Renault FT Light Tank (France)

Renault FT Light Tank (France)


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Renault FT Light Tank (France)

The Renault FT was the most advanced tank of the First World War, and was the first production tank to be equipped with a turret capable of rotating through 360 degrees. It was produced in large numbers during the First World War and remained in front line service well into the Second World War.

Development

The father of the French tank force was Colonel J. E. Estienne, who was responsible for the development of the original Schneider tank. He had first suggested the production of tracked armoured vehicles in December 1915, and after getting official support approached a number of industrial concerns. At this time Louis Renault turned down the project, as his firm was already heavily committed to other military contracts. The first French tanks were thus the Schneider CA and the Saint Chamond.

In July 1916 General Estienne approached Louis Renault, and convinced him to begin work on a new light tank. This was a very different type of vehicle to the standard British and French tanks of the period, which were sizable vehicles with large crews.

By October 1916 Renault had produced a wooden mock-up of the new Char mitrailleur (machine gun vehicle) design. While General Estienne struggled to get funding for the type, Renault produced a second wooden mock-up and then began work on a single prototype. Soon afterwards official funding was provided for one prototype. This was followed in December 1916 by an order for 100 production machines.

The prototype was completed by January 1917. It underwent factory tests at Billancourt in February 1917 and official tests at the Centre Artillerie Spéciale at Champlieu in April 1917, completing both sets of tests successfully.

The prototype was generally similar to the production vehicles described below, although it had a one piece cast turret armed with a Hotchkiss machine gun carried in a ball mount.

Description

The FT was a very modern looking machine for the time, especially when compared to the nearest British equivalent, the Whippet light tank, which carried its machine gun armament in a fixed superstructure.

The most advanced feature of the tank was the fully rotating turret. The turret was mounted at the front of the main superstructure. The majority of FTs used either a moulded steel turret or eight sided riveted turret, and the initial version was armed with an 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun.

The first one hundred machines were completed with the one piece cast turret used on the prototype. This could only carry the Hotchkiss machine gun, and had a built in cupola.

The eight sided turret had slightly sloped sides, with a cupola at the back-left and access via a split hatch mounted on the back-right of the turret, with one door on the rear plate and the other on the back-right plate. The steel plates were screwed to a frame. It had a gun mantlet 270mm wide and 210mm high on the front of the turret. The cupola was covered with an armoured hood. This turret was designed by Louis Renault, and could carry either the Hotchkiss machine gun or a 37mm Puteaux cannon. It was known as the 'Omnibus' turret because it could carry both types of gun.

The moulded turret was designed at Berliet in 1918, and was thus often known as the 'Berliet' turret. It was built of two parts - a forged turret ring that resembled a flattened cone (giving the turret slightly sloping sides) and a 16mm cast roof. A cupola was mounted at the back-left of the turret. Access was via a split hatch in the rear of the turret.

It had a flat sided hull, with a pointed nose and box-like superstructure that extended along the rear two thirds of the tank. This had flat sides from the turret to the rear of the tracks, then tapered in towards a pointed tail, which continued on past the back of the tracks.

The 18hp Renault engine was mounted in the rear of the superstructure.

A tail made up of a flat plate supported by a number of beams was attached to the rear.

A lower hull section continued forward from the superstructure to the front of the tracks. The top of this section was actually a split hatch that could open up to the sides, and the front panel of the superstructure could be raised up to almost totally open up the driver's position.

The tracks had a large front idler wheel at the front, leaf spring suspension, and vertical coils to provide tension for the upper track run.

The road wheels were carried below a support beam that was attached to a hull bracket near the front of the tank with suspension provided by a coiled spring and that pivoted at the rear. The road wheels were mounted on four bogies (one carrying three road wheels and three carrying two wheels) attached to the support beam and with suspension provided one leaf spring for each pair of bogies.

The return run of the track was supported by an upper beam that pivoted at the rear and supported on a 280mm spring at the front. It had four return rollers.

The steel rear drive wheel was smaller than the idler wheel, and as a result the return run of the track sloped down from front to back. The large idler wheel was made of wood with seven steel spokes and a 12mm thick steel rim.

The FT carried a crew of two, with the commander/ gunner/ loader in the turret and the driver in the front of the superstructure, just below the turret, with his legs and the controls extending into the lower nose.

Steering was done by declutching one or the other tracks and applying the brakes on that side.

Production

The FT was ordered into production in December 1916, when 100 tanks were ordered. This was increased to 150 tanks in February 1917, as the prototype was undergoing factory test, to 1,000 in April 1917 and to 3,500 in June 1917. By October 1918 a total of 7,820 tanks had been ordered, and production had been split between Renault, Berliet, SOMUA and Delaunay-Belleville, with much of the armour built in France.

By the end of the First World War 3,532 FT tanks had been built and 3,177 accepted by the Ministry of Armament. Renault had built 1,850, Berliet 800, SOMUA 600 and Delaunay-Belleville only 280. Renault built another 570 after the end of the First World War, although many of these tanks were exported.

The FT was produced in machine gun, gun and wireless versions.

The Americans also planned to put the FT into production in the United States, as the Six-Ton Tank M1917. Work on this project was slow, with delays in France and in the United States. Production finally got underway in October 1918. Only 64 tanks were completed before the Armistice, and the first two finally reached the AEF at Bourg on 20 November 1918. The type finally entered mass production after the end of the war. Eventually 952 of the 4,400 tanks that had been ordered were completed. Of these 374 were armed with US 37mm guns, 526 with machine guns and 50 were radio tanks. The M1917 was the main US light tank until 1931.

Variants

The standard FT was armed with an 8mm air cooled gas operated belt operated Hotchkiss Model 1914 machine gun. Each belt carried 30 rounds, and they could be linked to increase the rate of fire. 4,980 rounds were carried in 166 belts.

Some sources differentiate between the FT-17, with the octagonal turret and the FT-18 with the cast turret, or between the FT-17 with machine guns and FT-18 with 37mm gun, but this isn’t supported by wartime records, which only refer to the Renault F.T.

The Char-canon FT was armed with a 37mm SA 18 L/21 Puteaux gun carried in both the angled-riveted turret and the cast turret. 1,830 were ordered. Gun armed machines normally carried 200 HE fragmentation rounds, 25 armour piercing rounds and 12 canister rounds to be used for short range defence.

The Char-canon, Renault BS (or Char FT 75 BS), carried a short-barrelled 75mm gun in a seven sided riveted turret. A turret bustle had to be added to allow for gun recoil, and the escape hatch moved to the left. Only 30 rounds could be carried. 970 were ordered, but none were completed before the end of the First World War. A handful were completed after the war, and some were used against the Allies during Operation Torch.

