Talk:Renault FT

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Where and when used?[edit]

The article states "The tank was widely used by the French and the Americans during the latter part of WW1". Does anybody know where and when the FT-17 was used in WW1? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:17, 2 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basically in all major battles fought by the French in France after 31 May 1918, most notably the Battle of Soissons (1918) (not much of an article, that one...). I'll add some detail and numbers.--MWAK (talk) 20:00, 2 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The last FT-17[edit]

I recall a rumor that in the 1970s, they found an FT-17 in Afganistan, where it was still used by some local warlord's private gang of thugs. Does anyone know if there's any truth to the myth? --Agamemnon2 22:43, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some FT-17s are present in Afghanistan. Their origin is uncertain. Very probably four were exported by France in the early thirties, which would explain how they escaped the official export lists of the twenties. Two of them, complete wrecks by then, were removed from Kabul, where they had served as monuments, to Fort Knox (Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor) by the Americans after their intervention of 2001. See That any of these vehicles would still have been operational in the seventies, seems highly unlikely. MWAK 05:34, 5 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two FTs were found in a scrapyard in Afghanistan in 2003. Mr. Charles Lemons, Curator of the Patton Museum (who restored one of them and has examined every inch of it) is of the opinion that these tanks were sold by France to Poland, captured by the Red Army in the Russo-Polish War, and presented to Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. This might have been part of the Treaty of 1919, under which the Soviet Union became the first country to recognise Afghanistan's independence. Two were displayed as museum exhibits until fairly recently (maybe until the invasion of 2001). The career of the pair that ended up in the scrapyard is unknown. It is not really conveiveable that any of these tanks saw service in recent decades, but they just might have fallen into the wrong hands. But the spare parts would become unavailable a long time ago. Hope this helps.

Hengistmate (talk) 16:27, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Service History - Made A Weapon in Itself ?¿?[edit]

Indeed, the very production was made a weapon in itself: a goal was set of 12,260 to be produced (4,440 of which in the USA) before the end of 1919.

This sentence makes no sense to me. Any suggestions on how to improve it? Does anyone know when this goal was set?

I think it should be changed to

A goal was set (in date or early/late 191X) to build 12,260, 4,440 of them by the United States,before the end of 1919.

Be Bold In Edits (talk) 02:33, 5 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'll change the sentence to make it more understandable and will try to determine the date of the decision, which is indeed of importance. But remember: though you should be bold, the headings should not ;o).--MWAK (talk) 06:17, 5 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where did the tank go?[edit]

  • For many years an FT-17 was displayed in front of the Alexandria, Virginia Union Train Station, remaining there through at least the 1980s. Does anyone know the disposition of this tank? Mark Sublette (talk) 03:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 03:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to Amtrak officials,the tank was removed to aVFW museum in Huntington,West Virginia in the early1980s where it was restored torunning condition. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 9 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This Tank Has Been Given The Wrong Name.[edit]

The name of this tank was the Renault FT. The suffix "17" is incorrect. AS the article article says, all Renault projects were given a two-letter job code. This was FT; the next one, a truck intended to transport it, was FU. Unfortunately, the habit of calling it the FT-17 has become commonplace. The title of Steve Zaloga's book (cited as a major source for this article) is The Renault FT, which should be a clue. Pascal Danjou's book is called The Renault FT. Jones, Rarey, and Icks (1933) call it the Renault FT. French military historian and author François Vauvillier calls it the FT. Louis Renault called it the FT.

I have altered as many instances as I could find, but I might have missed some. I also migh have cocked up a link and a photo caption. Sorry. FT-17 should be changed to FT throughout. The page title also needs amending.

In recent times, I have discovered that on Wikipedia being right is no guarantee of anything if you are outnumbered by people who are wrong. I hope that principle is not applied in this instance.

Hengistmate (talk) 17:35, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Author Steve Crawford says that the model name was FT and the variant FT-17 carried a 37mm Puteaux gun. I'll move the article. Binksternet (talk) 18:41, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm afraid Mr. Crawford is wrong. The FT was the tank. If it had the Hotchkiss machine gun it was a char mitrailleur; if it had the 37mm gun it was a char canon. The confusion arises partly because there were several designs of turret (cast, polygonal) with different types of mounting for the gun, ending up with the omnibus, which could take either the mg or the cannon without modification. Renault farmed production out to several firms - Somua, Delaunay-Belleville, etc) and one of them (I forget which) started labelling the turrets "1918", but that was for their own purposes, nothing to do with Renault.

BTW, the first paragraph is highly contentious. Leading French military historians are not convinced about the Thomé theory; it's one of several possibilities. I think the author might have relied on a single source for that. The origins of this machine are very complicated. I'll try to get round to it.

In the meantime, thank you for your receptive approach. It contrasts favourably with that of the bloke who is doing the George S. Patton page.

Hengistmate (talk) 19:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, the situation is rather more complex.
First of all, in principle articles should be given the common name of their subject. As you yourself put it: "calling it the FT-17 has become commonplace".
Of course, a case can be made in every particular instance that the name should nevertheless be different for reasons of historical exactness. In this special case however, it is not unequivocal what "historical exactness" demands.
It is true, of course, that the Renault code name of the project was "FT". However, the "habit" of calling it the "Renault FT 17" (or, less authentic, "Renault FT-17") has its origin, not in some strange fancy, but in an official name the matériel once had, the Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917. It was common at the time to abbreviate this to "Renault FT 17". Accordingly Pierre Touzin states in his Les Véhicules Blindés Français 1940-1944, page 115: Ce matériel garde la désignation de son constructeur : <<FT 17>>. Then again, it wasn't uncommon to drop the "17" as well and simply call it "Renault FT". But remember: both "Renault FT 17" and "Renault FT" were abbreviations. So you can't really say that either of them is more "official" or "exact". And to which of them was more common at the time, who knows? The most extreme reduction in this period resulted in a "FT 17" or a "Char FT".
Now, your changes in the article are rather inexact from an historical point of view. You have abbreviated the name even further into a simple "FT". I know, Danjou (inconsistently) did the very same thing — but then he had to pack a lot of information in a booklet of 62 pages, half of which is a translation of the other half. We have no such excuse :o). Certainly the historical name of the tank was never a mere "FT". In documents it is always preceded by "Char" (or "char" if the person writing it forgot, or never understood, it functioned as part of the name and should therefore be written with a capital). This is reflected by the English translation in Danjou's book which also mostly renders it as char FT (BTW on pages 29, 30 and 39 "FT17" is used!).
What can we conclude from all this? I personally would say that the best solution would be to remain as close as possible to the more original name and thus use "Renault FT 17" (without the hyphen, which the French rarely inserted) in the main text. When sentences threaten to become overloaded, for reasons of style "FT 17", "Renault FT" or "Char FT" are quite acceptable alternatives which could be used interchangeably to make clear to the reader that using them is normal. "FT" is ahistorical and had better be avoided. It is unwise and unnecessary to change the article name, but if it is changed (has just been done, I notice) "Renault FT 17" is superior.--MWAK (talk) 20:50, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you propose to have two articles, one named Renault FT 17 and one named Renault FT 18? Binksternet (talk) 21:25, 29 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, because "FT 18" was apparently never used in an official name. Both the vehicles equipped with a cannon and those fitted with a machine gun were subsumed under the designation "Renault FT 17". It is apparently not clear where and when the idea originated that a "FT 18" existed. Jeudy explains it as a mistake, occasioned by the HP output of the engine!--MWAK (talk) 07:57, 30 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then it appears that Renault FT 17 should be the article's name. Binksternet (talk) 16:18, 30 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That seems best to me. However, perhaps user Hengistmate has some information or argumentation that is superior to mine...He seems uncommonly well-informed (and well-writing) and is hereby heartily invited to contribute to the article which indeed — largely because of my laziness — is rather limited.--MWAK (talk) 20:00, 30 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for your very kind remarks. I am struggling for time at the moment, so I can't thrash this out here and now. Please bear with me and I'll try to knock it into shape in the near future. Very briefly; I would be opposed to the title "FT 17", since even the proposition that it was a nickname seems unlikely. It's even possible that it is a misunderstanding that arose in the 1970s and has been perpetuated by authors. Those are the earliest uses of the term that I can find. It doesn't differentiate one model from another - the first batch ordered comprised both mg-armed and 37mm-armed, so the Puteaux argument isn't correct. As I mentioned, some of the later turrets were termed 1918 by their manufacturer, but that was purely an internal matter and applied only to the turret.

Most unhelpfully, the Germans renamed the Renaults that they captured in 1940 and used for anti-partisan operations the Panzerkampfwagen FT 18. I suspect that that was to distinguish it from the other marks of Renault that they captured, and 1918 was the first year in which the German Army encountered them. So they probably saw it as the "FT tank of 1918". More about this later.

I wouldn't describe "FT 17" as an abbreviation; it's more of a contraction, and there are few abbreviations that are longer than the original. The machine was, indeed, sometimes referred to internally as "the 18hp Renault FT", not the "FT18". My view is that the engineers at Renault had a project that had the job number FT. Their caterpillar artillery porteur was the FB, the 12-ton truck was the FU, and so on, with no suffix. The description was, as you say, Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917 , meaning literally "machine-gun vehicle with tracks Renault FT Model 1917". Of course, French grammar doesn't help matters, nor does the fact that terms don't translate neatly and exactly, so you could translate that as, say, "Renault FT Model 1917 tracked machine-gun vehicle" or, more militarily, "Renault FT tracked machine-gun vehicle, Model 1917". Whichever way you slice it, the FT and the 17 keep their distance. (During the draft stages the project has several working titles - "Patrol Tank" (Louis Renault), "Reconnaissance Tank" (Col. Estienne)and "Machine-gun tank" (on which they eventualy agreed) - and was given the job number FT when the avant-projet was approved for a full drawing.

As far as I can tell, French authors (Touzain, Gurtner, Jeudy, Malmassari, Vauvillier) refer to it consistently as the FT. I must admit I hadn't noticed the inconsistencies in Danjou. I shall check. Most French experts I speak to are adamant about it, and you know how particular they are about the language.

I am fortunate enough to have a copy of the relevant part of Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier's memoirs, very kindly sent to me by his son, who is still with us and living in Paris They are a long-lived strain, it would seem: Rodolphe made it to 98. At his great age, I'm afraid his son cannot be relied upon for such details, but Rodolphe refers to the vehicle throughout as "char FT", with no capital. That again is a French thing - part of M E-M's way of speaking. It's only like the difference between saying "Sherman" or "Sherman tank". But you wouldn't write "Sherman Tank" all the time. The word "char" is not an integral part of the machine's title; it depends on the context.

Now here is a most interesting point. In the 1930s the French began officially adding the year of entry into service as a suffix to their tank names: Renault R 35, Hotchkiss H 35, AMC SOMUA S 35, FCM 36, AMX 38, Hotchkiss H 39, Renault R 40, and so on. This was clearly necessary once mahufacturers had produced more than one mark. But in 1917 there was only one Renault. I suspect that some authors have accidentally backdated this practice to 1917. And since the Germans needed to distinguish between their captured Renaults, which included many R 35s, they gave the FT the 18 for admin purposes.

So I would come down firmly against FT 17. I think it is an accident, like "Marie Celeste" and some others I can't think of at this time of night. You get what I mean.

I need to let my head cool down now. This was only going to be a quick holding manoeuvre. Until I can have a good think about it, I would suggest that the article be headed "The Renault FT Light Tank", and as brief a summary of the above as can be arrived at incorporated in the opening remarks. I'm too tired to do anything just now.

Hope this helps. If you want to put something together I'll have a look at it as soon as I can. If you're violently opposed, we'll have to think again.

BTW, just to show how complicated it can be, mitrailleuse means either a machine-gun or an armoured car with machine-gun; automitrailleuse means an armoured car with machine-gun; a mitrailleur is a machine gunner. So the version armed with a mitrailleuse was a char mitrailleur. Why didn't they realise all the trouble they would cause?

As regards the origins of the FT - I lean towards the view that the idea was L. Renault's rather than Estienne's. Probably a mixture of technical practicality and business acumen that, remarkably, had tactical consequences. We can do that another time.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Hengistmate (talk) 02:15, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's very interesting you can access Ernst-Metzmaier's memoires! It would be very important that they be published — or published about! Or has that been done already? Should you want to write an article about it, I can more or less guarantee publishing space in The Netherlands (though not in a prestigious magazine I'm afraid :o).
As regards the issue at hand, I feel quite sure that you underestimate the age of the "FT 17" combination. Certainly it's been around for quite a bit longer than the seventies: I've been myself and I can vouch for the fact that it had already become the common name shortly after WW II. And didn't the Germans also use the designation Panzerkampfwagen FT 17? However, you might be quite right in assuming that the "FT" and the "17" originally kept their distance — or at least approached each other from an unexpected direction. In Heigl's Taschenbuch der Tanks (1934 edition) the type is called the "Renault M.17 F.T.". The "M.17" designation is apparently from Renault export brochures of the twenties (though I doubt these used "F.T." instead of "FT"). It seems the company referred to types that were still in the developmental stage with just the letter combination, adding a year model when they became available for production. Interestingly, already in Heigl a separate Renault M. 18 is mentioned, indicating the version with the rounded turret. That could be a purely German invention though. You also might be correct in suggesting the "FT 17" designation had its origins in the French usage of the thirties of combining a letter with a number to indicate tank types. However, the most simple explanation would then be that already in that period a "FT 17" was the result, perhaps in contradistinction to a (modified) FT 31? That it had become normal to refer to the type as the Renault FT would then explain why "R 17" wasn't chosen.
"The Renault FT Light Tank" or "Renault FT Light Tank" might be an excellent name for a book chapter but it is less than ideal for a Wikipedia article because it is even less common than "Renault FT" and there is an element of original research in the translation from the French Char Léger.
Considering the question of whether "FT" is a name by itself it might be useful to realise that it is but a code letter combination used to indicate a chronological order. That means it basically has syntactical problems standing by itself: it has to qualify something. In this it isn't any different from a number code. Just as it would be awkward to contract "T-54" to just a "54", using just a "FT" creates an absence that has to be filled by something; hence the French always put a char in front of it. Of course there was in this a certain amount of analogy felt with the possibility of qualifying a tank name by also putting char in front of it, as with char Sherman, which is perfectly correct French. But there is a fundamental difference in that in the latter case char is the qualifier. You can omit it: just Sherman is also good French. But you can't as easily eliminate char in front of char FT because in this case char is the thing qualified and removing it leaves nothing for the "FT" part to qualify. This means that in essence the whole functions as a name and had best be written as "Char FT". Will not always be done of course, as orthography is a complicated and confusing subject ;o).--MWAK (talk) 09:59, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello there. Thank you for your very kind, considered reply.

