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Post Info TOPIC: The first M1917s . . .


Legend

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The first M1917s . . .
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. . . arrived in France just before or just after the Armistice. The dates and numbers vary a bit, but that's roughly it. Does anyone happen to know which manufacturer(s) was/were responsible for the few that arrived? The candidates are: Van Doorn, C.L. Best, and Maxwell. Any offers?

 



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Field Marshal

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Bonjour James,

For me the M1917, is never coming in France in 1918; The only American tank coming in France in 1918,  

is the Ford T, tested  in Langres, Monday . September 23, 1918 and in Isle-sur-Tille on October 3, 1918

I have never found French military document about M1917 and, if this tank was present in France at the end of 1918,

reports about these tank should be present in military document, as for Ford T.

Bonne soirée - Michel



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Captain

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According to the January 21, 1919 "History of the 6-Ton Model 1917 Tank" the first three tanks made of soft steel were completed at Van Dorn Iron Works in early July 1918 but without turrets. The report has nothing on shipments to France.

I went through the Ordnance files on the 6-Ton Tank last year at NARA II, but the bulk of the material consists of correspondence with the various manufacturers about assembly of the tanks in the US. The files also include some of the Renault FT blueprints sent to the US. I didn't find any reports on US shipments to France, but the files are in a big jumble and it would take a lot of time to carefully go through them. So there may be stuff in there. Such reports may be located elsewhere, for example in the AEF records.



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Captain

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This photo doesn't answer the original question about the manufacturer of any 6-ton tanks sent to France, but the caption suggests that ten were returned to the US in the spring of 1919.

 

FT Delivery US.jpg



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Legend

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According to Benedict Crowell...

"Contracts for 4,440 of the Renault type of tanks were finally made. The approximate cost of each one of
these machines was $11,500. Manufacturing activities for the various parts had to be divided up among more than a score of plants,
so that many plants were turning out parts for these machines, while the assembling was done at only three plants, which also made a portion
of the parts.

The three assembly plants were the Van Dorn Iron Works, of Cleveland, Ohio; the Maxwell Motors Co., of Dayton, Ohio; and the C. L. Best Co., also of Dayton.

Finished machines of this type started to come through in October. When the armistice was signed 64 of these 6-ton Renault tanks,
each designed to carry two men and a machine gun, were completed, while up to the end of December the number of those finished
amounted to 209, with 289 in the process of assembly"

America's Munitions 1917-18, p.156

I think the production evidence supports "Tanker"'s view that the M1917 didn't make it to France before the Armistice.



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Field Marshal

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Bonjour,

Photos on transport Philippines is coming from New York Times article (April 04, 1919)

speaking of these tanks : "The transport Philippines, which left St. Nazaire on March 20,

got in yesterday, bringing 271 officers and men of the 302d Tank Corps. Some of them are

members of the First American Tank Corps, of which the 302d is a part."

This caption is just a Press report, not exactly an Intelligence Report with verified informations.

It was, perhaps good for somebody to say that some six tons tanks was coming back the battle . . . . 

Bonne fin de semaine - Michel



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Captain

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Here's another photo from the unloading of SS Philippines. At least two of the tanks are Six-Ton M1917.. AtSix Ton.jpg



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Captain

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This has nothing to do directly with the question, but I thought someone might be interested in the manufacturers plaque on the Six Ton Tank currently on display at the Collins Foundation Museum in Hudson, MA that opened this past May. It is located on the rear plate.

 

DSC02155.JPG



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Brigadier

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United States Army in the World War 1917-1919, Volume 15: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, Staff Sections and Services, pages 222-3 states:

"Two American-built Renault tanks (M1917) were finally received at Langres on November 20 and eight more before the end of the year, making a total of 10 American –built tanks in France of a total 4,440 promised.”

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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA



Legend

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jagjetta wrote:

United States Army in the World War 1917-1919, Volume 15: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, Staff Sections and Services, pages 222-3 states:

"Two American-built Renault tanks (M1917) were finally received at Langres on November 20 and eight more before the end of the year, making a total of 10 American –built tanks in France of a total 4,440 promised.”


Good find, does confirm that 10 M1917s reached france though not in time to take part in operations...

