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Renault TSF

In Detail

WW1 saw many innovations in military science, not least in the area of communications. The tank evolved out of the need to restore mobility to the battlefield. The French Renault TSF (te’le’graphie sans fil) evolved to meet the need to communicate once mobility was restored.

The possibility of restoring a working Renault TSF ‘tank’, with its box-like communications Blockhaus turret, arose as we sourced parts for our Renault FT char leger. General Jean Baptiste Estienne ordered 200 in January 1918. This was increased to 300 in April 1918. Approximately 180 were finally produced but less than 50 were accepted by the French War Office during WW1 and half as much accepted by the Artilllerie Speciale units themselves. The Renault TSF is a much rarer but as historically important type of vehicle, when compared to the Renault FT.

Most collectors find this vehicle intrinsically less interesting, as it does not have a gun. This has resulted in many Renault TSFs being altered to the FT configuration. The Blockhaus superstructure is replaced with a revolving turret equipped, with either a machine gun or Puteaux 37mm cannon.  The consequence of this action is the loss of history and rich provenance. Physical evidence is often altered or obliterated.

However, after a considerable period of time, we located the basis of a TSF hull. This Renault TSF hull surprisingly retained the remnants of many its original features and components.

Restoration of any of our vehicles, starts with an initial survey shortly after it arrives. Detailed research is then carried out over time and further parts and components will be added. Unfortunately, due to the age of the TSF the required parts were simply not available. The accumulation of research and research material to assist us in identifying the components required and their dimensions turned this project into a time-consuming challenge. The physical work on both the Renault FT and TSF started in 2014. A deadline was set for May 2018 in time for various WW1 commemorative events set for 2018.

When you become a member you have access to the full article detailing the work and research in this project and the ongoing issue resolution regarding fittings and detail.

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Articles

Renault FT And TSF - Building the Suspension Beam

Renault FT And TSF - Building the Suspension Beam

16 Oct 2020

From the Archive: The key component of the Renault FT and TSF suspension examined. 

 
Renault FT  TSF - Differences in Exhausts

Renault FT / TSF - Differences in Exhausts

18 Mar 2016

There are very few Renault FTs with original exhausts in the world today.

 
Renault FT  TSF -  Engine bore rust removal

Renault FT / TSF - Engine bore rust removal

13 Aug 2014

What's the best way to remove rust from an engine bore? 

 
Renault FT  TSF - Engine rust removal

Renault FT / TSF - Engine rust removal

14 Aug 2014

After testing the technique could we scale it up? 

 
FT  TSF Firewall - Part one - Brussels gives up its secrets
 
Renault FT  TSF - The Trenching Skid Part Two
 
Renault FT  TSF - Towing Chains

Renault FT / TSF - Towing Chains

22 Jan 2016

Sizing the chains was the first challenge...

 
Renault FT  TSF - Ventilateur Sourcing The Air Outlet Housings

Renault FT / TSF - ‘Ventilateur’ Sourcing The Air Outlet Housings

13 Jan 2016

Locating an original housing still retaining its original grill that was accessible was a formidable task.

 
Renault FT Oil can

Renault FT / TSF Engine Bay Oil Cans and Holders

14 Jan 2016

Most surviving Renault FTs and TSFs no longer retain their spare oil cans but could the holder give us more information?

 
Renault FT and TSF  Drivers Seat Box

Renault FT and TSF – Driver’s Seat Box

15 Jun 2016

Replicating the sole example of the Renault FT Seat Box.

 
Renault FT and TSF  Testing the Radiators
 
Renault FT and TSF Archive Files

Renault FT and TSF Archive Files

12 Feb 2016

The archive documentation required for the Renault and TSF project has been building.

 
Renault FT and TSF Engine Restoration – The White Metalling Process

Renault FT and TSF Engine Restoration – The White Metalling Process

29 Apr 2016

A lengthy process of trial and error in order to perfect the dying skill of white metalling

 
Renault FT and TSF Suspension

Renault FT and TSF Suspension

08 Apr 2016

A look at the small components in the suspension beam.

 
Renault TSF Turret takes shape

Renault TSF Turret takes shape

20 Sep 2017

A look at the initial assembly of the TSF turret 

 
TSF

Renault TSF - We Have L'Horne

15 Dec 2015

Uncovering the origins of the TSF hull

 
Renault Tractor arrives

Renault Tractor arrives

04 Oct 2014

Renault GP tractor arrives from Belgium

 
Renault TSF Turret

Renault TSF Turret

17 Mar 2017

Battery and Box Detail

 

Renault FT and TSF – ‘Painting the Tanks’ – Camouflage – Part One

06 Apr 2018

Our paint conservation partners have now established all the external colours needed on the Renault FT and TSF. 

 
Renault FT and TSF  Starting Handle Boss

Renault FT and TSF – Starting Handle Boss

17 Mar 2018

The fairly innocuous looking attachment at the rear of the Renault FT engine bay has proven to be quite troublesome for us to reproduce.

 
Renault FT and TSF Cooling Fan

Renault FT and TSF Cooling Fan

09 Dec 2016

Continuing the build of the cooling fan...

 
Renault FT idler wheel

Renault FT and TSF - Berliet FT Idler wheels

16 Nov 2015

Why were some metal and others wood? The explanation is....

 
Renault FT Engine  Setting The Ignition Timing

Renault FT Engine – Setting The Ignition Timing

01 Dec 2017

Revisiting our understanding of the ignition timing settings...

 
Renault FT Engine  Zenith Carburettor  Part 2 Machining and Assembly
 
Renault FT Engine Colours

Renault FT Engine Colours

07 Oct 2016

Just how were these engines finished in 1918?

 
FT17 Steering levers

Renault FT Steering Levers

18 Sep 2020

From The Archive - Berliet or Renault that is the question.

 
FT Throttle lever