Firstly, M Ernst-Metzmaier sent me the material (and a photo of his father driving an FT in the 1980s) as a personal favour. At the moment I should not like to abuse his kindness. I do hope you understand. Perhaps as part of a larger work in the future.

didn't the Germans also use the designation Panzerkampfwagen FT 17? Not to my knowledge; sometimes as the PzKfw 18R 730(f).

in Heigl a separate Renault M. 18 is mentioned, indicating the version with the rounded turret. That's the point I made earlier; it applied to the Girod (IIRC) turret and has contributed to the misunderstanding about the existence of an FT18. Heigl has his moments of confusion. He seems to have been resposible for the origin of the myth about A7V tanks serving with the Polish Army after WWI. It misled a lot of people (including Jones, Rarey, and Icks) and still resurfaces today.

Perhaps "FT17" does go back further than the 70, but post-WWII is not 1917. I respectfully suggest that it only acquired the suffix after other Renault tanks appeared and it became necessary to distinguish one from another. Maybe it originated in the French Army. Perhaps troops, mechanics, and so on referred to them as the "17" and the "35". I know this is speculation, but I think it's worth the exercise.

However, something of which I am confident is that "FT 17" has no official status. Here's why:

Renault had no history of using such a system of nomenclature. During WWI they added the E, F, and G series, to their pre-War output. These included:

EG 4x4 heavy artillery tractor
FB caterpillar porteur
FS liaison car
FT, the tank in question
FU, 7 ton 4x2 heavy truck, especially designed to transport the FT light tank
GZ 3,5 ton 4x2 standard truck

No Renault product code contained any numerals. So as long as "17" does not appear in the name of this tank, I'm happy.

"First of all, in principle articles should be given the common name of their subject. As you yourself put it: "calling it the FT-17 has become commonplace". Commonplace and wrong. With respect, the common name is not the same as an incorrect name. A lot of people I know say, for example, "infer" when they mean "imply", or "concede defeat" when they mean "accept defeat" or "concede victory", or "criteria" when they mean "criterion". That doesn't mean that the dictionary should change its definitions because the incorrect expression has become commonplace. The dictionary should (as does Cassell's, for example) show the correct definition along with a Usage Note, such as, "Often confused with 'imply'". It seems to me that that's exactly how Wikipedia should work.

And so to char. It isn't a problem. It just means "tank". It was part of the description of the FT, not of the name or title. Char léger Renault simply means "Renault light tank". The French don't always put char in front of the name. I've got a shelfful of books that happily refer to "le Schneider" or "le Renault" - even "les Saint-Chamond"; what they don't do is pluralise the name, just as they don't pluralise family names. If you were writing in English, though, you would use English grammar and pluralise it. We don't say, "Keeping up with the Jones," and Morrissey wasn't in a band called The Smith. OK, you might inset "tank" to establish the meaning. To introduce them into a narrative you would most probably say "Sherman tanks . . . " but thereafter you'd say "the Shermans . . " Or the T-54s. Or the FTs. The English and French grammar aren't directly transferable.

Look at the article on the Russian BT Tank. The title of the article is tautology - the 'T' already stands for Tank, but the article isn't in Russian. Sometimes one has to make the best of things.

And, naturally, one would not contract "T-54" to just a "54", because it was produced as the T-54. The Renault tank (char, char d'assaut, blindé, char blindé, cuirassé, however it was described) was never produced as the FT17.

Amicalement, — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hengistmate (talkcontribs) 03:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It certainly is a disappointment that the many new insights the memoires could provide are for the moment denied us! But at least it is good to know that they exist.
That the article name should be the common one, is not so much my personal opinion as standing Wikipolicy. See: Wikipedia:Article titles. The basic point is that it should be completely unambiguous to the reader that the page he is reading, is about the vehicle he knows as "FT-17". That this name itself is historically less correct, can be explained in the text of the article. Cleansing the article of any reference to "FT-17", while this is the name used to refer to the type in the vast majority of books it is mentioned in, would be highly confusing and contrary to the purpose of an encyclopedia: to provide the reader the opportunity to obtain more information about a certain subject he has encountered.
In general, it should not be a rule to call a tank type by the name "under which it is produced", if the latter is supposed to be its internal factory designation. Sometimes that designation is rather obscure or much too wide. "Renault NC" e.g is the factory designation of the "Char D1" but also of several earlier projects in the twenties.
Again, I propose to use "Renault FT 17" or the original "Renault FT-17", as the article title. In the main text "FT 17" could be avoided, but, if not for the syntax problems for reasons of formality alone, it would be highly advisable to use "Renault FT" instead of a mere "FT".--MWAK (talk) 09:59, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I concur with MWAK on article name. That is policy and I can see no argument for not following it in this case. GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:52, 2 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, MWAK. Sorry for the delay in replying. You won't be surprised to hear that I think the article now looks just fine as it is. But let me offer you some justification.

It is incontrovertible that the tank was not called the FT 17 or FT-17. The case for "common usage" is interesting. Common usage is one thing; a common misconception is another. The question is what do we do in each case?

To use Wikipedia's example, "Bill Clinton" is common usage, and users are directed to the article entitled "Bill Clinton", where his full name is given as an elaboration. (BTW, compared to Bill Clinton, I think so few people talk about the FT at all that "common usage" is a bit of an exaggeration!) However, let us imagine that I am interested in a sailing ship that was discovered adrift and abandoned in the Atlantic in 1872. My experience is that the overwhelming majority of people who refer to it call it the Marie Celeste. It just seems natural that "Marie" goes better with "Celeste" than does plain old "Mary". But it's a common misconception. Therefore, if I search for Marie Celeste I am directed to the article on the Mary Celeste, where the confusion is explained. The ship was Mary, the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was Marie. That works fine. At present, that's exactly what happens if you search for FT-17.

To take another example, "buttercup" is a common name. If I search for it on Wikipedia I am redirected to the article on Ranunculus. In this case, the article is named after the botanical name. Perhaps Mr. Legget could reflect on the above the next time he joins the discussion, perhaps at greater length and in a more flexible frame of mind.

It seems to me that to name the article on the FT the FT 17 would tend to perpetuate the belief that that was its name, however much a clarification might follow. I don't think that the first thing you see should be an error. I hope you understand my point of view.

Now to the syntax and grammar. As we know, French and English are not the same. In the case of the word char it is, as you say, a qualifier. Just as you might say, "The author Stephen King," French writers sometimes put, "le char Schneider." But thereafter the qualifier is not necessary; you would refer to "King" or "le Schneider". A further snag is that the French put the qualifier in front. When we translate into English we should, naturally, put it after.

Some examples: early French experimental vehicles included the Tracteur Filtz, the Fortin Cuirassé Aubriot-Gabet, the Tracteur Blindé Archer, the Appareil Boirault, the Crocodile Schneider, and the Pont Delaunay-Belleville. We translate them as the Filtz Tractor, the Archer Armoured Tractor, the Boirault Machine, the Schneider Crocodile, and so on.

As to whether the French always put char before the object noun, I can offer Les Chars de la Grande Guerre by Paul Malmassari. He is a Lieutenat Colonel in the French Army, a Doctor of History, and Head of the French Army's Historical Bureau. Most of the photo captions contain the expression, "Char . . . ", but not all. For example, "Oemichen dans un Schneider" (Oemichen was a designer at Peugeot), "châssis du Schneider", "plan du projet Schneider CA3", but "plan profil du char CA3 proposé".

But in the text he mixes them up for the sake of variety: "Les faiblesses du Saint-Chamond . . . supérieure a celle du Schneider . . . la fabrication du CA3 . . . le Mk V* . . tracé du Saint-Chamond . . des Saint-Chamond au secours des Schneider . . . les défauts des Schneider(Note not pluralised). . . la tourelle du Renault."

So by all means switch between "the FT" and "the Renault" if it makes the article less monotonous. That is fine, and permissible in both English and French. But please no FT17 or variations thereof.

Au plaisir de vous lire.

Hengistmate (talk) 22:06, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, the examples you give are not quite comparable. A ship is registered under an official name; a plant species has its official scientific name. The internal factory designation however, has no such official status. Surely it should not be a general rule that tank articles have such a designation as their title; I assume you will not defend this even for French tanks alone. It so happened that in the case of this particular type the "FT" designation ended up being inserted in the actual name people used. There also was a year model number assigned to the type; after some time — we don't know when exactly — the two were combined in general usage resulting in a "FT 17". That this combination is a bit peculiar doesn't mean it is in "error", nor the fact it isn't perhaps the oldest colloquial name. After all, in this case we have no unequivocal single "historically correct" name.
Would the simple fact that FT-17 redirects to Renault FT be clear enough to the reader? No. Both of us are well acquainted with the type: to us it is therefore obvious that the Renault FT is identical to the FT-17. The general reader however, lacks the background knowledge to draw correct conclusions about why he was redirected. Was the FT-17 perhaps a prototype? A subtype together with an FT-18? A derivation? A rivalling project discarded in favour of the Renault FT? Of course, we could clarify things in the lead section by stating something to the extent of: "Reader beware! The type called here Renault FT is in the vast majority of cases referred to under the name of "FT-17"!". But if that is true, under Wikipolicy "FT-17" should be in the article title.
BTW, my contention was not that char qualifies FT but the opposite! Les Chars de la Grande Guerre is a very useful book, that painfully reminds me of the fact that all these articles are in dire need of being expanded...--MWAK (talk) 08:35, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Surprisingly we've gotten this far without reference to the Wikipedia policies on naming Wikipedia:Article titles (and as an aside Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) for clarifying the business around Ranunculus). GraemeLeggett (talk) 09:26, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Tank Museum at Bovington seem happy to call it "Char Renault FT17" in their catalogue. I don't what term other institutions use. GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:09, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe User Hengistmate had read the policy guidelines. But being less experienced in Wikimatters than we are, he probably has no idea what an incessant source of trouble it might be to act in contravention of them ;o). I fear a name changed in this way will be challenged again and again...That is why in the beginning I indicated it would be unwise to change it.--MWAK (talk) 14:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why don't we flag the issue up at MILHIST? There are many wise heads there, and consensus might be forthcoming. GraemeLeggett (talk) 15:15, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We might do that :o).--MWAK (talk) 08:09, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the recently published Le général J.B.E. Estienne "père des chars" - des chenilles et des ailes by Arlette Estienne Mondet (his granddaughter): "il s'agissait du nom de code chronologique donné au véhicule à Billancourt. On le désigne aussi comme le FT 17: le chiffre 17 fut rajouté après la guerre dans les livres d'histoire car chez Renault on disait toujours le char FT."

Translation: "it was the chronological codename given to the vehicle at Billancourt. 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."

This would perhaps help to explain Bovington's happiness, amongst other things.

I hope Mr. Leggett's remark about there being wise heads at MILHIST is not meant to imply that there are none here. I notice, by the way, that whilst "Buttercup" redirects to "Ranunculus," "Cornflower" takes me to "Cornflower" (not Centaurea Cyanus),"Privet" to "Privet" (not Lingustrum), and so on. My reading of the rules indicates that such matters are decided on "a case by case basis" rather than by a hard and fast rule. Hengistmate (talk) 14:22, 26 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, the combination "FT 17" indeed seems to be post-WWI. Having my copy of Malmassari's work brought over to me from London (you see we spare no expenses in furthering the cause of Wikipedia ;o), I happened upon a short appendix I hadn't noticed before, treating tank designations. In it he states On notera à ce sujet que le char type Renault n'a jamais porté pendant la Première Guerre mondiale le nom de <<FT 17>>... On the other hand he also indicates that in army documentation <<type F.T.>> (apparently even then misunderstood) first appears in August 1917 but that at the same time <<char léger Renault type 1917>> is used and <<Renault 1917>>, so the year number seems to be contemporaneous.--MWAK (talk) 14:05, 30 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aha. I, too, had not bothered to read Lt-Col Malmassari's notes until you kindly drew them to my attention. I suspect that the "F.T." came about because of a normal impulse to put full stops after initials. That could be what has led so many sources to assume that "F.T." must be initials rather than simply letters in a series.

On a related matter, Malmassari also says that there was a Schneider CB. I have long doubted that the CA stood for char d'assaut. The fact that a proposed Schneider model became an artillery tractor and was given the designation CD leads me to believe that this was a system like Renault's - just product codes. But what was the Schneider CB? Hengistmate (talk) 21:52, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mr. Leggett might be interested to hear that Bovington are no longer happy to call this vehicle the FT17. Since the refurbishment it is labelled "Renault FT," with the subtitle "Renault 1917," indicating the manufacturer and year of production. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hengistmate (talkcontribs) 13:47, 15 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Service history: users[edit]

On 31 january 2011 I added the United Kingdom in the list of nations that used the Renault FT operationally. This is based on note n° 24387/GQG of 19 september 1919 to the Senatorial Army commission. It mentions that 24 Renault FT tank were delivered to the British Army. In the same edit I removed the German Empire as to this date no published source have found any conclusive evidence of it being used operationally by the German Imperial Army. That captured examples were used for instruction as been mentioned, but there's still absolutely no record of combat service. On 24 February I reverted an edited that added Canada to the list of users. The Canadian Army had no armoured units until 1930, and to this date I haven't found any mention of Renault FT tanks being delivered to it. As a note the Tank Corps did support the Canadian Corps on the Western Front in 1918 (notably at Amiens), but the Tank Corps is part of the British Army. Regards Don Durandal (talk) 21:08, 24 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The loan of FTs to the British was part of the deal arranged by Churchill. The British were to reciprocate by lending Heavy Tanks to the French. In the end the French received Mk V* Tanks, but none saw action before the Armistice. FTs were used as command/liaison vehicles with the Canadians, but with British crews.

There were 2 Canadian Tank Battalions in WWI. They trained at Bovington but the War ended before they could be sent to France.

