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"The French relied on a variety of aged railway gun systems" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2021 9:05 p.m. PST

… when the Germans invaded in 1940 – the 240mm TAZ Modele 1893-96 being just one of the types available.

"Armored trains were introduced during the fighting of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and practical use of such weapon systems gave rise to train cars carrying all sorts of munitions-delivering weapons. Such weapons evolved much during the World War 1 (1914-1918) period as any and all manner of artillery was sought. The value of railway guns was not lost on the major players of World War 2 (1939-1945) for they, too, invested in the field of railway guns for the new to be had in Europe. Such an investment was also aided by the expanding railway systems brought about by a modernizing European infrastructure which made far-off places now more easily accessible and, in turn, made railway guns that much more tactically useful/flexible…"


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Jan 2021 4:11 a.m. PST

From Military Factory website

Legion 414 Jan 2021 3:05 p.m. PST

They were still using FT-17s in WWII as well …

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2021 5:11 p.m. PST

They were still using FT-17s in WWII as well …

My impression is that most of the FT-17s were retired from service as the R35 came online in volume.

Those with the 37mm gun generally had it removed as an economy measure, as a sizeable portion of the R35s built used the old guns removed from FT-17s.

Most of those with MGs were seconded to semi-permanent defensive positions (airfield defenses, bridge defenses etc.) where they were often towed into place and left as tall-standing thinly armored pill boxes. Those which had their guns removed but were still in running condition were mostly given to tank unit training battalions as driver training vehicles, and those with neither guns nor working engines were donated to regimental camps as gate guards, etc.

It was only in the mad scramble to build up forces after the Polish campaign (and the French declaration of war) that a serious effort was made to recover the gate guards and driver training tanks and re-arm them as combat tanks. Even so, a large portion of the FTs seen in images of the 1940 campaign were in fact in static / semi-static role.

It was only in the colonies that they were considered as battle-worthy tanks, and even then mostly for battle with local native populations, not against the Axis.

Or so I've read.

(aka: Mk 1)

deephorse16 Jan 2021 7:00 a.m. PST

To quote a paragraph from Trackstory no.10 on the Renault FT,

"During the French campaign there will be no real tank fights involving the venerable FTs, but their combats were no less courageous than the ones of their elders during the Great War. They mostly consisted in sacrificial missions, such as the fight of 33eme BCC on 15 May that lost all its tanks on this day, 32 under fire and the 32 others on breakdown. Everywhere they fought these faithful ancients did their duty.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2021 11:13 a.m. PST



Bill N16 Jan 2021 12:33 p.m. PST

Nothing inherently wrong with railroad guns.

Legion 416 Jan 2021 2:06 p.m. PST

I have understood it as deephorse posted …

I have read different sources where in 1940 the French were still using some FT-17s. Even some historical WWII war games I played had FT-17s …

These links noted FT-17s were used by France in the beginning of WWII …




In May 1940, the French Army still had seven front-line battalions, each equipped with 63 FTs, one under-strength battalion as well as three independent companies, each with 10, for a total organic strength of 504.[32] 105 more were in service in the colonies of Morocco and Algeria and 58 in French Levant, Madagascar and Indochina.[33] Some FT tanks had also been buried within the ground and encased in concrete to supplement the Maginot Line.[34]

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