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Carro Armato P26/40: Italian Heavy Tank

by Jim H

Background on the Carro Armato P26/40

The Italian Army categorized the Carro Armato P26/40, known also as P40, as a heavy tank because of its intended role in supporting medium tanks. In actuality, it retained the specifications of a medium tank when compared to other comparable tanks. The P26/40 contained similar characteristics of the American M4 Sherman tank. The P26/40 was the heaviest tank Italy produced in World War Two. But production came too late, and Italy surrendered before they could be employed by the Italian Army. The tank armament consisted of an Ansaldo 75 mm L/34 gun and (2) 8 mm Breda 38 machine guns. The 75 mm gun could penetrate 70 mm of armor at 500 meters. The armor remained riveted like previous models, and its thickness ranged from 14 mm to 60 mm at its turret.

The Carro Armato P26/40.

The Carro Armato P26/40.

German Use

Ansaldo produced over 100 of these tanks between 1943 and 1945, most of which fell under German control after the Italian armistice. A good percentage of the vehicles manufactured still lacked engines. The Germans designated the tank Panzerkampfwagen P40 737(i). German reserve divisions utilized most P40 tanks as fixed artillery positions due to the lack of engines.

P40 Specifications

Specifications Carro Armato P26/40
Class Italian Heavy Tank
Armor 14 mm to 60 mm
Weight 26 Tons
Length 19 ft (5.8 m)
Width 9.2 ft (2.8 m)
Height 8.2 ft (2.5 m)
Range 170 miles (280 km)
Armament 75 mm L/34 gun (75 rounds)
(2) 8 mm Breda 38 machine guns (600 rounds)
Crew 4
Speed 24.9 mph/40 km/h (road) 15.5 mph/25 km/h (terrain)
Powerplant SPA 342, 12-cylinder diesel engine (330 HP)
Muzzle Velocity 2,300 fps (700 mps)
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