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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

The Keystone View Company. How France Aided Her Fighters, Renault Tanks Going to the Front, ca. 1914–1918. Stereograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (117.00.00)


When tanks were first introduced, it was hoped they could help break the stalemate by plowing through the enemy lines. The earliest tanks were large, slow, prone to breakdowns, and often got stuck in craters. In 1917, French automaker Renault introduced the FT, a lighter, quicker tank with a rotating turret that was equipped with either a cannon or a machine gun. It proved to be more effective in battle.