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October 24, 1944 – Louis Renault dies after stint in prison
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October 24, 1944 – Louis Renault dies after stint in prison

Louis Renault in 1903 in his first car. Louis Renault, the founder of the French automobile company that bears his name, died in prison on this day in 1944 at age 67. The Frenchman found himself behind bars after being named as a suspected Nazi collaborator, a charge he denied. The circumstances leading up to his arrest and death remain mysterious, but he cemented his legacy in the auto industry long before the rise of the Nazi party. The first Renault car Louis Renault, born in 1877, build his first car in 1898 with the help of two hired workers. Dubbed the Voiturette, the car featured a De Dion-Bouton 1 cylinder engine, giving the car a top speed of about 20 miles per hour. After demonstrating the vehicle could maneuver hilly roads without issue on Christmas Eve of 1898, he re...
April 24, 1918 – The first tank vs. tank battle occurs in war
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April 24, 1918 – The first tank vs. tank battle occurs in war

A different sort of automotive machine made history when the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux broke out near Amiens in northern France on this day in 1918, during World War I. It was at this battle site that the first recorded tank versus tank engagement occurred in the history of warfare. Above: A German A7V tankTop: A destroyed British Mark IV tank The battle occurred when a German A7V tank advanced on three British Mark IV tanks. Two of the British tanks were armed only with machine guns, both of which were damaged and forced to withdraw. The remaining British tank was equipped with a 6 pound gun. This Mark IV fired on the German tank and eventually hit it, disabling it. The British tank continued to fire until the German tank withdrew. The British tank was able to continu...

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