The Char Renault TSF was a command tank, which had the turret replaced by a box like superstructure, with a radio mast on top. The TSF carried a crew of three - driver, radio operator and observer. The TSF was used in some numbers between the wars.

First World War Combat

The FT was used to equip nine tank regiments (Nos.501 to 509) each with three battalions. Each battalion had three tank companies. At full strength each company had one 37mm armed HQ tank, three platoons of five tanks, a reserve of five tanks and a recovery platoon with three tanks, for a total of 24 tanks each. Another three tanks were kept as a battalion reserve, giving each battalion a full authorised strength of 75 tanks (rarely achieved once the units had been committed to combat).

The Renault FT was used as an infantry support weapon, taking on German machine gun positions and flattening barbed wire. They were available in much larger numbers than the heavier tanks.

The FT made its combat debut with the 501st Tank Regiment (supporting General Mangin's 10th Army) on 31 May 1918, during the final German offensives of the war. The 501st fought in the Foret de Retz, south-west of Soissons, during the German advance on Paris. All three battalions were used, and they were committed in small batches to support counterattacks being launched by Moroccan troops. The FT had a successful debut, and proved to be flexible enough for use in the forest, where the larger assault tanks would have been unable to operate.

On 20 July 480 FTs smashed the German lines near Soissons, during the Aisne-Marne offensive, the great Allied counterattack that marked the end of the German offensives and the start of the Allied advance to victory. The tanks advanced four miles in a single day, but the breakthrough couldn't be exploited.

The French recorded 4,356 FT engagements between 31 May and 11 November 1918. 746 tanks were lost during this period, just under one in every six engagements, or 23.4% of the total accepted. 440 were totally destroyed, with 356 of these destroyed by field guns.

At the end of the war the French had 1,991 tanks in front line units and 386 in workshops, a total of 2,377.

During the First World War the FT was also used as the main equipment of US tank battalions on the Western Front. The British used a small number as command tanks, although these were normal tanks and not the TSF variant.

By 11 November 1918 3,187 FT tanks had been delivered. Of these 2,720 had been accepted by the French Army, 220 were being delivered, 514 had gone to the American Expeditionary Force and 16 exported to other countries.

Interwar Period

Production continued after the war, and eventually 4,517 were built. This included 40 Char Canon de 75S and 100 TSF radio tanks.

After the war a number were used in Italy from 1918-20, in the Soviet Union from 1919 to 1924, in Spain from 1920-40 and in Belgium, Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Sweden, Yugoslavia and the Netherlands.

The Poles formed their 1st Tank Regiment in France in 1919, where they were given training. Later in 1919 the unit moved its 120 tanks to Poland, where they played a part in the Polish victory in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920. Only seven FT tanks were lost during this conflict. The Poles later built the FT under licence (including 26 or 27 mild steel training vehicles), and also purchased six of the radio tank variant. The FT remained the most important tank in Polish service until the early 1930s when it was joined by the British Vickers E tank. Some FTs were still in use in September 1939.

In Italy the FT was developed into the Fiat 3000.

In Russia it was used by the White Russians, who inherited them from the Allies, and later by the Red Army, which captured them from the Whites.

By 1921 the French army still had 3,737 Renault FT tanks in service. This included 2,109 with 8mm machine guns, 1,246 with the 37mm SA gun, 39 with a short 75mm BS gun, 188 wireless tanks and 155 training vehicles.

A number of attempts were made to improve the basic design. In 1924-25 it was tried out with Citroën-Kégresse running gear and rubber band tracks, in an attempt to make it faster and quieter. One company used these tanks in operations against the Rifs in Morocco, but the tracks proved to be prone to coming off on rough ground, and repairs too took long.

In the mid 1920s Renault worked on a modified version of the FT, the Renault NC, which appeared in two versions (NC.1 and NC.2), but neither was ordered by the French Army. The NC was then further developed into the larger Char D1, which was produced in some numbers.

During the 1930s the remaining French machine gun tanks were re-armed with new Reibel 7.5mm model 31 machine guns. This used drum ammo instead of belts and was felt to be more practical for use in tanks.

At the end of 1934 3,499 were still available for service.

In March 1936, when German reoccupied the Rhineland, nine tank regiments, each with three battalions of 72 tanks, were still equipped with the Renault FT.

Second World War

On 1 September 1939 the French Army still had some 1,600 FTs in service. When used in the infantry support role each platoon was to have two cannon armed types and one machine gun armed type. By 1940 the short range, low speed and thin armour made them effectively useless in combat. In May 1940 a total of 480 were still in use with units attached directly to the field armies. They equipped eight battalions and three independent companies. In an acknowledgement of their obsolete nature, those battalions equipped with the FT had 63 tanks each, compared to 45 in units equipped with more modern tanks.

The Germans captured 1,704 FTs, of which around 500 were restored to working order, pressed into service, and used them for security purposes. Other tanks had their turrets removed and used as observation cupolas on the Atlantic Wall.

In September 1939 there were 163 Renault FTs overseas, 41 armed with the 7.5mm machine gun, 89 with the 37mm gun and 33 with the 75mm BS howitzer. 105 of these tanks were in North Africa and the rest were split between Syria and Indochina.

Vichy France was allowed to increase the number of FT tanks in North Africa to 320, mainly used to defend isolated posts, airfields or for coastal defence. Most of the extra tanks came from stockpiles already overseas. Another 45 were based in Syria and about twenty in French Indochina, the same as in September 1939.

Names

Stats
Production: 4,517
Hull Length: 13.25ft (excluding ditching tail)
Hull Width: 5.67ft
Height: 7ft
Crew: 2
Weight: 6.5 tons
Engine: 18hp Renault 4-cylinder gasoline engine (some sources say 35bhp)
Max Speed: 4.8mph road, 2.2mph cross-country
Max Range: 22 miles
Armament: 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun or 37mm gun in most First World War production
Armour: 6-22mm

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War


Renault FT-17

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/08/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Renault FT-17 series of light tank was an evolutionary design in the field of combat tanks that would go on to influence tanks for nearly a century. The FT-17 was designed from the outset to be of a lightweight classification which offered better mobility and road speed than its lumbering medium and heavy tank counterparts. The FT-17 brought into play two crucial design elements that are still utilized in tank design today - fully-rotating turret concentrating main armament (turrets appeared in both cast and welded forms) and an engine mounted to the rear of the hull.