Hengistmate (talk) 14:29, 3 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thomé's Involvement[edit]

"Studies on the production of a new light tank were started in May 1916 by the famous car producer Louis Renault, for no apparent reason other than his wish to involve steel tycoon Paul Thomé in his business schemes."

This is not my understanding of Thomé's involvement. He had previously manufactured for Renault some aero-engine cylinder heads in cast iron that had proved superior to Renault's own. According to Thomé's diary, the two met after Renault had persuaded Colonel J-B. Estienne of the advisability of a small, light Tank, and Estienne had already placed an order. Renault asked Thomé if, in the light of his previous experience, he would be able to produce cast iron parts for the new vehicle since Renault did not have the capacity at his own foundry. Thomé agreed, and a company was set up with Renault taking a 60% share and Thomé's company ploughing back the 75,000 francs that Renault had paid him for the aero parts. It was simply a case of outsourcing parts that Renault could not produce in sufficient quantity for an order that had already been agreed.

Renault seems to have been working on a light tank before his second meeting with Estienne. Estienne was still pursuing the idea of tanks of a similar weight to the Schneider and Saint-Chamond, around 14 tons. Renault's insistence on a lighter vehicle appears to have been based on his view that no engine existed that would provide the necessary power/weight ratio for a medium tank. Some of Estienne's reports talk of a design for a light tank already in existence at Renault. Of course, the choice of a light tank would have tactical implications on the battlefield. To state that Renault's motivation was purely to benefit Thomé is far-fetched. Estienne was already considering some kind of command/reconnaissance tank, based on the Schneider CA.

Hengistmate (talk) 14:05, 3 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, but from the account in Jeudy's Chars de France one gets the impression that Renault and Thomé had had a previous business contact in which Renault asked, for general purposes, to acquire Thomé's innovative cast steel (not simply iron) method but was put off by the latter's demand for a large personal remuneration. When becoming involved in several French armour projects in the Spring of 1916 — he was asked to develop another medium/heavy vehicle on the lines of the Schneider/ St Chamond — Renault would have realised that by involving Thomé, appealing to his patriotic feelings, in a joint venture to produce light tanks he basically could obtain the technique for free by making a profitable investment. Certainly, Renault's main motive was not to benefit Thomé :o).--MWAK (talk) 09:28, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Try as I might, I cannot arrive at that interpretation of jeudy's account. Renault paid Thomé 75,000 francs in gold for the cylinder heads to defray losses. Thomé uses the word "fonte", which is cast iron rather than steel; I should have thought that someone in his line of business would be precise in his terminology. Although Renault had a reputation for organising things to his advantage, particularly when it came to the avoidance of paying royalties, Thomé takes the trouble to point out that when the joint company was dissolved after the War Renault "as usual" took care to ensure that the terms were favourable to Thomé. As far as I can see, the only dealings between the two men before the FT order were to do with the cylinder heads.

But all the above is beside the point. What I am trying to indicate is that Renault did not conceive and champion the FT "for no apparent reason other than his wish to involve Thomé in his business schemes." The claim should be removed.

Hengistmate (talk) 11:12, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Damn, rereading it, I notice what mistake I had made: I read autrement instead of autrefois, assuming the 75,000 gold franc had never been paid...And you're right about the fonte malléable also, the correct translation is malleable iron. The entire development history of the type needs to be rewritten and expanded.--MWAK (talk) 13:36, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not to worry. Can we remove it, then? The comment is already cloned all over the Internet. Hengistmate (talk) 16:52, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia has many mirrors; they will change with it. You can remove the incorrect clause; in any case, I'm now annoyed enough with the shortcomings of the article to start making the changes pretty soon :o).--MWAK (talk) 19:57, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done that. Thanks. Also, I have no knowledge of Ernst-Metzmaier designing any of the FCM tanks, only a claim that Renault supplied an engine. Ernst-Metzmaier makes no mention of it in his memoirs.Hengistmate (talk) 23:47, 6 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorting Out the Name Problem[edit]

I think we need to take a root-and-branch approach to this. I notice that the wording has been changed from "inexactly known as the FT-17 or FT17" to "informally known as . . ." Both are incorrect, although "inexactly" is marginally preferable. "Misguidedly" would be more accurate. It is referred to as the FT-17 or FT17 predominantly by English-speaking sources in post-WWI writings. We have two authoritative French sources that state that this vehicle was not referred to by either of those names during WWI. It is a habit that has grown up since, although the reason isn't clear. On the assumption that we are required not merely to state the facts but also to dispel misunderstandings, I suggest that we explain that.

Rather than tinker with the existing references dotted throughout the article, I would also suggest that we follow the example of the general article on tanks [[1]] and insert a section on this. We can use it to explain the origin of the name and the emergence of the FT-17 habit and dispel the myths about there being an FT18 and the designation being dependent on which turret or what armament was fitted to the tank or its having something to do with the hp of the engine. We can call it "etymology" or "nomenclature" or something.

I'm happy to prepare a draft. A l'attente de vous lire.

Hengistmate (talk) 18:29, 19 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that a section about the names would be very useful. The reason "inexactly" was changed for "informally" — and "misguidedly" would be improper — is that Wikipedia strives to be descriptive, not prescriptive. It isn't our task to prescribe the reader what name to use, we merely have to indicate what names actually have been used. Of course, this would include informing what the original or official names were — but the reader has to decide for himself whether he would be "misguided" if following present usage.--MWAK (talk) 05:44, 20 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

With respect; it is those authors who have acquired the habit of calling it the FT-17 who are mistaken, and they subsequently mislead anyone who reads their work. No one is telling readers what name to use, and we have no control over what they call it anyway. All we can do is explain the facts and the misconceptions. Thereafter, they can call it a Treacle Pudding if they wish. As far as I can tell, it is perfectly proper for Wikipedia to point out misconceptions. Indeed, I would suggest that it is its duty to do so. I enclose some examples where that has been done:

"The name 'Frankenstein' – actually the novel's human protagonist – is often incorrectly used to refer to the monster itself."

"Although the koala is not a bear, English-speaking settlers from the late 18th century first called it koala bear due to its similarity in appearance to bears. Although taxonomically incorrect, the name koala bear is still in use today outside Australia – its use is discouraged because of the inaccuracy in the name."

"The battle (of Cambrai) is often erroneously noted for being the first large-scale use of tanks in a combined arms operation.

"The term shrapnel is often incorrectly used to refer to fragments produced by any explosive weapon."

However, I believe that this note from the article on Archbishop Thomas Beckett, frequently referred to as Thomas à Beckett, addresses the situation ideally:

"The name 'Thomas à Becket' is not contemporary, and appears to be a post-Reformation creation, possibly in imitation of Thomas à Kempis."

I shall proceed on that basis.


Hengistmate (talk) 17:03, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly, the last solution is preferable! Some of the cases you refer to are not quite comparable as the mistakes there are about facts outside of the name itself, such as the plot of a novel ("Frankenstein") or the phylogenetic position of an animal ("koala") — or even purely factual ("Cambrai"). But don't hesitate to add the section. The Way of Wikipedia is not to be perfect but by imperfection inspire others to greater perfection ;o).--MWAK (talk) 04:58, 22 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

With the greatest respect, MWAK, as we say in England on occasions such as this, the Frankenstein point is nothing to do with the plot of the book. It is that many people have come to mistakenly believe that Frankenstein is the name of the monster and not of the man who created him. When they say, "You look like Frankenstein," they think they are saying, "You look like a huge, ugly man with bolts in his neck," but they are saying, "You look like a rather nondescript Swiss gentleman." This mistake is perpetuated by common usage but is still a mistake. The same applies to a koala, because it is not a bear. Anyway, this analysis is too deep. I shall press on.

MfG. Hengistmate (talk) 13:27, 22 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anyway :o), you did a great job adding the section. Don't hesitate adding a bit more! (hint, hint).--MWAK (talk) 06:32, 24 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are most kind. The next problems are as follows: I would suggest strongly that "informally" be changed to "erroneously," or something that implies it. Secondly, if I google "Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917," all but one of the results that come up are quoting this article. I haven't seen this term used in any literature. Could you tell me the source of it? Hengistmate (talk) 08:04, 24 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, your suggestion is at odds with standing Wikipedia NPOV policy. We are not allowed to be prescriptive or judgemental — and certainly in a matter of pure convention, as any name is, we cannot condemn a wide-spread usage!
Nevertheless, names also entail factual matters, such as your very pertinent question whether Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917 was ever a real name. Looking at the edit history, seven years ago I apparently changed the existing Renault FT modèle 1917 designation present in the article by adding Automitrailleuse à chenilles because Jeudy's Chars de France p. 29 gave me the impression that Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault was the oldest official Army name for the matériel. Reading Malmassari makes me doubt there ever was an "official name" and his text suggests the earliest use of a year number was the contemporary char léger Renault type 1917. That could serve as an alternative — the hybrid I created has to go of course — second name to be mentioned in the first sentence to at least explain where the "17" in "FT 17" comes from.--MWAK (talk) 16:47, 25 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello again. On the question of popular usage, I think we are allowd to point out that a term might be popularly used but is still incorrect. For example, it is common practice to refer to the Clock Tower at the British Houses of Parliament as "Big Ben." However, that is actually the name of one of the bells within the Tower. The name of the tower is "The Clock Tower." So we can say, "popularly but inaccurately . . ." We're allowed to observe that a source is at odds with the facts. Sir John Keegan states with absolute confidence that the FT was first used in April, 1917, but we know that that is a mistake and are at liberty to point that out.

In any event, the phrase "widespread useage" is a relative one - I don't think enough people talk about the Renault on a regular basis for the word "widespread" to be justified :o).

So how about this? Let's take Automitrailleuse à chenilles Renault FT modèle 1917 out of the first para altogether and move it down into "Nomenclature," setting out in chronological order the various names that were applied to the vehicle during its gestation. Should I give that a try?

Hengistmate (talk) 11:24, 11 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The way you did it, is excellent!--MWAK (talk) 15:38, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some Drastic Revision[edit]

Having read this article very carefully, I would suggest the following amendments:

Service History: there is evidence that FTs were used after 1945, perhaps as late as the 1950s.

Production History: I think that Louis Renault should be credited along with Ernst-Metzmaier as designer.

Variants: I would distinguish between "variants" and "derivatives" (e.g. Fiat 3000).

Estienne: "the 'Father of the Tanks'" implies that he is universally acknowledged as such, wheres it is a predominantly French appelation.

radiator fan belt and cooling system problems were not confined to early models. I suggest this be altered or noted elsewhere.

Estienne's "swarm" theory was the result of Renault convincing him of the value of the light tank. He had originally been in favour of what would be termed Medium Tanks by the standards of the day.

Afghanistan: It is not thought that the Afghan FTs were bought from France. They were, more likely, a gift from the USSR. AFAIK there is no record of their use in combat by Afghanistan.

Variants: mention of the BS and TSF is repeated. Again, I would distinguish between variants and derived designs. The U.S. M1917 was a near-copy, not a copy. Numerous other late-War and post-War variants are not listed here (e.g. bulldozer, cargo carrier, fascine carrier, bridgelayer, searchlight carrier).

Surviving Vehicles: I am not sure that the fate of the Afghan FTs is accurately described here, and am happy to investigate further.

I await the consensus.

Hengistmate (talk) 00:21, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most of these proposed changes seen unproblematic to me. Especially completing a list of variants would be a much-needed addition because recently much has been published about these. However, remember that information about the post-1945 use and the fate of the Afghan vehicles must be based on some secondary sources. It should not reflect completely new discoveries about the course of history by yourself alone! :o) You can always recount the essentials here, on the talk page ;o). That certain versions are mentioned both in the running text and in a list should not be changed. Ideally, the reader should be informed of the full content by normal narrative and lists should only subsume this.--MWAK (talk) 15:55, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK. Here goes. Hengistmate (talk) 20:44, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Someone has changed the line "Automitrailleuse was the standard word for a car armed with a machine-gun," to "Automitrailleuse was the standard word for a tracked machine-gun vehicle." This is not correct. The term automitrailleuse was in use well before WWI and referred to wheeled vhicles. As is made clear in the section, the FT was briefly described as automitrailleuse à chenilles, which would be tautological if an automitrailleuse had tracks - "a tracked vehicle with tracks." It is clear from the text that tracked vehicles were developed to replace wheeled vehicles. That was the whole point of inventing Tanks in the first place. I have reverted the change. Please don't muck about with it.Hengistmate (talk) 16:55, 30 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your last change is quite wrong. Automitrailleuse may or not mean armoured, or with tracks, but it can only mean a powered vehicle, auto in common French parlance, armed with at least a machine gun or mitrailleuse. Armament is the key part of this, not armour. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have restored the original text. It is true that automitrailleuse does literally mean "machine-gun car," and it was at first applied to standard vehicles fitted with machine-guns. But from about 1902, when the Charron-Girardot-Voigt armoured car appeared, it came to mean "armoured car." By 1914 the word was generally accepted as meaning "armoured car," and that is the dictionary definition today.

