History, World War I

A French Renault FT-17 tank with an American crew

A French Renault FT-17 tank with an American crew

The Renault FT-17 is a historic French light tank that gained significant recognition during and after World War I. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Introduction: The Renault FT-17, often simply referred to as the FT, was designed and produced by the French company Renault. It became one of the most influential tank designs of the early 20th century.
  2. Design: The FT-17 was a revolutionary design for its time, featuring a fully rotating turret, a feature that greatly influenced tank design in the years to come. Its compact size, lightweight, and maneuverability set it apart from earlier, heavier tanks.
  3. Role in World War I: The Renault FT-17 made its combat debut during World War I in 1917. It played a crucial role on the Western Front, demonstrating the effectiveness of its design in both infantry support and reconnaissance missions.
  4. Post-War Use: After World War I, the FT-17 remained in service and saw action in various conflicts and wars, including the Russian Civil War, the Polish-Soviet War, and others. It was also used by several countries as part of their military arsenals.
  5. Influence on Tank Design: The Renault FT-17’s design elements, particularly the fully rotating turret, became standard features in subsequent tank designs. This influence is evident in many tanks produced during and after World War II.
  6. Variants: The FT-17 had several variants with different armaments and modifications, adapting to various roles such as command tanks, recovery vehicles, and flame-thrower tanks.
  7. Legacy: The Renault FT-17 is considered a classic in tank design history. Its impact on armored warfare and subsequent tank development is substantial, and it remains an iconic representation of early 20th-century tank technology.

The Renault FT-17 is celebrated for its innovative design and its role in shaping the evolution of tank warfare. It stands as a testament to the advancements made in armored vehicle technology during the early stages of tank development.

Photo: A French Renault tank with an American crew. Sgt. Edward White and Cpl. Edward J. Elliot. Military road near Cigarette Butt or Hill 274. Near Vauquois, Meuse, France.
Date: September 26, 1918.

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