Photo of the "Champagne" Char 2C bis
Photo of the "Champagne" captured by Pz Rgt 10. This is was the last surviving tank Char 2C bis. Original private taken snapshot. Good condition. A very rare photograph!
Some interesting information about these old tanks:
The ten tanks were part of several consecutive units, their organic strength at one time reduced to three. Their military value slowly decreased as more advanced tanks were developed throughout the 1920s and 1930s. By the end of the 1930s they were largely obsolete, because their slow speed and high profile made them vulnerable to advances in anti-tank guns.
Nevertheless, during the French mobilisation of 1939, all ten were activated and put into their own unit, the 51st bataillon de chars de combat. for propaganda, each tank had been named after one of the ancient regions of france, numbers 90-99 being named Poitou; Provence; Picardie; Alsace; Bretagne; Touraine; Anjou; Normandie; Berry; Champagne espectively. In 1939, the Normandie was renamed Lorraine. as their main value was in propaganda, the giants were kept carefully out of harm's way and did not participate in the september 1939 attack on the siegfried line. They were used instead for numerous morale-boosting movies, in which they were often shown climbing and crushing old French forts. to the public, they obtained the reputation of invincible super tanks, the imagined dimensions of which far surpassed the actual particulars.
Of course, the French commanders knew perfectly well that this reputation was undeserved. When the german panzerdivisionen, in the execution of operation Fall Rot, ripped apart the French lines after 10 June 1940, the decision was made to prevent the capture of the famous equipment. All were to be sent to the south by rail transport. On 15 June the railway was blocked by a burning fuel train, so it became incumbent to destroy the tanks by detonating charges. Later Goebbels and Göring claimed the tanks were hit by German dive bombers. This propaganda lie was to be repeated by many sources. One tank, the Champagne, was nevertheless captured more or less intact and brought to Berlin to be exhibited as a war trophy until disappearing in 1948. (Wikipedia)
More to be found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_2C