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andrew pugh

French use of British Tanks?

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andrew pugh

Good Evening

Could anybody tell me if the French were either trained on or used British tanks during ww1?  

Regards

Andy

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Gareth Davies

I going to say an emphatic no. 

 

(Cue lots of posts proving me wrong).

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Ron Clifton

I think that it is very unlikely. The French had started developing their own tanks, independently of the British, in 1915 and by the time that Britain deployed her first tanks in action (Flers-Courcelette in Sept 1916) the French had already ordered large quantities of the St Chamond. Although it and the earlier Schneider shared with the British a common ancestor in the Holt caterpillar tractor, both French models were so different from the British designs that training on British tanks would have been of little value. The French first deployed their own tanks in the Nivelle offensive of April 1917 and went on to develop the lighter Renault FT, which was also very different from British models.

 

General Pierre des Vallieres, French liaison officer at British GHQ, wrote a report to General Joffre in October 1916 and his opinion of the British experience at Flers pointed out in particular the strain on the crews, resulting in the need to relieve them after three hours or so. Even though des Vallieres was no Anglophile, his report does imply that there would be little point in actually training Frenchmen on British tanks which were, as I have said, very different machines from the French models.

 

Ron

 

 

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Sidearm

They may have done.  Towards the end of the war the French received a quantity of Mark V*.  By 1 November 1918 100 Mark V* had left Britain for delivery to the French army, of which 87 were Male and 13 Female.  The first consignment, of 13 Males and 12 Females left on 28 September, so the French had the whole of October and the beginning of November to begin to use them, though what use they actually made of them in this period I have no idea.

 

Gwyn

 

Edited by Sidearm
Minor correction.

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Gareth Davies

Indeed, as predicted, I was wrong. The French did train on the Mk V* tanks that they were sent (I have seen the total pegged at 77 before the Armistice) but they did n't go into action. The Mk V*s were brought together into the 551e Regt in the 1920s. 

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Keith Woodland

This prompts me to ask what training did UK men have before going into action in a Tank. My grandfather was transferred in February 1918 to the Tank Corps and was with his battalion in France by June. Did they get trained in just one role, gunner, driver etc or were they expected to be multi role? Then did they get chance to practice as a crew or was it in we go and get on with it. All very different to my experience 45 years later no doubt.

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Gareth Davies

Keith, I would suggest that you start a fresh thread on that subject (and I will do my best to reply tomorrow).

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Keith Woodland

Will do

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Scalyback
1 minute ago, Keith Woodland said:

Will do

 

Also visit the Tank Museum, without doubt one of the best and informative going. Whilst I was there a Logistics officer was there to see how it was done and he admitted as much. The guides informative and approachable. 

 

(The NBC suits freaked me a bit! That is another story for Skindles) 

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Keith Woodland

I have been to the Tank museum many times, and have guarded it umpteen times whilst a boy soldier across the road but they haven't been a help with these questions.

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andrew pugh

Good Evening to you all

Thanks you very much for the response and your information.

Kind Regards

Andy 

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diver99

Further to Gareth's research regarding French training on Mk V*, in Breakthrough, H.C. Johnson states; 'By the armistice Estienne had obtained some British Mk V tanks to replace his own heavies' (Johnson, 1994,p.132).

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Sidearm
On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2019 at 10:00, diver99 said:

Further to Gareth's research regarding French training on Mk V*, in Breakthrough, H.C. Johnson states; 'By the armistice Estienne had obtained some British Mk V tanks to replace his own heavies' (Johnson, 1994,p.132).

 

I don't believe this to be true. Estienne probably means Mark V*.  The Mark V was only used by the UK and USA.

 

Gwyn

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