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Old 07-22-2009, 02:17 PM
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Default Renault & Schneider Artillery Porteur

At the time the British adopted the Holt 75 hp Caterpillar Tractor, the French were also seeking a suitable tractor for hauling artillery. The cheif engineer of Schneider, went to England in January 1917 to watch the demonstration of the Holt in Aldershot. While he was there, he met the representative of the Holt firm, who showed him plans of the Baby Holt. As a result, Schneider purchased one vehicle each, on behalf of the French Government.
These arrived in May of 1915 for tests. Meanwhile, a French reserve artillery had requisitioned a couple of Holt tractors on his own initiative in Tunisia and had these were shipped to France where they were used in early 1915 to help haul 155mm guns through the Vosges. This officer sent a report to the Chief of Staff of the Army in August 1915 and suggested that the Baby Holt be adopted forthwith for general artillery use. As a result of these activities, an order for 15 vehicles was placed with Holt and the first two arrived in France in February 1916. One of these was sent straight to Schneider, who were working on the design of a tank for the French Army. [Schneider CA]. However, Holt was not considered the complete answer for French requirement for a Artillery Tractor.
By this time, the Army had placed much faith in the [Portee' Artillery] and requested a version of a crawler track tractor suited to the Portee' role.
Schneider produced a flat platform tractor with a front driving position based on the same chassis as the Schneider Tank. Renault had also produced a Portee' tractor in 1916 to Army requirments. During the late part of 1916, and the success of the 75 mm. Portee' , lead to the Department of Artillery to consider the means of transporting the 155 mm gun. Thus 50 Renault Porteur tractors were ordered. This taking place on the 22 of September 1916. A month later, the chief of artillery placed an order for 350 Renaults and 500 Schneiders. The first Renaults were delivered in March of 1917, and 120 had been delivered by the end of 1917.
By the end of the war, 256 out of 350 ordered, had been delivered. The first Schneiders were delivered in April 1917. The Renault proved to be the most useful vehicle, able to carry out many tasks on the Western front. From carrying large stores of supplies, ammunition, troops, and even full loads of different sized artillery pieces.
The Renault Porteur weighed 14 tons and could carry a load up to 8 tons. It had a front mounted 110 hp Renault motor. It could also be used to power the capstan (winch system) situated on the centre line just behind the engine, this being used to assist in loading the gun. While the rest of the vehicle consisted of a flat platform body, the driver set alongside the engine, to the right, in a completely exposed position. Wooden ramps were used to load the guns and a trestle kept the tail clear of the engine. The vehicle had four gears and the top speed was just under 6 Km per hour. The Renault was used by the French as well as the Americans.
The Schneider Porteur weighed 10 tons and could carry 3 tons, with a top speed of 8 Km per hour. This vehicle could carry the famous 75 mm and also the later 155 mm.
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