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Rnd 6 - Tanks Mk I-V (Britain) vs Renault FT-17 (France)

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  • Rnd 6 - Tanks Mk I-V (Britain) vs Renault FT-17 (France)


    Round 6: Tanks Mk I-V (Britain) vs Renault FT-17 (France)

    The British Mk I-V was the first physical fighting embodiment of the word, "tank"; the first basic tank design ever to go into battle; and the first tank successfully used for a large-scale armoured penetration of an enemy defensive line. These are certainly noteworthy firsts but no doubt, members will consider for themselves the true significance or value of them. In addition, more of this basic type saw combat in WW1 than any other tank except the Renault FT-17. That said, the fundamental design was rendered instantly obsolete as soon as the latter appeared.

    The French FT-17 pioneered the internal layout that would become the norm for later generations of tanks right up until today. Perhaps this, more than anything else, makes it highly influential. It was also built in considerable numbers and rendered effective service during the last 6 months of WW1, as well as a modest amount of service in WW2. During the inter-war period a number of other countries either purchased the FT, or built or produced tanks based on its general design. It was probably the most ubiquitous tank design through the 1920s and early 30's.

    Each of these AFV designs can be seen, in its own way, to have been a critically important "pioneer" in the earliest developments and deployments of the tank. The question for you guys:

    Which one deserves to be the champion and outright winner of this tournament?
    Tanks Mk I-V or FT-17?
    It's up to you!

    Which of them is the most significant and/or influential tank?

    Candidate #1 - Tanks Mk I-V (Britain)

    Active Service Entry – 1916 (Mk I)
    Weight – From 27 tons (Mk I ‘Female’) up to 29 tons (Mk. V ‘Male’)
    Top Speed – From 6 km/h (3.7 mph) (Mk I) up to 8 km/h (5 mph) (Mk. V)
    Main Armament – 2 x 6pdr guns (Male) or 4 x .303 MGs (Female)
    No. Produced – 1,870, Mks I-V combined

    For further basic info, you can start with Wiki here:

    Tank Mk.I (Male)

    Tanks Mk.IV 'Female' (left) and 'Male' (right)

    Candidate #10 - Renault FT-17 (France)

    Active Service Entry – 1917/18
    Weight – 6.6 metric tons
    Top Speed – 8 Km/h (5 mph)
    Main Armament – 37mm gun or 8mm MG
    No. Produced – 3,800 (approx.)

    For further basic info, you can start with Wiki here:

    Consider the criteria with care! You decide!

    Tanks Mk I-V (Britain)
    Renault FT-17 (France)

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by panther3485; 04 Oct 14, 09:47.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    I have to give it to the French. It pretty much what all tanks would end up being. tracked, Hull and a turret that can rotate 360 degrees.

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    • #3

      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


      • #4
        Originally posted by andrewza View Post
        I have to give it to the French. It pretty much what all tanks would end up being. tracked, Hull and a turret that can rotate 360 degrees.

        Agree, Renault it is.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by R. Evans View Post
          Agree, Renault it is.
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          • #6
            A turret per se wasn't a new or revolutionary idea. Ships had been using them for half a century, and armored cars were already so equipped during World War I. Little Willie was topped by a turret early in its development, but the final design of the tracks--the rhomboid shape that became necessary to get across German trenches, part of the tank's raison d'ętre--eliminated the idea of mounting a turret on the first British tanks due to top-heaviness and the resultant instability.

            Rather than look at a vehicle's physical characteristics, at this stage we should be looking at what it can do; indeed, even now a "tank" should not be tied to physical components lest some people (or even some forum members ) confuse it with self-propelled artillery, personnel carriers, etc. The British tanks were designed to cross an 8' trench, which was the German standard at the time of development. The FT could only manage to cross a trench half that size. Turrets on tracked vehicles remain popular today (but even today's tanks can't match the trench-crossing ability of the rhomboid designs...), but conceptually the FT was a dead-end: The idea of sending out swarms of light tanks and tankettes was shown in the next war to be faulty, and today's main battle tank has evolved from the medium and heavy tank classes.


