Renault FT the world’s first modern tank. Over 3,000 Renault FT tanks were manufactured by Ft 950 manual pdf industry, most of them during 1918. France’s major manufacturers of motor vehicles then and now.
Renault as a possible manufacturer. Renault declined, saying that his company was operating at full capacity producing war materiel and that he had no experience of tracked vehicles. At a later, chance meeting with Renault on 16 July 1916, Estienne asked him to reconsider, which he did. The speed with which the project then progressed to the mock-up stage has led to the theory that Renault had been working on the idea for some time. Louis Renault himself conceived the new tank’s overall design and set its basic specifications. He imposed a realistic limit to the FT’s projected weight, which could not exceed 7 tons.
Renault’s most talented industrial designer, Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier, generated the FT’s detailed execution plans. Charles-Edmond Serre, a long time associate of Louis Renault, organized and supervised the new tank’s mass production. The FT’s tracks were kept automatically under tension to prevent derailments, while a rounded tail piece facilitated the crossing of trenches. Because the engine had been designed to function normally under any slant, very steep slopes could be negotiated by the Renault FT without loss of power. Effective internal ventilation was provided by the engine’s radiator fan, which drew its air through the front crew compartment of the tank and forced it out through the rear engine’s compartment. Nevertheless, Renault encountered some early difficulties in getting his proposal fully supported by Estienne. However, on 27 November 1916, Estienne had sent to the French Commander in Chief a personal memorandum proposing the immediate adoption and mass manufacture of a light tank based on the specifications of the Renault prototype.
After receiving two large government orders for the FT tank, one in April 1917 and the other in June 1917, Renault was at last able to proceed. However, his design remained in competition with the superheavy Char 2C until the end of the war. The prototype was refined during the second half of 1917, but the Renault FT remained plagued by radiator fan belt problems throughout the war. Only 84 were produced in 1917, but 2,697 were delivered to the French army before the Armistice. Paris, with the remainder subcontracted to other companies.
When the order was increased to 7,820 in 1918, production was distributed in roughly the same proportion. French manufacturers of the FT. Because of the wartime demands on French industry, it was decided that the quickest way to supply the American forces with sufficient armour was to manufacture the FT in the U. France therefore agreed to lend 144 FTs, enough to equip two battalions. US Army operating FTs on the Western Front, 1918. The first turret designed for the FT was a circular, cast steel version almost identical to that of the prototype.
In April 1917 Estienne decided for tactical reasons that some vehicles should be capable of carrying a small cannon. The first 150 FTs were for training only, and made of non-hardened steel plus the first model of turret. Company had produced a new design, a polygonal turret of riveted plate, which was simpler to produce than the early cast steel turret. It was given the name “omnibus”, since it could easily be adapted to mount either the Hotchkiss machine gun or the Puteaux 37mm with its telescopic sight.
This turret was fitted to production models in large numbers. The Girod turret was also an “omnibus” design. Girod supplied it to all the companies producing the FT, and in the later stages of the war it became more commonplace than the Berliet turret. This engagement, with 30 FTs, successfully broke up a German advance, but in the absence of infantry support, the vehicles later withdrew. FTs were often transported on heavy trucks and special trailers rather than by rail on flat cars.
Estienne had initially proposed to overwhelm the enemy defences using a “swarm” of light tanks, a tactic that was eventually successfully implemented. Renault FT tanks were used by most nations having armoured forces, generally as their prominent tank type. In 1940, the French Army still had eight battalions, each equipped with 63 FTs, as well as three independent companies, each with 10, for a total organic strength of 534, all equipped with machine guns. These were put to use after most of the modern equipment was lost in earlier battles. The French suffered from tactical and strategic weaknesses rather than from equipment deficiencies.
Earlier, 115 sections of FTs had been formed for airbase defence. They used about 100 for airfield defence and about 650 for patrolling occupied Europe. Some were used by the Germans in 1944 for street-fighting in Paris, but by this time they were hopelessly out of date. FT, as their standard tank. 1922, but they never used in battle because of many technical problems. Much confusion surrounds the name of this tank. All new Renault projects were given a two-letter product code for internal use, and the next one available was ‘FT’.