Renault FT-17 Tanks in the Rif War


by Jesus Dapena

My mother's cousin Cipriano Briz ("uncle Cipri") was stationed in the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco in the 1920's during the Rif War (called in Spain "La Guerra de Africa" or "La Guerra de Marruecos"). He was in the infantry.  


Cipri was born in 1893. The photo shows him as a lieutenant at Zoco Tzelatza on June 2, 1921. This is probably the Zoco Tzelatza of the western war zone (Beni Aros), also called Buharrax, which is near Ayyalia. Ayyaila is where Cipri was shot in the left thigh on December 19, 1921. He was with a machine gun crew, and the ammunition belt jammed. Cipri stood up, pressed with one foot on the machine gun, and pulled on the belt with his hands, trying to undo the jam. That is when he was shot.


CipriÕs Zeiss Turact 8x24 binoculars, manufactured in Germany in 1918. They were probably bought by Spain from the French government after the end of World War 1.


Later on, Cipri was in an armored unit equipped with Renault FT-17 tanks.  He sent this series of photos to Spain, presumably to his mother.  The originals were printed on postcard stock.

(For an enlarged image, click here.)


FT-17 tank.  The picture above is titled "My command tank".  On the back, it says:  "Notice the elephant painted to the left of the machine gun:  It's the mascot.  This is the most difficult obstacle that a tank can face.  This tank was almost burnt up by the Moors.  That's why it has an X (which stands for "wounded") in the white circle in the rear.  It's number 4, and number 1 in the Seccion".

(For an enlarged image, click here.)


FT-17 tanks, including an FT-17 TSH for wireless communications.  The picture above is titled "Tanks for protection of the convoy to Tizzi-Asa".  On the back, it says:  "My little tank is the one marked by an arrow.  Its cannon (sic) was hit by five bullets, and particles from two of them penetrated like a fine powder spray.  This is funny after all!  This photo was taken at Tafersit." Notice the turtle mascot painted on the turret of Cipri's tank.



FT-17 and FT-17 TSH tanks.  I assume that the arrow in the picture above again indicates Cipri's tank.



(For an enlarged image, click here.)



FT-17 tanks. Notice in the last two photos the turtle mascot painted on the turret of the tank identified by a number "8" painted in white on the horizontal beam of the traction gear. This is obviously Cipri's tank again.

(For an enlarged image, click here.)


(For an enlarged image, click here.)


FT-17 tanks.  On the back of the picture, it says:  "As you can see, it's impossible not to love these tanks (mounted on their transport trucks), because they are so beautiful.  In the background you can see the town of Dar-Drius, a much larger camp than Riffien, and more comfortable."



FT-17 TSH tank.

(For an enlarged image, click here.)



FT-17 TSH tank.  On the back of the picture above, it says:  "The telegraph and wireless telephone tank that I already sent to you before, but the position is not the same.  Here it's further along over the edge of the breastwork from which it's going to drop.  This was published in 'Nuevo Mundo'."

(For an enlarged image, click here.)


FT-17 TSH tank.


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Links to other Webpages on the Renault FT-17:
http://home.comcast.net/~dapena/tanks/dominguez/dominguez.htm
http://www.tankhistory.com --Once inside, go to the page on Spanish tanks.


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Suso's WarBirds Page


Last updated: January, 2014
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~dapena/tanks/cipri.htm
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