The Renault NC was an improved version of the First World War era Renault FT, produced in the 1920s as a possible replacement for the earlier tank.
At the end of the First World War the French Army had a vast number of the Renault FT tanks, but by the mid 1920s they were beginning to look obsolete, with their thin armour, limited firepower and limited range. During the early 1920s the French Army only saw a need for two types of tanks - a breakthrough tank, or char de rupture, a role then filled by the Char 2C, and a light battle tank (char de bataille) to take advantage of any breaks in the enemy line. Renault developed the NC in an attempt to satisfy that second requirement.
First was the NC.1 (NC.27) which used Cleveland differential steering (also know as the Cletrac system), thicker armour, and a new suspension system. The main part of this involved twelve road wheels on each side, carried on three four-wheel bogies. Each bogie was mounted on a central coil spring, with a vertical hydro-pneumatic shock absorber at each end. There was also an independent front roller on each side. The NC.1 was slightly larger than the FT-17, with thicker armour and a better top speed. The NC.1 carried a fixed machine gun in the hull front, and an FT type turret with a 1918 model 37mm gun.
The NC.1 wasn’t accepted by France, where a new set of tank specifications were issued in 1926 that defined three types of tanks - a simple light tank for use against enemy machine gun positions, a battle tank for use against heavier weapons and enemy tanks and a heavy tank. The NC didn't satisfy any of these sets of requirements, but it did become the basis of the larger Renault D1 of 1931, which did enter production.
A few dozen NC.1s were sold to Japan where it was known as the Renault B or ETSU B and saw limited service during the Shanghai Incidents of 1931-32. They were used by the 2nd Independent Tank Company (Captain Shigemi) during the 1932 fighting.
The NC.2 (NC.31) was similar to the NC.I, but had a more powerful engine (and possibly two co-axial machine guns in the turret in place of the 37mm gun). It was no more successful than the NC.1, although samples were sent to Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Sweden and Yugoslavia.
Weight: 8 tons
Engine: 60hp Renault engine
Max Speed: 18km/hr/ 11mph
Armament: 1918 model 37mm gun in turret, one machine gun in hull front
Armour: 30mm max