Like all M1917s, this little vehicle is crowned by a flat-plated octagonal turret. The commander was provided with a cupola, or tower as it was called at the time, with three vision slits for rudimentary visibility. The cupola cover could not be opened all the way due to a stop on the rear of the cover. Entry for the commander was through two hatches in the rear of the turret. The large weapon is a replica, apparently of the 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun fitted to French FTs. The US machine gun mounts provided barrel shrouds, and consequently the barrels could not be seen. The anti-ditching tailpiece is visible, and an engine muffler would normally be installed between the two vertical mounts on the hull side. On French FTs, the engine muffler was on the opposite side of the hull.
This view illustrates one of the extra driver's vision slots placed in the triangular armor plates in the American version of the FT. The circular hole in the turret is a pistol port, or loophole as they were known.
Two of the driver's doors are open on this model; the front plate with the forward vision slit could also be swung up to gain access to the tank. The driver's seat was elevated about 6" (15cm) above the tank's floor, and the black webbing slung across the hull served as a backrest for the driver. The steering levers, topped by round black knobs, are visible. When parked, the steering levers were secured by chains hung on the sides of the driver's compartment. The gearshift lever is visible just outboard of the right-hand steering lever. Visible on the rear bulkhead is the interior starting crank for the engine.
This view illustrates more of the driver's controls. The pedal on the driver's left is the clutch, while the brake pedal is on his right. The accelerator pedal is on the linkage forward of the brake and clutch pedals, and appears to be rotated 180° toward the front of the vehicle.
The turret interior of the M1917 is visible here. The open rear door is to the left in this view, with the gun mount to the right. The commander's tower is painted green, and a loophole is visible towards the right of the picture. A canteen holder is mounted by the gun mount, and a sling seat for the commander is hooked on the mounts on either side of the turret.
This is a closer view of the commander's tower. The observation slots are overpainted with white on this vehicle, and the leather padding for the commander's head is obvious. The turret rear was composed of two doors, and the left door is just visible here.
This tank is having its transmission removed. The large brake drum assemblies are the transmission's most prominent feature in this image. The engine in the M1917 was to the rear of the transmission. (Picture taken in 1925 by Harris & Ewing, Inc.; available from the Library of Congress.)
The obvious visual difference between the M1917 and M1917A1 is the latter's lengthened engine compartment. This was necessary to accomodate the bigger Franklin engine. The position of the muffler on the left side of the tank can also be seen in this view. The armament in this tank appears to be the Browning machine gun. (Picture from Development of Armored Vehicles, volume 1: Tanks.)
Questions? Comments? Corrections? Email me
© Copyright 2001-13 Chris Conners