• As some of you know, the old forum database was deleted by the previous administrator. I am attempting to paste any retrievable discussions back into this forum using the internet archive. It won't look pretty - but at least we can preserve some valuable information. Feel free to add to the discussions as these old posts are restored.

Reports of COL Marco Bizzi

jwsleser

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This is one of a series of reports either written by col. BIZZIi or collected by him. Colonello BIZZI was sent to A.S. in March 1942 to collect technical information on the functionality of Italian systems, especially armored vehicles and weapons. I am translating and posting them here. Once all the translations are completed, I will assemble them and post on the Comando Supremo main page.

The original copies of the reports are from La meccanizzazione dell'Esercito fino al 1943 tomo II Documento 53. As always, any errors of translation are mine and all words/comments in [ ] are in addition to clarify understanding and enhance readability.

The report on the E.P. ammunition and Solothurn is in the Anti-Tank Folder
 
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jwsleser

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PERFORMANCE OF THE M 13/40 TANK

From the examination of the individual M tanks and from the information received from the commands, units, and tank workshops I was able to observe:

Hull and suspension

Even the tanks from the first production, which came to A.S. col VI - VII - VIII btg. (some were captured by the British and re-used it against us, then recaptured by us) the armor shows a degree of fragility, slight in the forward curved plate of the hull, and maximum in the hull and turret front plate.

While the impacts on the forward curved plate have almost always penetrated sharply, causing it [the plate] to begin radial cracks, in the hull front plates the impacts have always caused the armor to break along radial fracture lines with sharp edges towards the area deal with, with all the characteristics presented by a crystal plate broken with a hammer blow (see photo). Many projectiles hit the driver viewport which appears to be very weak; the projectile, however, only burst when it reached the rear structure for the 47[mm] rounds which, bursting at that time, caused the internal destruction of the tank and sometimes a fire.

Of the over a hundred destroyed tanks I have visited, twenty or so had been struck and destroyed in this way: in Benghazi, near the breakdown park, I saw two of these tanks still containing the calcified bones of the crews, covered partly by the broken ammunition and the collapsed internal parts: I believe they are the same as those seen a year ago by the late Col. AMIONE.

Front plates of up to 60mm are needed to guarantee [protection] from the 40mm English guns at least frontally.

The driver’s viewport should have a prismatic section:

The lateral armor is sometimes penetrated without breaking: sometimes the 40mm projectile enters from one side and exited from the opposite one, without bursting.

The turret, both because the front part is built in various pieces and with curved armor in the remaining part, under the impact from 40mm [rounds] presents the aforementioned phenomenon of fragility, aggravated in the front by the separation of the various [pieces] and in the rear by the displacement of the curved armor.

The British themselves found it useful to repair the forward part of the hull with pieces of welded armor, but did not think they could repair the damaged turrets.

Many turrets and some plates were riveted by blows that reached the turret ring or in the semi-cylindrical [gun] shield of the combination 47-8 [47mm and 8mm weapons].

The space corresponding to the turret ring constitutes a very vulnerable and easily affected area, with decisive effects on the tank. It should be protected outside by a strong protective ring.

It seems to be convenient to protect the installation of the cannon with a greater thickness of cast steel or with a hemispherical shield that moves with the cannon itself, but [covered] outside with a part integral with the turret.

Suspensions have been hit a few times, but hardly ever so as to immobilize the tank. More than a hundred tanks [only] a single track was hit and broken and a single roller was nailed by a 40mm projectile, [which was] still stuck in the part and had not exploded (see photo).

The suspension carriage presented only a few cases of breakage of the rocker arm for load-bearing rollers, which twists: production of more robust arms has already started.

The points for lubrication of the suspension are still not well made, which little by little must all be revised.

The rubber rollers resist very well the torment from driving even with high temperatures: the offensive reconnaissance of 16/III [16 March] was carried out in temperatures of + 30 + 35º centigrade and for an uninterrupted and fast progress (20 km / h) of over 100 km .

The tracks proved to be superior to all expectations and truly suitable for all terrains.

The units said they almost never had to change carriage arms, rollers, or track elements; the spare parts are therefore exuberant, especially since there are also suspensions from about a hundred like tanks lying in Cyrenacia.

The units beg that they will no longer send spare tracks, rollers and suspensions.