The FT-17 came about, in part, through the persistence of French Army Colonel Jean-Baptiste Estienne. The idea of fielding light-class tanks in World War 1 was something of a "nonsense" theory with French authorities, the accepted doctrine being on use of the large and lumbering "landships" developed by the British as heavy tanks - roaming fortresses outfitted with cannon and machine gun. Regardless, the resulting Renault light tank design, the FT-17 of 1917, produced a two-man system mounting a then-potent 37mm cannon or one or two anti-infantry 7.62mm machine guns for self-defense. The FT-17, on the surface, was as much a unique military tank design as it was in reflecting the appearance of a child's life-size riding toy due to its compact form and utilitarian appearance.

Nevertheless, the FT-17 proved crucial to French offensives in the latter years of the war and this importance spread to the American Expeditionary Force who were handed both French and British tanks as their participation increased into 1918. The Americans even adopted the FT-17 as the M1917 6-Ton and outfitted it with American-minded systems for ease of logistics. The FT-17 series was fielded from the spring of 1917 onwards though the type would not see direct operational combat until the offensives of 1918.

The FT-17 proved a highly capable armored tracked combat system, so much so that it continued in an operational level into the post-war years. Beyond the French and American adoption, the FT-17 was also inducted into the inventories of the Italians and Russians and these went on to inspire localized forms to be developed - thusly influencing a long line of foreign tanks used throughout 1920 and into 1930. Other notable operators included Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Iran, Japan and Poland. Sadly for some host nations of the 1930s, the FT-17 (or its derivatives) was still an active part of their defense and offense during the time of the Spanish Civil War (1935-1939) and World War 2 (1939-1945).

Large production orders during and following World War 1 ensured the legacy of the system for decades since its inception. Final forms were retired in the late 1940s to which 3,694 examples were produced by then. One of the last major recorded uses of FT-17 tanks was in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War - a modern battlefield to feature a World War 1-era tank development.


Design and Production

This tank should not be judged with modern eyes. Tank on tank combat was not a consideration in the design of this vehicle. The Germans only produced 20 A7V heavy tanks during WW1.
These tanks were the solution to the problem of how do you cross ‘no-man’s land’ under rifle plus machine gun fire and breach the enemy’s front line of trenches. Most of the Renault FT tanks used in the war were only armed with machine guns.

A few were mounted with cannons to deal with fortified bunkers and machine gun positions. They worked with machine gun armed tanks who protected them from infantry attack.
Many books and websites state that the design of the Renault FT armored fighting vehicle was the first to use a turret that traversed 360 degrees. That statement is not true. Before the war and during the early part of the war, turrets were used on armored cars. The Renault FT was the first tank with a turret that traversed 360 degrees to see action on the battlefield.

The tank was operated by a two man crew. The driver sat in the front of the tank in the middle and the commander operated the turret and gun. The turret was unpowered, and had no mechanism to move it, besides handles. The commander had too much to do. He had to look out for enemy targets and dangers, load the gun, traverse the turret, fire the machine gun and give directions to the driver. He also had to read the map and co-ordinate with other tanks and infantry units. The tanks were not fitted with radios, so the commander had to use flags, hand signals and shout commands at other units.

The tank had a number of good design features that were advanced for the time. The front armor plate that protected the driver was slopped. The armor was thin, but slopping increased the thickness of metal any enemy bullet had to pass through before it penetrated the interior of the tank. The angle of the armor also helped deflect incoming enemy bullets. The tank tracks were comparatively wide for the time and this helped enable the tank to cross muddy ground.


Design

The R35 bears a strong resemblance to its rival, the Hotchkiss H35. They shared the same APX turret, the three-module hull construction and placement for the driver and engine. However, their dimensions differed, as well as the placement of the hull casemate, placed further to the rear for the Renault and, most obviously, the drivetrain.
The hull, as stated above, was made of three main prefabricated cast sections bolted together, while on the H35 these were welded. This helped improve production times. Everything else was welded-on. Maximum thickness on the glacis was 43 mm (1.69 in), and 40 to 30 (1.57-1.18 in) on the hull lower sides, rear and engine deck. The turret itself was made of hard cast iron, 30 mm (1.18 in) thick.
The running gear was based on the one used on the cavalry light tank AMR 35, with five double roadwheels encased in two sets of bogies and another single one at the front. All three were suspended by massive horizontal coil springs, with characteristic rubber ringlets. The drive sprocket was at the front and idler at the rear. The tracks reposed on three rubberized return rollers.
Repartition in the hull was for a crew of two. The driver position was offset to the left and the commander/gunner was in the turret behind. The final drive and differentials were in the hull nose. The driver had a Cletrac differential with five gears and steering brakes at his disposal. He had two hatches and one periscope for vision. The Renault V-4 85 hp engine was at the right rear, with a self-sealing 166 liter gasoline tank on its left. On final production tests, practical top speed was measured as 20 km/h (12.4 mph), which could fall to 14 km/h (8.7 mph) on soft or bumpy terrain. Fuel consumption was 212 liters/100 km off-road, but that was not a problem since it was believed 50 km (31 mi) was more than sufficient for a real breakthrough on a static front.
The turret received a dome-like rotatable cupola with vertical vision slits. It was free running on a ball track ring, either traversed by the weight of the commander or cranked more precisely for aiming. The commander normally stood on the tank floor. As customary in French practice, the turret had a rear hatch that could be hinged down, allowing the commander to sit on it, legs inside, for external observation. The early turret model was the APX-R, equipped with a L713 sight, mounting the short barrel 37 mm (1.46 in) Puteaux L/21 SA-18 and a coaxial 7.5 mm (0.29 in) Châtellerault fortress machine-gun. This main gun was effective only against concrete fortifications at relatively short range, as muzzle velocity was only 300 m/s (984 ft/s). At best only 12 mm (0.47 in) of armor could be defeated at less than 500 m (1640 ft). Once again, it was due to tactical limitations. It was never intended to deal with other tanks. Normal provision of ammo was 72 AP and 58 HE rounds plus 2400 cartridges.


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The advancement of tanks during the First World War was a response to the draw that had developed on the Western Front.

Prior to the war, which lasted for four years between July 28, 1914 and November 11, 1918, motorised vehicles were still relatively uncommon, and their use on the battlefield was initially restricted, especially with heavier vehicles.

