This book is number 173 in Osprey’s “New Vanguard” series.
Contents: Introduction; The Tactical Challenge; Into Combat; An Elephant on the Legs of a Gazelle; The Light Tank Idea; Bureaucratic Delays; PETAIN’S OR PETAIM’S Reforms; Renault Unit Organization; Facing the Challenge; The Final Offensive; Plan 1919; Further Reading-Unpublished documents, articles and books; Index.
The author begins by saying how the two original French tanks,the St-Chamond and Schneider CA, were flawed. He explains the resentment between the military and the industrial bureaucracy in Paris and how it affected the development of these two tanks, which eventually ended up as tactical dead ends.
The Tactical Challenge at hand were barbwire, trenches and the lethal increase in defensive firepower. Previously, the French only focused solutions for one of the problems at a time. Now they needed to take all the challenges into consideration for their design of the next tank. He explains in detail, together with many photographs and illustrations, the trails and tribulations of the many attempts to develop an armored vehicle that would overcome all these obstacles. He discusses the idea of a Light Tank with easy maneuverability that is small, inexpensive to manufacture and fast to produce.
The author takes you into Combat describing how the previous French tanks performed in various situations. Plus how the many delays and the bureaucratic obstacles affected the production of the Renault FT. He briefly touches on the Renault Unit Organization. In Facing the Challenge the author examines the performance of the Renault FT beginning with it’s first entry into combat on May 3, 1918 along side Moroccan Infantry around Ploissy-Chazelle through to the end of the war.
This book is definite read for anyone who wants to learn just about everything there is to know in a concise format about the French Tanks of WWI. Tank enthusiasts modelers performing research, or history buffs will find this book very interesting.
Paperback: $17.95 US; $19.95 CAN