A page from FranÁois Vauvillier's book "l'automobile sous l'uniforme"

Prototype article - source: page from FranÁois Vauvillier's book ''l'automobile sous l'uniforme''

This 350 page masterpiece of knowledge deals with all vehicles guns and machines of the French pre-war army. When the 2nd world war unfolded over the Renault factories, the prototypes and pre-series where ready. The translation is for the facts only. The original lay-out and story are of course much more elaborate.


The war surprised the constructeurs. Their 1939 models are to be turned out in mass, at the shortest possible time. But Renault looks further ...

His idea is to re-develop the trucks. Aestheticaly maybe questionable, but perfectly matched to the needs of the moment: easy to produce in mass. The new ideas comes from the American trucks of those days, equipped with an industrial all-steel body and lightened to substantially increase payload to power ratio. That brought the AHx range, whose first prototypes where out in December 1939. Intended primarily for the armed forces. These developments are followed with interest by the French army office SAET but, "Before we engage in the construction of lightweight material, it must be sure that the material holds (emphasis added)." wrote the commander Mollard March 12, 1940. Two days later 6 AHN 6 and 6 AHR are orderdered, one of each to be sent to Vincennes and the other 5 to be put in service at army units, for evaluation. Their production is starts in April but, apart from the two prototypes presented during the winter, no light trucks appear to have been completed before the German attack (May 10 1940). What follows is off course a different story ...

ahs proto 1939 - source Renault


Among the low-tonnage trucks of its new lightweight range, the Renault AHS2 with 2.5 t payload is the intended successor to the AGC 1.5 t (own weight 2480 kg, 180 kg more). This prototype is pictured in December 1939. It's destinated military use can be seen from the curled hooks (pigs tails) on the front. It was not ordered for the pre series in 1939-40, in the 2.5 t class, by the airforce. It was not retained in the war program (see "l'automobile sous l'uniforme" p.69). Beyond that, the delivery of 1.5 ton trucks was assigned to CitroŽn and Peugeot. The events of the war gave this sturdy little truck his baptism in German colors. The payload war reclassified to a more suitable and modest 2 tons. As "Lastkraftwagen 2 to Renault AHS" 23.000 served the Wehrmacht very wel.


ahn proto 1939 - source Renault


This prototype of the AHN with 4 t payload (3.5t military) is photographed on February 10 l940 at Renault. It is the designated successor of the AGR and got a full positive vote from the Committee of Vincennes. It is scheduled to replace the AGR on the assembly line at the end of 1940, for delivery to the French army, if the events had decided otherwise. The AHN is produced for the Wehrmacht from 1941 (total production circa 4,000) as "Lastkraftwagen to 3.5". This designation differs form the standard German classification (1.5 to, 3 to, and 4.5 to 6 to.) French trucks where often re-classified by the German army. Like the CitroŽn Type 45, that becomes: "Lastkraftwagen 4,5 to" while the Renault AGR and AHN will remain "Lkw 3,5 to".


ahr proto 1939 - source Renault


The prototype of the AHR (5t) in the last days of December 1939, photographed by Renault. Like the AHN, it has a 6 cylinder engine with 85 x l20 (bore x stroke), 23 hp instead of the 100 x 129, 4-cylinder, 19 hp (AGR) and 120 x l30, 22 hp (AGK). As the intended successor to the AGK in the French army by the end of 1940, the AHR also got its operational career in the German colors (production numbers have not been found, but are probably between 1000 and 2000).


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