Baptism of fire of the Renault FT tank

Baptism of fire of the Renault FT tank

On May 31, 1918, some thirty new Renault FT tanks were urgently deployed alongside the Moroccan division in order to hold the Rheims salient in the face of the German advance. The Renault FT defines the very type of modern battle tank: turret armament that pivots in all directions, a power unit located at the rear and overhanging tracks at the front.

About 3,700 FT tanks were produced in 18 months, most of them manufactured by Renault, but also by Berliet, Somua and Delaunay-Belleville. After the Great War, it was exported to many countries (Afghanistan, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, China, Japan and Iran) and 950 of them were built under license in the United States from October 1918 onwards under the name "6 Ton Tank" or "M1917 light tank".

The Renault FT remained in reduced service in the French army until the beginning of the Second World War. It was used in small numbers by the Wehrmacht after 1940 for law enforcement and training purposes.


Renault FT tanks in Reims