ARMOURED VEHICLES PART 3

 

 

RENAULT FT 17 TANKS

 

PICTURE: Finnish Army Renault FT 17 tank photographed during war games of summer 1939. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 10975). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (204 KB).

Weight:

6.8 tons

Length:

5.0 meters (with tail) / 4.1 meters (without tail)

Width:

1.74 meters

Height:

2.14 meters

Max. Speed:

7.5 - 7.7 km/h

Engine:

35 hp Renault 4-cylinder gasoline engine

Armour:

6 - 16 mm / 6 - 22 mm (*)

- Hull front and sides

16 mm

- Hull roof

8 mm

- Hull floor

6 mm

- Turret front and sides

16 mm / 22 mm (*)

Ground Clearance:

43.5 cm

Ground Pressure:

0.44 - 0.50 kg/square cm

Gradient:

50 degrees

Trench:

2.0 m

Fording:

0.7 m

Range:

35 km

Weapons:

- male

37-mm SA-18 (L/21) tank gun (233 rounds) (**)

- female (1919 - 1937)

8-mm Hotchkiss machinegun (4,800 rounds) (***)

- female (1937 - 1943)

7.62-mm machinegun M/09-31 (? Rounds) (***)

Crew:

2 men

Country of Origin:

France

Production:

1917 - ?, estimated 3,800 - 4,000 manufactured

(*) Armour thickness varied depending turret type. Octagonal riveted turret had 16-mm thick sides, which welded rounded turret had sides 22-mm thick.

(**) While many English-language sources mention 237 rounds, Finnish sources suggest 233 rounds as the maximum number of rounds carried in Finnish tanks.

(***) Original 8 mm Hotchkiss machineguns were replaced with Finnish air-cooled 7.62 mm Maxim machineguns in summer of 1937.

Finnish use: Finland bought 32 of these tanks from France in year 1919. Two additional tanks delivered in year 1920. Renault FT 17 was the first tank of Finnish tank corps and the main tank in their use in 1920's and 1930's. During Winter War they didn't see any combat use as tanks, but some were dug into turret down positions and used by as bunkers of sort by Finnish infantry. The last few FT 17 tanks remained in training use until year 1943.

Armour penetration (37 Psv.K/18 aka 37 mm Puteaux SA-18 L/21 tank gun):

- Guns vs. Armour website by D.M. Honner (French "OR mle 1892 m. 24 non coiffé AP-round, 500-gram projectile, 338 m/sec):

Notice: Finnish pre-Winter War tests gave test results according which ammunition failed to penetrate even 10-mm steel plate in impact angle of 90 degrees from distance of 100 meters.

While the British were the first to introduce a tank into combat use, for many French FT 17 is the first modern tank. It was certainly the first to have the basic layout still found in most tanks today - driver in the front part of hull, engine in the rear hull and weaponry in a rotating turret located on top of the hull. While obviously smaller than other tanks introduced during World War 1 it also proved surprisingly good design, but due to fast technical development of 1920’s and 1930’s also became seriously outdated in only two decades.

As the name suggests, this tank was designed in factory of French car manufacturer Louis Renault with Rudolphe Ernst-Metzmaier as its main designer. Besides those two gentlemen also Colonel Jean-Baptiste Eugène Estienne who had originally envisioned a light tank for French Army and arranged it to be ordered from Renault played vital role in the creation of this tank. First prototypes were completed in February - March of 1917 and when tested in Champlieu proved so successful that the first order for 350 FT 17 tanks was made in 22nd of February 1917 was swiftly expanded to 3,500 tanks, which were to be delivered by end of year 1918. Since Renault factory was lacking capacity for manufacturing such a huge number of tanks in so limited time, so several other French companies were included to production. These companies included Belleville, Berliet, Delauney, SOMUA and large number of subcontractors. By armistice, which ended World War 1, French military had ordered 7,820 FT 17 tanks, from which 3,177 had been delivered. While large part of the orders not yet delivered were cancelled after the war, in year 1921 French Army still had 3,728 FT 17 tanks. They remained in French use with original Hotchkiss machineguns getting replaced with new 7.5-mm Reibel Mle. 31 machineguns - the resulting tank version was known as FT 31. About 1,600 of them remained in French use until summer of 1940, when large numbers were captured by the Germans during their invasion to France. German military named captured French FT 17 tanks as PzKpfw 18R 730(f) and used them for internal security operations in occupied France until 1944.

