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Renault FT-17

Renault FT-17

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Encyclopedia
The Renault FT, frequently referred to in post-WWI literature as the "FT-17" or "FT17" (see Nomenclature), was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 light tank
Light tank
A light tank is a tank variant initially designed for rapid movement, and now primarily employed in low-intensity conflict. Early light tanks were generally armed and armored similar to an armored car, but used tracks in order to provide better cross-country mobility.The light tank was a major...

; it is among the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. The FT was the first operational tank with an armament in a fully rotating turret
Turret
In architecture, a turret is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification...

,The British prototype tank "Number 1 Lincoln Machine" was fitted with a turret but the design was not carried over into the first British tanks to enter service and its configuration with the turret on top, engine in the back and the driver in front became the conventional one, repeated in most tanks until today. Armour historian Steven Zaloga
Steven Zaloga
Steven J. Zaloga is an American historian, defense consultant, and a well-known author on military technology. He received a bachelors degree cum laude in history from Union College and a masters degree from Columbia University....

 has called the Renault FT "the world's first modern tank".

Development


Studies on the production of a new light tank were started in May 1916 by the famous car producer Louis Renault
Louis Renault (industrialist)
Louis Renault was a French industrialist, one of the founders of Renault and a pioneer of the automobile industry....

. The evidence strongly suggests that Renault himself drew up the preliminary design, being unconvinced that a sufficient power/weight ratio could be achieved for the medium tanks requested by the military. One of his most talented designers, Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier, prepared the final drawings.

Though the project was far more advanced than the two first French tanks about to enter production, the Schneider CA1
Schneider CA1
The Schneider CA1 was the first French tank. It was inspired by the need to overcome the stalemate of the trench warfare of the Great War.-Caterpillar development:...

 and the heavy Saint-Chamond
St Chamond (tank)
The Saint-Chamond was the second French heavy tank of the First World War.Overall an inadequate design born of commercial rivalry, the war ended before it was replaced by British heavy tanks.-Development:...

, Renault had at first great trouble getting it accepted. Even after the first British use of tanks, on 15 September 1916, when the French people called for the deployment of their own chars, the production of the light tank was almost cancelled in favour of that of a superheavy tank (the later Char 2C
Char 2C
The Char 2C was a French super-heavy tank developed, although never deployed, during World War I. It was the largest operational tank ever.-Development:...

). However, with the unwavering support of Colonel (later General) Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne
Jean-Baptiste Eugène Estienne
Jean Baptiste Eugène EstienneEstienne's forenames are frequently incorrectly given as Jean-Baptiste Eugène. He was christened with the three names Jean, Baptiste, and Eugène, but disliked the name Baptiste, and preferred to be addressed as Eugène. He usually signed himself J.E. Estienne. See...

 (1860–1936), the "Father of the Tanks", and the successive French Commanders in Chief, who saw light tanks as a more feasible and realistic option, Renault was at last able to proceed with the design. However, competition with the Char 2C was to last until the very end of the war.

The prototype was slowly refined during the first half of 1917. Early production FTs were often plagued by radiator fan belt and cooling system problems, a characteristic that persisted throughout World War I. Only 84 were produced in 1917 but 2,697 were delivered before the end of the war. At least 3,177 were produced in total, perhaps more; some estimates go as high as 4,000 for all versions combined. However, 3,177 is the delivery total to the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

; 514 were perhaps directly delivered to the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, 24 to Great Britain, and three to Italy - giving a probable total production number of 3,694. The tanks had at first a round cast turret; later either an octagonal turret or an even later rounded turret of bent steel plate (called Berliet turret after one of the many coproducing factories). The latter two could carry a Puteaux SA 18
Puteaux SA 18
The Puteaux SA 18 was a French semi-automatic gun, used from World War I onward, primarily mounted on combat vehicles.It was a simple but reliable weapon with a high rate of fire. It was primarily intended to be used against infantry and machine-gun nests, due to its low muzzle velocity which...

 gun, or a 7.92 mm Hotchkiss machine gun. In the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, a slightly modified version was built under licence as the Six Ton Tank or M1917 (950 built, 64 before the end of the war, but too late to be used in action).