Motor, transmission, and various equipment

Cooling is insufficient: it must be increased.

The diesel filter clogs quickly due to the density and impurities of the fuel, so that after a few kilometers - sometimes only 5-6 - the diesel fuel does not flow anymore and the filter must be changed.

It is necessary - as the tank crews in the 132º have [already put] in place - that each tank has a second filter which is kept immersed in a can of oil in the combat compartment, and as soon as the engine is running with insufficient power, the mechanic replaces the dirty filter with the one preserved in oil.

This system causes waste of time and in combat the driver who does not want to lose the engine, removes [and replaces] the filter.

It is necessary to remedy and to place the filter inside the combat compartment in order to prevent the need for the personnel to go out[side] when in action.

The injection pump loses its adjustment: it is necessary that each battalion has a device for adjusting the pumps and injectors and has spare injectors in quantity, given the high consumption and the usability of them as soon as the spray no longer gives the desired atomizing, almost gaseous, to diesel fuel.

Injection pump and regulator should should be completely enclosed by a rubber boot, against invasion of sand, dust, etc.
- frequent breakage of the oil pump shaft and the water pump,
- starter nut cracking,
- breaking of the aluminum bearing spokes of the drive sprocket.
- Calzoni pump [turret motor] is never used and all the tank crews of the «Ariete» are in agreement to ask it be suppressed, both because it is delicate and it doesn’t ensure the movement of the turret after the first impact of a projectile, and for the space it occupies in the fighting compartment,
- spare parts that are needed as a higher frequency: elastic bands, bronze bushing of 1 mm, - pistons - gaskets - gearboxes
- spare parts are needed for the M 14/41 tanks of which the 133º «Littorio» tanks are almost without and are also needed by the 132º «Ariete» for their 14/41 radio equipped command tanks.

Weapons and ammunition

- There has been some case of bending of the trunnion of the 47mm gun,
- the gun should be equipped with a shoulder support so that the gunner can keep his forehead resting and the eye fixed to the eyepiece during the aiming movements of the piece; almost all the cannons of English tanks are equipped with them,
- some breakages of the shaft for traversing the cannon,
- the ammunition supply of the gun must be increased to at least 130 rounds,
- hull machine guns are superfluous; they have never been used or if you feel the need, it is sufficient to have the turret machine gun and one for anti-aircraft defense,
- the machine gun ammunition is exuberant for the war that is waged in A.S. A thousand rounds at most are enough, to be further reduced in favor of the 47mm rounds,
- rubber bar for pedal firing: it is raised in all tanks and therefore there seems no need to insist on putting it on,
- the loader’s seat is equally raised; it's better to lower it,
- the machine guns do not work if they are not lubricated with the special Breda oil: the units don’t have it and need it urgently.

Radio equipment

It works well. The average transmission ranges were:
- of the RF1 station during the day 5 -6 km. at night 20 km.
- of the RF2 station during the day 20 km. at night 40km.

The connection, however, can, under favorable weather conditions, be implemented at greater distances.

The internal arrangement of the sets in the command tanks makes their use difficult, since the radio operator/machine gunner barely manages to operate the RF2 station.

The tank crews ask that the twin machine-guns in the hull be suppressed and that the RF1 station be positioned in place of the twin mount (i.e. on the right side of the radio operator). In this way it is also possible to obtain a place for additional 47mm ammunition.

Autonomy [Range/Self-sufficiency]

Prismatic [shaped] racks with fuel, oil and water [cans] must be placed on the right and rear sides.

The tank crews of the 132º are placing 4 cans on the right side and 4 on the back, with a weight increase of about 200 kg. but with an increase in autonomy of about 80 km.
 
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jwsleser

Member
Staff member
PERFORMANCE OF THE L 6 TANK ([based] on 4 tanks employed)

(information taken from Sergeant Major motorist Finco Luigi who operated the L 6 tanks)[*]
  • the front torsion bar, when combat causes its movement, hits the gearbox and can break it
  • another torsion bar broke due to a lack of hardening
  • a transmission shaft of the epicycle (right toothed wheel) has broken
  • brakes heat up and the [brake] shoes remain stuck
  • two cynical pinions of the epicycle transmission broke
  • a crown gear broke
(other minor inconveniences will be indicated in the technical report of Captain S.T.A. Traniello)[**]

Overall, the L 6 tank prformed well, have a good recovery, but develop a practical speed similar to that of the M 13/40 tank.

