The M1917 6 Ton Tank is an American license built copy of the FT17 which had been designed by Louis Renault in 1916 and refined in 1917 with over 2600 being delivered before the November 1918 Armistice. As Americas first mass produced Tank, over 4400 were ordered for use in October 1918 with 64 being produced before the war ended and 950 were manufactured before the order was cancelled. No American manufactured tank reached Europe in time to participate in The Great War.
This particular example was discovered rusting in an Alberta field and was bought by the museum in 1997 but restoration and reconstruction work was only begun four years ago. Financial support for the project was provided by a private donor Richard Iorweth Thorman with additional funds allocated by the charitable organization FCWM.
When discovered by the CWM, the tank had been used a log skidder which meant that most of the upper hull and turret had been removed and discarded. With a set of M1917 tracks and runner gear that had been located behind the Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Ontario rifle ranges and the fabrication of the missing turret and missing hull sections by DEW Engineering in Ottawa; this important armoured fighting vehicle was restored to non-running condition and is currently one of only two examples in Canada (the other is in CFB Borden, Ontario).
The M1917 Six Ton Tank is an important addition to the CWM collection as it is this vehicle that formed the basis of the modern Canadian Armoured Corps. It is this Corps that served throughout the Second World War, the Korean War, numerous UN missions and as well as recent NATO combat operations in Afghanistan.