Regards, Hengistmate (talk) 16:38, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It means "armoured car" when that means "both armed and armoured". Claiming that it means armouring specifically, or that this is the origin of the term, is quite wrong. Engin blindé is the term for armoured car, or more recently véhicule blindé. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now raised at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Edit_warring#User:Hengistmate_reported_by_User:Andy_Dingley_.28Result:_.29 Andy Dingley (talk) 18:17, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The change was originally made by an IP who claimed to be correcting the translation. However, that appears to have been wrong. "Automitrailleuse" is defined by dictionaries simply as "armored car".[2][3][4] Not "machine gun car" or anything of the sort. Our French article defines "Automitrailleuse" as "a military vehicle armed and lightly armored with wheels"— the term may well only refer to armed and armored cars (i.e. a specific type of armored car), but that's not the change you're trying to implement. Even if it is wrong to simply say, "armored car", I'm not seeing how "machine gun-carrying car" is more correct. Swarm X 19:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Talk:Contact fuse for why everyday dictionaries are problematic for technical terms.
Of course automitrailleuse translates into English as "armoured car", because English uses one term for both and cannot easily distinguish them. This is no reason to change a definition of automitrailleuse, when this is being explained in detail, term by term, as here.
This is particularly the case around the Great War, when the concepts were so new. The notion of an "armed car" was quite distinct from an "armoured car" at this time, as choosing one often meant excluding the other. French military parlance had, and still has to this day, the term 'Engin blindé' specifically to distinguish armoured cars - perhaps its best known example being the Panhard EBR (EBR being 'Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance'). Andy Dingley (talk) 19:49, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
standard dictionary references aren't really adequate for translating military terminology, as are no references at all, and self references to wikipedia. Unless some are forthcoming the entire paragraph ought to go. (Hohum @) 21:55, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why I need to write the exact same thing to get my point across is beyond me, but I'll do so: while "armored car" may not be correct, I see nothing that says "machine gun-carrying car" is correct. I'm going to have to agree with Hohum on this one: the whole paragraph ought to go if neither side can start providing some reliable sources. Swarm X 01:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could start with a French dictionary, even the online Larousse you've already linked, and try looking at mitrailleuse vs. blindé. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My opinion is: Translating word by word (or partial-word) via a dictionary is hardly adequate. Ideally, find a source about this tank which provides the translation, otherwise leave it out. (Hohum @) 19:45, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I empathise, Mr. Swarm. I, too, have struggled to follow Mr. Dingley's logic in this and some other matters. Allow me to offer some supporting evidence. I have consulted my son, who has lived in France since, I think, 1988 and who sometimes corrects my French, but I realize this is inadmissible. (He also, incidentally, speaks a reasonable Welsh, but he gets that from his mother)

I cannot be held responsible for the fact that Renault chose to describe the prototype as automitrailleuse, but they did. I am happy to explain in detail how the word was initially used to describe a motor vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and subsequently a vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and either improvised or purpose-built armour. The point that I think I made clearly in the section is that by 1914 automitrailleuse was universally understood to mean the latter. The English equivalent was "armoured car." It is a matter of accident that the French term ignores the armour, and the British the armament. To avoid any possibility of ambiguity that might be seized upon, it should be noted that cars fitted with armour and a small calibre gun (in the military sense of the word) were referred to as autocanon. The logic of that seems to be entirely consistent. These terms were used by Francophone manufacturers of such vehicles during the period in question. Later, when many more types of armed-and-armoured vehicles came into being, subtler terms and distinctions became necessary, but that did not apply at the time we are examining. Those involved in this discussion might care to study this site,[5] a history of French armoured vehicles administered by a French military historian with the collaboration of several other French military historians. I beieve that the situation will become clear.

On a further linguistic note, the assertion made earlier that automitrailleuse meant a tracked vehicle is insupportable; if it did, there would have been no need for Renault to add à chenilles - that would mean "a tracked vehicle with tracks." Blindé means, as an adjective, armoured or, as a noun, an armoured vehicle. Engin blindé and vehicule blindée mean "armoured vehicle," with no further qualification. The French museum at Saumur is the Musée des Blindés, and it harbours all manner of armoured vehicles. I actually think that Larousse supports my view.

I am not sure which parts of the section are being considered for removal. I hope that, apart from this particular issue, it satisfies Wikipedia's requirements. I took the trouble and a considerable amount of time to construct it and, I hope, rectify a long-standing misapprehension, pro bono publico. To remove parts of it without a certain amount of care would seriously disrupt the narrative. I should also be keen to know which parts of it require additional citation.

As regards the roots of this dispute, I apologize for my ignorance of Wikipedia's workings. I did not realize that repeated reversion of unjustified alterations triggered some sort of alarm. However, I think you will see from the earlier discussions, with MWAK, that I usually conduct debates in a methodical, polite and good-humoured fashion, considering alternative viewpoints and being prepared to arrive at a reasoned conclusion. I would ask you to consider the response I received from Mr. Dingley during a discussion of another, somewhat related, topic: "Patronising tosser. 'You make a number of points, several of which are true' Well pardon me. As to references, yours are hardly impressive, being the sort of coffee table "Big Boy's Book of WAR!!!" that are the bane of Wikipedia." I believe these remarks contravene two of Wikipedia's rules: politeness and acknowledgement of reliable sources. I attempted to resist being provoked, although perhaps not entirely successfully. I would also invite you to note the immoderate language in which Mr. Dingley's other remarks are couched. I actually beseeched him not to enter into an edit war.

I find it odd that not having encountered Mr. Dingley until very recently I now see him taking a great interest in other items that I have submitted. It is almost as if he were seeking them out and trying to find fault with them. Yet his accusations include the allegation that I have a personal agenda. I am tempted to suggest that this dispute is what we refer to in my line of work as "frivolous and vexatious." The nugatory nature of it would, I venture, embarrass a mediaeval theologian.

However, I shall be happy to cooperate in the finding of a form of words that satisfies all concerned, provided the essential facts are retained. It seems a shame to spoil the ship for considerably less than a ha'p'orth of tar.

Regards, Hengistmate (talk) 14:50, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please focus on improving the article, and not commenting on editors. (Also WP:TLDR) (Hohum @) 17:09, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is indeed a ha'porth of tar, especially as it bears so little direct connection to the Renault FT, as compared to an armoured car.
Your change was to change "car armed with a machine-gun" to "armoured car". This was probably in response to an IP's earlier change that had changed this (incorrectly, I agree) to be "... with tracks". I suggest that your significant and appropriate reaction to the wording as "tracks" caused you to over-react somewhat and revert both aspects of the change made.
To clarify, both terms in French translate to "armoured car" in English. This is because there is no comparable uncontrived English term to "armed car". It does not indicate the specific meaning of either French term: to claim that a French term meaning "armed" in origin changing its own meaning to become "armoured", just because English has no more specific term would cause apoplexy at L'Académie.
The problem here is that it's a matter of little real weight, and any weight that etymology does carry is in favour of armed car, not armoured. To start attempting a defence of your edit-warring through multiple revisions (see WP:3RRNO) you would have to show that these changes were "Reverting obvious vandalism" (emphasis original). They are clearly not. Even if you disagree, they are not vandalism. Even if the distinction is slight, the meaning of armed car (over armoured) is the more exact. Even if this could make some difference on armoured car (Was the unarmed Killen-Strait tractor ever described as an automitrailleuse I wonder?) it makes little difference to this article on an armed, armoured (and for that matter, tracked) Renault FT.
I cannot speak for the IP editor, but I see your edits here as more of a problem for their manner, than their content as such. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:12, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From François Vauvillier, GBM, France: Gentlemen, if I may intervene in your discussion, for the sake of accuracy in translating auto-mitrailleuse à chenilles (as I see that what I have already written, below, was not complete enough), I wish to add the following :

10) We have to keep consistent with chronology, and this is of the utmost importance to translate properly from French to English the controversial term auto-mitrailleuse ;

11) In this debate (not dispute I hope) about the Renault FT, please keep in mind that we are already in the second half of the Great War. At this time, all the former unarmoured autos-mitrailleuses have disappeared, many months ago, from the French inventory. They have been replaced by the armoured autos-mitrailleuses of various makes (mainly Renault, by the way ; the Peugeot were autos-canons because of their 37 mm QF naval gun). As a matter of fact, the necessity for a MG-car to be armoured had appeared in the last months of 1914 (see GBM # 90 on this specific point, especially from p. 43 : Avec la guerre, le blindage l'emporte : With war, armour wins).

12) However, after year 1914, there have been a certain number of unarmoured machine-gun cars serving in the French army during WWI. The three instances which come to my mind right now are :

a - the voitures de liaison, torpedo tourism type, fitted with a MG pole and attached, as staff cars, to the armoured cars (MG-armed Renault and 37mm gun-armed Peugeot) groups. One such liaison car per group (ref. GBM #90 page 52, text top 1st column);

b - the tracteurs mitrailleurs of the French Aeronautique in Tunisia (see Les Camions de la Victoire, Jeudy and Boniface page 183-184);

c - the voitures mitrailleuses of the supply train, also torpedo type (ibid, page 105).

But the important fact here are the distinct designations of all three types. This is because the meaning of auto-mitrailleuse had turned, suddenly (formally, in October 1914) but very clearly, into the idea of an armoured machine-gun car.

13) After WWI, I know of only one type of regular French unarmoured MG-car which however received the name of automitrailleuse : they were the automitrailleuses légères du désert (desert light machine-gun cars) of the Special Levant Forces. And this is true for the first type only, Chenard & Walcker U8. Its successor in the same role and same designation was the Hotchkiss armoured torpedo (see photo in Les véhicules blindés français 1900-1944, Touzin, page 244 top).

14) Back to the early development of the Renault FT, to call it auto-mitrailleuse à chenilles (or à chaines), obviously meant that it was question of an armoured car, armed with a machine-gun and fitted with tracks. This is exactly how a Frenchman of 1916-17, be he a famous car maker, a general in the Tank Force, a minister of Supply or private Toulemonde, would have understood it.

15) In other words, an auto-mitrailleuse à chenilles, in French 1916-17 understanding, is nothing more and nothing less than what the British would have translated, in the same time, and still now —, as a light tank armed with a machine-gun (if Shakespeare permits).--François Vauvillier (talk) 23:01, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, that is again very clarifying. Might it be correct to state that the concept is best translated thus, but that the French, struggling to express the new idea as precisely as possible, creatively combined somewhat older terminology and that the reader might benefit from an additional more literal translation to gain insight in this creative process?--MWAK (talk) 17:41, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From François Vauvillier, GBM, France: Bonjour MWAK. To finally sort out this tricky matter of designation/nomenclature of the Renault FT light tank, I have made, in the last 48 hours, a deeper research which gives a series of precisely-dated appellations for the Louis Renault design — from contemporary archives as I use to. I will add the result of this research to a big article/study, at least 16 pages scheduled at this moment, on the FT production process and total numbers of FTs produced (1917-1919), which I am currently writing for my quarterly magazine Guerre, Blindés & Matériel (GBM), issue #99. This gathering of never-published before informations and documentations is due for release in late December 2011 (French language, sorry). I suggest we wait for this publication to set out the matter in Wikipedia. And this will be also a very good occasion to make an in-depth amendment to the French Wikipedia FT Article, which has not, so far, benefited from the various discussions held here by the English-speaking debatters. Bien cordialement.--François Vauvillier (talk) 10:00, 11 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's good to hear a new article by your hand will appear! Especially since it's strict Wikipedia policy that only information from secondary sources may be inserted; I had feared much of your very valuable contributions here might be rendered useless by this...We'll expectantly await its publication!
Greetings, --MWAK (talk) 18:38, 14 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What was, in the early XXth century, an 'auto-mitrailleuse' and how to translate it in English ?[edit]

From François Vauvillier, GBM, France (Foreword. This is my first attempt of contributing to Wikipedia and, if it goes to the wrong place, or with imperfections, please accept my apologizes. Please note also that English is not my mother-tongue. FV).

I refer here to the discussion between several gentlemen about the signification of the French word automitrailleuse during the period discussed.

I have studied this question very carefully in the past few years, from direct contemporary sources (French Defense Archives in Vincennes and Renault factory archives). From this, I have written a number of articles on these matters, published from 2007 onwards in the French bimonthy magazine TankZone and the French quarterly magazine GBM (both published by Histoire & Collections, Paris), which I am sure the debatters — at least some of them — know, according to what has been written in this discussion page.

To keep factual, here is what I can state, from sources :

1) auto-mitrailleuse (early spelling, currently used during the period discussed, which begins at the turn of the XXth century in France ; I use the modern spelling automitrailleuse in my works) refers to a motor car (automobile, contracted into auto-) armed with a machine-gun (mitrailleuse). There is no reference to the necessity of this motor car being armoured (blindé), neither to the fact that this motor car has to be wheeled. The latter was no question since there was no alternative to wheels at this early time, at least in France. The very first record of such French vehicles or projects I have found is dated 1899 : it is the project of commandant Paloque, although he describes, not an auto-mitrailleuse named as such, but a similar vehicle named mitrailleuse automobile (GBM # 90 page 35), indeed the same idea. The possibility of armour is not mentioned.

2) The main French promoteur of the auto-mitrailleuse before 1914, capitaine Genty, using a Panhard 'tourism" car armed with a MG, was totally against the use of armour on such vehicles.

3) The armour on French auto-mitrailleuses was uncommon before the outbreak of WWI and, when in existence, it was as private ventures rather that on French Army's requirement. The reference to the French website is not appropriate here, since it covers only armoured vehicles, and therefore does not give any information on the unarmoured Panhard-Genty models and similar vehicles by Clément-Bayard (plus others between August and late 1914). All of these, as well as the early armoured ones up to early 1915, have been fully documented by myself in GBM #90 pages 34-52.

4) the expression auto-mitrailleuse à chenilles has first been issued, AFAIK, in Spring 1915, to refer to the initial French (tank) project by ingenior Eugène Brillié, from Schneider & Cie, which would eventually lead to the well-known Schneider CA tank. On this particular subject, I must however be careful : I have not, so far, found a contemporary sentence in archives. I refer to Deygas' classical book of 1937, Les chars d'assaut. He comments the perspective, circa May-June 1915, of building, from Holt caterpillar tractors, an auto-mitrailleuse blindée à chenilles (Deygas' proper words), which easily translates to 'armoured machine-gun car with tracks'. In August 1915, the project was renamed tracteur armé et blindé ('armed and amoured tractor') to hide its true purpose. This idea of concealment and secrecy was the same in France as the one that led to the adoption of the word 'tank' by the British.

5) When the French 'medium' (later expression, not in existence at the time) Schneider and Saint-Chamond tanks came to existence, they were known, either as tracteurs blindés (concealment term), or for what they really were : cuirassés terrestres (land battleships, landships).

6) Louis Renault, as a car manufacturer, favoured a small-size armoured machine, more closely based on automobile technique. The name of auto-mitrailleuse à chenilles (or à chaînes, contemporary variant) was therefore highly suitable to qualify his project, more especially as the initial version was armed with a machine-gun. In fact, no other name could have been more suitably given to such a design at this time, since char d'assaut — later simply char — was not yet introduced (this word was the idea of general Estienne, in order to bannish the word tank commonly used in France at this time, after the English expression, for lack of a proper easy French word).

7) The original contract, signed with Renault by the Ministry of Amament and approved 20 May 1917 (marché n° 1283 C/V), stands for 150 autos-mitrailleuses à chaînes conformes à la description ci-jointe (= matching the description enclosed). If one wishes so, auto-mitrailleuse à chaînes may be considered as the very first official designation of the Renault FT light tank.

