|France||Light Tank||Tier I|
The vehicle entered service in 1917, with a total of 3177 vehicles manufactured by the end of World War I and 3800 vehicles produced in total. At the beginning of World War II a total of 1560 vehicles were in service.
The first French tank available to the player. It has good acceleration, but poor top speed. The available guns have only subpar damage output, but a very high rate of fire. The armor is fairly thick for its tier.
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
|Guns compatible with this Turret:|
Pros and Cons
- Good turret armor.
- Excellent gun elevation.
- Excellent rate of fire.
- High acceleration and hull traverse (once upgraded).
- Poor top speed.
- Poor turret traverse speed.
- Extremely poor gun depression.
The FT can play out its strengths on maps with more narrow sections, where you can essentially be a roadblock for enemy tanks. Something to note is that the gun elevation is as good as the T57, but the gun depression is very poor (i.e. it's good at shooting up, but bad at shooting down).
Although not immensely powerful, the 25mm Canon Raccourci Mle. 1934 is one of the best tier 1 tank guns: accurate and very fast firing. If you make appropriate use of cover and expose only your small, round, and sturdy turret, you can destroy opponents easily. Be aware, though, that the 25 mm loses its penetration at ranges over 400 m, dramatically limiting your effective range.
Please note the Map Restrictions for Tier 1 tanks if you consider purchasing a camouflage skin/paint job for this tank.
- Your underpowered engine is a liability. You want to upgrade it as soon as possible. They don't cost much XP, so you can probably go straight to the Franklin engine.
- Next research the second turret for improved armor and so you can mount the better gun.
- The stock gun can barely penetrate drywall. Now you can finally research the 25 mm Canon Raccourci Mle. 1934.
- Upgrade the suspension so you can turn faster.
- Although the ER 52 is an impressive radio, it should be saved for last.
Studies on the production of a new light tank were started in May 1916 by the famous car producer Louis Renault. The evidence strongly suggests that Renault himself drew up the preliminary design, unconvinced that a sufficient power-to-weight ratio could be achieved by the medium tanks requested by the military. One of his most talented designers, Rodolphe Ernst-Metzmaier, prepared the final drawings.
Though the project was far more advanced than the first two types of French tank, the Schneider CA1 and the heavy Saint-Chamond, Renault had at first great trouble getting his design accepted by the head of the French tank arm, Colonel (later General) Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne. Even after the first British use of tanks, on 15 September 1916, when the French people called for the deployment of their own chars, the production of the light tank was almost cancelled in favor of that of a superheavy tank (the later Char 2C). However, now with the support of Estienne and the successive French Commanders in Chief, who saw light tanks as a more feasible and realistic option, Renault was at last able to proceed with the design. The design remained in competition with the Char 2C until the very end of the war.
The prototype was slowly refined during the first half of 1917, although the FT was plagued by radiator fan belt and cooling system problems throughout the war. Only 84 were produced in 1917 but 2,697 were delivered before the Armistice. At least 3,177 were produced in total, perhaps more; some estimates go as high as 4,000 for all versions combined. However, 3,177 is the delivery total to the French Army; 514 were perhaps directly delivered to the U.S. Army, 24 to Great Britain, and three to Italy - giving a probable total production number of 3,694. The tanks had at first a round cast turret; later either an octagonal turret or an even later rounded turret of bent steel plate (called the Girod turret, after one of the factories that produced it). The latter two could carry a Puteaux SA 18 gun, or a 7.92 mm Hotchkiss machine gun. In the U.S., a slightly modified version was built under license as the Six Ton Tank, or M1917 (950 built, 64 before the end of the war, but too late to be used in action).
The FT was widely used by the French and the US in the later stages of World War I, after 31 May 1918. It was cheap and well-suited for mass production. It reflected an emphasis on quantity, both on a tactical level and strategic: Estienne proposed to overwhelm the enemy defenses using a "swarm" of light tanks, and the Entente was thought to be able to gain the upper hand by outproducing the Central Powers. A goal was set of 12,260 to be manufactured (including 4,440 of the US version) before the end of 1919.
After the war, FTs were exported to many countries (Poland, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Japan). As a result, FT tanks were used by most nations having armored forces, invariably as their first tank type, including the United States. They took part in many later conflicts, such as the Russian Civil War, Polish-Soviet War, Chinese Civil War, Rif War, Spanish Civil War and Estonian War of Independence.
FT tanks were also used in the Second World War, among others in Poland, Finland, France and Kingdom of Yugoslavia, although they were completely obsolete by then. In 1940 the French army still had eight battalions equipped with 63 FTs each and three independent companies with ten each, for a total organic strength of 534, all with machine guns.
Many smaller units, partially raised after the German invasion, also used the FT. This has given rise to the popular myth that the French had no modern equipment at all; in fact they had more modern tanks than the Germans; the French suffered from tactical and strategic weaknesses rather than from equipment deficiencies. When the German drive to the Channel cut off the best French units, as an expediency measure the complete French materiel reserve was sent to the front; this included 575 FTs. Earlier, 115 sections of FT had been formed for airbase defense. The Wehrmacht captured 1,704 FTs. A hundred were again used for airfield defense, about 650 for patrolling occupied Europe. Some of the tanks were also used by the Germans in 1944 for street-fighting in Paris. By this time they were hopelessly out of date.
The FT was the ancestor of a long line of French tanks: the FT Kégresse, the NC1, the NC2, the Char D1 and the Char D2. The Italians produced as their standard tank the FIAT 3000, a moderately close copy of the FT.
The Soviet Red Army captured fourteen burnt-out Renaults from White Russian forces, and rebuilt them at the Krasnoye Sormovo Factory in 1920. Nearly 15 exact copies, called "Russian Renoe" were produced in 1920-1922, but due to many technical problems with producing such advanced war machines, they never actually saw the battlefield. In 1928-1931 the first completely Soviet-designed tank was the T-18, a derivation of the Renault with sprung suspension.In all, the FT was used by Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, the Republic of China, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, France, Nazi Germany, Iran, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, the Russian White movement, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.