Service history


The FT was widely used by the French and the US in the later stages of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, after 31 May 1918. It was cheap and well-suited for mass production. It reflected an emphasis on quantity, both on a tactical level: Estienne proposed to overwhelm the enemy defences by a "swarm" of light tanks, and on a geostrategic level: the Entente
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 was thought to be able to gain the upper hand by outproducing the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

. A goal was set of 12,260 to be manufactured (including 4,440 of the USA version) before the end of 1919.

After the war, FTs were exported to many countries (Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

). As a result, FT tanks were used by most nations having armoured forces, invariably as their first tank type, including the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. They took part in many later conflicts, such as the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

, Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

, Rif War
Rif War (1920)
The Rif War, also called the Second Moroccan War, was fought between Spain and the Moroccan Rif Berbers.-Rifian forces:...

 , Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and Estonian War of Independence.

FT tanks were also used in the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, among others in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

, although they were completely obsolete by then. In 1940 the French army still had eight battalions equipped with 63 FTs each and three independent companies with ten each, for a total organic strength of 534, all with machine guns.

Many smaller units, partially raised after the invasion, also used the tank. This has given rise to the popular myth that the French had no modern equipment at all; in fact they had more modern tanks than the Germans; the French suffered from tactical and strategic weaknesses rather than from equipment deficiencies. When the German drive to the Channel cut off the best French units, as an expediency measure the complete French materiel reserve was sent to the front; this included 575 FTs. Earlier 115 sections of FT had been formed for airbase-defence. The Wehrmacht captured 1,704 FTs. A hundred were again used for airfield defence, about 650 for patrolling occupied Europe. Some of the tanks were also used by the Germans in 1944 for street-fighting in Paris. By this time they were hopelessly out of date.


The FT was the ancestor of a long line of French tanks: the FT Kégresse, the NC1, the NC2, the Char D1
Char D1
The Char D1 was a pre-World War II French tank.The French plan of 1926, calling for the creation of a Light Infantry Support Tank, led to the development of the existing Renault NC1 prototype into the Char D1. One hundred and sixty vehicles of this type were produced between 1931 and 1935. There...

 and the Char D2
Char D2
The Char D2 was a French tank of the Interbellum.In 1930, at a time the Char D1 had not even entered production, the Renault company agreed to build a better armoured version called the Char D2. By using welded armour plate instead of the dated riveted design of the D1 this would be lighter than a...

. The Italians produced as their standard tank the FIAT 3000
Fiat 3000
The Fiat 3000, whose design was based on that of the French Renault FT-17, was the first tank to be produced in series in Italy. It was to be the standard tank of the emerging Italian armored units in World War I.-History:...

, a moderately close copy of the FT.

The Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 captured fourteen burnt-out Renaults from White Russian
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 forces, and rebuilt them at the Krasnoye Sormovo Factory in 1920. The Soviets claimed to have originally manufactured these Russkiy Reno tanks, but they actually produced only one exact copy, named 'Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin'. When Stalin began the arms race of the Thirties, the first completely Soviet-designed tank was the T-18
T-18 tank
The T-18 light tank was the first Soviet-designed tank. Produced from 1928–31, it was based on the Renault FT-17, with the addition of a vertically sprung suspension....

, a derivation of the Renault with sprung suspension.

In all, the FT was used by Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the Russian White movement, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

.

Nomenclature



Much confusion surrounds the name of this tank.

It is sometimes stated that the letters FT stand for the French terms faible tonnage (low tonnage) or franchisseur de tranchées (trench crosser). Neither is correct. Nor was it named the FT 17 or FT-17.

All new Renault projects were given a two-letter product code for internal use, and the next one available was 'FT.'