It is therefore believed that the L 6 tank does not have the characteristics needed for reconnaissance or in support of armored cars, and given this low speed it seems that it would be necessary to take advantage of a more powerful armament, i.e. using the semoventi da 47/32 su scafo L 6.

[* These four L6 tanks were the ones attached to the RECAM]
[** I have captain Traniello’s report and will translate it at some future point. ]
 
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jwsleser

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This is the first part of a much longer report. I will be adding to it as I can.

Notes on the experience derived from the employment of the «Ariete» Division
during the Operational period "BATTLE OF MARMARICA"
(November 18, 1941 - February 20, 1942)

1º) TANKS

Tank L/3
- Once again found to be an absolutely unsuitable vehicle for armor, armament, speed and engine.

Insufficient armor, perforable even by common machine gun amor-piercing ammunition, poor visibility and not likely to be improved, even with the adoption of periscopes and mobile hyposcopes; limited firing arc, machine guns easily jammed, difficulty in starting from inside the tank, slides easily in varied terrain, rigid suspension, insufficient speed to compensate for the great vulnerabilities, all are the causes that contribute to make the personnel lose all confidence in this tank and reduce the efficiency of the tank to zero.

The L/3 tank can only be useful in cooperation with infantry units.

With some modifications to the equipment, such as the removal of the entire upper part, installation of torsion bars, the L/3 carriage could be used as a mobile, armored, tracked machine gun, and be used in an almost similar [manner] to that of the «Bren carriers »in use in the British army.

Features that a modern L tank should have

In relation to the terrain of the Libyan-Egyptian theater, this combat vehicle should be able to reach a sensible speed (50-60 km. on desert terrain) and with great range, such as to allow it to be able to properly thrust, with a certain margin of safety, as the vanguard of the large tank force.

Its effective armament against similar vehicles could consist of a 20 cannon and two paired machine guns. The hull structure should not differ from that of heavier tanks.

Briefly the characteristics should be the following:
a) - structure: a lower hull and a turret in which the main offensive weapon must be placed (20 machine gun);
b) - Armor: such as to guarantee its safety against the offense weapons ranging from 13 to 20 m/m;
c) - Speed: high (from 50-60 km. per hour on desert terrain), a characteristic that requires at the same time an engine of exuberant power compared to the vehicle's speed:
d) - Range: at least 400 km without the use of fuel trailers;
e) - Armament: a 20 m/m machine gun placed in a turret and two paired cal. 8 machine guns, Breda type, in the hull;
f) - Suspension and track: such as to allow any movement, on any terrain, without fear of incurring breaks and tormenting the crew too much;
g) - Crew: three men are more than enough;
h) - Radio: R.F. type 2C/A;
i) - Antimagnetic compass: in a convenient location; it is indispensable for movement in desert terrain.

Tank M/13-40 - Overall it responded very well when required.

There has been a difference for some time between the equipment [currently] in A.S. and that recently arrived from the Motherland which is less robust.

The main problems that have occurred are generally the following:
a) - discontinuous operation of the oil pressure gauge;
b) - insufficient cooling system, especially for the intended use in hot climates;
c) - very frequent breakage of the rubber connector sleeves for the auxiliary water tank;
d) - malfunctions of the oil filter, a drawback especially in combat and when the tank is called to travel long distances, it limits the offensive possibilities, forcing it to stop;
e) - easy calibration of the injection pump;
f) - frequent breakage of the oil and water pump shaft;
g) - failure of the starter nut;
h) - failure of the gear lever and front teeth of the direct drive;
i) - breakage of the [turret] shaft due to the traverse of the cannon.

In the recently assigned tanks (constituting the vehicles of the Xº btg. carri M. 13 of the 133º rgt. «Littorio»), to the deficiencies already reported, must be added:
a) - very frequent failure of 3rd gear;
b) - breakage of the starter motor shaft;
c) - easy puncturing of fuel tanks, both main and reserve;
d) - failure of the transmission shaft;
e) - broken links of the track and the teeth of the drive sprocket;
f) - easy breakage of the oil delivery pipes from the injection pump to the injectors;
g) - breakage of the suspension shoulder plug.

The experience gained in this combat period suggests some changes in order to make greater use of the qualities and possibilities of our M. 13-40 tank.

