The Renault UE infantry vehicle was an armoured supply tractor produced to move supplies to the front line.
The French Army issued specifications for an armoured tracked resupply vehicle in 1930. Renault, Citroen and Latil all produced prototypes. Renault submitted their Type UE, which could tow a Type UK tracked trailer.
The UE was a lightly armoured tracked vehicle, with a cargo bed in the back of the main vehicle and a separate tracked trailer. The engine was mounted between the two crew, who sat in open cockpits. The cargo bed could be operated from the cockpit, allowing the crew to dump supplies without having to leave the vehicle.
The UE was also known as the Chenillette, or 'small tracked vehicle' (sometimes translated as 'tankette') or the Renault 1931 Type UE light tracked infantry vehicle.
The UE was accepted for production as the 'tracteur blindé de ravitaillement d'infanterie type UE' and an order for sixty was placed in October 1931. This was followed by a second order for 916 vehicles (produced by early 1937), a third order for 220 vehicles produced in 1936 and a fourth order for 1,400 vehicles, placed in 1936.
The first sixty were built in 1932, and by the end of 1935 the total had risen to 793. In 1936 Renault's Issy-les-Moulineaux factory became part of the newly nationalised AMX, and production of the UE continued to rise. By the time production of the UE ended Renault/ AMX had built 2,200. Smaller batches were built by Berliet at Lyons (100) and Fouga at Béziers (300) in order to speed up production of the massive fourth batch.
In 1935 a specification was issued for a new infantry resupply vehicle. Lorraine submitted their CRI (chenillette de ravitaillement d'infanterie), while Renault produced a modified version of the UE, which won the contract.
Production then moved onto the UE2, with AMX building 1,080, Berliet 310 and Fouga 260 from total orders of 2,300. The UE2 had a four-speed transmission, and stronger differential and suspension. Visually they were very similar to the UE, but can be identified by U-shaped towing hooks on the front of the vehicle (close to the tracks).
Between them the UE and UE2 were the most numerous armoured vehicle in French service in 1940, with about 4,900 completed by the French Armistice. They were used as armoured resupply vehicles by infantry regiments, or to tow 25mm anti-tank guns with the division anti-tank companies.
The UE and UE2 were useful vehicles, but their cargo capacity was quite limited. A larger vehicle, the Lorraine Type 37L, was produced for the armoured units, although that too had a small cargo compartment for the size of vehicle.
Hull Length: 2.7m
Hull Width: 1.7m
Weight: 2 tonnes
Engine: 35hp Renault 10CV
Max Speed: 30 km/h/ 18.6mph on road
Max Range: 100km/ 62 miles