Renault tanks

Renault tanks

  • Renault FT 17 tank.

  • A column of camouflaged Renault FT17 tanks.

  • Group of Renault tanks mounted in line.

    THE PLAY Emile Camille Albert (1875)

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Title: Renault FT 17 tank.

Author :

Creation date : 1917

Date shown: 1917

Dimensions: Height 214 - Width 410

Technique and other indications: Low tonnage combat tank, model 1917; 7000 kg, 35 hp, 22 mm armor.

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emilie Cambier / Pascal Segrette

Picture reference: 08-520546 / 21374

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emilie Cambier / Pascal Segrette

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Title: A column of camouflaged Renault FT17 tanks.

Author :

Creation date : 1918

Date shown: 1918

Dimensions: Height 5.2 - Width 5.8

Technique and other indications: Gelatin silver bromide print.

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrettes website

Picture reference: 06-506123 / 24223.391

A column of camouflaged Renault FT17 tanks.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

To close

Title: Group of Renault tanks mounted in line.

Author : THE PLAY Emile Camille Albert (1875 -)

Creation date : 1918

Date shown: 1918

Dimensions: Height 17.4 - Width 22.8

Technique and other indications: Battle of Champagne, between September 25 and October 12, 1918. Gelatin-silver bromide test.

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

Picture reference: 08-501348 / 25395.1353

Group of Renault tanks mounted in line.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

Publication date: December 2009

Historical context

Renault FT tanks in the Great War

On September 15, 1916, the British used tanks for the first time in the Somme offensive. Designed as an autonomous weapon, their Mark I, very heavy (28 tons) and very slow, are sent as scouts to operate breakthroughs in enemy lines. Faced with their mixed results in military operations, the French general staff, in particular Colonel Estienne, rethought the tank: it must be able to accompany the movements of the infantry and, for that, be lighter, faster and available in larger numbers.

Renault took up the challenge, and in July 1917 the FT prototype was completed. Weighing 6-7 tons, much smaller, faster (it can go up to 8 km / h) and more mobile than its predecessors, it can be considered the first modern tank in history. Its mass production is also easier and less expensive: Renault factories built 10 in 1917 (hence “FT 17”) and 1,750 in 1918 (and nearly 3,000 in all with the collaboration of other manufacturers. ). For their part, the Germans do not believe in this weapon, which, moreover, they do not necessarily have the means to produce.

The first FTs were successfully engaged in Amiens on August 8, 1918, then in various Allied counter-offensives, including the Battle of Champagne in September-October 1918. The redesigned use of these modern tanks appears to be one of the factors of the final victory.

Image Analysis

The FT: technical details and scenario

Taken very closely, the cliché Renault FT 17 tank reflects the power of this steel machine, 4.1 meters long, 2.14 meters high, 1.73 meters wide, heavy at 7 tonnes and equipped with a 35 horsepower engine. Painted in khaki green tending to brown for more discretion, it is characterized by its 37 mm submachine guns, pointed towards the spectator, mounted on a turret capable of rotating 360 °. At the bottom of the craft we can read the number 3523.

A column of camouflaged Renault FT 17 tanks represents FT in action. Stopped in good order on a tree-lined dirt road, the machines provide the image with a powerful central vanishing line. In the foreground, branches that have served or will be used to camouflage the tanks, already painted (sometimes by painters) with brown spots to hide from the eyes of the enemy, especially during air attacks. The photo shows only four men: two mechanics (their costumes are not uniforms) busying themselves among the machines, a soldier whose helmet appears behind them on the right, and another soldier near the third tank in the line .

Renault tank group mounted in line is a photograph taken by Émile Le Play, born in 1875 and author of many pictures of battles of the Great War. It shows FT tanks stopped on a wide road lined with tall trees in the Champagne plain. Each one carries the symbol (trefoil or diamond, etc.) of the company to which he belongs. The line of machines, which seems to have left the frame on the left, traces a diagonal which strongly structures the image. In the foreground, the road, on which two men are discussing. In the background appear the vast open and flat fields characteristic of the region.

Interpretation

FT, a modern and decisive weapon

The FT images give the impression of a formidable weapon. In Renault FT 17 tank, the craft, compact and compact, seems ready for the fight and unstoppable. Symbol of a war where success depends on technical progress and on the country's ability to mobilize industry and technology to produce and invent, in the course of a conflict, new weapons responding to a situation (here, the impasses of the trench warfare, and the first tank experiments). What confirms A column of camouflaged Renault FT 17 tanks and Renault tank group mounted in line, where the machines, lined up in indeterminate number, suggest perfect organization and, above all, the idea that they will advance inexorably when they resume their progression. The image, probably published by the press, thereby fully fulfills its role as a propaganda tool: victory is on the way.

In fact, the Allied counter-offensive that began in the summer of 1918 confirmed this impression. The plains of Champagne allow FT to deploy their full potential. The war that had not been very mobile up to now is thus evolving towards a more rapid war of movement, foreshadowing of modern war.

A multifaceted modernity, symbolized and permitted by these tanks. On the one hand, a more technical war, where vehicles play an increasing role as do the mechanics responsible for keeping them running smoothly. On the other hand, a war where coordination between the arms becomes essential. Responding to the threat of enemy aviation, tanks are also the best way to accompany infantry in quicker and more decisive surprise attacks.

  • War of 14-18
  • Renault

Bibliography

Stéphane AUDOIN-ROUZEAU and Jean-Jacques BECKER (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Great War, 1914-1918, Paris, Bayard, 2004. François COCHET and Rémy PORTE (ed.), Dictionary of the Great War, Paris, Robert Laffont , 2008.Michel GOYA, The Chair and Steel: The Invention of Modern Warfare (1914-1918), Paris, Tallandier, 2004. Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

To cite this article

Alban SUMPF, "The Renault tanks"


Video: World of Tanks Renault FT