Engine assembly - you need to change it. The current [one] has insufficient power and this deficiency is attributable to all the aforementioned faults that are very common. For use in desert areas, the engine must have a significant excess of power, to ensure the use of the tank in any terrain (sandy, muddy, stony, flat, sloping, etc.) and at any temperature.

Oil filter - Moving the filter from outside to inside the combat compartment is essential, to allow the crew to clean it during combat.

Range - insufficient. It can be increased by using reserve cans containing oil, diesel and water: secured to the tank by means of special support railings to be affixed to the right side and rear of the tank. With 8 20-liter cans, there would be a range increase greater than eighty kilometers compared to the current one.

Turret traverse - The «Calzoni» pump is not necessary and it is bulky.

Ammunition supply - The one for the 47 cannon is not always sufficient. It must be increased to at least 110 rounds (25 more rounds than currently), placing them conveniently in the bottom of the combat compartment.

It is also necessary to realize:
- a tracked tractor with light armor and of adequate power necessary for the recovery of inoperable tanks on the battlefield;
- an armored tank for the transport of parts that are perishable and more consumable with specialized mechanics for brief and urgent repairs during combat stops and in areas under fire;
- a mobile armored workshop for battalions that, unlike the current one, can closely follow them everywhere.

The need for a command tank for battalion, regiment and division commanders is also recognized. While retaining the identical external characteristics of a common tank, the command tank should allow easy movement inside the combat compartment (radio station operation) and ensure observation of the entire horizon. The current radio center tanks, with their very small internal space, put the commander in serious difficulty when executing his command functions.

2º) ANTI-TANK WEAPONS

Cannon 47/32
- The equipment ballistically gave excellent tests and its caliber proved suitable for piercing the armor of most enemy tanks and armored vehicles.

It should be equipped, if possible, with the projectile that is simultaneously piercing, bursting and incendiary.

As armament of the M. 13-40 tank, it didn’t give rise to any noteworthy findings; as armament of the anti-tank unit, the impossibility or difficulty of using the same vehicle [to fire from] that carries it has significantly reduced its performance.

Even the mod. 39 autotrainabile has, during practical experiments, proven the absolute unsuitability for towing on varied terrain even at the most modest speeds and for short distances.

Experience has shown the need for anti-tank weapons to have the ability for immediate action, under penalty of their capture or destruction.

They must be able to open fire from the same vehicle that transports it, in all directions in order to compete with the enemy vehicles, whether they are self-propelled anti-tank vehicles, or whether they are trucks equipped with machine guns.

It is therefore essential to abandon the folding carriage and install them on a tracked or wheeled vehicle, light, fast, with great range, not very high over the ground, which allows the cannon to fire in horizontal sectors of 360º and gives the crew some protection against machine guns and splinters.

Fucilone 20 and 25 - The 20mm "Solothurn" and the captured 25mm "Hotchkiss" are carriage mounted, and do not meet the requirements of anti-tank weapons for armored divisions.
 
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jwsleser

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3º) - ARTILLERY

Semoventi da 75/18 vehicles - Represents a sensible process in terms of armored artillery, ensuring the cooperation of the armored units and the artillery, always and everywhere.

On the other hand, the equipment has the following defects which are evident from the first actions:

A) - Howitzer:
- Low initial velocity (470 m), the consequence [of which] is low impact force, perceptible dispersion of the shot, and insufficient range for war in desert terrain in comparison to similar British artillery;
- speed of the semoventi is inadequate for the requirement. This would require a semoventi with a speed at least double that of the tanks, with which it must operate, to allow its fire actions to take place and at the extended range to cover the advanced tank units;
- impossible to fire with closed hatches, which removes the indispensable protection from the crews the, especially in close combat;
- slow rate of fire of the cannon due to the lack of an automatic [breech];
- excessive dead time [when firing], due to the fact that the gunner can’t fire the round himself, but must order the loader [to fire];
- complicated telescoping telescope, not very robust, especially due to the height of the the panoramic telescope shaft, so much so that I do not know how it is kept engaged during movement in various terrain. This evidently contrasts with the quick ‘ready into action’ capability of the piece. The weakest point of the system is the binding between the sight, lens and telescope.

