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Renault FT-17

In 1917, American Expeditionary forces in France during World War I, had their first encounter with this new mechanized weapon, the Renault FT-17 tank. Tanks were devised in WWI as a means to break the stalemate of the trench warfare tactics of that era by ramming through the barbed wire defenses, across the trench lines and attack machine gun emplacements. While military tactics of this newest of the new weapons was misunderstood, the tanks future within warfare was permanent. The French Renault FT-17 was one of the successful designs. Its full caterpillar cleat treads, 360 degree revolving turret and .5 inch armor plates established many of the classic features of tank design. The FT-17 was powered by a 35 hp, gasoline engine, had a maximum speed of 5 mph, with a range of 22 miles. Operated by a crew of (2), it was armed with a 37mm cannon and a 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun. It length of 16 feet did indeed allow it to cross enemy trench of 6' in width. Again, misunderstanding the nature of these heavy, 7 ton machines, found many of these tanks immobile due to the lack of maintenance and repair.


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