September 26, 2003

WW1 tanks found in Afghanistan

Maj. Robert Redding, a Special Forces member of the Colorado Army National Guard, found two World War I tanks while visiting an Afghan scrapyard filled with old fighting equipment.

Redding sent digital photographs of the tanks to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox with a note asking if the museum would be interested.

"When we saw the pictures, we said, `Heck yeah, we want 'em,'" said Col. Tim Reese, among the people who viewed the photographs.

The two FT-18 tanks were built in France during World War I. They are the same model as tanks used by Gen. George S. Patton to train American troops in France in 1917 and 1918. . .

Fort Knox personnel arrived in Kabul in May to restore the tanks. The vehicles weren't covered in a lot of rust because Afghanistan is relatively dry, but they were dirty from sitting outside for almost 50 years. . .

Reese said the tanks were in surprisingly good condition. Both tanks still have their original engines, complete tracks and most of the key parts. Their weapons are missing, however.

Read the full story here.

Posted by David on September 26, 2003 1:35 PM


A little Mosquito that buzzed around the world:

"Renault continued production after the war manufacturing an additional 570 tanks which became the backbone of the French armament export and they were used world-wide for the next 25 years with many examples seeing action in World War 2"

After spreading from France to Africa to Japan, it's not suprising that a few ended up in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Peter Shriner on September 27, 2003 10:04 AM

Courtesy of the British Army? See the top left photo (circa WWI) here.

"This Renault FT-17 was captured from the British Expeditionary Force in the Anglo-Afghan war of 1919."

A locally published U.S. Army newsletter (PDF file) from February 2003 shows the junkyard tanks and describes them as FT-17s.

Posted by: Peter Shriner on September 27, 2003 10:46 AM

In many ways, these Little Renault tanks were
of greater utility to the WW1 soldier than the huge Land-Ships of the British. They could travel
with the soldier, and could provide supressive
fire (M.G. equipped) at hard points on the German
lines. The ones equipped with small "Guns" could
bust pill boxes adequately, so the Allies had a
Soldier Available "bunker Buster". If they had
better Armor, they could have done more...but as-is, they were well appreciated.

Posted by: Ed True on April 17, 2004 10:50 PM

More FT17 in Afghanistan and in a far better shape that these 2. Take a look at the pixs on my website.

Posted by: eric on July 29, 2005 2:37 PM
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