While French Army was the main customer for these tanks, they were also widely exported after World War 1. Export customers included Belgium, Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Manchuria, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, USA and Yugoslavia. They were also provided as a military assistance to White Russians during Russian Civil War (1917 - 1923) and saw use in variety of other wars like Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939), Franco - Thai War (1940 - 1941), Chinese Civil War (1927 - 1937 and 1946 - 1950) and Chinese - Japanese War (1937 - 1945). Many of the Renault FT 17 tanks delivered to Russia ended up being captured by the Soviet Red Army, while some were taken over and used by Estonia until 1940. That same year USA delivered some of them to Canada. In addition Italy (FIAT 3000), Soviet Union (KS, MS-1 and MS-2) and USA (6 Ton Tank M1917) started manufacturing either copies or their own tanks based to FT 17 design. In 1920’s the French designed also further improved versions Char NC1 (Char NC27) and Char NC2 (Char NC31) for export sales. While FT 17 early on was excellent success, with its small size and other limitations, ultimately it also proved to be design-wise a dead, which could not be developed further.

Several varieties of Renault FT 17 existed. The most common of these were version equipped with 8-mm Hotchkiss machinegun and version equipped with low velocity 37-mm SA tank gun, but the French manufactured also version with 75-mm gun, version equipped with wireless radio set and experimented with several special versions. Also even the most common versions had small variations. Original FT 17 design had a cast steel turret, which proved difficult to manufacture, so octagonal riveted turret was introduced to production until the cast version became available in required numbers. In addition to this apparently also the hull, which was a riveted monocoque structure, had differences varying from one manufacturer to another. Due to the vehicle being so short it had poor trench crossing capability (1.35 meters), but this was fixed already early on by adding the tank hull a removable tail structure. Suspension with its 8 bogies, coil springs and leaf springs was extremely modern for its time in 1917 and apparently reasonably good for vehicle this light and slow. While the modest 35-horsepower tank engine was obviously too weak for armoured vehicle of this size, it could provide the slow speed (about equal to walking infantry) required in original specifications. Even it the tank had a rather large (95-litre) gasoline tank, the maximum range was limited to mere 35 kilometres, limiting the tanks unsuitable tactical capability for long attacks through enemy lines. Tank tracks were 34-cm wide and each of them contained 32 track shoes. The two-man crew included driver and very much over-burdened gunner/tank commander. Only signal equipment used in typical FT 17 tanks were signal flags, which the tank commander would wave when necessary.

PICTURE: Renault FT 17 tank of Finnish Army climbing a small obstacle. This is naaras (machinegun-tank) version with a cast turret. Notice the tail structure in use and the signalling flags on turret. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (71 KB).