This tank is ploughing its way through a trench and toward the German line near Saint Michel, France, 1918. The Royal Navy helped spearhead the development of the tank. There were two types of tanks, male and female versions. The male version had two quick firing 6-pounder naval guns attached while the female carried five machine guns

Infantry passing one of the new armoured cars on their way to the front line (1918), above. Plans for a vehicle that could overcome the arduous terrain had been considered during the early days of the war, but none had come to fruition. It was left to Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to establish the Landships Committee in 1915, to tackle the stalemate

Tanks showing some of their abilities during King George V's visit to the Army's headquarters in France, in 1918. Stunning images illustrate the dynamic realities of the First World War, including British tanks seen crossing the trenches in Flanders, Belgium, and a long queue of soldiers lining behind a tank

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On August 23, 1914, the French Colonel Jean Baptiste Eugene Estienne, who created the French tank arm, declared 'the victory will belong, in this war, to the one of the two belligerents who will be the first to succeed in mounting a 75-millimetre gun on a vehicle capable of moving in all types of terrain'.

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Renault FT Light Tank (France) - History

This germans FT-31 was recaptured by Allied forces in France.

Some FT-31 tanks was used by germans units for training purposes.

Germas FT-18 tank was used by germans unit for patrolling in rear area.

Germas FT-17 tank was used by germans unit for patrolling in rear area.

Germans captured FT-31 tank probably have a late war Dunkel gelb painting.

This germans FT-17 tank was captured by RKKA unit.

Germans FT-31 tank used for rear area defence. Luck town, Wolhynien area,Ukraine, Soviet Union, 1943.And T-38 and ADGZ tank pictures (pic 1, pic 2) from the same unit.


Renault FT-17 WWI light tank.. This was the first real armored WWI Tank and was used by many countries all the way into WWII. Comes in THREE versions. two sizes plus a BW for wargammers. Reduce to any scale. Also included is a cardmodel diorama ruins.

The Early WWI Renault F-17 Light Tank

In July 1916, after much hesitation, the French motor-car manufacturer Louis Renault yielded to General Estienne's pressing demands and it was not long before the first Renault light tank was put to the test of battle. Its success in standing up to competition from other French and British tanks is demonstrated by the fact that vehicles of the same type with only a few minor improvements saw action in North Africa in 1942.

It could be equipped with cannon or machine gun but its decisive advantage was its light weight -about 7 tons- this meant that it could be loaded on a truck and dispatched to the front ready for action. When the Renault FT 17 was subsequently equipped with a 37 -mm gun, a periscope was also fitted, This gave the crew-the commander, who doubled as gunner, and the driver-an enormous advantage over the blind crew of heavier tanks.

What People Say:
Gentlemen. Thank you for the Renault 17 Tank. It had interesting pictures and text. I understand that Finland bought the type about 1919. It is exhibited at the Finnish Armour Museum at Parola (Tank Museum).

Congratulations for a wonderful job. Sincerely yours John-Bjarne 1/11

WWI Renault F-17 Tank

In July 1916, after much hesitation, the French motor-car manufacturer Louis Renault yielded to General Estienne's pressing demands and it was not long before the first Renault light tank was put to the test of battle. Its success in standing up to competition from other French and British tanks is demonstrated by the fact that vehicles of the same type with only a few minor improvements saw action in North Africa in 1942.

It could be equipped at will with cannon or machine gun and its decisive advantage was its light weight-about 7 tons. This meant that it could be loaded on a truck and dispatched to the front ready for action. When the Renault FT 17 was subsequently equipped with a 37-mm gun, a periscope was also fitted. This gave the crew-the commander, who doubled as gunner, and the driver-an enormous advantage over the blind crew of heavier tanks.

First employed in very small numbers, the Renault was amazingly successful towards the end of the war. In July 1918 a massive assault in which 480 Renaults were thrown into the fray cut a hole about four miles deep in the German defenses. This breakthrough, which had not been prepared by an artillery barrage, was not transformed into a decisive victory because the only reserves that could be thrown into the breach were the French cavalry, an arm that had long been given up as useless by both sides.


Light Tank,
Renault FT 17
(France)

_________________
Overall Length: 11.48ft
Width: 5.61ft
Height:6.99ft
+++++++++
Accommodation: 2
Weight: 7.3 Tons
++++++++++
Armament:
1 x 37mm main gun
1 OR 2 x 7.62mm machine guns (one rear-facing)
+++++++++++
AMMUNITION:
238 x 37mm projectiles
4,200 x 7.62mm ammunition
+++++++++++

Powerplant:
Engine(s): 1 x Renault liquid-
cooled 4-cylinder gasoline
engine generating 35hp
Fuel Capacity :27.6 U.S. gal.
+++++++++++++
Performance:
Maximum Speed: 5 mph
Maximum Range: 22 miles
Number Built:
1,560 of all types 1918


(left), 1905 Steam tractor (right) 1902 Armored Car


The diminutive FT-17 (left) first entered combat on May 31, 1918, at Foret de Retz, south-west of Soissons, and aided the 10th Army in slowing the German drive on Paris.

The two tanks on top of each other are FIAT's. FIAT built them under license as the FIAT 3000. On the left you can clearly see: 'R.E'. Short for: Regia Esercito. (Royal Army) One wonders why these tanks are parked like this.. Perhaps it was an eye catching display or maybe a unique way to 'clamp' an illegal parker.


Richard holding the small version Renault FT-17 and showing his Mark-IV


Richard Dery, Torrington, CT..is crazy nutz for tanks and is well on his way creating an outstanding Fiddlersgreen WWI Tank Collection. The ruined wall in this photo is included with the Renault FT-17 WWI tank
A carefully created diorama is as good as it gets!


The Germans captured and recycled the Renault FT-17


You can see the small scale of the Renault WWI Light tank. The FT-17's small size increased its value as it was capable of traversing terrain, such as forests, that other heavy tanks were incapable of negotiating.


This is the most common camo FT-17 version


Side view of the FT-17 light tank


Two rear views of the US FT-17


Above are photos of wrecked FT-17s gleaned from the internet. (right) Chip and Sister Emmy (1943) in snazzy Easter outfits looking over what the Easter Bunny left.

And finally, the Curious (and kinda scary) WWI Tank Crew's Splatter Mask .

(left) To counter the fumes inside and the danger of bullet splash or fragments and rivets
knocked off the inside of the hull, the crew wore helmets with goggles and chainmail masks. Gas masks were also standard issue, as they were to all soldiers at this point in the war. There was also the danger of being overrun by infantry and attacked with grenades.

(right) You see a German A7V tank crew showing off their leather helmets and outer wear of heavy leather.



Cast zinc toy of the Renault FT-17 Tank-

The “best-seller”, Renault’s miracle

The famous FT (a factory serial designation without meaning), was born from Renault’s ideas for mass-production, General Estienne own concept of the “mosquito” tank fleets, and the inspired pen of Renault’s chief engineer, Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier. It was really a breakthrough, an historical landmark. The vehicle was small, but not cramped (at least for the size of an average Frenchman, recruited largely from the peasantry). It was organized in a new way, now mainstream: The driver at the front, engine at the rear, long tracks and a central revolving turret housing the main armament.

