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Renault: Taxicabs as Troop Carriers on September 7th 1914

On September 6th and 7th 1914, over 650 Parisian cabs, Renault AG1’s, were requisitioned in order to carry troops from the front to stem the German advance on Paris. 3,000 soldiers from the 7th Division boarded these vehicles (1 on the running board, 3 in the rear and 1 by the driver). Called Marne Taxis, these vehicles made history.

The Renault AG1 ran on wooden wheels and was powered by a 2-cylinder engine. Lighting consisted of a petrol-soaked wick lamp. They needed to stick close together at night so as not to lose sight of each other. This initiative can be considered as the first ‘’mechanized unit’’, which proved to be so successful in WWII.

This operation constituted the first mechanized unit. For the record, the requisitioned vehicles cost the pubic treasury some 70,000 francs, as the drivers were paid the regular fees for their services…

Source : Musée Automobile Reims Champagne

Taxi de la Marne
Taxi de la Marne © musée de l'Armée (Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) Photo: Pascal Segrette