The FCM 2C is a French heavy tank developed for World War I. It was however too late for that conflict, but if it was fielded, it would have been the largest operational tank ever made.
The ten FCM 2C tanks were numbered 90-99. Because of the time that these vehicles were made, there was little value of using these vehicles throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Nevertheless, during the French mobilization of 1939, all ten were activated and put into their own unit, the 51st Bataillion de Chars de Combat. For propaganda, each tank was named after one of the ancient regions of France.
Normandie / Lorraine
The 10 vehicles did not participate in the attack on the Siegfried line in 1939, they were intentionally kept out of harm's way. They were used instead for numerous morale-boosting movies, to the public, they were seen as invincible super tanks. When the Germans were getting closer to the tanks, they were to be sent South by rail, however the railway was blocked, so the vehicles were scuttled. Later Goebbels and Göring claimed the tanks were hit by German dive bombers, a propaganda lie that was repeated in many sources. Tank 99 "Champagne" was captured mostly intact and was brought to Berlin to be exhibited as a war trophy until disappearing in 1948.
In 1926, FCM 2C #99 "Champagne" was modified into the FCM 2C bis, an experimental type with a 155mm howitzer in a cast steel turret. New engines were fitted and the machine gun positions were removed. This change was temporary, as the vehicle was restored to the standard FCM 2C the very same year. The turret was used in the Tunisian Mareth Line.
Unnamed FCM 2C
Between 15th November and 15th December 1939, FCM 2C #97 "Lorraine" was modified with increased armour. The front armour was upgraded to 90mm and the side to 65mm. The final product weighed about 75 tons.