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Overview

The Renault BS is a French self-propelled gun developed to combat light fortifications.

Development

General Estienne specified that a vehicle should be developed based on the Renault FT with a 75mm Blockhaus Schneider (BS) gun mounted. The gun had a short effective range, but was suitable at combating light fortifications.

In early 1918, a trial model was built and evaluated. This model had the gun mounted low in the front of the vehicle, and the driver in an elevated position in the center. The vehicle was considered overweight in the front, and it was unspecified how two gunners were expected to operate the gun in the small forward section of the vehicle.

In May 1918, the second prototype was constructed. It was a simple conversion of a standard FT, replacing the turret with a fixed superstructure mounting the howitzer. The vehicle was accepted into service with 600 were ordered later in May. It was intended that each section of FT tanks should have at least a single BS vehicle as a fire support vehicle, half of the order was expected to replace the Schneider C.A.1 tanks which were going out of service.. First production vehicles were completed in late July 1918. Delays in production saw that only 11 vehicles were delivered before the Armistice in November 1918, and it is unknown whether the delivered vehicles saw action. After the Armistice, production orders were cut back and only another 29 were delivered in 1919.

Service

In 1918, 11 vehicles were delivered to their units, however it is unknown whether they saw combat.

During the interwar period, vehicles were sent to North African French units to deal with local skirmishes.

At least two vehicles were in service with Vichy France in North Africa in 1942, two were captured by the Allies after Operation Torch.

Variants

See Renault FT-17 for base variants.

Renault BS Prototype

Renault BS prototype

Prototype.

Prototype model with the gun in the nose.

Renault BS

Production model.

France French Land Vehicles of the First World War France
Tracked Vehicles
Tanks Light Tanks LevavasseurPeugeot 18Renault FT-17Renault FT-18
Medium Tanks Chars FoucheFCM 1AFCM 1BFCM ASaint-ChamondSaint-Chamond 25tSchneider C.A.1Schneider C.A.2Schneider C.A.3
Heavy Tanks Char de POIXFCM 2C
Self-Propelled Guns Self-Propelled Gun Renault BS
Other Experimental Boirault Appareil No.1Boirault Appareil No.2Souain Experiment
Command Renault TSF
Wheeled Vehicles
Combat Light Tank Frot-Turmel-Laffly
Other Wire-Cutter Breton-Prétot Appareil
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