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Influence and export of French tanks ?

Discussion in 'Pre-World War 2 Armour' started by Skua, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    I thought it would be interesting to map out some of the influence French tank designs had in the 20's and 30's and to which countries French tanks were exported during the same period.

    What types of tanks went where ? And what influence did they have on indigenous designs in the receiving countries, like for example Japan ?
     
  2. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    I don´t think that they exported any tanks, but they probably used them in their colonys.

    Think that nobody wanted such monsters in the golden 20s. :wink:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  3. David Lehmann

    David Lehmann New Member

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    Hello,

    3728 Renault FT17 tanks had been built in France until 1921 (2100 with MG, 1246 with 37mm gun, 39 with 75mm gun, 188 TSF, 155 for school units) with more than 3177 during WW1 alone (by the Renault, Berliet, Somua and Delaunay Belleville factories).
    During WW1, the Germans only produced about 35 tanks, the British about 2600 tanks and the French 3977 tanks (3177 Renault FT17, 400 Schneider CA-1 and 400 Saint-Chamond).
    The Renault FT17 has also been widely exported :
    - Belgium
    - Spain
    - Brazil
    - Canada
    - China
    - Czechoslovakia
    - Finland
    - Netherlands
    - Japan
    - Poland
    - Yugoslavia
    etc.

    Italy produced the Fiat 3000 on the basis of the Renault FT17.
    The USA produced about 100 Renault FT17 and 450 copies called "six tons".
    The USSR also produced the MS1, MS2 and MS3 based on the Renault FT17 tank.
    The French and the Spanish armies used the Renault FT17 during the Rif war between 1919 and 1926.
    The first Polish tank unit was formed with French tanks and French crews and officers in 1919. The 1st Polish tank brigade used this tank in 1919-1920 against the Bolsheviks.

    The Renault R35 tank has also been exported in
    - Romania (200 + 100 ordered, 41 delivered in September 1939 + 34 ex-Polish R35s. About 30 R35s were rearmed with Soviet 45mm tank gun)
    - Turkey (100)
    - Poland (50)
    - Yugoslavia (50)

    Poland received also 3 Hotchkiss H35 tanks, which saw action in 1939 like a lot of other French stuff they had.

    The dual armament tank developments like on the Renault B1 / B1bis influenced designs in UK and in the USA.

    8-12 Renault ACG-1 have been exported to Belgium (like Berliet VUDB armored cars).

    The Somua S35 was intended to be produced in the USA but due to WW2 that never happened. All what the French learned about casting technology was transferred to the USA and that inspired more or less the turret of the Lee, the hull of the M3A1 and the Sherman general design. The conception/design of the future M4 Sherman is in fact partly inspired by these studies and French engineers were present in the US "Ordnance" during debriefing meetings in Washington beginning July 1940. But what is sometimes heard about the Sherman being directly linked to the Somua S35 is an urban myth. Another engineer, Edward Grote, who worked for Renault on the Renault G1 prototype. He moved to the USA and has apparently been involved in the design of the Sherman tank. He is barely mentioned anywhere except for the US immigration records for that period that recorded an Edward Grote as taking up employment with the US Government in mid 1940.

    That's just what comes in mind about the topic.

    Regards,

    David
     
  4. tom!

    tom! recruit

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    Hi.

    Japan bought few dozend FT17 in the mid 20th and used them equipped with japanese type 3 HMG in China in around 1930 named type 79 tank Ko-Gata. After being replaced by japanese type 89 tanks they were used as driving school tanks. They were found useful but outdated.

    In 1928 Renault built some 16 NC 27 tanks in cooperation with the japanese army on a non-official base. They were also used in China around 1930 and found crap.

    France didn´t share state-of-the-art tank design with Japan and didn´t sell modern tanks in the 1920th and so french tank design had no influence on japanese tanks.

    The first tanks developed in Japan were based on the british Mk IV and especially the Vickers tanks.

    Yours

    tom :wink:
     
  5. David Lehmann

    David Lehmann New Member

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    Hello,

    In the 1920's Yugoslavia had 66 Renault FT17 and the more recent Renault-Kégresse M28 (the new tracks and wheels enabled to double the speed compared to the FT17). In April 1940 they receive 54 Renault R35.
    What is surprising is that France exported many Renault R35 while the French army had not enough of these tanks. All the other tanks like the Somua S35, the Hotchkiss etc. were also lacking in comparison with the planned army equipment programs.

    China had Renault FT17 tanks but also a few Renault ZB with a 13.2mm Hotchkiss MG (roughly similar to the French AMR35 ZT1 light tank).

