Status Report: AMX-30 Prototype in Saumur
this time, Yuri Pasholok visited the Saumur museum and had a look at the AMX-30 prototype. The history of the AMX-30 originated in the Europanzer project that was started in 1956. The vehicle was supposed to fit the 30 ton class (hence the name) and was supposed to have the power to weight of 30 hp/t and maximum speed of 65 km/h. Apart from two German company groups, AMX also participated in the program. In the end, the program had two results - the German Standartpanzer (also known as Leopard 1) and the French AMX-30. First two prototypes were built in 1960, another 7 in early 1963.
It's worth noting that the mass-produced vehicle (AMX-30B) was quite different from what came out of the testing. The vehicle was "perfected" for quite some time - for example some expert decided to put a hatch in the front. The early prototype was quite complicated in its own right - both the turret and the hull. It was "saved" by the Saumur museum but currently it is in very sorry state. Unfortunately, this is also not an exception as out of cca 800 vehicles owned by the museum, only few hundred are displayed to public and the rest is rusting away in some backyard of the whole building comples the way this prototype does. The effect of the Saumur weather is clearly visible on the vehicle as well as on the AMX-30C standing next to it - only five years ago, the AMX-30C was inside the exposition hall. The prototype itself is empty - its inside was stripped of all the devices and other stuff and is very rusty. It's a shame Saumur keeps such rare vehicles in such a state.
Note the absence of the front hatch on the prototype:
The vehicle lights are well-protected:
Track links on the side:
The exhaust has large mufflers. They are present on the mass-produced vehicles as well, but under cover
The prototype gun has no thermal shroud or fume extractor:
The shape of the turret is quite complex:
At the back of the turret, there were four smoke grenade launchers