Light, relatively fast, easy and cheap to built, declined in gun and MG armed versions, it was turned into the thousands in 1917-18, widely exported and produced under licence for years. It was the first American tank, first Russian, first Japanese, and first of many other nations after the war. The Italian FIAT 3000 was largely inspired by this model.


Countermeasures

The FT-17 Light Tank, simply called the Light Tank, is featured in Battlefield 1. Gameplay of the vehicle first appeared at the official reveal event of the game. Ώ] It also appears in the gameplay trailer, along with an A7V. The loadout resembling the FT-75 BS appeared later in the "Battlefield 1 Gameplay Series: Vehicles" trailer.

Singleplayer [ edit | edit source ]

Several FT-17s are seen in the War Story Through Mud and Blood as enemy vehicles. One FT-17 can be commandeered by Daniel Edwards in the second mission, Fog of War, for a short time taking over the vehicle before the driver is able to enter it. German Beutepanzer FTs have unique, white-red-yellow-blue dazzle camouflage, unavailable in multiplayer.

The FT-17 also appears in the War Story Nothing Is Written. One FT-17 can be used in Hidden in Plain Sight, staying near a tent far from the derailed train. The tank can be captured by eliminating the driver who is near it. Two FT-17s appear in Young Men's Work. They are seen in the ancient ruins and also can be captured. Ottoman FTs have a dark brown/light brown/dark green desert camouflage scheme, identical to the St Chamond's default desert camo.

Multiplayer [ edit | edit source ]

The FT-17 is designated as a Light Tank in-game and is operated by one Tanker. The tank offers good maneuverability, and a rounded tailpiece to aid in crossing trenches. It features three Vehicle Packages: Close Support, Flanker, and Howitzer.

On European maps, the vehicle has a green default camouflage. On Middle Eastern maps, the vehicle has a desert yellow default camouflage.


The Free French

Not all officers stayed faithful to the new government headed by Petain when the latter decided to surrender. One of these was Charles de Gaulle. The object of this part is not to make a complete biography, related his political career or (rocky) relations with the allies, but describing the chief of the Free French and the mechanized forces nehind and their actions. Before the war de Gaulle was known as a tank theorician, he was the only officer to see the uselfuless of combined-arms tactics centered around large tank units, and a smaller but much more professional (and fully mechanized) army in “vers l’armée de métier” (‘Toward a Professional Army’) in 1934. He stressed on an élite force of 100,000 men and 3,000 tanks, better integration with aviation and total autonomy from the infantry.

His views on tank concentrations and autonomy slowly percolated in the high command (not without resistance), enough to led to the constitution in 1940 of the DLM (Division Légere Mécanisée), which was closing to, but still not equivalent, to a Panzerdivision. DLM stands for “Divisions Légères Mécaniques” or Mechanised Light Divisions. Equipped with heavier tanks was established the DCR or Division Cruirassée (Armoured division). Basically the DLM was the armored reconnaissance equivalent to a DCR. To this were added a few CFM or “Corps-francs Motorisés”, or motorized “Freikorps” enjoying greater autonomy and flexibility. De Gaulle wrote also in 1938 “La France et son Armée” (France and Her Army) but at that stage, he had attracted sympathy from the new left-wing Popular Front government, especially President Paul Reynaud and befriended with the minister of war Édouard Daladier, but defnitively alienated Pétain and most of the general staff. Despite his books has been read in France but also Germany, he was never promoted Colonel at that stage as his intensive lobbying as a lecturer and political support were disapproved.

De Gaulle’s armored successes

In September 1939 De Gaulle was in command of the five Fifth Army’s battalions equipped with R35 and advanced well during the Saar offensive, only to be ordered back by Gamelin like the rest of the army. In May he was given command of the 4th Armoured Division (DCR), activated on 12 May, two days after the Germans launched their Ardennes offensive. The situation deteriorated fast, and he was ordered to gain time of General Robert Touchon’s Sixth Army to redeploy from the maginot line, with free hands to apply his ideas. He attacked in force at Montcornet, a key road junction near Laon but the German flank was well protected and lost 23 of his 90 vehicles to mines, anti-tank weapons and Stukas.

He attacked again on 19 May, reinforced with a total of 150 tanks, only to be rebuffed again by German Stukas and artillery. He however achieved one of the rare successes of the campaign, forcing the German infantry to retreat to Caumont, with heavy losses. He asked two more divisions from Touchon to reiterate his attack, which were denied. However his efforts were recoignised and he was promoted as Brigadier-General, a grade he will keep until the rest of his life. His last action occured on 28–29 May, when he attacked the German bridgehead south of the Somme at Abbeville, taking around 400 German prisoners, in order to create a corridor for allied escaping forces to Dunkirk. But this was a futile effort at that point.

France’s fall

On 5 June, De Gaulle became a government minister, Under-Secretary of State for National Defence and War, by PM Paul Reynaud. He was in particular in charge of coordination with the British, helped by Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel as translator and aide de camp. His views of continuing the fight notably from the colonies were met with frank scepticism notably by Weygand and the general staff. On 9 June he met for the first PM Winston Churchill and confered on an effort to move one million men to North Africa and tried to covince him to implicate more the RAF in the fight. He was also advocating the creation of a “redoubt” in Brittany.

He also latter asked De Lattre to defend Paris to the last man, whereas it was soon declared an open city instead. On 13 June at Tours an Anglo-French conference seems to lean towards France seeking an armistice, but with the Fleet in balance. After making plans again for a potential evacuation to North Africa and a meeting with Darlan (CiC of the French Navy), on 16 June he was in london, 10 Downing street, talking with Jean Monnet’s proposition for an Anglo-French political union which would have prevented any capitulation. This was freshly greeted in France by Reynaud, learning later the cabinet rejected the proposition. Soon Pétain became the new PM and requested an Armistice.