The prototype was at first referred to as the automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917. Automitrailleuse à chenilles means "armoured car with tracks." Automitrailleuse was the standard word for an armoured car, but by the time the FT went into mass production there were two other types of French tank in existence and the term char d'assaut (from the French char - a cart or wagon, and assaut; attack or assault), soon shortened to char, had on the insistence on Colonel Estienne already been adopted by the French and was in common use. Once orders for the vehicle had been secured it was the practice at Renault to refer to it as the "FT." The vehicle was originally intended to carry a machine-gun, and was therefore described as a char mitrailleur. Mitrailleur (from mitraille; grapeshot) had by this time come to mean "machine-gunner."

Many sources, predominantly English language accounts, refer to the FT as the "FT 17" or "FT-17." This term is not contemporary, and appears to have arisen post World War One. In Estienne's biography, his granddaughter states, "It is also referred to as the FT 17: the number 17 was added after the war in history books, since it was always referred to at Renault as the FT." Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Malmassari (French tank officer and Doctor of History) states, "The Renault tank never carried the name FT 17 during the First World War, although the initials F.T. seem to appear in August 1917." Some confusion might also have been caused by the fact that the American version of the vehicle, produced in the USA under licence from Renault, was designated the M1917.

When it was decided to equip the FTs with either cannon or machine-guns, the cannon version was designated char canon (cannon tank) and the latter, in accordance with French grammar, renamed char mitrailleuse (machine-gun tank).

It is frequently claimed that some of these tanks were designated FT 18. Reasons given for the claim include: it distinguished tanks produced in 1918 from those of 1917; it was applied to FTs armed with cannon as opposed to those those with machine-guns; it distinguished FTs with a cast, rounded turret from those with a hexagonal one; it referred to the 18 horsepower engine; it indicated a version to which various modifications had been made.

However, Renault records make no distinction between 1917 and 1918 output; the decision to arm FTs with a 37mm gun was made in April, 1917, before any tanks had been manufactured; because of various production difficulties and design requirements, a range of types of turret were produced by several manufacturers, but they were all fitted to the basic FT body without any distinguishing reference; all FTs had the same model 18hp engine. The Renault manual of April, 1918 is entitled RENAULT CHAR D'ASSAUT 18 HP, and the illustrations are of the machine-gun version. The official designation was not changed until the 1930s, when the FT was fitted with a Model 1931 machine-gun and renamed the FT31. By this time the French Army was equipped with several other Renault models and it had become necessary to distinguish between the various types. World War One variants were named Renault 75BS (carrying a short 75mm cannon) and Renault TSF (radio tank).

Variants



  • Char canon: an FT with a 37 mm Puteaux SA18 short-barreled gun
    Gun
    A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

     - about 3/5 of tanks ordered, about 1/3 of tanks actually produced.
  • Char mitrailleuse: an FT with an 8 mm Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun
    Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun
    The Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun became the standard machine gun of the French Army during World War I. It was manufactured by the French arms company Hotchkiss et Cie, which had been established in the 1860s by American industrialist Benjamin B. Hotchkiss...

     - about 2/5 of tanks ordered, about 3/5 of tanks produced.
  • FT 75 BS: a self propelled gun with a 75 mm Blockhaus Schneider petard (short-barreled howitzer
    Howitzer
    A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

    ) - at least 39 tanks were produced.
  • Char signal or TSF: a command tank with a radio
    Radio
    Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

    , "TSF" stands for télégraphie sans fil or "wireless" - a very apt name, as morse code was to be used only; no armament, three-men crew, 300 ordered, at least 188 produced.
  • FT modifié 31: upgraded tanks with 7.5 mm Reibel machine gun. This modification started in 1931 on the 1580 chars mitrailleurs still in French stocks; all the metropolitan guntanks were (at least officially) scrapped to build utility vehicles on their chassis and the guns used to equip the R 35. This version was sometimes referred to as the "FT 31", though this was not the official name.
  • FT-Ko: Thirteen modified units imported by the Imperial Japanese Army
    Imperial Japanese Army
    -Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

     in 1919, armed with either the 37 mm Puteaux SA18 cannon or machine guns; used in combat in the Manchurian Incident and subsequently for training
  • Six Ton Tank Model 1917
    Six Ton Tank M1917
    The Six Ton Tank M1917 was a US tank, and was America's first important mass produced tank. The Six Ton Tank M1917 was a license built near-copy of the French Renault FT, and was accepted by the army in October 1918. The US Army ordered approximately 4,440 Six Ton M1917 Tanks between 1918 and...