            • #7
              The French design is about the physical aspect of tank design, and the first to get it basically right for the long term. The British was the first tank, a moment in history that is impossible to beat. However, the French designed what we consider the tank design today.

              The British Rhomboids represents the thought behind armoured warfare, getting the right Afv that is right for the battlefield at the right time.

              Imho, it is a case of French body vs British/US mind (since the US built the Holt tractor, which the first tanks were based upon).

              Both finalists were huge techological leaps forward in design, with the British design better for the battlefields in WW1 and the basic French layout for each conflict thereafter.

              Each brings equal merit, but different aspects to armoured warfare.

              I'm going MkI_V simply because it actually had a major impact in WWI. If it had not existed and only the first two French were available, I don't know if the tank would have developed as much, simply because the Schneider and Saint-Chamond were not suitable for what the tank was required to do then.

              It simply comes down to the fact that the British machine was more effective in an actual major conflict overall that I have chosen it. However, my vote could easily have gone the other way.
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              • #8
                Very tough. Both are very worthy of the title. But since you can only have one.
                Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

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                • #9
                  The British rhomboid might have been first but it was designed specifically for the war it was to fight. Trench crossing took precedence over virtually every other aspect of the design.
                  Post war it was a large complex white elephant that didn't get copied. It was left on the dusty pages of history.

                  The FT-17 on the other hand was produced in the thousands. It was copied by everybody in a variety of styles. The Ford 6 ton, the 3 ton, the Fiat 3000, the Russian MS 1, Yugoslav M26/27, Japanese Otsu... The list is long of the variants that sprang forth from it.
                  Virtually everybody used the FT 17 at some point. That is a record that's hard to beat. It fought in numerous WW 1 battles in large numbers, then in the Russian Civil War, in China, in Italy's colonial wars, WW 2, and everything in between. The Renault could be found in almost any corner of the planet soldiering on for decades.

                  Even in WW 1 the use of the FT 17 rivals that of the Mk I to V rhomboids. Battles like Soissons and Champagne saw upwards of 500+ French tanks in action with 300+ of those being FT 17 rivaling in size the British offensive at Cambrai.
                  Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 04 Oct 14, 13:00. Reason: added notes


                  • #10
                    Mark V-I changed the nature of warfare;
                    Renault established how tanks would look like.

                    My final vote for "most influential tank" by necessity most go to the Mark I-V.

                    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.


                    • #11
                      Oh sod it, I'm francophile
                      I let myself be persuaded by T.A. Gardner's arguments.
                      Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 04 Oct 14, 12:54.

                      You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.


                      • #12
                        This is kind of a tough one. On the one hand, we have the British Mk's which were the first tanks to enter the modern battlefield, but on the other hand we have the French FT-17 which introduced the essential elements of the modern tanks that followed.

                        I still have to go witih the FT-17 for this one, because its design elements continued on into todays tanks, while very little of the British tank elements did.
                        (although tracks, armor and cannon do have to be given some credit.)
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
                          The idea of sending out swarms of light tanks was shown in the next war to be faulty.
                          I don't know about that. The Germans did pretty well in Poland and France with what were considered light tanks.
                          I voted Renault, since not only did it have the turret, it also had speed and mobility, which is what tanks need.


                          • #14
                            That was pretty darn easy.

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                            As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                            No lie.

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                            • #15
                              Mk I-IV, there is no question about it in my mind.
                              The first tank and in so many ways the machine that not only wrought the new paradigm of armoured warfare for the modern age, but proved that AFVs would be a relevant weapons system for the next hundred years and beyond.

                              It was SO influential that even it's limitations and drawbacks were influential on later tank designs.

                              It influenced the introduction of the single turret design so lauded in the FT-17. another point for the MKI-IV

                              It succeeded in it's primary purpose of helping to break the deadlock of trench warfare,

                              It paved the way for everything that would come after, including the FT-17.

                              IMO if it was influential on even it's competition in this poll then I feel that it was the most influential over all.
                              "... and that was the last time they called me Freakboy Moses"


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