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 causes 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 of its original features and components.
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