     - US
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    -built copy, 950 built, 374 of which were gun tanks, and fifty of which were radio tanks. During World War II some were delivered to Canada and the UK for use as training vehicles.
  • Russkiy Reno: the "Russian Renault", the first Soviet
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     tank, produced at Krasnoye Sormovo
    Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112
    Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112 named after Andrei Zhdanov was one of the oldest shipbuilding factories in the Soviet Union, located in theSormovsky City District of Nizhny Novgorod .- Early history:...

    , a close copy.

  • Renault M26/27: a development of the FT with a different suspension and Kégresse rubber tracks; a number were used in Yugoslavia and five in Poland.
  • T-18
    T-18 tank
    The T-18 light tank was the first Soviet-designed tank. Produced from 1928–31, it was based on the Renault FT-17, with the addition of a vertically sprung suspension....

     – A Soviet derivation with sprung suspension.
  • FIAT 3000
    Fiat 3000
    The Fiat 3000, whose design was based on that of the French Renault FT-17, was the first tank to be produced in series in Italy. It was to be the standard tank of the emerging Italian armored units in World War I.-History:...

     - an Italian derivation.
  • Polish gas tank - A Polish modification built in the Wojskowy Instytut Gazowy (Military Gas Institute) and tested on the Rembertów
    Rembertów
    Rembertów is a district of the city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Between 1939 and 1957 Rembertów was a separate town, after which it was incorporated as part of the borough of Praga Południe. Between 1994 and 2002 it formed a separate commune of Warszawa-Rembertów...

     proving ground on 5 July 1926. Instead of a turret, the tank had twin gas cylinders. It was designed to create smoke screens, but could also be used for chemical attacks. There was only one exemplar of this tank.

Surviving Vehicles


Approximately 41 FTs , twenty Six-Ton Tanks, two Russkiy Renos and three FT TSF survive in various museums around the world.
  • Musée des Blindés
    Musée des Blindés
    The Musée des Blindés or Musée Général Estienne is a tank museum located in the Loire Valley of France, in the city of Saumur. It is one of the world's largest tank museums....

    , Saumur, France. The museum owns three FTs, two of them are in running condition. One of them is coming from the Patton Museum. The third is in static display and comes from Afghanistan. It is one of 4 known FTs that were in this country before 2003, two of them went to the Patton Museum in Fort Knox, the 4th one is still preserved in Kaboul. The Saumur tank museum also owns a FT TSF, it currently has no tracks and driving train, but the museum intends to restore it.
  • Musee de l'Armee
    Musée de l'Armée
    The Musée de l'Armée is a museum at Les Invalides in Paris, France. Originally built as a hospital and home for disabled soldiers by Louis XIV, it now houses the Tomb of Napoleon and the museum of the Army of France...

    , Paris, France. One FT.
  • Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
    Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
    The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is a museum of World War I aircraft and antique automobiles that is located in Red Hook, New York, USA.-History:The aerodrome was the creation of Cole Palen, who was partially inspired by the Shuttleworth Collection in England. He regularly flew many of the aircraft...

     in Rhinebeck, NY. One driveable Six-Ton Tank.
  • Hayes Otoupalik, Military Collectibles and Historical Americana, Missoula, Montana. One driveable Six-Ton Tank. Tank is from the personal collection of Hayes Otoupalik. He owned a French Renault FT, sold to the National World War I Museum.
  • Bovington Tank Museum
    Bovington Tank Museum
    The Tank Museum is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles in the United Kingdom that traces the history of the tank. With almost 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries it is the second-largest collection of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles in the world.The Musée des Blindés in France...