8) Another expression appearing rather early, on a list of spare parts from the French GHQ services (GQG, Direction de l'Arrière, direction du service automobile) during WWI, exact date not appearing on the original document, gives another expression, which I had never seen before : char auto-mitrailleur 'Renault' . This sounds quite bizarre, even in French: it makes an amalgam between the notion of char and the first usual designation of the Renault design. In this particular expression, auto-mitrailleur is used as an adjective, not a substantive; hence the masculine form eur instead of euse (as char is masculine). The second common designation for the FT was char mitrailleur (this has been already discussed by debatters above, nothing to add about it), which indeed is enough, as auto- does not bring any additional information in this case.

9) My apologizes, in the names of Molière and Victor Hugo (if they permit) who did not live long enough to sort out the matter of automitrailleuses and chars d'assaut. The French language is known to be extremely precise.--François Vauvillier (talk) 15:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First of all, I'd like to thank François Vauvillier for his clarification: we are honoured to be informed on this subject by a man who is generally recognised as one of the most distinguished experts in this field of knowledge! I feel that, in line with this information, the issue can be best solved by remaining as close as possible to the etymology of the word, avoiding any presumptions about when the present meaning of automitrailleuse had consolidified.
To anyone interested in such matters it is of course highly recommended to read Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, if only because it is the most gorgeously laid-out and illustrated military magazine in the world!--MWAK (talk) 13:11, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

M1917 in Canadian service.[edit]

Silverfang77 has added some details about the U.S. M1917 in Canadian service. Since the M1917 is a variant of the FT, and has an article of its own in which the Canadian service is described, I would suggest that Silverfang's addition is unnecessary. I propose to remove it. Hengistmate (talk) 21:09, 29 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

unnecessary? The m1917 article is the place for detail coverage of Canadian use of that version of the Ft17. However there is no reason not to mention briefly that the US built tanks where not for US use alone. Consider it in the same form as a summary of a child article with a link to the full story. II recommend leaving it but polish the addition for stylistic match with the rest of the article. GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:33, 30 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, where do we start with this? The M1917 was not a copy but a near-copy of what it took several thousand occasionally acrimonious and mostly unecessary words (above) to agree was the Renault FT. I know of no M1917s being delivered to the UK for training during WWII. I suspect that is confusion with the FTs delivered in WWI. I think it fair to say that the M1917 was not built for other users. It was to supply the AEF and relieve France of the necessity to supply FTs. Whether they would have been shared with the other Allies, we shall never know, since none arrived in time. It was never offered to other nations while in service, and the examples delivered to Canada were not built for them but were obsolete, out-of-service vehicles, nominally sold as scrap. The omission of a mention of the Fort Garry Horse in the midst of this seems to be the least of our problems. At least, the spelling has now been attended to. It is my contention that in an article on the Renault FT, detailed information on the fate of a derivative twenty years later belong elsewhere, especially since there is a dedicated article already in existence. Otherwise the section can be expanded indefinitely. More of a disruptive adolescent than a child.

Unfortunately, most of the articles in this category require substantial revision and correction. Several are flawed at a rather fundamental level. But, as we have seen, improving matters can be like having a tooth out. However, your suggestion is an excellent one. I recommend you go ahead with the polishing, and I'll appraise it.Hengistmate (talk) 01:03, 31 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits: 16th April, 2012.[edit]

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whilst I'm a great believer in improving matters, and some of the syntax and grammar needed tickling up, this is rather over the top. In particular, the new version ignores Estienne's initial opposition to the FT, and also implies that he was Commander-in-Chief, which he wasn't. Some explanation of who Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier was is required. The chronology of the turret designs now has been confused. The sentence about use by France and the USA now implies that the latter used FTs from May 1918, which isn't correct. The line about the Fiat 3000 now includes a misplaced participle. The structure of the section on nomenclature was very carefully considered. After a lengthy discussion (see above) it was agreed that Wikipedia's ethos was best served if the misconception was first stated and then refuted. The alterations have changed the emphasis. The paragraph describing the change of name from mitrailleur to mitrailleuse is integral, and should not have been removed. The insertion of dashes before and after the reference to Estienne is grammatically unnecessary and, in any event, a dubious device.

Some of the punctuation has probably benefitted, and the syntax was a little "continental" in places, but the major edits have impaired rather than improved the article. Hengistmate (talk) 22:57, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyeditting is first of all an attempt to improve form and style. Inadvertently factual errors can slip in; there is of course no objection to correcting these. I intend to considerably expand the French World War I tank articles and hope to remove all concerns.--MWAK (talk) 11:04, 17 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I quite understand that, MWAK, but the editing has introduced errors that weren't there previously. And several complex sentences have been broken down into simple ones, so the article reads less well, rather than better. François V says above that the article as it stood was better than its counterpart on French Wikipedia, despite the contributions of one or two people who hindered rather than helped. I'll wait and see what Diannaa's response is, but much of this needs to be reverted, IMO. Cheers, Hengistmate (talk) 13:54, 17 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was attempting to clean up the prose, as the article was tagged for copy edit. I do not have access to the sources. If you have spotted some factual errors please feel free to correct them. -- Dianna (talk) 14:29, 17 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a point of interest, there is some peacocking and I am not sure that the description of the first revolving turret is clear enough; as it can mislead readers into thinking this was the first to use them, rather than just being the first to have a 360 degree rotation (Burstyn and others had designed tanks with rotating turrets). Chaosdruid (talk) 02:15, 19 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, Chaosdruid. It seems to me that describing the FT as "the first operational tank with a turret" covers that. It was the first tank to use a 360 turret. Burstyn's vehicle wasn't built and didn't have a 360 turret, the Mendeleev wasn't built, and the Vezdekhod wasn't operational. The first Delaunay-Belleville and several Schneider avant-projets incorporated a turret, but by that time the FT was well advanced. The specific mention of the Lincoln Machine is to head off anyone who might jump in at that point and say that it has been overlooked.

I'm not sure what you mean by "peacocking". One definition of it is a practice that I should find very distracting while editing Wikipedia. Could you clarify? Hengistmate (talk) 10:39, 19 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wooden Idler Wheels.[edit]

"A common misconception about the Renault FT is that the front idler wheels were made of wood. In reality the front idler steel wheels have six steel spokes that are hidden behind thick plywood panneling to keep mud and debris out." The consensus amongst students of the subject is that that is not the case. Photographs of surviving vehicles indicate that the idlers were indeed made of wood with a steel rim and axle-bearing, but no spokes. Is there a source for the claim about the spokes? Hengistmate (talk) 11:25, 16 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there is "consensus amongst students of the subject", then this will be sourceable.
As examples still exist, then looking at photos isn't enough and it would be a basic minimum to go and study one of the survivors. Even though the tank had a remarkably long service life and changes may have been made to the wheels during this, that would be at least one solid example to go on. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:40, 16 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The situation in the real world is that the FT began with steel-rimmed wheels of laminated wood as described above. The arrangement of the wooden pieces can be seen on the FT at Bovington (that also sports the round turret upon which we are now, finally, agreed) as well as on numerous other examples. Later, a new type of wheel was introduced, but it was not as the prolific and anonymous editor describes. It was a steel wheel with not six but seven spokes. The seven gaps created by the spokes were closed with sectors of mild steel, in an attempt to prevent fouling, and both patterns remained in use throughout and after the War. Although offers the FT in the Musée de l'Armée as support for his six-spoke assertion, it can be demonstrated, using the technique of counting, that the number of spokes and sectors on each idler of that vehicle is seven.

But how can we meet the stringent requirements of Wikipedia and its editors? does not supply - and, perhaps surprisingly, has not been asked for - any citation. In the absence of any other than the flawed observation of the FT in Les Invalides, I suggest that his remarks constitute original research. For my part, I cannot arrange to be in the vicinity of a Renault FT in the immediate future, as Mr. Dingley would prefer, and am sorry that the study of photographs is not, on this occasion, acceptable. It is comparatively recently that Mr. Dingley argued that a combination of "clear photographic evidence" and "a widely circulating view" satisfied Wikipedia's requirements, but he was dissuaded. See here. Nor do I have access to Louis Renault's or Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier's original drawings. However, if we combine the technologies of the camera and the printing press, what we can offer is a photograph of the constructor's drawing that has been reproduced in a reputable publication. (Renault ou la seconde naissance du char, Tank Zone Aug-Sep 2009, p32. Author: François Vauvillier) According to my interpretation of the letter and spirit of Wikipedia's requirements, that spells verifiability. And a section through the idler shows that it is constructed of wood around a steel hub.

However, I would add the following points:

To say that there is a common misconception about the Renault FT's idler wheels is to rather overstate matters. I'm not sure that interest in the subject is especially widespread. More importantly, does not offer any citation, and I have a funny feeling that objections will be raised to mine. Since the matter is, in any event, far from controversial and of no great consequence, I suggest that, unless or until produces an accurate citation that supports his/her assertion, the entire reference be removed.

Standing by. Hengistmate (talk) 11:40, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By observation, there are at least three FT wheels in existence. The first example does indeed appear to be a segmented (not laminated) wooden wheel, like the Mansell wheel used in railway practice. Then the most common is the "thick" wheel, which does appear to be thin sheets (either disks or shallow cones) covering some other internal structure, presumably 7 cast-iron spokes. It's unknown whether this cover is plywood or sheet steel. A final pattern of wheel, on the M1917 at least, appears to be a solid steel disk, riveted between the rim flanges, with covering and no indication of spokes.
There are also some well-known photos of a knocked-out FT (or later derivative) in Yugoslavia early in WWII. This has thrown a track (claimed to be a rubbber-based continuous track, in Kegresse style) and the large rear drive wheels can be clearly seen to be 8-spoked. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:09, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, we're getting warmer. There were two types of FT idler, the predominantly wooden and the seven-spoked. The M1917 idler is the M1917 idler, and not under discussion. The Yugoslav casualty is, off the top of my head, an NC1 or NC27 - in any event, not an FT and therefore outside the scope of this article. The sectors (as the Dairylea-shaped panels are called) were steel. But whether they were steel or not is beside the point.

It's been a long, hard slog to get back to where we started, but we have reached the point where we know that's assertion is not only unsupported but demonstrably untrue (assuming that looking at photos is now acceptable). It is also, imo, in a rather strange place within the article. Nice to see Mr. Dingley doing some collaborative and constructive research. Looking forward to more of it. In the meantime, what happens to's contribution? A rewrite, or not worth the trouble and bin it? Unfortunately, we are not in a position to discuss things with the author, since he/she declines to open an account, and I am reluctant to act unilaterally in case another editor should feel that I have acted improperly.Hengistmate (talk) 13:55, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Nice to see Mr. Dingley doing some collaborative and constructive research."
Back off with the patronising abuse. I'm tired of it, and your own recent edit-warring puts you in no position to lecture others. Enough. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:05, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Not really sure why I should have to do this, but here we go. In the matter of a citation, the curious thing is that I and the anonymous editor are offering the same source - French Tanks of World War I by Steve Zaloga (2010). The difference is that I am quoting what the source says, whereas the other party isn't. This is a difficult one; if someone offers a genuine source but misquotes or misrepresents it, how are we to know? Anyway, we are not faced with that problem, because the relevant details can be read here. The sequence of turrets is explained fully, as it is in most reputable works on the subject. Mr. Zaloga's book is not without its errors, but he's correct on this one. A very nice chronology can be found on p34 of Tank Zone 6, Aug-Sept 2009, pub. Histoire et Collections. It is by Francois Vauvillier, who has already intervened to correct some misapprehensions connected with the article under discussion. It follows the sequence from the simple cylinder of the mock-up to the Girod, in the order as it appeared in the Wiki article before began to alter it.

I'll leave it for a while so everyone can be satisfied, above all Mr. Dingley, and then we can get back to the historically accurate version. When time permits, I'll supply the correct information about the wooden idler wheels. Hengistmate (talk) 11:55, 18 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You don't "have to do it", you could simply have edited the article to fix the problem, rather than edit-warring around it and bloviating here on the talk page as to why it's so terrible that you're being asked to provide sources and why it's all a dreadful confederacy of dunces against you. I've now made the simple sourced edit that either of you could have made some time ago. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:28, 18 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Okey dokey. I don't really know what more I could have done here. As I see it, someone who chooses not to identify himself has made about 100 changes to an article that, thanks to the efforts of several editors, and despite those of others, had become commendably accurate and very stable. It was only after 80-odd edits that it became obvious that some facts were being replaced by falsehoods, and I reverted one of the more glaring errors. At this point, an editor who had so far played no part in the proceedings demanded that I supply citations to support the status quo. A curious approach. It does not seem to have crossed this editor's mind that someone making wholesale changes might be expected to supply a citation or two, or even that changes on such a large scale might be vandalism. Anyhoo, the anonymous editor finally offered a citation; a source with which I am familiar and that contradicts his edit. Despite my explanations, he declined to acknowledge the contradiction. There seemed little point in two of us offering the same citation to both prove and disprove an assertion. So I provided a link to the source in question so that third parties might examine it and satisfy themselves as to its meaning. I even offered to leave the article alone for a probationary period, since I am aware that one editor in particular dislikes it if I make what he considers precipitate edits. You will notice that the anonymous editor is now not disputing the facts that entirely contradict his earlier claims.

But now I've done wrong again. The editor who chastises me for making changes now upbraids me for not making changes and leaving it all up to him. What's a girl to do? It reminds me rather of when the wife enters the room and announces pointedly that she has taken the rubbish out, when you were just about to do it, straight after the football. Anyway, the outcome is that a couple of examples of appreciable damage to the article's veracity have been repaired, and historical accuracy maintained. The anonymous editor has inadvertently provided us with a source that supports the original claims, even though that was not what he was trying to do. Ende gut, alles gut, but a lot of running to stay in the same place. I can't help but feel it could have been done differently.

