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Remembered Today:

French Army's Tanks and Armoured Warfare


Old Tom
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The French Army's Tank Force and Armoured Warfare in the Great War - The Artillerie Speciale, to give its full title, is one of the Ashgate Studies in First World War History. It was published in 2013. I borrowed a copy from the Hampshire County Library and from their stamp it appears to have cost them £70, It has 230 pages and annexes including a list of all the engagement in which French tanks were used by French and US forces.

Its chapters deal with the French approach to new technology and the material considerations of tank production, the use of tanks in the Nivelle offensive, the Schneider and St Chamond medium tanks, the introduction of the Renault light tank and the emergence of a doctrine (regulations) for the employment of armour and its application during 1918.

I had not realised the scale of French tank production which was a total of the order of 4,000 of which 3,300 were the Renaults and the advantage of the Renault in being able to carried on motor vehicles.

The book, based on a doctorial treatise, contains a great deal of information, which I suspect will be new to many readers. I found the use of French terminology a little tedious.

Old Tom

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The author, Dr Tim Gale, very kindly sent me a copy of his PhD on which this book is based. It is a truly excellent piece of research; he must have spent weeks in the French archives getting hold of the base material. I very strongly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in French armour.

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