Exile in london

The path to build a Free French Army was long and rocky at best. After (reluctantly) fleeing to London, which was seen later as a treason by Vichy, the first (symbolic) act was a declaration at the BBC on 18 june to continue the fight. It was just one day after Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech and after Pétain’s broadcast to cease fighting. It was seldom heard in France, whereas a very few of those evacuees from Dunkirk and Norway choose to stay. Instead the immense majority decided to return in France to become PoW. De Gaulle met also little success from the French Empire. After faling to establish contact with North Africa, Churchill and the British Government recognised de Gaulle as leader of the Free French on 28 June, whereas the legitimacy of the Vichy Govt. and armistice was denounced whereas Pétain’s Govt. was recoignsed by both the US and USSR. At that time, De Gaulle’s ‘Free French’ consisted in three colonels, a dozen captains, and three battalions of legionnaires, and later Admiral Muselier. As joining london was seen and condemned as a desertion by Vichy, only a dozen pilots made it to England and later 3,600 sailors operating 50 ships.
The small Islands of New Hebrides were the only territory of the Empire also to join him. De Gaulle little successes were even jeopardized completely after hearing the news of the attack on Mers El Kebir on 3 July, as he put it “this was in our hopes, a formidable axe blow”. However later he would declare “Our two ancient nations… remain bound to one another. They will either go down both together or both together they will win”.

Constitution of the Free French Forces

The next step, building the Free French Force would take three years. He made 4 Carlton Gardens in central London his provisional HQ and by 7 August 1940, Britain agreed to fund the Free French, with the bill settled after the war. His first success in the empire was the rally of General Georges Catroux, Governor of French Indo-China. On September 1941 de Gaulle formed the Free French National Council, attracting by then a lot of resistants, crossing the channel, from a broad political spectrum. After July 1942, the Free French were separated into the “exterior forces” or FFF and the “interior resistance” called the FFI, coordination was led by French and British special operatives. In April 1941 his little force received the support of 550 volunteers from French Pacific Islands, notably Tahiti. They would be grizzly veterans in 1945, having fought through the North African campaign, Italy, Provence and Alsace. They were also joined by 5,000 non-French Europeans, mainly from the Foreign Legion. His young army first action was at the ill-fated Anglo French attack of Dakar (Operation Menace) in September, but he failed to rally the colony, but met more success in Gabon in November. That was the start of General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque (“Leclerc”) successes.

Leclerc’s North African campaign


Free French 271th CCC’s R35s in Gabon

Leclerc, a veteran from Norway and already a succesful commander joined De Gaull early on and adopted his pseudonym to avoid risking retaliation to his family back home. He was ordered by De Gaulle to launch an operation against Vichy-held Gabon and rally it by force, hoping other parts of the Empire would join later. It was prepared from August 1940 in French Equatorial Africa, where local leaders were already acquired to Free France, like the the governor of French Cameroon. Leclerc had under him the 13e DBLE and Senegalese Tirailleurs. The Battle of Gabon lasted from 12 October to 12 November 1940. Helped with the Royal Navy, the strategic location of Port-Gentil on the coast was secured. It ended with the fall of Libreville under the hands of Leclerc’s subordonate, Marie Pierre Koenig, despite a strong resistance from Vichy troops. Vichy prisoners were held as hostages in case Vichy France tried to retaliate against the families of Free Frenchmen.

Next, Leclerc targeted the Sahara Desert border with Italian-controlled Libya and its two outposts, Murzuk and Kufra. There were 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to cross from the base at Fort Lamy, Chad. Murzuk was raided by eleven men of the Régiment de Tirailleurs Sénégalais du Tchad and two of the British Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) in January 1941, but in February, he led a large operation against Kufra, which housed a full Italian garrion. In the past, this has been an important trade and travel centre for the Berbers and Senussi. Since 1931 it was incorporated in the defense system of Libya and comprised a garrison with artillery and vehicles, the Buma airfield and a radio station. D’Ornano which directed the succesful attack on Murzuk died in action, so his motly force was led by Koenig on Kufra. It had at its disposal 5,000 Senegalese tirailleurs from Chad, from twenty companies and three detachments of méhariste (camel cavalry).

His force comprised 400 men in sixty trucks, two Laffly S15 TOE scout cars, four Laffly S15R and two 75 mm (2.95 in) mountain guns. The Italians could count on a network of barb wire, trenches and machin gun posts around El Tag fort, plus light AA guns. The Regio Esercito garrison comprised the 59th and 60th MG companies, 280 askari and the motorized Compagnia Sahariana di Cufra with SPA AS37 vehicles, 120-men strong. Kufra was an oasis which represented the whole area, with the fort and village. Koenig directed the LRDG to take care of the Saharan company, and they purposedly launched a radio message, intercepted by the Italians which depatched one AS37 and four FIAT 634 lorries to intercept the convoy, 30 men in 11 trucks. Both forces spotted each others on 31 January, off Bishara (130 km (81 mi) south-south-west of Kufra. The engagement was a disaster and Major Clayton was made prisoner. Plans of Koenig’s attack on Kufra were also captured. This did not prevented Koenig to resume his advance, and reorganized his forces on 16 February, abandoned his two armoured cars, only keeping one field gun. They later fell on a second Italian column of seventy men, ten AS37 and five trucks, and won, not without loosing many trucks to the Italian AS.37 autocannons.

Only 350 men reached Kufra, the remainder on foot due to trucks breakdowns, well behind. On placen, Koenig moved its gun on a circle 3,000 m (3 km 2 mi) around the fort reinforced by mortars to give the impression of several artillery pieces, and after a few days of pressure, this was enough for the inexperienced reserve captain who surrendered on 1 March 1941. Casualties has been relatively light on both sides, and the French took possession of eight SPA AS.37 Autocarro Sahariano light trucks, six lorries, four 20 mm cannon and 53 machine-guns. After the battle, he had his men swear an oath known today as the Serment de Koufra (“Oath of Kufra”) to not stop until the flag floated on Strasbourg’s Cathedral. The unit was renamed later Free French Orient Brigade, took part to East African Campaign, the capture of Karthum, the Battle of Keren, the Syria-Lebanon campaign, and as the 1st Light Free French Division fought Vichy French troops through Homs, Aleppo, Beirut and arrived at Cairo to be dissolved. Next stop was the Battle of Bir Hakeim.

The turning point of Bir Hakeim

Another FF officer soon earned for the Free French international recoignition in the battle of Bir Hakeim, a staunch defense of an old Turkish desert fort, osasis and strongpoint which lasted from 26 May-11 June 1942, against at first by Ariete Division in the first phase of the Gazala battle, and in a second phase against elements of the Trieste division and German 90th Light Infantry Division. The defence was assumed by the 1st Free French Division of brigadier general Pierre Kœnig. On the strategic level it was on the hinge of the British defense peritimer, in the deep south. When the British forces retreated, Bir Hakeim allowed to deny the axis a turning move which had conducted them to probably quickly surround the allies. The resistance led Rommel do direct personally the operations.