Quite why Mr. Dingley is so cross, I cannot say. I noticed no confederacy of dunces, just one or two. I don't understand how the book to which he has linked relates to this topic; there doesn't seem to be anything about tanks in it. But if I might reciprocate, could I offer a reference from Through the Looking Glass that I think is appropriate? "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." Hengistmate (talk) 18:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems we are having the most enormous difficulty in conveying the gist of Mr. Zaloga's 2010 account of the chronology of the Renault's turret. It is explained with at least as much clarity in his 1988 work on the subject, and, indeed, in most reputable written accounts. The section as it stands at the time of writing is not totally correct but is close enough for our purposes. Why "" should be so persistent in attempting to render it appreciably less accurate is beyond me. Short of reproducing Zaloga's description verbatim (which is, of course, prohibited), all I can suggest is that read the relevant pages over and over again until the meaning becomes clear, and perhaps refrain from making further edits in the meantime. Mr. Zaloga writes in American English, and there should therefore be no language barrier. Hengistmate (talk) 12:57, 2 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits by[edit]

We're having a few problems with this anonymous editor's participation. In under a month he's made something like 120 edits to an article that didn't seem to have much wrong with it in the first place. Much of it seems to be tinkering with the grammar, without necessarily adding any new information or improving readability. In fact, a good deal of it seems to be overelaboration of already perfectly agreeable English. Whilst matters of style and limits of content might be a question of opinion, more of a problem is the introduction of an increasing amount of misinformation. We've already had to go to a lot of trouble to sort out the questions of the turrets and the idler wheels, just to preserve the article's integrity. There's a lot of other stuff that is silly/unnecessary/wrong/unsupported. For example: Of importance and as a significant improvement over previous WW-1 tanks, the radiator's fan pulled all its air from the forward compartment thus providing the crew with constant ventilation ... That sentence is a garbled reference to Mourret's claim that the crew would asphyxiate, and Renault and Ernst-Metzmaier's explanation that the fan would draw in fresh air from the outside. But the same thing happened with the British Mks I-IV - it wasn't unique to the FT.

The person responsible for these changes has, so far, chosen not to create an account, so communication is rather limited. But this torrent of dubious edits is threatening the article's authority. In view of the sometimes slightly peculiar grammar, often poor punctuation, and interest in French military matters, I'm not even convinced that English is this person's first language. Certainly, edits need to be scrutinized more rigorously and citations demanded on a much more regular basis or this hard-won article will descend into nonsense. Hengistmate (talk) 00:13, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The word "ane pretentieux" in French can translate as pompous ass. I bet you cannot even read or speak French and have never visited the Saumur tank museum and talked to the knowledgeable people there. Your insistence that the front wheels of the FT were made of wood betrays your complete ignorance of the subject. . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:05, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, âne prétentieux does translate as "pompous ass", but I think you are speaking figuratively rather than of an actual ass, so imbécile prétentieux ou pompeux is probably what you're after. Anyway, it's good that you've decided to make contact. Now we can have a sensible discussion. I must stand by my criticisms, I'm afraid, and whilst some might be a matter of taste, the outright factual errors have to be weeded out.

If, for example, you remain convinced that there were no wooden idlers on the Renault FT, what you must do is provide reliable, verifiable evidence. At first, there was no mention in the article of the idlers being of wood or steel - that's totally neutral, so no action is required. You then asserted that there were no wooden idlers, only steel ones with six spokes. If you make an assertion like that, you must provide reliable evidence to support it, but you didn't. In fact, the evidence indicates that the opposite is the case. There is no sign of the six-spoked wheel (only the seven-) and plenty of evidence of the wooden wheels. For the time being, then, your assertion cannot be included. If you can back it up, it can. Don't be afraid to ask for advice.

The turret business is another matter. My word alone is no proof that I speak, read, and write French. I can only suggest that you contact Mme Arlette Estienne-Mondet (the general's granddaughter), the Ernst-Metzmaier family, François Vauvillier, or various other people who can give you an impartial answer. Again, that's an assumption you made without any evidence. But the problem is not with a foreign language. The details of the turret that you had repeated difficulty in interpreting are in English. You changed a correct account to tally with your misreading of the source, so, obviously, that had to be reverted. Luckily, Mr. Dingley was kind enough to study the source, read it properly, and produce an account that is very nearly correct.

I shall be honest. IMO the article has deteriorated sharply over the last month and is now repetitive and clumsy. The rather over-detailed references to George S. Patton Jr. would, I believe, be better placed in the Patton article. But at least the more serious inaccuracies have been nipped in the bud. I think that even my fiercest critic would say that to accuse me of suffering from "complete ignorance of the subject" is a little harsh. Anyway, I hope this explains why your edits are being treated with some caution. We'll keep on top of things. Hengistmate (talk) 22:34, 22 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

USA POV[edit]

I'm a little concerned that this article is beginning to take on an unnecessarily American POV. I am by no means sure that in the section entitled "Manufacturers" details of the manufacture of the Renault FT in France should take second place to details of the manufacture of a different tank in the USA. In "Service History", the early and highly detailed introduction of George S. Patton Jr. seems altogether out of place. We don't really need to be told Patton's age before we get to the matter of the FT's 30 or so deployments between May and September. The Light Tank Brigade's actions were relatively minor in comparison to those of the French. Also, there are articles on Patton and on the M1917 that can be linked to for anyone interested in knowing more. I propose to make edits that will restore the appropriate emphasis. It is proving rather hard work to ensure that this article retains its authority. Hengistmate (talk) 00:41, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The US tank existed and has a visible footprint in history afterwards. It needs to be mentioned here, if only to clarify that it didn't have a greater role than it actually did. Your repeated removal of it might be correct in making this article a closer match to history, but it's unhelpful because that produces an article that's less readable, and more likely to leave readers with the wrong impression - especially because US readers might already have seen examples of the tank in museums and so will tend to associate them (incorrectly) with WWI service - a misunderstanding that we have to correct.
An important editorial task in any historical explanation is not to make the article the closest match to history, but to try and make the retained learning of our readers afterwards a close match to accurate history. That often involves an apparent over-emphasis on debunking. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:10, 3 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I HAVE A QUESTION FOR ANONYMOUS "HENGISMATE" : Please let us know in what country do you live and where and when you have actually inspected in any detail a REAL Renault FT tank . Thank you. Gerard Demaison. 10/17/2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 17 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bonjour M. Demaison. A quoi sert cette question? Je ne vois pas sa pertinence. Cordialement,Hengistmate (talk) 21:06, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American POV? On an English language wiki page covering French military history? Quelle surprise! Everyone already knows the general contempt the average American has for French military history, which they would happily go on about indefinitely if they didn't have to stop speaking long enough to stuff their mouth with freedom fries. A word to the wise for any reader that has the sense to investigate this far behind the article: the English version of Wikipedia is generally terrible when dealing with French military history, best to look elsewhere. (talk) 15:03, 7 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Renault 1917[edit]

A part of archives shown here: is of interest in that it shows a contemporary use of the designation "Renault 1917". And a Schneider 1916 :o). --MWAK (talk) 15:20, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oui, mais . . . by the Army, not Renault. :)Hengistmate (talk) 23:25, 12 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Idler Debate Continues, Unnecessarily.[edit]

Mr Hengismate. Removing evidence that does not fit early misconceptions is just not professional. Sorry. We can and should do better than that. You do not own the French FT site. No one does. We are just trying to be accurate and documented. I once served in the French military and much later, became a personal friend of the legendary late colonel Aubry who made the Musee des Blides what it is today. Regards. Gerard Demaison . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed, with sufficient documentation it should be possible to reach a consensus. In this respect I would like to point out this diagram in the Renault FT manual: It is of the preseries, as shown by the early-style turret. In the top drawing we see in side view the structure of the wooden elements of the climbing wheel. What the inner structure of this wheel was, is revealed by the bottom drawing. In the left suspension a cross-section of the wheel is shown. It is apparently made of solid wood with the bolts going all the way through, connecting the circular outer attachment plate with the inner plate. There is no indication of any inner steel structure with spokes; this seems to be introduced with later wheel versions, completely made of steel.--MWAK (talk) 05:35, 21 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MWAK, I made this point, perfectly clearly and at considerable length, in August last year. See above. Even Mr. Dingley was helpful. But it seems we have to repeat the exercise. As you say, the manual shows the wooden wheel. The patent shows the wooden wheel. In these photographs of surviving FTs, over 50% clearly have the wooden wheel. I was at Bovington a few weeks ago, and examined their FT. The idlers are wooden. Why this man will not accept the evidence and becomes abusive when invited to do so, I cannot say. If he can point out on the Bovington FT the six panels to which he repeatedy refers, I should be very interested. Nor can I explain why he cannot count to seven. But I can explain about the idlers.

For the moment, I am not at liberty to reveal sources or identify individuals or organisations, but the facts are as follows: for reasons that have not yet been discovered, Berliet decided to introduce a cast iron idler on the FTs they produced as subcontractors. As anyone - well, almost anyone - can see from the many surviving FTs, these idlers had seven spokes. This information will be published in a form acceptable to Wikipedia in due course. For the moment, though, it is not required. Demaison claims that the wooden idler did not exist. He cannot substantiate the claim, and it can be refuted by overwhelming evidence. Furthermore, the difference between six and seven is not a matter of opinion. The Berliet idlers have seven spokes. That is the situation. I hope it is clear to you, if not to M. Demaison. Regards, Hengistmate (talk) 07:09, 21 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Protruding tracks."[edit]

I fear that this is a mistranslation and misunderstanding of the French phrase chenilles prenantes. Prenant means "gripping," in both the literal and figurative sense. In the case of the Renault FT, the expression is not used to describe the track assembly protruding in front of the vehicle and thus "getting a grip" on parapets and so on. It was not a novel concept - the British heavy and medium tanks were all constructed in such a way that the tracks preceded the body of the vehicle. The reason for the specific mention of this aspect in numerous descriptions is that the individual track shoes on the FT "gripped" - that is to say that they had a lip that bit into the ground - rather than merely spread the weight. That was not a feature of the French Saint-Chamond or of the British tanks. In fact, experiments were carried out with fittings that attached to the tracks of the Saint-Chamond, British Mks II and IV, and Medium Mk A in an attempt to increase the grip. The prototype of the Schneider CA had ordinary Holt track shoes, but the "gripping" type were introduced before series production began. How and when this happened is still being researched. The problem with both the Schneider and Saint-Chamond was that the body protruded ahead of the tracks, whilst in the FT it was vice-versa. However, that is not the distinction that the expression chenilles prenantes is making. Citation: Renault FT by Pascal Danjou, Editions Du Barbotin, 2009. Page 13. Hengistmate (talk) 11:37, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First modern tank claim[edit]

As for the "alternative theory" - I do not deny that Lt. Bursztyn's "Motorgeschütz" was an interesting project, especially for its time - but it was merely project, not an existing vehicle, and it had no direct influence on subsequent development of armour in the Great War and beyond. Perhaps it would be better to return to the former wording of the article, without mentioning the Bursztyn's proposal. Otherwise, I think if the Bursztyn claim is to be retained in the article, it would be quite disingenuous to not mention that the Motorgeschütz had never left the project stage.--Hon-3s-T (talk) 15:03, 10 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we need to kill quite a few birds with one stone here.

It seems to be obligatory, almost ritualistic, to select certain aspects of the FT and describe them in a preordained fashion. The fact that it had a turret is to the forefront. But the point is that the turret was not a miraculous invention by Louis Renault in 1916, which is what articles tend to imply. Several tracked, armoured fighting vehicles had been designed with a turret prior to that date.

The fact that Burstyn's design was not manufactured was not his fault. He designed a tank as Wikipedia defines it, with a turret. Whether it had any influence is irrelevant. Turrets were not unknown before 1916, and Burstyn's original inspiration was IIRC a torpedo boat.

This is without even touching on the Russian Vezdekhod, which was built, was trialled in mid-1915, and appears to have had a number of types of turret during its existence. The Mendeleev tank, improbable though it was in many ways, also incorporated a turret, before 1914.

In France, plans for tanks with one turret or more were produced by Abel Ferry and Delaunay-Belleville in 1915, before the FT saw the light of day.

As regards the No.1 Lincoln Machine, I do not understand your concern. If you require a citation, there is no problem. On page 40 of The British Tanks 1915-19 by David Fletcher there is a photograph of the vehicle. Men are working on the turret, in which can be seen an aperture for a gun. The fact that it was a dummy is also irrelevant. It was of the correct weight, and it was part of the design. The vehicle was intended to have a turret. Similarly, the first two wooden mockups of the FT had dummy turrets, the first a simple cylinder even more rudimentary than that on the Lincoln Machine. But I think what you are actually seeking is an explanation.

Unfortunately, David Fletcher has been uncharacteristically inaccurate in this matter. Apart from the fact that Wilson and Tritton were hardly likely to design a turret that was impossible to operate, DF has misunderstood the situation. Albert Stern was referring to "the gun in the turret" being on rails, not the turret itself. You can read the relevant letter to Tritton here on page 32 of Stern's autobiography. You will also see from the photographs here and here of the interior of Little Willie that there was ample room for the crew to man the turret without having to stand on the engine. It was designed that way.

So Mr. DiNardo's view is perfectly legitimate. Its inclusion meets Wkipedia's criteria, which is more than can be said for a great many recent edits to this article. That's without dragging the Vezdekhod and all the rest into it. To say that the FT was "the first operational tank to have its armament within a fully rotating turret" describes the situation precisely and puts matters in their true perspective. If anyone wants to know more about Burstyn's machine, links are provided to an external site and to a Wikipedia article (which is in dire need of improvement).

We must also consider that, Wikipedia being what it is, if the reference to the Lincoln Machine's turret is removed, it will be only a matter of time before someone does a bit of reading, comes across the turret, and argues for a reference to it. By leaving the reference in, and even expanding on it to include other examples of pre-FT turrets, we forestall that. It gives the impression that Wikipedia has a depth of knowledge.

I hope my point of view is now clearer. Regards, Hengistmate (talk) 02:42, 11 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yet more problematic editing.[edit]

The reference to the location of the first action by FTs has been edited to read "Ploisy-Chazelles." Whilst there are several places in France called "Chazelles", none of them is anywhere near Ploisy. There isn't a place called Ploisy-Chazelle; there is a settlement called Ploisy, and Chazelle was absorbed by neighbouring Berzy-le-Sec in 1791, although it is still shown on some 19th century maps. "Ploisy-Chazelle" is like "Flers-Courcelette" - not a place, but an operational area.