    If you speak about the 1920's the modern tank just after WW1 was the Renault FT17 all the other developments were big boxes and only Great-Britain and France had significantly developped tanks.
    The Renault FT17 is probably the first modern and one of the most successful tanks of WW1. This light tank was the first of the classic tank design, which featured a turret with a 360° traverse. This tank remained in service right up to 1944 when the Germans used them in the street fighting in Paris and in various auxiliary tasks.

    During the inter-wars period, the infantry and the cavalry developed their tanks separately. The infantry had tanks long before the cavalry but created big armored/mechanized units (divisions) later. The development of the cavalry armored vehicles begun in 1930/1931 and led to many armored cars, but also to tanks like the Hotchkiss H35/39, the Somua S35 and the Renault ACG1.

    After WW1, the Schneider CA-1 and Saint-Chamond tanks were retired and only Renault FT17 tanks were available. The Renault FT17 light tanks were replaced by the Renault D1 and later by the Renault R35 (later R39 and R40), Hotchkiss H39 and FCM36.
    The first replacements for the Renault FT17 came only in the 1930's with the Renault D1 (only 160 units were built between 1932 and 1935).
    In 1935, The Renault R35 and the Hotchkiss H35 tanks were produced but already in 1937 they appeared insufficient. The Renault R35 was adopted by the infantry and the Hotchkiss H35 by the cavalry only. It was rejected by the infantry which accepted only the later Hotchkiss H39, better armored (40mm instead of 35mm for the hull) and with a more powerful engine (120 hp on 2800 rpm for 36.5 km/h onroad and 16km/h in medium difficult offroad). The 37mm SA38 L/33 gun was nevertheless rare and only introduced in March/April 1940. In 1940, most of the tanks had only the 37mm SA18 L/21 gun. The heavier Renault D2 was produced in 1937.

    The concept of breakthrough tank introduced with the FCM-2C tank will lead to the development of the Renault B1 and B1bis tanks. Conceived by general Estienne in 1920, this tank had an original conception. In 1929-30, Renault and FCM had built 3 prototypes. The B1 tank was the production version of the B tank. Production began in December 1935. Only 34 Renault B1 tanks were built before construction changed to the more powerful B1bis in July 1937.

    Except the tanks listed above I don't know of French tank exports during the 20's and 30's.

    At the beginning I mentioned Kégresse, just a side-note about hime.
    Adolph Kégresse (1879-1943) developed the first halftracks and was also a pioneer for the motorcycles.
    In 1903 he went to Saint-Petersbourg (Russia) as mechanic/engineer for the Lesslen firm.
    He organized the first motor postal service in Russia and became the chief of the imperial garages of Tsar Nicolas II.
    From 1909 to 1917 he developed the first halftracks and in 1914 the Russian army was the first one having halftracks.
    He went back in France in 1919 and worked with André Citroën to build the Citroen-Kégresse halftracks series. They enabled vehicles with a rather conventional design to have a very good mobility off-road, in rough and intricate terrain, with snow or with sand etc. At that time the fully-tracked vehicles lacked mobility and the conventional trucks were easily immobilized or slowed down in the sand or in the snow.

    The Citroen-Kégresse halftracks became famous during several raids in remote areas :
    • The first crossing in the Sahara (from Touggourt in Algeria to Timbuktu in Mali) in 1922-1923
    http://www.citroen.com/CWW/fr-FR/HISTOR ... TheSahara/
    • The Black Cruise : crossing of Africa from north to south and then to the east coast and around the island of Madagascar in 1924-1925
    http://www.citroen.com/CWW/fr-FR/HISTOR ... ackCruise/
    • The Yellow Cruise from Beirut (Lebanon) to Beijing (Pekin - China) in 1931-1932 (following partly Marco Polo's Silk Road)
    http://www.citroen.com/CWW/fr-FR/HISTOR ... lowCruise/

    In 1935, Adolphe Kégresse developed an automatic gearbox.
    In 1939, he developed a remote-controlled breaching vehicle, which was tested by the French Army. The "engin K" (K for Alphonse Kégresse) was ordered by the French army (6000 in April 1940 and 6000 in May 1940). It was the precursor of the German Goliath which was later built based on this vehicle.
    In all he had about 200 patents about various car parts, that are still used today.

    Citroen-Kégresse halftracks were used by the French army in the 20's and 30's as well as other kind of halftracks. These halftracks were also used by various foreign armies (Poland, Danemark, Estonia etc.).

    David
     

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