Free French Universal Carrier

Koenig had at is disposal a fighting strength of 3,000 men, a rear echelon of about 600 men, mortars, a few artillery pieces and AT rifles, no tanks but sixty-three Bren Gun Carriers divided into three squadrons. The first attack waves comprised M13/40s tanks of the 8th Reggimento bersaglieri and 132nd Artillery Regiment, but they failed to cross minefields and were greeted with an intense fire of AT guns, mortars, and field artillery (75 mm) in straight trajectories. The Ariete Division was reduced to only 33 tanks in 45 minutes, and the remainder was lost in another attack which conducted Rommel, more successful in the north to completely surround the French and ordering a new attack by the Trieste Division supported by the 15th Panzerdivision, with constant artillery pounding and Stuka attacks. He was ultimately successful, forcing the defenders to withdrawn by night through minefields and axis positions to allied lines. This was a strategic defeat, but Bir hakeim was a pyrrhic victory for the axis, and allowed the allies to safely regroup and prepare the defence of El Alamein. The Free French feat earned universal applaud and the admiration of Rommel himself. Later as the 1st Motorized Infantry Division, Koenig’s unit took part in the Tunisian campaign and was integrated with the armée d’Afrique and became in Italy the 1st Marching Infantry Division.


Free French soldiers of the colonial artillery. The force under Koenig was a highly mixed one, with foreign legionnaires, marine troops from the Pacific, Alpine troops, Palestine Jews, Republican Spanish, and from all corners of the Empire.

About the 2nd DB (2nd armored division)


Free French Crusader Mark III in Tunisia

Illustrations


The Renault NC1 prototype in 1926.

Renault NC1 in Polish service, in 1939. Contrary to some publications stating that 24 of these NC1/NC27 were purchased, only one was bought. This is a prospective view of a NC27 in standard Polish camouflage in September 1939, as there are no photo records of this model. The Polish army counted also 5 Kegresse-type NC2s. In Polish nomenclature, they were classified as “Renault FTs”. Fate unknown.

A Renault NC2 Kegresse, one of the ten or more which were given to the Yugoslavian Royal Army. They desperately fought the Wehrmacht during the Balkan campaign, in March-April 1941. They were very similar to the nine FT Kégresse already bought in 1928.


AMC 34, early model with the 1917 cast Berliet turret.

AMC 34 with the definitive APX-1 turret, Chasseurs d’Afrique, Morocco, 1940.

What-if Belgian AMC 34 with the APX-2 turret and 25 mm (1 in) gun, later replaced by Belgian 47 mm (1.85 in) guns.


Renault AMC 35, 11e Groupement de Cavalerie, Loire region, June 1940.

An AMC 35 from the hastily equipped CFM (Corps Francs Motorisés) which fought a delaying action between the rivers Seine and Loire in June 1940. In all, five CFMs of seven tanks each were formed, but only two were ready in time to operate effectively.

Belgian Char Moyen de Combat Renault ACG1 Mod. 1935, one of the 10 delivered until January 1940 (of the 25 originally ordered). It fought at Antwerpen (Antwerp).

PzKpfw AMC 738 (b) of a training unit. It was deemed so unreliable that it is unclear if any of these were really put in action against the “maquisards” and partisans, although a unit of AMC 738(f) has existed in Wehrmacht service.


Prototype, with the early type turret, Champagne maneuvers, autumn 1933.

AMR 33 from the 4th BCL, January 1939.

AMR 33 from the 3rd DLC, Ardennes sector, 11-12 May 1940.

AMR 33 from the 7th DLM, June 1940.


Regular AMR 35, equipped with the AVIS-1 turret (Batignolles-Châtillon) and the 7.5 mm (0.295 in) Reibel Châtellerault MAC31 machine gun. 87 built in all.

AMR 35 ZT-1 equipped with a heavy 13 mm (0.51 in) Hotchkiss machine gun with 1250 rounds. Fitted with the AVIS-2 turret, 80 built.

AMR 35 ZT-2 tank hunter. APX 5 turret (built at Atelier de Rueil) and 25 mm (0.98 in) SA35 L47.2 or L52 autocannon (78 armour piercing and HE rounds) with a secondary 7.5 mm (0.295 in) Reibel coaxial machine-gun. Only ten built, after production dragged on until 1940. They completed the intended RDPs batallion organic strength.

AMR 35 ZT-3 SPG tank hunter, with a 25 mm (0.98 in) SA34 L72. Ten were built at APX (Ateliers de Puteaux) until September 2, 1939.

A rare German battlefield conversion, 8cm Schwere Granatwerfer 34 auf Panzerspähwagen AMR(f) self-propelled heavy mortar.


Laffly S15 TOE in Syria, 1941.

The Laffly W15 TCC fully enclosed prototype on trials at Camp of Mailly in April 1940 and with the 1st DCR. Despite being successful, Generalissimo Pierre Gamelin refused the conversion, because of insufficient protection and other priorities. But, after the 17th of May, an order came for the delivery of 5 vehicles per day. Laffly never came near this figure, but delivered 60 vehicles, only partially protected due to the lack of time.

Series Laffly W15 TCC, May 1940. Some were also camouflaged with brown stripes.


The basic Panhard 165 of 1933, here with a wartime modification, the replacement of the 37 mm (1.46 in) Puteaux by a 25 mm (0.98 in) antitank gun.

A camouflaged Panhard 175 TOE of the 3rd BCA (Bataillon de Chasseurs d’Afrique) – Click for the HD version.

The closely derived Panhard 179, also with the 3rd BCA (Bataillon de Chasseurs d’Afrique)


Panhard 178, early production, 6th GRDI, 2nd Squadron, France, May 1940.

AMD 35, late production (4th prod. batch), 8th Cuirassiers, 2nd DLM, France, September 1939.

Vichy French Panhard AMD 35 ZT-2 in Vietnam, 1941.

Schienenpanzer, Eastern Front, 1942.

Panzerspähwagen P204(f) mit 5 cm KwK 38 L/42, Sicherungs-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 100, Southern France, 1943.

Panhard 178B/FL1, French Indo-China, 1947.
Sources : Trackstory n°2, www.minitracks.fr, GBM


White-Laffly AMD 50 in colonial service.

Laffly AMD 50 of an Algerian or Moroccan platoon.

Laffly 50AM in France with the 4th GDI, May 1940.


White-Laffly AMD 80.

Laffly-Vincennes of the Chasseurs d’Afrique in Tunisia, 1943.


Regular UE tankette, early type, unknown infantry unit, “Provence”. Normal paint was a dull bronze green.