I wonder why we have to endure this constant barrage of misinformed, disruptive, or inconsequential edits and the abusive and obscene comments of their author. I think the time has come to look into this. Hengistmate (talk) 09:47, 11 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your last personal statement above could pass in some people's eyes as, perhaps, well ...regrettable but I am not shocked. It all started with the front wheels of the long obsolete WW-1 Renault Ft tank ? Now we know that there are two types of French- made Renault FT front idler wheels, including one type with steel spokes, so some progress has been made, which is what counts. Mr Hengistmate, it is clear that you have been researching and working for years on this historic Renault FT tank, so you deserve respect and consideration . You certainly have mine, for I know this FT review is not an easy job at all. I own several of the key French specialized tank military history books published in Paris in the 1920-30s, and I can find contradictions between some of them !!! Malmassari's, whom you quote, is perhaps the best documented RECENT French WW-1 tank book (in French) for figures and facts. Regards and please let us forgive and forget. Gerard D. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 15 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"FT AC"[edit]

This was a proposal that was never put into production. Intended to carry 47mm gun for anti-tank role. Only reached drawing stage. Hengistmate (talk) 09:41, 21 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Turret Question Again, 1st October 2013.[edit]

As has already been discussed, the turret was fitted to armoured cars long before WWI. Gunther Burstyn's Motorgeschütz was designed with a gun turret, the British tank prototype Little Willie was fitted with a dummy turret, and several Russian tank designs incorporated a turret. Many types of armoured car, from the Austro-Daimler to the Rolls-Royce, were fitted with a turret before the FT was dreamed of, so Renault's inclusion of one on the tank can not be considered seminal. Even more relevantly, one armoured car that was not fitted with a turret was the 1915 Renault, as examination of plans and photographs of that vehicle will confirm. Reference removed. Hengistmate (talk) 00:07, 2 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And Again.[edit]

The FT was not the first armoured fighting vehicle to have its armament within a fully rotating turret. It was the first tracked armoured fighting vehicle, i.e. tank, to do so.

The reference provided for the description of the turret on the No. 1 Lincoln Machine does not make that claim. The editor has mistaken the Medium Mk A, or "Whippet", which did have a fixed turret on the production version, for the Lincoln Machine. See pp 62 & 63. Hengistmate (talk) 00:45, 2 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This might help Mr. Demaison. Hengistmate (talk) 23:10, 14 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Surviving Examples & White Russian Theory, Oct 27 2013.[edit]

The situation as I understand it is as follows: the two FTs found outside Kabul were both sent to Fort Knox in 2003. A third one was discovered by French forces south-east of Kandahar, and in 2007 sent to Saumur for restoration. The fourth had been on display within the Ministry of Defence compound in Kabul for many years, and was presented to the Polish Government by the Afghan Government in 2012. It is at present undergoing restoration in Poznan.

I am not at all convinced by the White Russian theory. Fort Knox concluded that these were FTs sold by France to Poland, captured by the Red Army in 1920 during the Polish-Soviet War, and presented to Afghanistan in 1923 or thereabouts. That is why the Poles were so interested in the 4th FT; they believe it played a part in winning Polish independence, and they didn't have a surviving example of their own. How thoroughly they have identified it, I'm still waiting to hear. As MWAK says, it would be very interesting to see the source for the White Russian theory. There is an account in Zaloga's 1988 Osprey book, but I can't see that there's anything conclusive. Looking forward to more info. BTW, don't be surprised if some more FTs turn up in that part of the world.

In any event, part of this section probably needs rejigging to bring the 4 Afghan FTs together and explain the connection. Hengistmate (talk) 22:52, 27 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was stationed outside of Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001-02, and played a role in identifying two of the FTs that were in a "Tank Graveyard" and near an old Afghan repair facility. Present was an incredibly old military dump outside the village of PolE Charki. The two FTs were missing armaments, and one had a turret missing. A circular search pattern was successful in locating the 2nd turret, roughly 75 meters from where the tanks were left, one upright, the other on it's side. Grid coordinates were determined, photos taken, and information and an email was sent to then curator of the Patton Museum, Mr. Charles Lemon. I was able to later see the two tanks in Fort Knox, and at that time was informed that they held an interesting history, and that meticulous service records had been maintained supposedly by the German military after their capture in France. (this information is different than a sale to Poland by France, but this was passed to me by Mr. Lemon of the Patton museum, sometime around 2006-2008 Supposedly another example was on display somewhere in Kabul, perhaps that was the example sought by Poland.) §SFC Holmgren 19 March 2020

Removal of link to Burstyn's Motorgeschütz site.[edit]

Is the removal because it's an inline external link or because the website in question is in German? Either way, replacing it with a link to a non-existent article doesn't really improve things. The Burstyn site is, I agree, in German, but I should have thought that there are enough images there for the reader to grasp the point that is being made. As things stand, the link is meaningless. Is there a more instructive way of going about this? Hengistmate (talk) 14:59, 1 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remove per WP:UNDUE. It bears as much relation to the FT does as does the Netopyr or da Vinci's tank designs. Sure, the Motorgeschütz had a central turret. But the Motorgeschütz was also a paper pipe-dream with an implausible suspension. It was certainly far from being "an earlier tank" with a central turret. Even the Lincoln Machine (and its central turret) was closer to being a usable tank than this. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:13, 1 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now I think on it, it's certainly undue in the lede. Unless R.L. DiNardo (who he?) is in the same league as Zaloga. GraemeLeggett (talk) 16:18, 1 November 2013 (UTC). Amen and so mote it be !Reply[reply]

Turrets Syndrome.[edit]

I still think it necessary to put the turret business in its true perspective. The implication persists that Louis Renault or someone in his employ invented the rotating turret or had the idea of putting a gun in one, which we know not to be the case. As I have pointed out on more occasions than perhaps should have been necessary, turreted armoured cars had been in use since ten years before WWI, and several tank projects (see above, somewhere) had included turrets. Happy to agree that the FT was the first with a 360 degree turret to enter service.

DiNardo does not say that "the first modern tank" could be applied to Burstyn's Motorgeschütz. He applies it. Amen and amen.Hengistmate (talk) 12:10, 28 January 2014 (UTC) .Reply[reply]

References to Renault Whippet made in 1918 support generic use of the "Whippet" name at the time for light tanks[edit]

Far be it from me to dive in and edit this well researched Wiki entry, but I was reading a report called "Some Notes on the French Tanks" in the Motor Cycle magazine of 3rd October 1918 ("Motor Cycle" followed the MMGS and Tank activities quite closely as it had been in part responsible for recruiting 10,000 motor cyclists into the Mobile Machine Gun Service many of which migrated to tanks later). This report mentions Schneider and Saint-Chamond tanks, then goes on to say they "preceded by one year the appearance of the Renault light tank - "Whippets" as we call them in the British Army."

Then goes on "The Renault Whippet did not appear on the field of battle until about 2 months ago and immediately made good. It was an armoured vehicle equipped with a machine gun and a 37mm gun. ...... The crew consists of two men - the driver situated in front, and the gunner who is seated or stands in a turret situated in the middle of the vehicle. The engine room is protected from the rest of the vehicle so as to lesson the risk of fire. The French Whippet can climb exceptionally formidable gradients, worse then 45deg, according to conditions of the surface, and the turret can revolve in a complete circle, so the machine gun, or gun, can sweep the whole horizon...."

So I think it might be worth mentioning in the Wiki that for a while the term Whippet was applied to the Renault, possibly as a generic term for a light tank. Note that in all cases the name Whippet was capitalised. This could help avoid confusion when reading reports of actions in which Whippets were deployed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oldnoccer (talkcontribs) 10:50, 22 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's certainly true that at the time "Whippet" was used a generic term, also applied to the Renault FT. If a more modern and indirect source can be found referring to this, this fact should be mentioned.--MWAK (talk) 12:33, 22 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oldnoccer - "Far be it from me to dive in and edit this well researched Wiki entry": don't worry; it doesn't stop some people. But don't confuse "well researched" with "long and much-edited."
"Whippet" was Tritton's name for it, but the Army's was "Medium Mk A." There appears to have been some indiscriminate use of the word to include the FT - there's a mention to that effect in the Whippet article - but there's no evidence that it was widespread. The Medium Mk B was also sometimes called a Whippet, as if the word was a generic term for the Mk A and its descendants (and maybe similar types if there had been any). There are also newspaper reports of the FT being in a class of AFV known as "mosquito tanks," but I don't think any of these is statistically significant. It's one of those "they call them" nicknames that one suspects has been made up by the author. Maybe worth a line, but I wouldn't worry about it. Hengistmate (talk) 14:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits July 10.[edit]

I think the claim that the T18 was derived from the Fiat 3000 is a misunderstanding. Ryabushinski obtained a licence to build the Fiat, but it didn't get off the ground. His workshops were taken over by the Soviets during the civil war and used to repair tanks and other afvs. The Russkiy-Renault was derived directly from the Renault FT, although it did have a Fiat 45hp engine. I should, of course, welcome any source that supports your view.

This is a complicated area, and I can't remember all the details off the top of my head. There are some incorrect accounts in the system. I shall try to dig out the info. Hengistmate (talk) 09:57, 10 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use by Egypt?[edit]

Would appreciate a reliable source - a genuinely reliable source - for use by Egypt in the 1948 War. I have been unable to find one. The best I can do is a small number used by Lebanon. Anyone have anything concrete? Hengistmate (talk) 10:08, 29 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits August 16th, 2014.[edit]

There has to be a limit to the number of times that this vehicle's turret is mentioned. There is a section devoted to it, made necessary by's insistence and which had to be corrected by others because repeatedly inserted incorrect information, and ample mention is made throughout the article. We get the picture.

What is, unfortunately, necessary to repeat is that two vehicles that did not have a rotating turret were the armoured cars (automitrailleuses) manufactured by Renault and Peugeot. Some French armoured cars did, but not these two. This has been carefully explained to in the past. I don't really see how it can be made any clearer. Hengistmate (talk) 06:44, 16 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Time-lag misunderstanding.[edit]

The point about this is not the length of time that elapsed between the mock-up and the trials. There is nothing to say that that would not have been the same irrespective of when the mock-up was presented. The point is the amount of time that elapsed between Renault agreeing to Estienne's second request and the appearance of the mock-up, which some authors speculate shows that Renault had been working on the idea, at least in broad terms, during the interim. At this stage, government orders are nothing to do with it.

To say that Renault had been considering the matter between December 1915 and July 1916 is not the same as saying that he "had given top priority to implementing the idea without waiting for a government order." We can report that certain authors state that the chain of events leads them to conclude that Renault continued to work on the idea. No one says anything about what priority he gave it. I fear this is another example of this "editor's" rather reverential approach to L. Renault and all his works which has shown itself on a number of previous occasions. Hengistmate (talk) 09:43, 2 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wheels Within Wheels[edit]

From Gerard Demaison to Hengistmate with cordial regards: There is an "Artisan Charron, Roues en Bois" in France called Alain Monpied , advertised on the French internet.( by typing Alain Monpied). He is a specialist in the reproduction of ancient wooden wheels of historic significance ( e.g. he has produced the wooden wheels of a repro "Cugnot's Fardier" ). The published photographs on his site show how he created two replica WOOD FRONT IDLER (TENSION) wheels for a Renault FT . Several photos on Monpied's web site do display the steps he followed in order to accurately reproduce the original FT wood idlers. Those had been found to be in a state of partial decay on the subject Renault FT tank undergoing renovation. Again with best regards Gerard Demaison PS You probably have seen Monpied's ad before I did. But I thought his wood idler replica work was excellent ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:11, 20 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Production figures.[edit]

It comes to my notice that there are several difficulties with the production figures cited in the article. At present, the figures for vehicles supplied to individual users don't tally with the total, although that could be a typo (3,841 v 3,814). On the other hand, recent edits by editor, executed in the customary fashion, reduced the total to 2,622 then raised it to 3,187. As is traditional, no reference is provided for these alterations. The whole thing is rather ambiguous, with some uncertainty as to what exactly the figures apply to. The claim that the US received 514 FTs is made, but this is a number for which I can't recall seeing any evidence in many years. If any can be provided I should be most interested, but my understanding is that only sufficient FTs to equip IIRCC two battalions, 144+, were handed to the AEF.

The most reliable and complete account I have found is a report to the French Senate of May, 1920: "On 11 November (1918), 3,187 (FT) tanks had been taken into account by the War Ministry. The Assault Artillery Subdirectorate proposed to stop production at 3,500. But the Reconstruction Ministry . . . was unable to halt production. The definite number of tanks received by the War Ministry is 4,517. But deliveries to Allies or abroad went on. They amount on 1 July 1919 to: Poland 120, Great Britain 24, Italy 4, Finland 30, Spain 1, America 231." That gives a total of 4,927. A couple of small problems remain, one being that FTs were supplied to Great Britain before the armistice but do not appear in British inventories after the War. One assumes they were handed back, in which case they might have been counted twice. And the figure for FTs taken to the USA is usually 209. However, these figures don't materially affect the total. (The figure for Spain is correct; more were purchased after the publication of the report.)

Being an open-minded and consensual chap, I'll leave these figures here for interested parties to study. M. Demaison might care to comment, although I probably ought to suggest that any opposing argument be supported by a reference of one kind or another, something that is not his normal practice. Funny that no one has challenged him very much. Anyway, je suis Hengistmate (talk) 16:32, 15 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, this matter has been treated by HGBM 99 of January 2012. The French production of all types seems indeed to have been 4517 until 1921. The 3187 number reflected the 11 November 1918 data in the administrative account kept by the French Ministry of War, which, as the Dutch say, was "running behind the facts" as already on 8 November 3246 tanks had been delivered. However, the number of 4927 is too high as most deliveries to other nations had in fact been taken from the 4517 stock. Remarkably, between 1921 and 1927 an additional number of tanks seems to have been produced, about 250 of them, for the benefit of costumers desiring brandnew vehicles.--MWAK (talk) 09:32, 16 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pruning this article.[edit]

a) There seems to be no point in including 2 sets of production figures, one in Development and one in Manufacturers, especially since they don’t tally. In fact, the sources disagree considerably. I think it is sufficient for the article to report that the sources differ, rather than state figures that can be endlessly challenged. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to see interested parties working collaboratively to establish what figures it is appropriate to state.

b) There is a quite adequate article on the M1917 derivative. There is no point in overburdening this article with info about the M1917 when it can be linked to. I'm taking out what is superfluous.

c) An additional benefit is the removal of the unusual method of citation that has appeared recently.

