, just have to get rid off it. A pop up turret sytle head, so the optics can be under armor, when ...hmmm... whenever. They had some pop machine gun turrets on the maginot line, that's why I came to it. [link] and [link] So now it's out and done.
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012
Extra wire defenses + concrete obstacles are an excellent idea! Not so hard to do either. At this point, itching to get more mechs done, but may come back and implement your ideas later. Or could use them on something else.

Funny you should mention the pop-up turret head. I tried something just like that on my Longshanks sketches, but wasn't quite happy. British army helmet sort of lends itself to that defensive turret shape. I also thought of the head retracting into the body. Difficult not to make it look silly though: [link]

Also just grabbed a bunch of Medieval helm reference from internet. Some very cool stuff. Not all right for OPDS, but helps get the imagination flowing.
maybe I'll send you some...
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
Silly it is :D... More mechs sounds cool! What's the history about the swedish one by the way?
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
It was actually designed by a German guy. That's why it looks so clever.
He wasn't allowed to make tanks in Germany, according to treaty restrictions, so he took his talents to Sweden.

In terms of circumventing the rules to design cutting-edge armor, it bears interesting comparison w/ this Charlemagne history.

I'll send you more info later...
My only complaint is that the very pretty Stridsvagn is only a light tank. But we can cheat and make a badass Swedish mech anyway! :D
Reply
:iconflaketom:
flaketom Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012
Wha? Now i am not sure anymore if you mean in reality or in OPDS history (or both). NOw you really got me interested (like even more).
HOw do the Swedes fit into the overall OPDS timeline, or is it just something because its cool?
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012
more here: [link]
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012
Was speaking of real history, but nevermind. I'm a little confused. Was thinking of the German tank designer Joseph Vollmer who made the Stridsvagn m/21, but the ones I like most are the Stridsvagn m/40 and the m/42, which were not necessarily designed by Vollmer, but possibly descendents of his early designs. Difficult to find good info on these things. (the m/41 was actually the same as the Czech built panzer 38t).

Strv. m/40 had a 37mm main gun, and 2 co-axial MGs. Very interesting look: [link]
there is some good info here: [link]

The Strv. m/42 had a 75mm, and a longer chassis, w/ six road wheels on each side instead of 4
[link]
[link]

need to do more research!

also interesting.... Swedish TD : [link]
[link]
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconpsykohilly:
PsykoHilly Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Great concept!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Thanks very much, Stefan.
Reply
:iconjudgess:
Judgess Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
this is great Rob! geez! you getting good with mecha, and that details explanation! you do your homework man, you must be a smart one in class x)
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
:D Thank you so much, Hakim. Part of the whole idea was to make me a better mech artist, so it's good to hear you think I've improved.
Yeah LOTS of homework. More research than actual drawing up till now. Hope it all pays off. :peace:
Reply
:iconantonmoscowsky:
AntonMoscowsky Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! It is really cool stuff!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
Thanks, pal! Glad you dig it.
Reply
:iconltla9000311:
ltla9000311 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it!
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
:thumbsup:

how you holding up?
Reply
Hidden by Owner
:iconxxvectorzeroxx:
xxVectorZeroxx Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
this is a french design, but all the guns are forward facing, dont you know french place all there armament on the rear arch?
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
you'll hurt his feeling now...
Reply
:iconxxvectorzeroxx:
xxVectorZeroxx Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
im US military, its my job to make fun of the french military lol
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
I'm cool w/ that. :salute:

You overseas? IMO service people should have the right to NOT pay federal tax. period.
That'll be my main platform when I run for President.
Reply
:iconxxvectorzeroxx:
xxVectorZeroxx Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
didnt have to pay taxes on deployment. i dont think.. dont recall.
did one for 09-10 im out in 3 months
Reply
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012
stay safe, dude.

Lost a buddy several years ago. Hummer hit an IED.
He was just a week away from going home and getting married.
Reply
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