Russkiy Reno
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modified: Nov 10, 2012

Russkiy Reno was a Soviet light tank based on the French Renault FT tank. In 1919, the Soviets captured a French Renault FT outside Odessa signaling the start of Soviet tank production. Additional Renault FTs were later captured. One of these was presented to Vladimir Lenin for the first May Day celebration in 1919.

The Renault FT was selected for development because it was smaller, simpler and had a modern configuration compared to other captured tanks. The tank was reverse-engineered by a team from the Putilov Works and the Izhorskiy Factory led by N. Khrulev. The Ryabushinskiy-Kuznetsov Company, which was nationalized as the AMO Factory (Avtomobilnoye Moskovskoye Obshchestvo), was able to obtain a few Fiat engines from Italy before the embargo imposed by Western nations took effect. The Hotchkiss gun and machine guns came from the Obukhov Works (SOOZ) and the armored plate from the Izhorskiy Factory.

The vehicle was assembled at the naval Sormovo Plant renamed Krasnoye Sormovo. It was completed by August 31, 1920 and tests were conducted for three months. The tank's armament was added on December 1, 1920. 250 rounds of main gun ammunition were carried. The tank was called the Russkiy Reno, legkiy tank M (Light Tank M: maliy, small) or the Legkiy tank KS (KS: Krasnoye Sormovo).

Soviet sources claim that fourteen additional tanks were built. However, it is disputed whether these additional tanks were re-built Renaults captured from White Russian forces or built from scratch. These tanks lacked the extra machine gun in the right turret rear of the original tank. The fifteen tanks formed the 7th Tank Unit which participated in Red Square parades.

References: STCV