For Finland, like for many of the export customers for FT 17 tanks, this was the first tank in their use and the starting point tank corps in their Armed Forces. Year 1919 the recently created Finnish Armed Forces were shopping for new weaponry in France. The most expensive part of those acquisitions was 32 Renault FT 17 tanks, which were shipped from Le Havre to Helsinki with s/s Joazeiro and issued to Finnish Army 26th of August 1919. The price of these tanks was 67 million Finnish Marks. All 32 tanks were factory-new, manufactured in 1918 – 1919 and had French register numbers in between 66151 – 73400. 14 of them were equipped with 37-mm tank guns and 18 had been equipped with 8-mm Hotchkiss M/1914 machineguns. Finnish Army decided to simply call the version with tank gun as koiras (male) and version with machinegun as naaras (female). For transporting the tanks on road Finnish Army also bought six Latil tractors with their trailers, these were arrived with the same ship as the tanks. Tanks, tractors and trailers were all issued to Hyökkäysvaunurykmentti (Tank Regiment), which had its garrison in Santahamina military base in Helsinki and had been created in 15th of July 1919. Following the French model Tank Regiment was early on considered as part of field artillery and organised accordingly as artillery battalions and artillery batteries, which size-wise were equivalent of companies and platoons. Since this was the first Finnish military unit of its type, in the beginning there were no officers with the appropriate training. Early on most likely tactics for tanks were considered as a modernised cavalry tactics of sort, so seven out of the first dozen officers of Tank Regiment were transferred from cavalry. Recruits for this new military unit were selected with preference those with technical training and/or experience of any kind. To get the training going a French team of nine men lead by Captain Pivetau arrived to Finland in year 1919 and trained the basics for Finnish personnel. In light of the political situation in 1919 and geographic location of Finland, the FT 17 tank deal was not exactly lacking ulterior motives. Shortly said it is pretty safe to suspect that the French willingness to deliver FT-17 tanks and other military equipment to Finland in 1919 was linked to plans for supporting Russian White Army in Russian Civil War (1917 - 1922). However the plan failed since Finland did not join the attack towards Petrograd (St. Petersburg).

Organisation of Hyökkäysvaunurykmentti (Tank Regiment) in end of year 1919:

Regimental Headquarters

1st Artillery Battalion, in each Artillery Battalion:

2nd Artillery Battalion

Supplies formations

 

Battalion of Hyökkäysvaunurykmentti in 1919:

- Personnel:

- Officers: 4

- NCOs: 15 – 16

- Recruits: 50

- Tanks: 15 Renault FT 17

 

Personnel of Hyökkäysvaunurykmentti 1919:

 

Renault FT 17 tanks in Finnish use were not subject to any drastic modifications during their service career of about two decades. Especially the male-version with its 37-mm gun remained pretty much the same as delivered in year 1919, with its 37 Psv.K/18 main gun (as Finnish army called its 37-mm Puteaux SA-18 tank gun) remaining unmodified to the end. This gun fired the same 37 mm x 94R gun shells as 37-mm Russian Obuhov and Rosenberg infantry guns and 37/30 Ma (37-mm Maxim) automatic cannon, this explains at least partly the rather versatile ammunition inventory of this tank gun in Finnish use. While other sources indicate that the male-version of Renault FT 17 usually had ammunition racks for 237 rounds of 37-mm tank gun ammunition, Finnish sources suggest that maximum number of shells carried in them was 233 rounds. These 233 rounds included typically 204 shells (of HE, AP, AP-T, APHE and APHE-T types) and 29 round with grape shot shells, which were for short-range use against infantry (from distance of 20 meters or less). The female-version was equipped with 8-mm Hothckiss M/1914 machinegun, which was slightly more problematic from Finnish point of view. These machineguns had been first noted unsatisfactory already in year 1924 and the ammunition (French 8 mm x 50R Lebel) used in them was very much non-standard for Finnish military, since it wasn’t used in real numbers in any other weapons. Yet, these might have not been such serious issue, if the machineguns had not proved unreliable and worn out in such extent that ultimately they needed to be replaced. This happened in summer of 1937 and the last eight Hotchkiss machineguns were sent to Weapons Depot 1 (Asevarikko 1) in October of 1937. The replacement of French Hotchkiss was Finnish designed variation air-cooled Maxim machinegun M/09-31, which was similar to ones used in 7.62 ItKk/31 VKT anti-aircraft machineguns. To be more exact M/09-31 Maxim tank machinegun was similar to right side machinegun of 7.62 ItKk/31 VKT, since its ammunition belt was fed from the right. This machinegun has theoretical rate of fire about 900 rounds per minute and it was fed with 250-round disintegrating ammunition belts made from steel. Besides this change of machineguns, only another visibly notable Finnish made modification for Renault FT 17 tanks was adding a large toolbox on side of the vehicle, which happened in year 1934.

