Sunday 30 March 2014

World of Tanks: Today in History: FT-17 Capture

The value of self-propelled armoured vehicles was seen very quickly by European armies. The army of the young Soviet republic was no exception. In 1918, Lenin, speaking to the delegates of the Emergency All-Russia Soviet Assembly highlighted that a victorious army does not only have the braver soldiers and more talented commanders, but superior equipment.

Armoured cars and trains were used actively by the Red Army. It was not so with tanks. No domestic tank building school existed and there were few captured vehicles. A foundation for creating a new tank was needed. The captured Renault FT-17 was such a foundation. One of four tanks captured at Berezovka station near Odessa was sent to Lenin by the Second Ukrainian Soviet Army. The FT-17 was one of the most advanced vehicles available at the time. Its design was the first to use a layout later judged as classic: rear engine compartment, middle fighting compartment, armament in a rotating turret.

After the captured Renault participated in a May Day parade on Red Square, it was sent to Nizhniy Novgorod, to the Krasnoye Sormovo factory. The factory engineers, directed by I.I. Hrulev and F.I. Nefedov designed blueprints and tools for a "Russian Renault". On August 21st, 1920, the first output of the Soviet tank industry started trials: the 7-ton "Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin".

The main value of the Russian Renault for the USSR lay in the experience obtained during its design and production. Later, it was used when creating the first truly mass produced Soviet tank, the MS-1.

Original article available here.

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