    , United Kingdom. One FT, an unarmoured training model.
  • Museu Militar Conde de Linhares in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One FT.
  • Ropkey Armor Museum
    Ropkey Armor Museum
    Ropkey Armor Museum is a military history museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana.The museum is privately owned by the Ropkey family. It stems from the founder Fred Ropkey's interest in military history and his past career as a Tank Platoon Leader in the US Marine Corps during the early 1950s.The museum...

    , Crawfordsville, Indiana
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    Crawfordsville is a city in Union Township, Montgomery County, Indiana, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 15,915. The city is the county seat of Montgomery County...

     A Six-Ton Model 1917.
  • Patton Museum in the United States. In 2003, two FT tanks were discovered in Kabul, Afghanistan by Major Robert Redding. With permission from the Afghan government, the two tanks were transferred here, where one of them was restored and is now on display. The museum previously owned a FT tank, but at the request of the French government, sent it back to France.
  • Louisiana State Military Museum at Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana. An FT was inundated by floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is being restored and will be returned to display.
  • Royal Military Museum
    Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
    The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History (or simply the Royal Military Museum (RRM) is a museum that occupies the two northernmost halls of the historic complex in...

    , Belgium. One FT is on permanent display.
  • The National World War I Museum, located at Liberty Memorial
    Liberty Memorial
    The Liberty Memorial, located in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, is a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War I and houses the The National World War I Museum, as designated by the United States Congress in 2004.. Groundbreaking commenced November 1, 1921, and the city held a site dedication...

     , Kansas City, Missouri. An FT, damaged by German artillery.
  • Musée de l'armée Suisse, Burgdorf, Switzerland. An FT is displayed as the first tank of the Swiss army, adopted in 1922.
  • National Military Museum (Romania)
    National Military Museum (Romania)
    The National Military Museum , located at 125-127 Mircea Vulcănescu St., Bucharest, Romania, was established in 1923 by King Ferdinand. It has been at its present site since 1988, in a building finished in 1898.- External links :...

    , Bucharest, Romania. An FT, in permanent outdoor display.
  • Military Museum (Belgrade)
    Military Museum (Belgrade)
    The Military Museum in Belgrade was founded in 1878. The museum has over 3000 ancient and modern items. These include Roman swords and helmets, Greek helmets and daggers, Serbian heavy knight's armor, axes, shields, helmets, crossbows, armoured gloves, as well as Western medieval weapons...

    , Belgrade, Serbia. An FT, in permanent outdoor display.
  • Parola Tank Museum
    Parola Tank Museum
    Parola Tank Museum, officially Armoured Vehicle Museum is a military museum located in Parola, near Hämeenlinna, in Finland. It displays various tanks, armoured vehicles and anti-tank guns used by the Finnish Defence Forces throughout its history. A rare exhibit is an armoured train used in...

    , Parola, Finland. FT in outdoor display.
  • Two full-scale, working replicas of Renault FTs were built from scratch by enthusiast for Jerzy Hoffman
    Jerzy Hoffman
    Jerzy Hoffman is a Polish film director and screenwriter. He is the father of early Macintosh development team member Joanna Hoffman.-Selected filmography:*Battle of Warsaw 1920...

    's Battle of Warsaw 1920 2011 film.
  • An FT is being placed on static display at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA beginning in April 2012.
  • The US First Infantry Division museum at Cantigny
    Cantigny
    Cantigny is a park in Wheaton, Illinois, 30 miles west of Chicago. It is the former estate of Joseph Medill, and his grandson Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publishers of the Chicago Tribune, and is open to the public...

    in Warrenville, IL has an M1917 on static display in the tank park outside.
  • The Afghan National Army has begun a restoration project on an FT, intending to place it in a static display outside the new Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Kabul, once construction of the building is complete.

External links