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Post Info TOPIC: Renault FT-17 in foreign service


Commander in Chief

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Renault FT-17 in foreign service
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Dear all,

my knowledge about French Renault FT-17 is still low, but maybe someone can help me to make it brighter.

I know that the French Renault FT-17 in its various versions was used by several armies during World War 1 and more after the war and also a long time.

As far as I know:
France
USA
Spain
Poland
Estonia
Czechoslovakia
Romania
Latvia
Russia
Finnland
Belgium
Brazil
China
Italy
Yugoslavia
Afghanistan
other armies/countries?

Now I am asking myself how can I differantiate betweenall of them, if no soldier (with uniform!) is standing beside? Are there visible differences? Any ideas anyone?

Regards
Chris

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Legend

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Hi chris, Japan had 13 according to this site..

http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/FT.html

Iran apparantlyaquired some in 1924
Britain also had a few unarmed ones during WW1

Cheers

-- Edited by Ironsides at 22:53, 2008-12-04

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Commander in Chief

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Germany had some as well; they acquired at least one in WW1, and many in WW2.

National and Unit markings painted on to the tanks is one way to tell them apart.

Some times the armament was changed and you may be able to use that if you can recognise different machine guns.

But from what I can see in photos, they did not change much, and there were no special modifications for a particular country.

Incidentally, Iran was called Persia, and shares a border with Afghanistan. That is my theory on how those FT tanks ended up in Afghanistan; a little cross-border arms dealing!

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Commander in Chief

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OK, .... the Japanese MG-version of the FT-17 looks different to the French MG. And they removed the part at the back.

What about otherr visible differences? Especially the armies which used it very much like Poland and Czechoslovakia?

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Legend

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On polish Ft17s..

http://www.geocities.com/pibwl/ft17.htm

Note small link tracks from 1926 which improved speed and lessened noise

American 6 tonner variation..

http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/m1917.html#M1917A1

French FT17s lots of photos

http://www.chars-francais.net/new/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=688&Itemid=36

Cheers

-- Edited by Ironsides at 23:40, 2008-12-04

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Commander in Chief

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@philthydirtyanimal: but is there any change in any army known? For example: tools or tool boxes at a special place? Or special markings?

@Ironsides: Thanks for posting the link. I have seen it before but I lost the link.

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Commander in Chief

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Elbavaro; no, not really. Nothing consistent.

With the exceptions that Ironsides has already said:

The American version (M1917 six-ton) of the Renault was quite a bit different. But is not a Renault. Similar; but not the same.

The Polish versions of the Renault that were built in Poland in Polish factories had smaller track links

http://www.geocities.com/pibwl/ft17_cws.jpg

(but that means they are not really Renaults, just a good copy)

And the 'Russki Reno' (Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin) is probably just a rebuilt Renault, maybe made out of parts from 2 or more Renaults

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7700258@N05/936714467/

except for where they fitted an extra gun in to the turret of an ordinary renault

http://www.hannants.co.uk/pics/RPM72206.jpg

Toolboxes and tools etc are always varied and modified by the crews. One of the Renaults in the museum in Kharkov (I think it is a Finnish tank) has a tool chest or locker in the track assembly

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/finland/FT17.jpg

but these could easily be removed or added.

A good look at the pages of this list, by Pierre Olivier, shows that really, they didn't change much at all. Just little things like the gun or the tool box.

http://the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_FT-17.pdf


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Commander in Chief

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Elbavaro; no, not really. Nothing consistent.

With the exceptions that Ironsides has already said:

The American version (M1917 six-ton) of the Renault was quite a bit different. But is not a Renault. Similar; but not the same.

The Polish versions of the Renault that were built in Poland in Polish factories had smaller track links

http://www.geocities.com/pibwl/ft17_cws.jpg

(but that means they are not really Renaults, just a good copy)

And the 'Russki Reno' (Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin) is probably just a rebuilt Renault, maybe made out of parts from 2 or more Renaults

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7700258@N05/936714467/

except for where they fitted an extra gun in to the turret of an ordinary renault

http://www.hannants.co.uk/pics/RPM72206.jpg

Toolboxes and tools etc are always varied and modified by the crews. One of the Renaults in the museum in Kharkov (I think it is a Finnish tank) has a tool chest or locker in the track assembly

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/finland/FT17.jpg

but these could easily be removed or added.

A good look at the pages of this list, by Pierre Olivier, shows that really, they didn't change much at all. Just little things like the gun or the tool box.

http://the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_FT-17.pdf


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Commander in Chief

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Here is a link to a Brasilian article about their Renault tanks (and other vehicles). It is in Portugese.

http://www.defesanet.com.br/rv/blindados/index.htm

and here is another

http://www.ecsbdefesa.com.br/arq/Art%208.htm

You can see that at the time when these tanks were new, their weapons were the original ones.

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Legend

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I just noticed the japanese fts missing its exhaust or the negative was reversed..

Cheers

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Commander in Chief

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@philthydirtyanimal:

Thanks a lot! Very interesting material.

Especially the pdf with the surviving FT-17. It shows 1 FT-17 in Switzerland. Switzerland bought 1 after the war for tests - it seems that it survived.



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Sergeant

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One more:

Sweden bought one and used it for trials with our Strv m21, among other things radios were tested.
We also had a Renault NC 27 amd its still here at Axvalla museum, the Ft 17 however is lost.

Desert-Erik

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Legend

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Also Bolivia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands and Turkey. (Source: "Tanks of the World 1915-45" by Chamberlain & Ellis).

