6.32 m (20ft 9 in)
2.05 m (6ft 9 in)
2.30m (7ft 7 in)
Schneider 4 cylinder petrol 60 hp (45kW)
11mm + 5.5mm spaced
1 x 75mm Blockhaus Schneider
2 x 8mm Hotchkiss M1914 machine guns
The Schneider CA 1 was the first French tank.
The Schneider tank was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of Trench warfare, which on the Western Front prevailed during most of World War I. It specifically had to ope passage for the infantry through barbed wire and then to suppress German machine gun nests. After a first concept by Jacques Quellanac devised in November 1914, the type was developed from May 1915 onwards by engineer Eugène Brillié, paralleling British development of tanks the same year. In December 1915, Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne began to urge for the formation of French armoured units, leafing to an order in February 1916 of four hundred Schneider CA tanks, which were manufactured by SOMUA, a subsidiary of Schneider located in a Paris suburb, between September 1916 and August 1918.
The tanks was of the "box" type, without turret, with the main armament, a short 75mm cannon, in the right side. Generally, it is considered to be a flawed design, even for its period, because of a poor layout, insufficient firepower, a cramped interior and inferior mobility due to an overhanging nose section. Improved designs were almost immediately started. However, these designs, the Schneider CA 2, CA 3 and CA 4 were eventually cancelled.
The Schneider CA 1 tanks were frequently used in combat during the last years of the war. In their first combat on 16 April 1917, the tanks suffered heavy losses. However, subsequent actions were more successful/ In 1918, the Schneider tanks played an important role in halting the German Spring Offensive and breaking the German front in the French summer offensives. They were active until the end of September 1918. less tjam two months before the Armistice, due to their numbers being depleted due to losses. After the war, the surviving tanks were mostly rebuilt as utility vehicles but six tanks were deployed by Spain in the Rif War and the type saw its last action at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.