As mentioned France apparently had political plans of its own related in selling Renault FT 17 tanks to Finland in year 1919. The main point of these plans was joining Finland to battle against Russian Bolshevik government. Finnish government had no real interest for supporting White Russians, since their leadership refused to accept Finland independence, so Finland refused joining the war, but this didn’t stop the French. Soon after delivery of the FT 17 French government used diplomatic pressure demanding Finland to loan two of these tanks (one male and one female) to General Nikolai Yudenich’s North-western Russian White Army, which in year 1919 was operating from Estonia towards Petrograd (St. Peterburg). Ultimately Finnish government gave in to political pressure in this matter. 17th - 18th of October 1919 the two tanks were shipped to Tallinn, from where they moved to Narva two days later. They served with French - Russian crews and took part in attack towards Kipi in 27th - 31st of October 1919. Yudenich's North-western Army failed in its attack towards Petrograd in October 1919, retreated to Estonia and was disarmed there before being evacuated. Estonia used the two tanks for training its tank crews before returning them to Finland in 9th of April 1920. Both of them proved to be in poor condition. Because of this the French government as a compensation sent Finland two new additional Renault FT 17 tanks, which arrived with s/s Ceres in 21st of April 1920. French register numbers for these additional tanks were 66614 and 67220. Arrival of these two new additional tanks increased the total number of Renault FT 17 tanks in Finnish use to 34 tanks.

PICTURE: Two Renault FT 17 tanks of Finnish Army taking part in war games in 1920's or 1930's. Koiras (gun-tank) with octagonal riveted turret is passing a partially smoke-covered naaras (machinegun-tank) version. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (60 KB).

 

Finnish experiences:

During about the two decades, which Renault FT 17 served in Finland, Finnish military had plenty of opportunities for gathering experience about them. The French had originally suggested 20 kilometers as their maximum daily road march distance, but year 1925 this presumption was sacked by successfully performing about 150 kilometre road mach. However this kind of tests also revealed some weak parts of the design - maybe most problematic of which proved to be radiator fan belt, which for example needed to be replaced 21 times during the above mentioned 150 km road march. Finnish-designed improved radiator fan belt introduced year 1926 had twice the working life of the original, but even its increased lifespan was too short to provide answer to this problem. While replacing broken the radiator fan belt was rather easy and fast (from experienced crew it took only about two minutes), the frequent breakage reduced the otherwise already limited march speed of whole tank march column. The engine also demanded basically constant maintenance - for example its oil had to changed every 20 hours of use.

Year 1932 Major Olavi Sahlgren (commander of Separate Tank Company 1930 - 1933) reported in year 1932 that in addition of the already limited maximum road speed (7.5 km/h) of Renault FT 17:

"On road march after only 50 - 60 kilometres the technical losses are around 25 % and frequent technical problems demanding frequent repairs reduce the actual march speed of Renault tanks on road to only about 4 kilometres per hour."

Because of this he noted that Renault tanks simply were not suited for mobile warfare. Around 1934 - 1937 Finnish Army tested old Renault FT 17 and new Vickers tanks in deep snow and against various kinds of antitank obstacles. In these tests FT 17 performed surprisingly well in deep snow, but when it came to tightly packed snow-drifts or antitank-obstacles its capabilities proved much less spectacular. The design of FT 17 had some obvious inbuilt limitations to begin with. These included the very slow maximum speed (making the tank easy target for any antitank weapon), thin armour designed to provide protection only against small arms fire and shrapnel and low-velocity 37 PsvK/18 (37-mm Hotchkiss SA-18) L/21 tank gun, which was a poor weapon against other tanks. When tested armour-penetrating capability of this tank gun and its ammunition was noted so poor, that it was considered unable to reliably penetrate even 10-mm armour plate from any useful distance.

The vehicle also lacked radio (and had very limited room even for adding one) and the tank commander/gunner/loader was much too burdened with his many tasks. Signalling between tanks happened with small flags, which the tank commander waved when necessarily and with a pipe. With the signalling equipment rudimentary like this, it is hardly surprising that the most commonly used message was "Do as I do" followed by showing sample. Year 1922 Tank Regiment suggested acquiring radio-equipment for FT 17 eight tanks, which would have been reserved for company commanders and platoon leaders, but the suggestion was not approved. Signalling between crew members inside tank happened by yelling, hand signals and physical contact.

