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The Renault FT-17 was a light tank originally designed by France in World War I. It was used extensively by several countries during World War II.

Description

The FT-17 had gasoline-powered Renault engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 8 km/h. The FT-17 also had a crew of two men and armament that consisted of a single 37 mm Puteaux L/21 gun or an 8 mm Hotchkiss machine gun.[1]

The Renault had a total weight of 6,500 kg and a total length of five meters including the rear tail piece. The Renault also had a leaf spring suspension system and a 4 speed forward, 1 speed reverse transmission system. It's maximum range however was only fifty-five kilometers at best rendering the FT-17 quite outdated by World War II.[2]The FT-17 provided up to sixteen millimeters of armor protection in the thickest area of the tank.

Variants

The first variant of the Renault FT series was the FT-CC which was a command vehicle fitted with extra communications equipment. The next variant was the FT-75 BS which sported the Schneider 75 mm howitzer as its main armament and served as a self-propelled gun. The last variant was the FT Modifie 31 which had a new 7.5 mm machine gun installed. 

History

FT-17-China

Several FT-17s in combat in China

The Renault FT-17 was first designed in 1916, and as such, it was used in large numbers towards the end of the First World War. What was revolutionary about the FT-17 was that it was the first tank to feature a fully rotating turret. After the war, the FT-17 was exported to numerous different countries and France itself maintained about eight tank battalions with the FT-17 to make a total of 1,300 FTs by 1940. After France had fallen, some were used by other countries, some were used by Vichy France in North Africa, many were scrapped for the German war effort, and others were used in actual combat and defensive positions by Germany. One of the other countries that used the FT-17 in World War II was Japan, who had been sold numerous units. Japan pushed these tanks into service as the FT-17 "Ko" and it saw service in Manchuria and as a trainer. It did not feature many modifications and thus had many of the same specifications.[3]

References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/france/tanks-light/ft-17.asp
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=225
  3. http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/FT.html


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