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The Five of Hearts - Renault FT-17 Light Tank
The French-made Renault tank, nicknamed the Five of Hearts, belonged to the 344th Tank Battalion in the Tank Brigade under Col. George S. Patton, Jr. The full track steel tank with a turret mounted 37-mm gun had a two-man crew and a road speed of approximately 4.5 mph.
The Five of Hearts supported the 16th Infantry of the 1st Division in the Fleville Sector of the Meuse-Argonne Battle in October 1918. The tank is located at the Fort George G. Meade Museum at Fort Meade, Maryland.
The video is a post-World War I U.S. Army tank training exercise and the narrative is an excerpt from Sgt. Arthur Snyder’s speech recalling the details in the Five of Hearts on October 4, 1918 in the Meuse-Argonne region of France.
The old Five of Hearts was now showing the effect of battle – her radiator was leaking like a sieve, but there was still work to be done on the other side of the river. We crossed the river and made contact with the enemy as soon as we reached the high ground north of the Exermont Ravine. The outposts rapidly gave way, and those broad packs on the German’s back made excellent targets; but the rough going was not conducive to good marksmanship. Enthusiasm was high, and undoubtedly I followed in pursuit too far ahead of the 16th Infantry. Suddenly we were fired upon at close range. A splinter got my driver in the throat, and as he slumped in his seat the Five of Hearts stalled. I made many efforts to crank the engine gunner’s compartment, but to no avail. We were caught in a local counterattack. We had no mobility due to engine trouble and out fire power was near to zero because the cradle of our 37-mm. and the turret were both jammed with bullets received qt close quarters.
The Fort George G. Meade Museum is open to the public on Wednesday – Saturday from 11:00 to 4:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday. More information is available at http://www.ftmeade.army.mil/Museum/Index.htm
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