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WWI Renault FT-17 tank found in Afghanistan

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MessagePosté le: Mar 19 Déc - 09:53 (2017)    Sujet du message: WWI Renault FT-17 tank found in Afghanistan Répondre en citant


There is one particular item of interest for the United States. It is a French Renault FT/17 tank circa WWI. Before tanks were a part of the Army, this tank helped the U.S. in many campaigns in Europe during the war. On loan from the French government, Gen. George Patton, then a captain serving under Gen. John Pershing, was one of the first to learn how to operate this type of tank.

The rusted remnants of two FT/17s lay tattered and disassembled in a junkyard in Kabul and forgotten until armor officer Maj. Robert Redding came across them. 

“Being an armor officer, I knew that these tanks were special,” said Redding. After finding them, he did what he thought he should do – he took photos and e-mailed them to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, Ky. — that was Friday. By Monday he had seven responses. 

“They were excited and very interested to bring the tanks back to the states,” he said. The museum previously owned a FT/17 tank, but at the request of the French government, sent it back to France, Redding said.

“It’s a very rare tank,” said French Maj. Thierry Delbarre, project manager. “France is interested in getting and keeping whatever intact equipment that we can.”

But this tank will go back to the U.S. The French have agreed to let the U.S. have this tank. They already have a body of a FT/17, and are more interested in finding an engine, Delbarre said.

Only about 5,000 of these tanks were made and the design and capabilities proved invaluable to many different countries in Europe. Their design boasted the first tank with a full traverse 360-degree rotating turret. It is a light vehicle, which weighs approximately 7,000 pounds. A two-man crew – a driver and a gunner, operate the vehicle. The modern configuration of the tank is still used in tanks today; the driver sits in the front and the engine is in the rear.


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