Tag Archives: M1917 Renault

When it comes to captured enemy weapons, the Army never throws anything away

I recently had the chance to tour U.S. Army’s Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, the keepers of the flame for military history in the country.

The 15,200-acre installation in North Alabama was established in World War II and overhauls both small arms and vehicles for the Army. A longstanding tenant on the sprawling base, based out of Building 201, is the Museum Support Center, operated by the Center of Military History. The CMH maintains an immense collection of 650,000 historic items across 228 sites including 57 large museums that are a part of the Army Museum Enterprise. Items not yet on display, waiting for a public home, or are excess to current museum needs are stored in the “Army’s attic” in Anniston.

In secured storage at the MSC are 13,000 live weapons of all sorts, ranging from 13th Century Ottoman gear to guns captured recently in Afghanistan…and they were gracious enough to roll out the red carpet for me:

More in my column at Guns.com

You had to be under 5′ 4″ to man this armored coffin

A pretty decent look at the first real U.S. tank, the M1917 Renault, with Len Dyer of the National Armor and Cavalry Restoration Shop.

The U.S. Army Tank Corps picked up just under 1,000 of these in the last days of WWI and they remained in service to one degree or another through the 1930s.

1920s US soldiers including 1903s, 37mm gun and 1917 Renault tank

Posed 1920s US soldiers including 1903s, 37mm gun, BAR, light mortar and 1917 Renault tank

They made pretty good public relations tools, though…

Boys playing on M1917 tank, Raton, New Mexico 1920

Boys playing on M1917 tank, Raton, New Mexico 1920