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M1917
M1917A1

Six-ton Tank M19171-2,5

M1917: General
Date of first acceptance October 1918 Total acceptances 952
Manufacturers
  • Van Dorn Iron Works
  • Maxwell Motor Co.
  • C.L. Best Co.
Crew
2 men:
  • Commander/gunner/loader in turret
  • Driver in hull center front
M1917: Dimensions
Combat weight 14,500lbs
6580kg
Height 91"
230cm
Length with tailpiece 197"
500cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width over tracks 70"
180cm
Tread 57"
145cm
Ground clearance 16.2"
41.1cm
Fire height 70"
180cm
Turret ring diameter 36"
91cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 6.9psi
.48kg/cm²
M1917: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
37mm Gun M1916
--OR--
.30cal M1919 MG
Ball mount in turret 238 rounds 37mm
--OR--
4200 rounds .30cal
360°;
30° in mount
(manual)
56° in 37mm mount
(manual)
38° in .30cal mount
(manual)
M1917: Armor
Assembly
Bolting and riveting
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Driver's cupola .60"
1.5cm
17°
Driver's doors .31"
.79cm
70°
Front .60"
1.5cm
30°
Sides .60"
1.5cm
Rear .60"
1.5cm
Front top .31"
.79cm
90°
Rear top .31"
.79cm
65° to 90°
Floor .25"
.64cm
90°
Turret
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield .60"
1.5cm
Front .60"
1.5cm
12°
Sides .60"
1.5cm
12°
Rear .60"
1.5cm
12°
Top .31"
.79cm
73° to 90°
M1917: Automotive
Engine Buda HU modified; 4 cylinder, 4 cycle, vertical L-band gasoline
Horsepower Gross: 42@1460rpm Fuel capacity 30gal
113L
Transmission Selective sliding gear, 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch-brake, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M1917: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Coil and leaf spring 2 bogies/track;
5 track rollers/front bogie, 4 track rollers/rear bogie
6/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
15-tooth rear drive Adjustable at front of track None
M1917: Track
Single pin, cast steel with integral grouser
Width 13.375"
33.973cm
Pitch 9.842"
25.00cm
Shoes/track 32 Ground contact length 79"
200cm
M1917: Performance
Max level road speed 5.5mph
8.9kph
Max trench 84"
210cm
Max grade 70% Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter with tailpiece 20'
6.1m
Max fording depth 24"
61cm
Cruising range ~30mi, roads
~48km, roads

The six-ton tank M1917 was originally known as the six-ton special tractor model 1917, and was the American version of the French Renault FT. The measurements for the tank were switched from metric to English for the American conversion. Some other differences present in the Americanized model were replacement of the steel-rimmed wooden idler wheels with all steel wheels, American weapons, a different engine, and a bulkhead separating the crew from the engine. The American tanks also had an additional vision slot on either side of the driver. All M1917s were fitted with the riveted octagonal turret, as opposed to some French tanks which were fitted with a round cast turret. The machine gun M1917s were originally armed with the .30cal Marlin tank machine gun, but this was switched to the Browning M1919 starting in 1919.

Of the 952 M1917s, there were 374 37mm gun tanks, 526 machine gun tanks, and 50 signal tanks which possessed no armament but carried a radio in a fixed superstructure.

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Six-ton Tank M1917A11-4

M1917A1: General
Date of introduction 1930-1931 Total acceptances 7 converted from M1917
Manufacturers
  • Holabird Quartermaster Depot
  • Ordnance Department shops
Crew
2 men:
  • Commander/gunner/loader in turret
  • Driver in hull center front
M1917A1: Dimensions
Empty weight 14,200lbs
6440kg
Height 91"
230cm
Length with tailpiece 208"
528cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width over tracks 70"
180cm
Tread 57"
145cm
Ground clearance 16.2"
41.1cm
Fire height 70"
180cm
Turret ring diameter 36"
91cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration, empty 6.7psi
.47kg/cm²
M1917A1: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Elevation
37mm Gun M1916
--OR--
.30cal M1919 MG
Ball mount in turret 238 rounds 37mm
--OR--
4200 rounds .30cal
360°;
30° in mount
(manual)
56° in 37mm mount
(manual)
38° in .30cal mount
(manual)
M1917A1: Armor
Assembly
Bolting and riveting
Hull
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Driver's cupola .60"
1.5cm
17°
Driver's doors .31"
.79cm
70°
Front .60"
1.5cm
30°
Sides .60"
1.5cm
Rear .60"
1.5cm
Front top .31"
.79cm
90°
Rear top .31"
.79cm
65° to 90°
Floor .25"
.64cm
90°
Turret
Rolled face-hardened steel
Location Thickness Angle from vertical
Gun shield .60"
1.5cm
Front .60"
1.5cm
12°
Sides .60"
1.5cm
12°
Rear .60"
1.5cm
12°
Top .31"
.79cm
73° to 90°
M1917A1: Automotive
Engine Franklin series 145; 6 cylinder, air-cooled, gasoline
Horsepower Gross: 100@3100rpm Fuel capacity 30gal
113L
Transmission Selective sliding gear, 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch-brake, steering levers
Brakes Mechanical, external contracting
M1917A1: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Coil and leaf spring 2 bogies/track;
5 track rollers/front bogie, 4 track rollers/rear bogie
6/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
15-tooth rear drive Adjustable at front of track None
M1917A1: Track
Single pin, cast steel with integral grouser
Width 13.375"
33.973cm
Pitch 9.842"
25.00cm
Shoes/track 32 Ground contact length 79"
200cm
M1917A1: Performance
Max level road speed ~9mph
~14.5kph
Max trench 84"
210cm
Max grade 70% Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter with tailpiece 20'
6.1m
Max fording depth 24"
61cm
Cruising range ~30mi, roads
~48km, roads

The rear hull of the M1917A1 was lengthened to accomodate the new engine. The tanks were also equipped with a self starter, and the engine, transmission, and clutches were mounted as a single unit, which eased maintenance. The engine was governed down to 2500rpm to prevent damage to the powertrain components.

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References

  1. Hunnicutt, R.P. Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank, volume 1. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1992. Reprinted with permission from Stuart, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1992, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.
  2. AGF Board No. 2. Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks. 1947.
  3. Hogg, Ian V. The Greenhill Armoured Fighting Vehicles Data Book. London: Greenhill Books, 2000.
  4. Kirk, William. "Light Tanks." TANKS! 21 Jun 2000. 5 Dec 2000 <http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/lighttanks/LightTanks.html>. TANKS!
  5. Tank Data, vol. 2. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Ordnance School, Jul 1958.

Last updated 3 Oct 2016.
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© Copyright 2000-16 Chris Conners