A lot more needs to be done to restore this article's credibility. Hengistmate (talk) 23:58, 24 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Zaloga v DiNardo - "not actually a difference of opinion."[edit]

Actually, I can think of few better examples of one: Person A believes one thing, whilst Person B believes another. I agree that the reference to diNardo as it stood was rather clumsy, but it had a purpose: to offset the adulation of one "editor" for Louis Renault and all his works. It's a problem that runs through the whole article. It is entirely fair to describe the FT as "the first modern tank," but it was the first modern tank to be manufactured. The basic layout had occurred to Burstyn a decade before and to Wilson a year before. The turret was not Renault's invention; it was in use on the armoured cars of many nations. Delaunay-Belleville had designed a tank with the same configuration, Schneider had drawn up several designs using the layout, and Charles de Poix had designed something very similar by November 1915, before Estienne had shown his very rough designs to Schneider.

And whilst it can be shown by argument that there is a case for disagreeing with Steve Zaloga, it can also be shown by reference to reliable sources: DiNardo in Military Affairs, Daniela and Ewald Angetter in Gunther Burstyn (1879-1945): Sein 'Panzer' - Eine bahnbrechende Erfindung zur falschen Zeit am falschen Ort, plus Strasheim, Schneider, Hundleby, and for what it's worth, the Austrian Army website.

One "editor" suggested the reference be removed "per WP:UNDUE," but, you see, we judge notability by what independent sources say; I am told that rocking up at a sourced article and saying, "It's just not notable" doesn't change this.

Steve Zaloga might hold that the FT was "the first modern tank," but there are two problems with that for Wikipedia: a) he is not infallible (see his 2010 French Tanks of World War 1), and b) a reliable source (a professional military historian writing in a WP:RS) offers a contradictory view. (Actually, diNardo's article contains a sizeable error, but that just means they are both fallible. In that respect, DiNardo is in the same league as Zaloga).

I suggest that what is needed here is a lead - indeed, a whole article - that is rather less of a hagiography than one "editor" would like. One that makes it clear that Renault didn't dream up this arrangement all on his own and that the idea had antecedents, whilst still affording the FT its rightful place.

I'll put a few words together in the next few days and run them up the flagpole. I know some people will be really looking forward to reading them. Hengistmate (talk) 01:18, 25 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FTs in Use by AEF: Recent Edits.[edit]

This article is about the FT and is not concerned with details of M1917 manufacture in the USA during or after the War. As I had occasion to observe some time ago, it's a different tank, in a different country, and it didn't arrive. Once the AEF decide to give up on the M1917 and approach the French for FTs, the former is irrelevant to this account. Subsequent events are described at length in the dedicated article.

The reverence that is a feature of so many of M. Demaison’s interventions makes it difficult to preserve the objectivity of both the FT and M1917 articles. Attempts to put a gloss on the failed M1917 programme and give the impression that because it was no more than 8 months behind schedule and only just missed the War it was more or less a success can perhaps best be summed up by citing The French Army's Tank Force and Armoured Warfare in the Great War (Dr. T. Gale, Ashgate Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4094-6661-1, p115-6): "The US light tank programme was a disaster."

Now, the figure of 514 FTs allegedly acquired by the AEF: Zaloga does indeed state that "The US Army received 514 Renault FTs during the course of the war," both in his 1988 work and in his more recent French Tanks of World War I (New Vanguard, 2010, p38). The same claim is made in U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles (Crismon, F; Motorbooks International, 1992; ISBN 0-87938-672-X; p52 ). It is a myth.

It doesn’t appear anywhere except when quoted from Zaloga. It is contradicted by a large number of detailed histories, and there is no indication where it came from. It is one of those “facts” that are frequently regurgitated but rarely examined.

There is a figure that can be found that is far higher than the well-documented provision of 144 FTs to the AEF, and it is the result of a well-intentioned but much misinterpreted point made by Dale Wilson. He counts the total of tanks available to the AEF at Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne – of all types. That includes the two battalions of American-crewed FTs, the three battalions of French-crewed FTs, and assorted Schneiders and Saint-Chamonds. The total comes to 419, comprising Patton’s 144 FTs, 24 Schneiders under French Major Charles Chanoine, 216 French-operated FTs, and 35 Saint-Chamonds under Commandant Auguste Herlaut. Some sources have mistakenly concluded that the total figure refers to US-crewed FTs only.

If required (though I shouldn't really have to) I can supply WP:RS for the above. The gist, though, is this: although there is some variation in the figures, it does not remotely approach the difference between 144 and 514.

I have also removed the duplicate link to the M1917, the customary interminable tinkering with syntax, tautology, etc. I've presented the facts. We are in the familiar territory of wondering whether M. Demaison will acknowledge them. Hengistmate (talk) 20:49, 8 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

P.S. Even Spencer Tucker gets this right. Hengistmate (talk) 22:48, 8 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

M. Demaison's Edits, May 17th, 2015.[edit]

M. Demaison has made over 40 edits to the section entitled Manufacturers. As is customary, there are no citations to substantiate any of his alterations. Lest a third party be tempted to contribute at this point on some matters of procedure, I would point out WP:BURDEN. The combination of convoluted English and a welter of figures make this section barely comprehensible.

Despite several requests, M. Demaison declines to provide citations, to use the sandbox, or to adopt a username. His edits to this article are in the region of 1,000, scarcely any of them adding any value. In fact, the points about which he has been most insistent - the wooden idlers, the development of the turret - are those about which he has proved to be most wrong; in fact, completely wrong.

I don't care if M. Demaison ironed General de Gaulle's underpants; his interventions rarely fail to damage the article. I think a case can be made for invoking the Competence rule. In the meantime, I shall continue, when time permits, to reverse his edits until he comes up with some that are correct, relevant, supported by references, and intelligible. Hengistmate (talk) 21:19, 17 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image of FT at Fort George G. Meade.[edit]

This FT has an M1917 mantlet, if not an entire M1917 turret. Will check. In the meantime, since there are plenty of images of FTs with Berliet or Girod turrets I've removed the image to prevent any confusion. Hengistmate (talk) 15:15, 10 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FTs at The Weald Foundation.[edit]

As explained, an FT and an FT TSF are undergoing restoration at this charitable organisation. Interested parties might like to view this aspect of the project. It concerns scientific examination of the wooden idler wheels, which, you will recall, we were recently invited to believe did not exist. As I mentioned a while ago, there are still FTs the existence of which is not public knowledge. Hengistmate (talk) 15:26, 10 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Involving or causing a complete or dramatic change." It might be a bit over the top, but not prohibitively so. It signalled the beginning of the end for the existing types. "It's almost the first tank design in existence, there was almost nothing before it." Then if it was almost the first, it wasn't the first, and if there was almost nothing before it, then there was something before it, namely the Mk I, II, III, IV, Schneider, and Saint-Chamond. MWAK's response is, IMO, uncharacteristically brusque, but we all have off days. Actually, I have no strong feelings about this. Hengistmate (talk) 13:43, 15 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there were almost no tanks before it, go figure how revolutionary it must have been to be called so ;o). The point is of course that "revolutionary" is an adequate reflection of the text of the source.--MWAK (talk) 15:43, 15 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Revolution" is necessarily applied to something exiting (eg. the ancien régime). Nothing exited before that tank though. (Yes the Mark I is a bit older, but nothing from that is revolutionized.) - (talk) 02:58, 16 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Le Petit Chat edits, Feb 2019.[edit]


Some points for your consideration.

"Afghanistan (4 tanks captured in 2003, probably shipped from a White Russian or Chinese warlord)"

These vehicles weren't captured. They were, shall we say, encountered in 2003. Two were derelict in a military junkyard and were shipped to the USA. French and US special forces came across a third, again in a derelict condition, when they took over a former Afghan army base in the border town of Spin Boldak. That was taken to France and restored to running condition at the Musée des Blindés at Saumur, where it can still be seen. The fourth was on display in the Afghan Defence Ministry compound in Kabul. In 2012 it was presented as a gift by the government of Afghanistan to the government of Poland. The purpose behind this was that Poland wanted to commemorate the part played by the FT in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919-21, but none had survived in Poland. At least two of these FTs are believed by the reasonably well-informed to have been sold by France to Poland and then captured by the Soviets in the Polish war. The clue is that the two vehicles sent to Fort Knox have modifications that are known to have been carried out by the Poles. By 1923 the Soviets were building their own tanks and had no need of the Renaults. They therefore presented them to Afghanistan in exchange for the latter's official recognition. I don't know where M. Tracol has got his information from, but no White Russian or Chinese warlords were involved. Hengistmate (talk) 17:20, 8 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Captured" was a typo I made, sorry. About the Russian or Chinese origin, I don't know M. Tracol's sources and he just made suppositions in his article.--Le Petit Chat (talk) 19:16, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To claim that these machines took part in combat in the 1980s is as incredible as the suggestion that British Mark V tanks took an active part in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. If you count "being hidden behind" as "combat," then perhaps. Hengistmate (talk) 17:20, 8 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok. I added "allegedly". Some picture there by the way: [6].--Le Petit Chat (talk) 19:16, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am very suspicious about the citation for FTs having taken part in the Arab-Israeli War. It looks to me as if Dowling's reference has come from Wikipedia. There were about 10 FTs in Lebanon and Syria in 1948, left over from Vichy days, but there is no known record of their having been in action. Hengistmate (talk) 17:20, 8 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with your suspicions. I added a {{better source needed}} tag.--Le Petit Chat (talk) 19:16, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Philippines (1 ex-American tank, used 1936-1940)". Are you sure? An M1917 seems likelier. I cannot find a photograph on the site you have linked to. That would help to indentify it. Hengistmate (talk) 17:20, 8 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know, I just trusted the source. --Le Petit Chat (talk) 19:16, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First action of the FT - Le Petit Chat[edit]

The figure of 200 is wrong. Zaloga gets things wrong (for instance, the AEF didn't receive 514 FTs from France). In this case he's merely a little unclear.

Beware of sourced content, especially if the source doesn't support what you're saying. Remember that until quite recently Wikipedia could produce large amounts of sourced content to prove that Captain George Patton won the Battle of Cambrai with his American tanks. With a little effort and much abuse, it was possible to demonstrate that this sourced content was wrong. When sources are wrong, it does put Wikipedia in rather an awkward position.

In this instance, Zaloga is a little ambiguous. 501 RAS did comprise about 200 Renaults, but they were "committed to action", which doesn't mean they were all sent into action.

Jones, Rarey, & Icks, 1933, The Fighting Tanks Since 1916, p64: "Since every available means was required to halt the German advance, the three battalions of Renault tanks of the 501st Tank Regiment then ready were sent to General Mangin to support his counter-attack with six infantry divisions on May 31. The long move by the tanks necessary to reach their positions in the Forêt de Retz was made hurriedly by truck, tractor, and under their own power.* Only one company, the 305th, had reached its detrucking point at Saint Pierre-Aigle on the night of May 30th and it still had to go to Calvaire that night. A part of the 304th and 305th Companies arrived on May 31st, at 11 a.m. The attack was ordered for 12 noon. . . . in order to join the infantry, these 30 tanks had an approach march of about 1600 yards . . .the six platoons of five tanks each were divided into two groups, one to support the attack on Chazelle, and the other to aid in the capture of Ploisy."

  • ("by truck, tractor, and under their own power" - that addresses another 'Citation needed' btw.)

No further actions involving Renaults took place until June 2nd, The first time 200 or more Renaults went into action was at Soissons in July.

Les Chars de la Grande Guerre, Lt-Col Paul Malmassari, 2009, p 98: "31 mai 1918; Premier engagement des chars Renault; 30 chars Renault, attaque improvisée."

The French Army's Tank Force and Armoured Warfare in the Great War, Tim Gale, 2013, p 138: "Only five tanks had been permanently lost out of the 31 that had gone into action."

Les chars français au combat by Jurkiewicz, p 65 says the same thing at great length.

Chars de France, J-G Jeudy, 1997, p 38: "Le premier engagement du FT a lieu le 31 mai 1918. Trente chars dont vingt et un seulement peuvent être mis en ligne sont jetés dans la bataille pour tenter d'arrêter l'ennemi qui débouche de Berzy-le-Sec, près de Soissons."

This figure of 30 is pretty well-known, and it's taken up quite a bit of time to refute your claim of 200. Please cross-check with other references rather than relying on a single source. Hengistmate (talk) 16:21, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your sources, I made a mistake by relying only on Zaloga (I did not have access to any of your references). --Le Petit Chat (talk) 17:03, 15 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"I don't think we need to specify that the US production was 'failed' or 'attempted'".[edit]

I think we do. It failed. The first thing to bear in mind is that American production of the FT was nil. Gale (2013) p 116 says, "the US light-tank programme was a disaster". Easy, simple, and clear. After all, Dale Wilson devotes an entire chapter to the failure.

What this subsection describes is the attempt by the USA to manufacture the FT, in a modified form, that failed. That surprising failure is decidedly notable, and the subsection's title alerts the reader to the fact that that's what it's about. Hengistmate (talk) 16:57, 18 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Xavier Tracol source, Batailles et Blindés No. 48.[edit]

To help things along, here's M. Tracol's account translated from French, April/May 2012:

In 2003, American G.I.s in Afghanistan discovered four Renault FTs, two of them in fairly good condition. Their origin remains a matter for debate: some say that they were captured in 1919 by local fighters during the Third Afghan War, against the British, who had received 24 FTs from the French in 1918, but it seems unlikely that they sent these tanks to India after WWI. Two other explanations seem more likely: these Renaults could have travelled via the Baltic States, Ukraine, or Russia, which were then in full civil war and where the White Army had been supplied with FTs by the British and French allies. The second possibility is that Chinese warlords had sold their own tanks to tribal chiefs or to the Afghan National Army in the 1920s. In fact next to nothing is known about the actual number involved or of their operational use, but the surviving examples tend to prove that they served for a long time after being fixed: one of them stood as a war trophy in front of a local chieftain's house and was rearmed with a long 6-pounder gun. After being restored, these machines were offered to France and the USA "for services rendered."

I think its deficiencies are obvious. Hengistmate (talk) 15:01, 29 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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