505e Régiment d'Artillerie Spéciale (RAS)
Members of the 18e are working on a special project and impression to represent the 505e RAS. This page is dedicated to the history of this unit and to documenting the efforts of these dedicated living history practitioners to better understand and represent it. All information and photos are posted with permission of Warren Clark, founding member and unit commander of the 18e and the individual behind the 505e RAS. Contact Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page.
The Historical 505e
The 505e RAS was a typical French Light Tank Regiment that saw considerable action in the Argonne sector fighting in support of both French and American formations.
It was composed of 225 tanks organized into 3 battalions with 3 companies each:
13e Bataillon de Chars Legers
-AS 337 (1st Company)
-AS 338 (2nd Company)*
-AS 339 (3rd Company)
14e Bataillon de Chars Legers
15e Bataillon de Chars Legers
The photo at the top of the page shows a column of Renault FT led by a char canon of AS 337, 13e BCL, 505e Regiment, while moving forward on October 10, 1918 to support the 80th Division of the AEF fighting near Rampont in the Argonne. (NARA) The Renault FT Tank, or Char Renault FT, is one of the most revolutionary and influential tank designs in history. It was the first tank to feature a fully-rotating turret, placed on top of the tank while the engine was placed in back and the driver in front. This became the standard tank design still in use today. The Renault is widely considered to be the first modern tank in history. It first saw action in 1918 and continued to see service up through the start of the Second World War.
The Recreated 505e
The 2nd Section (or 2nd Platoon) from AS 338 (2nd Company, 13e Bataillon de Chars Legers) is being recreated for living history displays/demonstrations and for simulated combat with the Great War Association. A single operational tank from this platoon will be assigned in direct support of the 18e RIL.
Design on the Renault FT (matricule #66464, production #721) began in 2008 with research and design using numerous books and 1:35 scale models. Much credit during this the design phase is owed to members of the Scaled Tanks forum consisting of scale drivable tank building enthusiasts from around the world. Projected completion of project is planned for the spring or autumn of 2016.
This and other pages will chronicle the construction of that reproduction Renault FT from AS 338.