UE modèle 1931, early supply tankette, “La Rodeuse” (Grinder), unknown infantry unit, northern front, May 1940. Captured by German troops.

Renault UE2, late production (modèle 1937). This vehicle was painted with a three-tone camouflage (from a June 1940 photo), a rare occurrence, as supply tanks were uniformly factory-painted dull bronze green. Additional colors seem to have been added afterwards.

Şeniletă Malaxa tipul UE, a licence built Romanian supply tankette. 126 were built, of over 400 ordered, at the Malaxa factory in Bucharest. Production started in late 1939 and stopped in March 1941, when AMX stopped sending supply parts. They were based on the UE2 design and fought with the Axis in antitank companies.

Renault UE1, armed prototype for the Chinese order (March 1936). A small boxy superstructure held a small ballmount machine gun model 1936 MAC 7.7 mm (0.3 in). A previous prototype, built in the fall of 1932, was rejected by the cavalry. Ultimately, the Chinese order motivated emergency production of derived models, as well as 200 modified tankettes with a small fixation for an external Hotchkiss machine gun. It is unknown how many of the MAC-Reibel type were delivered prior to June 1940.

Ten armed UE (with a 7.7 mm/0.3 in MAC) were built and all were confiscated while en route for delivery by the Vichy French Indochinese authorities, under Japanese pressure. Apparently delivered in the fall of 1940.

Gepanzerte-MG-Träger Renault UE(f), early version, Yugoslavia, April 1941.

UE-Schlepper 630(f), Greece, April 1941. This configuration was the mainstay of all versions used by the Wehrmacht, in the very same duty. In practice, they towed the standard-issue PaK 36, but also the 50 mm (1.97 in) PaK 38, 75 mm (2.95 in) PaK 39/40/41 and 76.2 mm (3 in) PaK 36(r) anti-tank guns.

UE-Schlepper 630(f), towing a standard-issue PaK 36 infantry gun, mostly used by antitank detachments (Panzerjägerabt). Ammunition was housed by the large storage case behind the crew compartment.

Selbstfahrlafette für 3.7 cm Pak36 auf Renault UE(f), early conversion, with the gun just held in place by a dedicated framework. 700 vehicles built. Most were sent on the Russian front, few survived until 1944. Their thin armor was an issue.

Selbstfahrlafette für 3.7 cm Pak 36 auf Renault UE(f), second and final conversion. Most of the Panzerjäger companies raised in May-June 1941 were equipped with these UEs converted as tank-hunter SPGs, equipped with a fixed standard PaK 36. This prolific gun, the infamous “door-knocker”, was still efficient against most of the Russian tanks, like the BT series or T-26.
125th Panzerjägerabt, attached to the 125th Infantry Division, Russia, March 1942.

Mannschaftstransportwagen Renault UE(f), an infantry transport conversion. The bin was converted as a two men bench, while two other could sit on the large front mudguards and glacis. Unknown unit, Crimea, August 1942.

Gepanzerte MG Träger Renault UE(f) of a Luftwaffe Unit, converted version with a MG 34 machine gun and bigger gunner compartment.

Kleiner Funk-und Beobachtungspanzer auf Infanterie-Schlepper UE(f), one of the fifty modified by the Beck-Baukommando as command vehicles, later affected to the (new) 21st Panzer Division. France, Normandy, June 1944. None of these UEs were ever registered in African units.

Italian Renault UE, Sicily, July 1943. The Germans sent about 64 UEs Chenillettes at the end of 1943. Most were kept in Italy and many based in Sicily as infantry ammunition suppliers when Operation Husky began in July 1943. Some were captured and served with US infantry for some time during the campaign. There is no known photo of a US captured Renault UE tankette or in Italian service. This illustration is purely the illustrator’s recreation.

Sicherungsfahrzeug UE(f) from the regular security patrols of Luftwaffe airfields in recently taken or hostile territories, or bases against resistance and partisan raids. Others UEs were used as aircraft and bomb tractors.

Selbstfahrlafette für 28/32 cm Wurfrahmen auf Infanterie-Schlepper UE(f) (heavy rocket launcher), early version, with frames on the sides, welded to the main body. They supported wooden launchers for the heavy 280 mm (11 in) rocket for infantry support. Russia, Kursk, August 1943.

Late Selbstfahrlafette für 28/32 cm Wurfrahmen auf Infanterie-Schlepper UE(f). Around fifty conversions as rockets launchers were performed over the UE basis, including an unknown quantity of late conversions with a four stack ramp mounted over the bin. Belgium, December 1944.


Citröen Kegresse P16 modele 28, shortly after delivery in 1929. Most had the peacetime uniform factory olive green livery.

Schneider Kegresse P16 m29, 18th Dragoons, 1st DLM, France, 1936.

Schneider Kegresse P16 m29 radio command version, 3rd GRDI, France, 1939.

Schneider Kegresse P16 modele 29 of the 1st GRDI, Northern France, May 1940.


FCM 36 from the 4th BCL, January 1939.

FCM 36 from the 503rd RCC, Meuse River sector, May 1940.

FCM 36 with a blended pattern, June 1940, Aisne Sector.

Pak 40 auf Panzerkampfwagen 737 FCM (f), XXIst Panzerdivision, Normandy, June 1944.


Renault NC28/NC2 in 1930, with the FT turret, test prototype without side skirts, showing the complicated suspension.

D1 pre-series in 1934, still using the provisional FT turret. These machines were later kept for training.

Tank #1032 during the tests of the Bernard tank transporter. Probably a unique early camouflage for trials in 1936. This particular livery was unveiled by P.Danjou for Minitracks.

A D1 during maneuvers at Camp de Sissonne in June 1936. This pattern is featured in the last photo on this column.

Char D1 with the regular “horizontal” pattern of 1937-38, Oran, Tunisia, 37 BCC, September 1939.

Renault D1 during the battle of France, 67 BCC, Souain sector, June 1940.

D1 of the French Free Forces in Tunisia, late 1942. These vehicles were striped of their antennae, and fought against Axis forces in eastern Tunisia, notably at the battle of Kasserine Pass.


Renault D2, early production (model 1935), testing a complex 8 tone pattern in 1937. This particular camouflage by unveiled by P.Danjou for Minitracks.

Renault D2, model 1935 (APX-1 turret), 3rd Company of the 19th BCC, May 1940.

D2 model 1938, with the APX-4 turret and long-barreled 47 mm (1.85 in), which improved its offensive capabilities, 19 BCC, May 1940.Sources and more : Trackstory n°9, www.minitracks.fr, GBM.


Watch the video: Renault FT Light Tank Development - Birth of the French Legend!