In December 1937 negotiations started with France for setting up in Romania of a production line for armoured vehicles. The planned production included 200 Renault R-35 tanks but the deal could not be completed and eventually the tanks were ordered from France. Needs of the French Army and concomitantly exports to Yugoslavia, Poland and Turkey made the delivery slow. Only forty-one Renault R-35 tanks were received by 1939, the delivery being cut off after the fall of France in 1940. In late September 1939 a number of thirty-four Polish R-35 tanks of the 305th Battalion that have escaped into Romania were also interned in accordance with a Romanian-Polish agreement, resulting in a total of seventy-five R-35 tanks available to the Romanian Army in late 1939. The R-35 tanks equipped the 2nd Tank Regiment, set up on 1 November 1939. Several adjustments were made to the original vehicle as the replacing of the 7.5mm Chatellerault machine-gun with the 7.92mm ZB light machine-gun, the improving of suspensions or the replacing of the rubber-rimmed wheels with more resistant metal-rimmed wheels conceived by Lieutenant-Colonel Constantin Ghiulai. As the operational characteristics of the R-35 tanks and the more modern R-2 tanks of the 1st Tank Regiment were unequal, it has been decided before 22 June 1941 that the Armoured Division to keep only the 1st Tank Regiment, the 2nd Tank Regiment being assigned to the 4th Army HQ. They were used in the liberation of Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina and in the siege of Odessa. Even if they enjoyed heavy armour, their low speed and weak gun restricted them to infantry support role.
After the 1941 campaign the 2nd Tank Regiment was kept in reserve for training personnel for the 1st Tank Regiment and the security of Transnistria (the southern Ukrainian region between Dniester and Bug). A number of 30 was modernised in 1944 by replacing the 37mm gun with a 45mm anti-tank gun resulting the Vanatorul de care R-35 (R-35 tank destroyer). A company of R-35s of the Popescu Armoured Detachment saw action at Ploiesti oil fields in late August 1944. In spring of 1945 the 2nd Tank Regiment included 28 original and modernised R-35 tanks. During the fights of the Hron River valley on 26/27 March 1945, eight R-35s were destroyed and other two damaged. Further R-35s were lost during the regiment advance through Czechoslovakia and Austria, by the end of operations none surviving.
|Max road speed
|Max cross-country speed
|1 x 37mm SA18 gun
|1 x 7.92mm ZB30 mg