When acquired to Finland in 1919 Renault FT 17 was likely the most advanced tank in a world, but as mentioned the tank development of 1920’s and 1930’s was so fast, that it became seriously outdated in less than two decades. Year 1932 commander of Tank Company reported to Finnish Armed Forces General Headquarters, that tank units equipped with Renault FT 17 tanks were unfit for mobile warfare. Circa year 1933 Finnish Army acquired several new tanks for testing from British manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong. These tests resulted into order of 32 Vickers 6-ton tanks made in July of 1936.

PICTURE: One of the Weitz trailers, which Finland bought from France in year 1919. The original idea was to use these trailers for towing Renault FT 17 tanks with Latil tractors, which were also bought at the same time. This proved to be a poor idea, since Latil tractor was unable to tow the heavy trailer and FT 17 tanks outside road and even on road maximum speed of the vehicle combination was about equal to that of FT 17 tank. The model tanks and plastic box are not part of the usual equipment for this trailer. :-) (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (149 KB).

 

Finnish Renault FT 17 tanks go to war - or almost:

While Renault FT 17 had been noted obviously outdated, when Finnish Army was mobilised in October of 1939, two out of the four tank companies forming its one and only Tank Battalion were still equipped with these tanks. The reason for this was quite simple - better tanks were not available for Finnish Army at that time. The recently ordered 32 Vickers 6-ton tanks could have been used to equip only two tanks companies, but all them they had not arrived yet. But this was not the only the only problem. In addition for saving money Vickers 6-ton tanks had been bought without weaponry, so all that had been delivered before Winter War remained still unarmed, when the war started. This basically left already outdated FT 17 tanks as only tanks in operational condition in Finnish inventory at that time. There seems to have been rather realistic picture concerning limitations of Renault FT 17 tanks, hence even if 1st and 2nd Tank Companies were equipped with them, sending them to battle was considered so suicidal, that it was never done. Instead the two tank companies were used to assist in antitank training and for evacuating of captured Soviet armoured vehicles, which they sent to Panssarikeskuskorjaamo (Armour Centre Repair Shop). When mobilised in 23rd of October 1939 1st and 2nd Tank Companies apparently were equipped with 20 Renault FT 17 tanks - 11 of them "male" and 9 of them "female". However there is no certainty if they received more FT 17 tanks later during the war.

6th of February 1940 the two tank companies received orders according which their tanks were used be used as an improvised bunkers by digging them to ground turret down, allowing Finnish infantry to use them as observation posts and machinegun/gun bunkers for boosting their defensive firepower. Yet most of these tanks still don't seem to have seen any combat use as bunkers either. 14th of February 1940 five of the tanks belonging to 1st Tank Company were dug in turret down positions along Finnish trenches near Lake Näykkijärvi. However eight of the FT 17 tanks previously used by 1st Tank Company were captured by the Soviets in Kämärä railway station, where they were waiting to be transported to the frontlines and used as bunkers. The Soviets also reported capturing one additional FT 17 tank in Pero railway station. February of 1940 FT 17 tanks of 2nd Tank Company were transported to Taipale sector, where 10 tanks were to be dug into new Volossula – Kaarnajoki – Linnakangas defensive line. But since building of that defensive line never really started, few of them were transferred to Takala line (rear defensive position on Taipale peninsula, the Soviets did not succeed advancing that far during the war) and dug into turret down positions in there for infantry to use. Book Unohdettujen rintama suggests that 3rd of March 1940 Renault two unarmed FT 17 tank were also delivered to Vuoratsu Island in northern Lake Ladoga. The two tanks were intended to be used for delivering messages and evacuating wounded from the islands over the ice of the frozen lake, but were never used. From all the Renault FT 17 tanks dug into turret down position and used as bunkers, the ones near Lake Näykkijärvi saw battle use, but the rest seem to have simply been left behind either during the war or immediately after it. Before leaving many of its tanks in Kämärä railway station 1st Tank Company had reported, that the particular tanks had been disarmed and could not be moved (suggesting that they were not in driving condition due to mechanical problems).

