Launch of the FT Renault prototype tank

One month after presenting the wooden model of the FT 17 tank, Louis Renault himself performed the first trials in the prototype, watched by Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier, the designer.

To meet Louis Renault's demands for maximum lightness of all elements of the tank, the driver's seat back was reduced to a single strap. Louis Renault took the controls and began to climb a pile of wood chips in front of a workshop.

FT tank

FT tank

During the climb, he leaned back and the seat back - which was too fragile - broke, tipping Renault backward, while the tank continued its ascent before descending the other side. Getting out, Renault said to the engineer: "Well, my friend, you'll have to make me something more solid - make me a pivoting seat back using sheet steel." This anecdote reveals the empiricism behind the design of this tank, produced within a few months.


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Source : BNF