The facebook page for the National Armor and Cavalry Museum is reporting that the turret to what looks like a M1917 tank has been found in the woods at Fort Benning. We have re-posted the content of the post below.
While the NACM’s armor collection is focused mainly around vehicles, they are but artifacts with which we are able to honor the legacy of the Americans that crewed them. After this past week, we are fortunate enough to be able to connect more to the Tank Corps of World War I.
A team preparing a section of woods to be cleared here at Fort Benning happened upon a tank turret. As per regulation, post agencies were informed of a potential artifact, and in turn the musuem was notified. Photos identified the turret belonging to a French-built Renault FT light tank. At the end of World War I, the Tank Corps brought back approximately 200 of its FTs to use along with the American-built M1917. Many ended up at Fort Benning, which became home to the Tank School starting in 1920. As the FTs were phased out, many were de-militarized by simply removing the turrets and selling for use in agriculture or industry. While the NACM collection currently has two Renault FTs, neither of these served with the American light tank battalions during the war. Though not complete and no other remains of tanks have been found at the location, the historical significance of the turret was obvious.
Today, a team consisting of NACM personnel, Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Detachment Fort Benning, and veteran volunteers move quickly to secure the turret. Despite the thick woods, uneven terrain, and rain the turret is now at the restoration shop. It is already being cleaned to prevent further deterioration. It will be preserved in tribute of the early American tankers.
(Photos by NACM Volunteers Mr. David Hobbs and Mr. Jon Potts)