Renault FT

Light Tank of Italy (1917) - 4 used

As the belligerents of the Great War descended into defensive positions to cover themselves from machine gun fire and artillery, they deployed barbed wire to protect themselves and ensnare enemy troops. The results of the northeastern front for Italy were the same as the British and French ones on the western front of France and Belgium, a brutal stalemate with relatively small movements on all sides and very high victim rates. France, Great Britain and Italy all reached the same conclusion around the same time; a vehicle capable of crossing the shattered ground of the shell and connecting obstacles with sufficient armor to protect themselves from enemy fire would have been necessary. In January 1917 an agreement was signed between the Italian and French governments for the supply of tanks to Italy by France, but also the shipment of a small team (1 officer, 1 non-commissioned officer, and two men) to France for test the tanks and report. As a reciprocal gesture, the French asked for the delivery of an Italian Florio truck to be used in the mountains and delivered to Lyon.
The Italians, for their part, had their tank developments in progress and sent a team of their own experts, led by Major Bennicelli, an artillery officer, to see the vehicles developed so far by their allies, Great Britain and France, and to report back. Renault model FT with

Renault exam

One type of tank examined was the Renault Tipo Leggero (Light Tank), which was built in the Renault plant in Billancourt. Major Bennicelli described the vehicle as not very different from the Schneider tank. Obviously, this is not corrected visually, but it was technically meaningful, since that was his main goal. Mechanically, the vehicles had some similarities, but the Renault machine had a centrally positioned rotating turret armed with a machine gun and "slots for automatic fire", unlike the Schneider without turret.
The Renault Tipo Leggero weighed half the Schneider, only 6.5 tons and was significantly smaller, only 4.1 meters long, 1.7 meters wide and 2.14 meters high. Contrary to the Schneider crew of 5, this vehicle only had 2. The engine was less than half the power of the Schneider at only 40 hp, which means that this light tank was capable of only 4-10 km / h depending on ground conditions and fuel for only 8-10 hours of operation. On the plus side, however, the machine gun with up to 3000 rounds of ammunition has been replaced by a 37mm cannon.

Specifications Renault FT


Dimensions 4.95 (with tail) / 4.20 x 1.74 x 2.14 m (16.24 / 13.77 × 5.7 × 7.02 feet)
Total weight, ready battle 6.7 tons
crew 2 (commander / gunner, driver)
Renault 4-cylinder petrol propulsion, 39 HP (24 kW)
Speed 7.5 km / h (4.66 mph)
Range / consumption 65 km (40.38 miles)
Armament Hotchkiss machine gun 7.9 mm (0.32 inches) or Italian SIA 6.5 mm or pistol
Puteaux SA 18 37 mm (1.45 in)
Armor 22 mm (0.87 inches)
Total production 3700 (France), 4 supplied in Italy.