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Old December 22nd, 2011, 05:32 AM   #11

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Volchefit and Culquaber tanks.
So called "emergency tanks" realized by applying metal plates to farm tractors; realized in Colonia Africa after the start of WWII,when materials were already lacking(around a dozen of them were produced).
These tanks took part in the battle of Gondar(the last engagement of the East African Campaign),where the Italian troops put up a brave last stand.
They were equipped with twin 8mm FIAT machine guns or Schwazlose machine gun, while the max speed was under 10km/h.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

AutoBlindo Lancia 1Zm
One of the oldest vechicles used during WWII(it took part in the First World War),the Lancia 1Zm saw action on every Italian conflict until the surrender in Ethiopia.
Some of them even fought on the Balkan front against the partisans of Tito( used by German forces),while other Lancia 1Zm were used in the Chinese colonial town of Tien-Tsin, until it was conquered by the Japanese in 1943.
Equipped with twin 8mm Fiat machine guns,the armor was 6,5mm thick in the front,while in the rear was 2,5mm thick.
The top speed was around 60km/h
The Lancia 1Zm had small openings on every side,to enable the crew(6men) to shoot with their personal weapons.
Click the image to open in full size.


AutoBlindo SPA AB40/41
The successor of of the obsolete 1Zm,the AB40/41 was considered one of the best armored cars of the conflict by Axis troops and Allied alike and was really appreciated by Rommel's troops.
The Straight-six engine(5000cm3) enable the armored car to exceed 80km/h.
The AB40 was equipped only with three 8mm machine gun and rapidly replaced by the AB41,this time armed with a 20mm Breda cannon plus two 8mm machine guns.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

The ultimate version, the AB43 was equipped with an heavier 47mm cannon but since the Italians surrendered in September 1943, it was mainly used by German forces.Around 60 AB43 were produced,ten time less than the AB40/41.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size..

AutoBlindo Lince
Realized in 1942,after studying captured British Daimler Dingos and therefore was very similar to the British vehicle but unlike the Dingo, the armor was only riveted and lacked bulletproof pneumatics.
Due to the armistice,most of them were only used by German and RSI forces in anti-partisan operations(both in Italy and in the Balkans) and its agility proved to be satisfactory.
Click the image to open in full size.


FIAT SPA 43 AS42 "Sahariana"
This reconnaisance armored car was specifically designed for the African front and used both by the Italian army and the PAI(colonial police).
It was a pretty fast(top speed around 90km/h) and highly reliable vehicle(range around 800km) even used to perform ambushes,thanks to the low profile.
It could be equipped with 13,2 and 8mm machine guns and even 20 and 47mm cannons.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

A limited number of AS42 saw action on the Eastern front and some of them were even used in Normandy by the Heer.
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by M.E.T.H.O.D.; December 22nd, 2011 at 06:13 AM.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 08:35 AM   #12

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Fascinating stuff Method.
Great posts.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 10:14 AM   #13

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Brilliant and interesting thread, Method, cheers.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 05:25 PM   #14

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It should be pointed out the hull of the AB40 was used as the basis for the Sahariana, the notable change is the stub axles that supported the spare wheels. These are free spinning so that the vehicle doesnt belly out on rough ground. I'm not quite sure why they werent carried over into the Sahariana since the Germans used the same idea on the Horch 1a.

On the other hand the Italians had a great deal of experience at deep desert exploration which is why they designed the Sahariana to counter the LRDG and SAS patrols that were raiding into axis rear lines, particularly after the battle of Kufra in 41!

like the Horch it suffered a little from mechanical complexity and maintenance but a very useful and popular vehicle and like most Italian modern designs too little and too late.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 09:23 AM   #15

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The First Armored Division M,later Division Centauro II was equipped solely with German vehicles:Panzer III,IV and Stug III,plus 88mm cannons.
It was formed during the Summer of 1943 by members of the MVSN(the Black Shirts) and according to Mussolini,its purpose was to showcase the might of the Fascist Party,while Himmler provided the tanks and the instructors.
Since the Italian surrendered on May 8th 1943, this division was never emloyed in combat and its vehicles were seized by German troops.

The emblem of the division:Click the image to open in full size.

A Panzer III and a StuG III:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 10:02 AM   #16

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If METHOD doesn't get offended I'll go on:
Semovente L40 da 47/32
Technical features:
Crew: 2 men
Weight: 6.500 kg
Motor: SPA 18D a 4 cilindri a benzina da 68 hp
Size:
- Length: 4 mt, Lunghezza (solo scafo) 3,782 mt
- Width: 1,92 mt
- Heigth: 1,63 mt
Performances:
- Max speed on road: 42,3 km/h
- Max cruising range on road: 200 km
- Ford: 0,8 mt, Slope: 84%, Step: 0,8 mt, Trench: 1,7 mt

The cannon 47mm,build on licence of Austrian gun Boiler with double use, antitank/supporting infantry, was one of the deadliest anti-tank weapon of that years.
It was placed on the new Semovente L40 da 47/32 in a simple superstructure-casemate,directly build on tank's hull.
This simple accomodation worked pretty well, but vertical walls of superstructure remained without the addictional protectional which would have been given by their inclination;however,the fullfilment was pretty good and it entered into service in 1942.
280 L40 da 47/32 were produced,they performed quite well when they had to face lightest british tank in north africa.Onboard of each L40 could be carried roughly 70 ammunitions.
When Italy surrendered in 1943, German Forces immediately captured whatever they could.
Some L40 were taken and given to fighting troops at once.
Italian ground,on which many struggles occurred during the long Allied march directed northward of Italy,which lasted till April 1945, was so harsh that seldom it allowed the use of tanks,therefore very often anti-tank weapons were removed from L40 to employ them as Mobile HQ,equipping them with a Breda M38 8mm machine gun.
L40 was maybe a simple arrangement, but it was enought to prove that in Italy the concept of Anti-tank vehicles had been understood since the beginning of the war.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 10:10 AM   #17

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This is not my time period of choice, but tanks have fascinated me since childhood. Superb thread, M.E.T.H.O.D.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 10:14 AM   #18
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I posted pictures of the L40 47/32 and the command tank version in post 8. The command tank version was made as a command tank and fitted with a dummy main gun. They were based on the L6 light tank.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 11:55 AM   #19

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leccy View Post
I posted pictures of the L40 47/32 and the command tank version in post 8. The command tank version was made as a command tank and fitted with a dummy main gun. They were based on the L6 light tank.
I know, I integrated and improved the description of L40 47/32.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 02:57 PM   #20
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xander.XVII

I could not see any pic on your post though, there is a little box for one but nothing in it.

I got a few books here about Italian forces and have been reading more into the Italian army since my interest was peaked a few years ago with General O'Conners campaign 'Operation Compass' in 1940.

I have spent some time debunking a few of the myths about the Italian Forces since then, along with explanations about the performance of the forces, both good and bad. Trying to give people a more realistic view as opposed to the stereotypical WW2 imagery.
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