PICTURE: Map showing places of importance for history of Finnish Renault FT 17 tanks during Winter War. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (115 KB).

With their tanks used as bunkers 1st and 2nd Tank Companies were disbanded and their personnel used to create separate tank platoons and 1st Separate Armour Repair Shop (1. Erillinen Panssarikorjaamo). What little of their personnel was not used for these new units returned to garrison of Tank Battalion in Hämeenlinna 13th of February 1940. Also 7th Detached Tank Platoon (7. Erillinen Panssarivaunujoukkue) used for assisting training in Niinisalo training centre in March of 1940 was equipped with four FT 17 tanks. While the two tank companies equipped with Renault FT 17 tanks accomplished very little with these tanks in Winter War, they did succeeded making notable contribution to Finnish military by evacuating numerous (at least 27) captured Soviet armoured vehicles and sending them to repaired for use of Finnish Army. Pretty much whole Finnish Renault FT 17 tank force was lost in Winter War. Only four of these tanks remained in Finnish use after Winter War. One of them was reserved for museum use by late 1941 and moved to storage for that purpose. The other three tanks were used as training vehicles in the home front. November of 1941 remaining three FT 17 tanks were still considered to be used for fortifications, but this never happened. After no longer used as training vehicles, they were declared obsolete in June 1943 and scrapped. Nowadays the last Finnish FT 17 remains in Tank Museum in Parola.

PICTURE: Finnish FT-17 Renault tank dug in and left behind in end of Winter War. Even the Soviets had not bothered to evacuate this tank after Winter War, so when Finnish military recaptured Carelian Isthmus in year 1941, it was found in the same hole where it had been left in March of 1940. Photo taken in Taipale Peninsula July of 1942. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 99344). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (155 KB).

 

TANKS TESTED BY FINNISH ARMY BEFORE WORLD WAR 2:

St. Chamond modèle 1921: This strange armoured vehicle, which could be used both a tank and as an armoured car, was bought with matches in year 1925. The vehicle had been originally designed as a fast reconnaissance vehicle, which could be operated both as a tracked and wheeled vehicle for achieving good all terrain mobility and good road speed, but the design proved to be utterly useless. Tracks in the vehicle could be either raised (in which case tires were used) or completely removed. It had maximum road speed of 20 km/h while using tires and 5 km/h while on tracks. It also had riveted hull with 6-mm thick armour and no turret. Only weapon was a machinegun located in front hull. The vehicle was scrapped in year 1937.

PICTURE: Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk VI B tankette in Parola Armour Museum. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (145 KB).

Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk VI B: 6th of July 1933 Finnish Army ordered three tanks of different types from British manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong for testing purposes. The smallest of these three tanks was Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk VI B tankette, which was delivered 2nd of October 1933. It weight about 1.36 tons, had 40 horsepower gasoline engine and crew of two men. Maximum speed on road was about 60 km/h and armament included only one rifle-caliber machinegun. The steering system proved temperamental making accurate steering of the vehicle difficult. Snow testing revealed that in typical Finnish winter conditions Mk VI B tankette was useless outside roads. Test-drives and obstacle testing revealed that off-terrain mobility of this vehicle was very poor, making it suitable to be used only in on roads and open terrain lacking any real obstacles of terrain or soft ground. Hence Finnish Army considered it unsuitable for combat use, so it was used only for training purposes. In Finnish use this lone vehicle gained nickname "satiainen" (crab louse) - likely for its size and shape. While Finnish Army was anything by impressed by Mk VI B tankette, elsewhere it achieved quite a success with almost 400 vehicles manufactured by Vickers-Armstrong for British Army and export orders. Other tankette designs at least partially based to Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk VI were developed in Czechoslovakia (MU4), France (UE), Italy (CV33 and CV35), Poland (TK3) and Soviet Union (T27). Nowadays this vehicle is in collections of Parola Armour Museum.