The late and much missed John Baumann wrote an article for "Tankette", the MAFVA magazine a good many years ago about the various countries that used the FT.

Gwyn

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Corporal

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The Pansarmuseet in Axvalla has a great website, and even I can puzzle out some of the Swedish- Lots of interesting vehicles to see at:
http://www.pansarmuseet.se/
Click on "Samlingen"to go to the exhibits. Thanks for the tip, Erik!

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Corporal

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Greece never had or used the FT 17 in any service.
Greek army records verify this. Nothing but along standing myth.This is my first post.

Cheers to all.

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Brigadier

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The Netherlands acquired one FT-17in 1927for testing. The Army command's main objective was to show that an attack on Holland with tanks was futile, which also took away the need to spend money on buying tanks. At a show with press and foreign observers at an inundated area, the Renault got hopelessly stuck in the mud and water (as you can see on the photo), although it probably just got in too deep.
Many years later, a boardmember of the Dutch Armour Association had an interview with the testdriver of the Renault, who explained that he had received orders to delibirately get stuck in the mud with the tank, which actually had little problems overcoming the soggy ground...
The tank ended it's career in the Dutch army in 1939 at the Ripperda barracks in Haarlem as a gate monument, with it's engine removed. The Germans might however have replaced the engine and used it for airfield security as the tank's final fate is unknown.

Michel.

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Commander in Chief

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Crazy story Michael. Strange things what "old school thinkg" officers did to avoid tanks in their army.

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Sergeant

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Woof Woof wrote:

Greece never had or used the FT in any service.



Did you know this ?
A Renault NC belonging to the Factory was sent to Greece with French driver and technical team, for demonstrations purpose, expecting a possible order from the Greek Government. This small event took place in September-October 1929.
Nothing came out of it, but this could well be the origin of the " Greek FTs" that never existed...
Cheers
Franois




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Corporal

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Hi to all.
It has also been stated in the old Vanguard on the Renault FT that Greece made use of the tank
in the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22. Maybe even that might have started it all.

Cheers to all.

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Captain

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Franois,

Could you please tell when exactly Renault did sent a NC in Belgium for demonstration at Bourg Leopold ?

Probably 1928.


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Lieutenant

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Japan?
scan0004.jpg

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Lieutenant

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An Italian version

b290_1.jpg


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Commander in Chief

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Hi, here's a photo of a Polish FT

It came from this linkoff Bigtanks brilliant Blog

http://reibert.info/gallery/v/foto_album/



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ChrisG


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Captain

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Most FT were sold outside Franceby Renault, after refurbishing. So they are all alike. One can, ,from times to times, differentiate them through the markings and the numbering. For instance, the Belgian FT are numbered from 1 to 49.

In a limited number of cases, the licence was granted and the tank was manufactured locally. This is the case in USA, Italy, Polen. These local FT are recognizable from the imported ones.

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Commander in Chief

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Michel Boer wrote:

The Netherlands acquired one FT-17in 1927for testing. The Army command's main objective was to show that an attack on Holland with tanks was futile, which also took away the need to spend money on buying tanks.

Yes, but...it's a rather popular belief that the Dutch army, or staff was totally ignorant and had only a very conservative opinion on tank warfare. And that was only partly the truth. They concluded in their reports that tanks were useless on bogged ore swamped areas but very well capable on dry areas, as in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Which was a right conclusion: in ww2 the allies had their problems. Though the public opinion had a strong belief in the inundation defense system, the chiefs of staff were very well aware, plans were made to create an armoured brigade and anti tank units, even in combination with aircraft. But they never realised their plans, I guess the whole nation had a feeling that a next war the Dutch could maintain their neutral status again. Picture: the Dutch testing their FT again...



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Hero

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I have a kit of a Polish FT17 with fog making equipment... how many of these were so converted? Would it be just an one-off?

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Legend

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Hi D, I believe it was a lone prototype

http://derela.republika.pl/en/ft17.htm#m

Cheerswink



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Captain

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Michel,

The lonely Dutch FT is now sitting in the Overloon museum, waiting for restoration.

Remember that FT17 or FT18 never existed ! Only FT is correct.

Gemsco

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Commander in Chief

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gemsco wrote:

Michel,

The lonely Dutch FT is now sitting in the Overloon museum, waiting for restoration.

Remember that FT17 or FT18 never existed ! Only FT is correct.

Gemsco



is that really the same one? I read somewhere that the Overloon FT is not the 'Dutch' one, and the 'Delft museum' FT the same.

regards, Kieffer



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Commander in Chief

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Here's an FT at RAF Strade, Germany 1946.



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ChrisG


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Finland bought 32 Renaults in 1919. This was part of the big arms deal, including aeroplanes and infantry weapons as well.

In 1920 Finland got two more from France, so there were totally 34. They were serving first in Helsinki, later in Hmeenlinna 100 km north from the capital.

During the Winter War Renaults were formed as two tank companies, but they never saw any service. During the war they were digged as fixed gun posts and were lost in armistice. Only four Renaults continued service as training tanks until 1943, when they were withdrawn. One gun tank is in Parola Tank museum nowadays.

Finnish Renaults were kept in French camouflage painting, but some of these were painted brown in 1930's when they were in maintenance. At that time all tanks had tool boxes in both sides of the track system.

Here are some photos of Finnish Renaults:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34057640@N07/5598212418/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/saminkuvat/4871613675/in/set-72157624555330527



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