Background on the Fiat-Ansaldo M 15/42
The Fiat-Ansaldo M 15/42, or Carro Armato M 15/42, entered service in 1943. Because of the Italian armistice, it never saw action against the Allies. A total of 118 of these were built, most being issued to the Ariete Division that took part in the Italian attempt to deny Rome to the Germans in September 1943. The Germans captured some of the vehicles and used them against the Allies.
Improvements from Earlier Models
Some improvements include the 47mm Ansaldo L40 gun which produced 30% greater muzzle velocity than the 47 mm L32 gun found in previous models. The M 15/42 was slightly longer than the M 14/41 and distinguishable from it by the lack of a crew access door in the side of the hull. The M 15/42 also had improved armor and a more powerful engine that made it slightly faster.
The hull was of all riveted construction that varied in thickness from 14mm to 45mm. The driver sat at the front left of the hull with the bow machine gunner on his right, the latter operating the twin 8mm machine guns as well as the radios. The turret was in the center of the hull and armed with a 47mm/40 caliber gun with an elevation of +20 degrees and a depression of –10 degrees. The electronically operated turret traversed 360 degrees. An 8mm Modello 38 machine gun was mounted co-axial with the main armament with a similar machine gun mounted on the roof for anti-aircraft defense. The vehicle carried 111 47 mm rounds and 2,640 8 mm rounds of ammunition.
The suspension on each side consisted of four double-wheel articulated bogies mounted in two assemblies each carried on semi-elliptical springs, with the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear. There were three track return rollers. The engine was at the rear of the hull and coupled to the manual gearbox with eight forward and two reverse gears. By the time the M 15/42 had been introduced into service it was already obsolete and design for a replacement tank, the P 40, had been underway for years.
Fiat M 15/42 Variants
The following variants utilized the M 15/42 chassis:
- M 15-42 Centro Radio: Contains an antenna and additional radio equipment
- Semovente da 75/18: Self Propelled Gun mounted with a 75 mm 18 caliber gun.
- Semovente da 75/34: Self Propelled Gun mounted with a 75 mm 34 caliber gun
- Semovente da 105/25: Self Propelled Gun mounted with a 105 mm 25 caliber gun.
Specifications of the M 15-42
|Specifications||Fiat-Ansaldo M 15/42|
|Armor||6 mm to 45 mm|
|Range||120 miles (200 km)|
|Length||16.2 ft (4.92 m)|
|Width||7.3 ft (2.2 m)|
|Height||7.10 ft (2.4 m)|
|Armament||47mm Ansaldo 47/32 111 Rnds (3) 8 mm Breda Model 38 MG’s (2,640 rounds)|
|Speed||24.9 mph (40 km/h)|
|Powerplant||Fiat SPA 15T V-8 Gasoline Engine with 195 HP|