Somua machinery and trucks and buses, France

Somua, an acronym for Société d’outillage mécanique et d’usinage d’artillerie, was a French company that manufactured machinery and vehicles. A subsidiary of Schneider-Creusot, Somua was based in Saint-Ouen, a suburb of Paris.

In 1930 Somua introduced several models of trucks equipped with advanced diesel engines, half cabins and three axles and with payloads from 10 to 13 tonnes. Somua also produced a lighter range with five to eight tonnes payload, equipped with gasoline engines. In 1936 Somua produced a railcar for PLM, the XS 1 to 11.


Arguably the most famous product in Somua’s history was its 20-ton World War II tank, the Somua S35 and the Somua S40. Furthermore, France’s first tank in 1916, the Schneider CA1, as well as later in 1918 some Renault FT tanks, were manufactured by Somua in their Saint-Ouen facility during World War I.

Somua’s production of trucks practically ceased between 1943 and 1946. However, in 1944 the company developed a truck under license from the Swedish Hesselman company. Named the JL 12 and equipped with a flex-fuel four cylinder engine, the vehicle did not impress the “Commission des plans de modernisation de l’automobile”, which decided in 1946 to merge Somua with Willème and Panhard to form a new company, the Générale française de l’automobile (GFA).


In 1946 Somua launched a new range of trucks, named JL 15, with a five-speed transmission to exploit the 130 horsepower delivered by the 8.6 liter six-cylinder diesel engine. It was available with six choices of chassis: 6.30 meters to 10.89 meters and 2 or 3 axles, supporting 11 to 16 tonnes payload. The JL 15 was available in truck or bus configuration – the models were respectively the JL 15T and JL 15LO.

In 1948 Somua built two double 1500V DC EMU rail engines for SNCF. They mainly operated in the South West region of France.


In 1955 Somua introduced the JL 19, available with two or three axles and powered by a six-cylinder diesel engine, the D615 9.3 liter engine, producing 180 hp and with a manual ten speed transmission. The JL 19 was available as a carrier or tractor, with five different chassis, and bore a payload of up to 26 tonnes. Around this time Latil, the heavyweight vehicle division of Renault, and Somua were merged under the LRS brand, which later became Saviem.

In 1962, Somua introduced a new JL range, with a new cab with four headlights (which came from the Saviem group). The base JL model had a 6.8 to 12.75 tonnes payload. The JL20 tractor had a 520D6T Henschel direct-injection six-cylinder 204 horsepower diesel engine and a 10 speed transmission and 35 tonnes gross weight.


The company was a minor manufacturer of trolleybuses, building a total of just 55, one in 1938 and the others in the period 1947–55. Another French manufacturer, Vétra, supplied the “overwhelming majority” of trolleybuses in use on French systems during the relevant period. Somua-built trolleybuses used electrical propulsion equipment from Westinghouse.



1929 SOMUA-Kegresse MCG-4

1929 SOMUA-Kegresse MCG-4

1930 Somua Pumper Fire Truck Sales Brochure France wj7916-WSRCRZ

1930 Somua Pumper Fire Truck Sales Brochure France wj7916-WSRCRZ

1934 SOMUA MCG-4 bolster-type tractor

1934 SOMUA MCG-4 bolster-type tractor1935 S Somua 1

1935 S Somua 1

1935 SOMUA MCG-5

1935 SOMUA MCG-51936 SOMUA MCG Saumur 011936 SOMUA MCG Saumur 011936 SOMUA MCG5, in the Musée des Blindés, France

1936 SOMUA MCG5, in the Musée des Blindés, France1935 Somua MCL 5

Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

2 thoughts on “SOMUA”

  1. SO.M.U.A : S Ociété de Mécanique et d’Usinage d’Artillerie. Je vous laisse traduire en Anglais.


  2. Certaine s photos représentent des camions LATIL une des marques qui a constitué la SAVIEM LRS – LRS : Latil Renault Somua


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