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The H35, officially known as the "Char léger modèle 1935 H", was Hotchkiss's response to the early 1930s' light-tank requirement that also resulted in Renault's R35. Both tanks mount the same weak 37mm gun of World War I design and share armour thickness. In 1938, the Hotchkiss upgraded the tank with a more powerful engine and called the new combination the H39. The variant modeled in the game is the late-production H39, which just before the German invasion Hotchkiss upgunned with a higher velocity main gun of same caliber. The late H39 is an adequate light to medium tank with a far better gun than its sibling the R35, although the new 37mm gun was still somewhat lacking when forced to deal with more heavily armored opponents. The H39 was also 50% faster than the R35 and well armored compared to some of its Axis opposition.
The H39's low profile made it a capable ambusher, but it lacked the speed to get out of trouble in a hurry. This fault plagued almost all French tanks save the S35.
The Hotchkiss H39 is an adequate light to medium tank. It is, like most tanks, reasonably capable of suppressing infantry. It also has a substantial amount of armor to assist in defense against enemy anti-tank weapons as long as they are of the smaller, early-war variety. The camouflage works well in some settings. Regardless, the name of the game is seeing the enemy before he sees you, and placing yourself in position to kill them before they can shoot at you, preferably before they even see you.
Make sure you don’t accidentally open the gunner’s port. On French tanks, this opens a large door on the rear turret, leaving your turret crew exposed to any and all enemy fire. The driver has no periscope - closing the view-slit in the armor plate blocks your view completely. The commander is in a top turret cupola, and cannot unbutton.
Tactically, employ the H39 like the R35, although your gun can handle enemy armour better. Make sure you can get a close-range shot and try to get the jump on an enemy. You're smaller than the S35 and B1 bis, so leave the face-to-face pummeling to them. Avoid contact when in enemy-held territory. Be sneaky, which is good advice for any tank driver, and rely on a first shot within lethal range - again, excellent advice for any tanker. Enemy anti-tank gunners and tankers fear the H39, like the R35, less than they should. In a combined armor situation, you may not be the first tank they target and if you’re smart you can employ this to your advantage. Pray for a little luck too, because you can never have enough in an early-war tank like the H39.
The Hotchkiss H39 is available from tier 0.