The first of the French tank destroyers is called the RenaultFT AC. It is a hypothetical attempt that was apparently considered by the French to make some use of their RenaultFTs at the start of the second world war. Essentially, the idea was to stick a bigger gun on the venerable little tank, through the medium of doing away with the turret. This was a fairly large part of the basic idea of what would become an assault gun/tank destroyer, as these tanks became known.
In the event the RenaultFT AC was an idea that did not happen. It would have only been a stop-gap, much like the Panzerjäger I was for the Germans, and indeed that is a very good tank to compare it with in terms of World of Tanks. Now, I don’t remember much of when I played the Panzerjäger I – it was 17 matches several months ago. The basics though was good firepower, poor speed, poor manoeuvrability, thin armour, and easily destroyed.
That more or less sums up the RenaultFT AC as well. If anything the Renault feels even slower, probably because I have gotten used to the slightly nippier Marder II. In all honesty I did find it a bit of a struggle to “step-down” to a Tier II Tank Destroyer. While both this and the Panzerjäger are undeniably good introductions to the Tank Destroyer as something of a stationary/ambush predator, nevertheless they are just not that good in the scheme of things. The RenaultFT AC in particular stands remarkably tall, making it oddly difficult to hide properly. Likewise its poor speed and agility mean that the “assault gun” role for a tank destroyer simply does not work.
If the RenaultFT AC had actually been realised, it would at most have been a temporary stopgap. In World of Tanks, it is an introductory and transitionary vehicle, getting players used to some of the differences between “ordinary” tanks and tank destroyers. I think one of the reasons it is good at doing this is because some of the differences – limited gun traverse and poor mobility – are so stark (unlike, for example, the Stug III).
I have now elited the RenaultFT AC, after just 7 battles. In truth if I played more matches I would probably get better playing this tank. However, I will be selling it soon and moving onto the next French Tank Destroyer, the Renault UE 57.