Vickers-Carden-Loyd light tank model 1933: This light tank was one of the three tank types ordered by Finnish Army from Vickers-Armstrong for testing purposes 6th of July 1933. Like the Mk VI B tankette and 6 Ton Tank Alt B, also it was delivered to Finland in 2nd of October 1933. The 4.5-ton vehicle had 85-horsepower Armstrong Sidley gasoline engine, which was highly praised but armament of only one machinegun placed in a rotating turret. Steering was considered simple and easy, which was good since the vehicle was able to achieve maximum road speed of 52 kilometres per hour. Front arch armour was 16-mm thick, while other parts of the vehicle had only 4 - 10 mm of armour. Snow mobility of this tank proved inferior to both old Renault FT 17 and Vickers 6 Ton Tank, but its all terrain mobility in summer conditions was fairly good. However ground clearance was considered too low. While Finnish Army was impressed by the technical reliability of this tank, it was considered unsuitable for combat use and was retained for training use until declared obsolete during Continuation War and scrapped.

Vickers-Carden-Loyd light amphibious tank model 1931: Unlike other three Vickers-Armstrong tanks, which Finland bought for testing purposes in year 1933 paying 8,410 English pounds, this tank was received testing for free. It arrived Finland 12th of September 1933 and so utterly failed in Finnish tests, that it was returned to Vickers just 17 days later. This brief 17-day visit was the only time that this tank model was ever used in Finland. It weight about 3 tons and had modest 7 - 9 mm armour. As to be expected weaponry included only one rifle-calibre machinegun. Maximum road speed was impressive 64 km/h and maximum speed on water on optimal conditions could also reach even 9.6 km/h. This amphibious tank failed gaining any real success on international market.

 


SOURCES:

Tankkirykmentistä Panssaripataljoonaan 1919 - 1949 by P. Hovilainen.

Suomalaiset Panssarivaunujoukot 1919 - 1969 by Pekka Kantakoski.

Punaiset Panssarit, Puna-armeijan panssarijoukot 1918 - 1945 by Pekka Kantakoski.

Panssarimuseo by Pekka Kantakoski.

Suomalaiset Panssarivaunut 1918 - 1997 / The Finnish Armoured Vehicles 1918 - 1997 by Esa Muikku ja Jukka Purhonen.

Tanks in the Winter War 1939 - 1940 by Maksym Kolomyjec

Kempin Rykmentti by Kimmo Sorko

The Tank by Christopher Chant.

The Illustrated Directory of Tanks of the World From World War 1 to the Present Day by David Miller.

Armoured Vehicles of the 20th Century by Christopher Chant.

The World’s Great Tanks from 1916 to Present Day by Roger Ford.

Panzerbuch der Tanks, Parts 1 – 3 by Fritz von Heigl.

Heigl’s Panzerbuck der tanks, Parts 1 – 3 by O.H. Hacker, R.J. Icks, O. Merker and G.P.v. Zezchwitz.

Beutepanzer im Ersten Weltkrig by Fred Koch.

The Tank Pioneers by Kenneth Macksey.

Unohdettu Rintama by Lauri Immonen

Mechanised Force, British tanks between the wars by David Fletcher.

Russian Tanks 1900 – 1970 by John Milsom.

Armoured Units of the Russian Civil War, Red Army by Andrei Aksenov & Peter Sarson.

Armoured Units of the Russian Civil War, White and Allied by A. Aksenov.

Original Brochure: The Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank by Vickers-Armstrongs Limited.

Original Brochure: Le Tank Amphibie Leger Vickers-Carden-Loyd by Vickers-Armstrongs Limited.

Article: Jatkosodan aikaiset erilliset panssarivaunuyksiköt by V. Kämäri in Panssari magazine vol. 1/1974.

Article: Suurvaltapolitiikka Suomen Renault-panssarivaunuhankkinan taustalla by Jouni Sillanmäki in Panssari magazines vol. 1/2009 and 2/2009.

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder T10909.

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder perus 6306.

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder perus 6307.

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder perus 6317.

Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen), archive folder perus 1728.

Special thanks to Panssarimuseo (Parola Tank Museum).


Last updated 14th of February 2015
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