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‘Old Blood and Guts’ Patton Learned to Command During the Great War

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  • ‘Old Blood and Guts’ Patton Learned to Command During the Great War

    One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1918, Patton led 144 FT-17 tanks into battle against the Germans near St. Mihiel, France. The Americans’ goal was to reduce a salient, a bulge in the lines where the enemy had pushed into Allied territory.

    Ahead of his time, Patton recognized that tanks would one day be a tremendous force on the modern battlefield, and he had been largely responsible for establishing and training the country’s nascent tank force. The U.S. relied heavily on the French-made Renault FT-17, a revolutionary vehicle that was the first to feature a fully rotating turret and have the crew compartment up front and the engine in the back. Sixteen feet long and about six feet wide, the FT-17s were nimble enough to navigate French forests and eliminate German machine-gun nests while their armor plating protected the crew inside.

    Shortened title as per forum constraints.

  • #2
    Protect is a variable term. Even regular rifle fire caused spall in the FT-17's armor to flake off and fly around the crew compartment.

    I had read once when the FT's arrived at the US camp in France, Patton had to personally drive many off the railcars as he had the only experience in doing so , Learned while at the French Tank School.


    • #3
      As LD says^^^

      [QUOTED] It worked out more or less that way, with Patton the first officer—or soldier of any rank in the United States Army—assigned to the Tank Corps, where he was charged with establishing the First Army Tank School. Before he did that, Patton gave himself a crash course in French tanks, which included test-driving them, firing their guns, and even walking the assembly line to see how they were made. He used that experience to write a masterly summary of everything one needed to know about tanks.