Also mentioned in "Stuart, A history of the American light tank" Vol1 by R.P. Hunnicut, he also includes the above figures and dates and mentions 64 tanks completed by Nov 11, and although it has a number of pics of Van Dorn tanks in production etc, there is no mention of which manufacturers tanks reached france.

For those not conversant with it heres a link to the full CMH catalogue scrolldown for "Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War" which contains the volume metioned by jagjetta and much more.

 



-- Edited by Ironsides on Saturday 14th of September 2019 10:08:59 AM

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Brigadier

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Ironsides wrote:
For those not conversant with it heres a link to the full CMH catalogue scrolldown for "Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War" which contains the volume metioned by jagjetta and much more.

 

Wow!  Thanks for the link to the CMH catalog!  I was not aware it was online.  Now I know I how I am spending the evening. :)

 

John

 



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John A-G.
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Field Marshal

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Bonjour,

Thank you Steve for this second photos of these 35 tanks. 35 and not 34, because one of them is hiden by tank's tails

Is it also, a photo coming from New York Times article ?

 

About the 33 Renault FT of this photos, most of them are with Girod turret and 17 was with machinegun turret.

It is interesting to see that no ace was painted on these turrets. These Renault was not engaged in fights with American Army.

There was probably coming from the last 72 FT, given to the US Army (36 chars-mitrailleuses - 36 chars-canons)

Order was given on November 3rd, 1918 and these tanks arrived in Langres, just after the armistice.

(SHD Vincennes - carton 16N2130 - Note n° 7936/AS Direction de l'Artillerie/Sous-Direction de l'Artillerie d'Assaut du 3 Novembre 1918).

 

This note was sent by the French War Minister to Colonel E.D. BRICKER from C.P.C.C.D. (?) and said that this 72 will be sent before November 15, 1918

This command (number 5862), for a third tank bataillon, was done by Colonl Bricker on October 7, 1918 . . . . . . . and was for 144 FT and 6 wireless tanks.

 

It will be also interesting to found French military documents, speaking of this 10 M 1917 in Langres.

Mr Jules Louis Breton (Sous-Secrétaire d'Etat aux Inventions) and Mr Loucher (Ministre de l'Armement) were present, when prototype of Ford tank was tested. 

I am surprise to see that Six tons M17 was probably not tested and compared to Renault FT by the STAS ( Section technique de l'Artillerie Spéciale).

 

The war was over, and tank orders for M1917 and Tank Ford was already forgotten . . . . .

The 3000 tanks Ford ordered on November 5, 1918 was canceled on November 19, 1918 !

Perhaps, some photos of the six tons in Langres, always hiden in a old attic  . . . . . .

 

Très bonne journée - Michel

 



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Captain

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Tanker:

The photos are from the US War Department (General and Special Staffs) files at NARA II (Record Group 165). Some are actually US Army photos, others are from the Press Illustrating Service (a commercial photography service no longer in business).



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Field Marshal

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Thank you Steve,

On the chart about tank received by American Tank Corps, the 25 training Renault was delivered before August 1918.

          March 20, 1918   - 10 Renault FT (5 with 37 mm gun and 5 with Hotchkiss machine gun). It was training tanks in soft steel

          June 15, 1918     - 15 Renault FT (9 with 37 mm gun and 6 for Hotchkiss machine gun)

                                      The 6 Renault FT mitrailleuse were delivered without mask and machine gun . . . . . .

Major Drain, from US Army, was in charge of this tanks until Langres. 

 

For the two tank Batalions :

               24 Renault in Langres on August 21, 1918

               24 Renault in Langres on August 23, 1918

               24 Renault in Langres on August 25, 1918

and probably

               24 Renault in Langres on August 27, 1918

               24 Renault in Langres on August 29, 1918

               24 Renault in Langres on August 31, 1918

The order was given on August 20, 1918 to send this 144, before September 1st, 1918.

Cne Carlson, from US Army, was in charge of this tanks sent to Langres

This two officers was working in the Ordnance Department, based in Paris at "the Elysée Palace" 

(103, avenue des Champs-Elysée). A very beautifull barrack for US Army !

 

The third batalion was not from 69 tanks, but also 72 tanks (27 with machine gun and 45 with 37 mm gun)

 

Bon week-end - Michel



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