It would therefore be appropriate to adopt a cannon that should have the following requirements:
- reduced recoil length, so that it can be placed in the vehicle combat compartment;
- automatic or at least semi-automatic breech closing;
- firing system that allows the gunner to fire a target just sighted; (possibly firing the round with an electric command and therefore arming the firing pin when the breech opens);
- panoramic telescope with a very large field [of vision], combined with one similar to the current one, so as to allow the gunner to scan the ground, without having to continue to stick his head out of the vehicle;
- smoke deflector to allow shooting with closed hatches;
- radios of greater range in the observer and group command vehicles;
- 20mm cannon or 13.2mm Hotchiss to replace the Breda machine guns in hull of the command vehicles;
- Breda 38 with c.a. mount to replace the [Breda 30] f.m.;
- a case [made of] of cellophane or other material for individual rounds so they would not be covered with sand.

It would also be necessary to issue binoculars to each vehicle commander to facilitate the identification of targets.

B) - Ammunition:

The type of ammunition it uses is excellent; there has been a greater consumption of ordinary HE rounds both because of the enemy’s of a large number of lightly armored vehicles, and because even against tanks they can be useful at greater distance for obstruction/blinding shots. Where, on the other hand, the serious drawbacks already complained of in Italy have been repeated, it is in the [shell] cases that have given rise to frequent expansion of the neck after the round is fired [jamming the round in the breech]. In some cases the crew was forced to exit the vehicle to expel the cartridge case with the ramming staff.

To ensure the most appropriate use of the rounds it would be necessary to issue both the ordinary and instantaneous fuses in a number equal to the number of rounds carried instead of 1/2 as now occurs (out of 100 rounds it would be necessary to have 100 instantaneous fuses and 100 ordinary fuses).

As far as we have learned from the use of E.P. due to the adoption of nitrogelatine it is essential to provide a device designed to prevent sudden motions of the semovente from causing shocks such as to cause a detonation of a projectile (padded or rubberized walls and to safely secure the rounds in their containers).

C) - Hull:

The drawbacks that most affect the possibilities of the semovente are found mainly in the hull. They are the same as those already stated for the M. 13-40 tank.

D) - Secondary armament:

The light machine-gun [Breda 30] is not suitable for the purpose. A 13.2 or at least 8 caliber machine gun would be needed with adequate ammunition accommodation inside the combat compartment.

Observation Tank [Armored Foward Observer]. There was a lack of fully armored observer vehicle, equipped with a long-range radio station and capable of high speed of movement (to move quickly forward and to be able to quickly escape enemy attack).

These observer vehicles could also be replaced by armored cars and there should be at least two per [artillery] group.

75/27 cannon mod. 906 T.M. - It is an old-fashioned equipment which, however, having rubberized wheels and great ruggedness has the great advantage of being able to be towed at good speed in the desert terrain. However, it does not respond to the needs of use, both by having a short range, with the gun carriage in normal conditions requires heavy digging work to set the trail when you want to fire at the maximum distances, and because its horizontal sector of traverse is too limited.

It should be replaced by a shielded gun with rubber wheels with high initial muzzle velocity and consequently long range (15-16,000 meters) and small [round] dispersions, especially suitable for distant targets. It would complete - especially with the current series of self-propelled vehicles - the artillery complement of the armored partition.

Waiting for such a material, the 75/27 mod. 911 with rubber wheels and spring suspension would represent an improvement; the 88/55 gun is still preferable.

88/55 cannon - As mentioned above it would very well meets the requirements of an artillery piece suitable for the long-range and anti-tank action of an armored division. It would also have the advantage of ensuring its counter air defense. at higher altitudes. However, it has the following drawbacks:
- excessive weight (70 quintals) to operate following the armored division in the desert area;
- lack of a tractor capable of ensuring rapid towing on any terrain. It is now being towed by insufficient Lanica 3 Ro. It would require a tracked tractor, with high speed and with great range;
- scarce ammunition. Problem easily overcome if the necessary supply is obtained from the German authorities.

20 mm Machine gun - Ballistically it gives good performance. In use, the installation on a light truck worked fairly well, however it is too high from the ground and therefore easily identifiable, not to mention that in long journeys the truck has shown all the drawbacks that will be stated later [in this report].

It is therefore necessary to adopt a special tracked, self-propelled version that allows the transport of the weapon at high speed (40-50 km./ hour) in desert terrain and gives the crew and the driver the necessary armored protection.

Overall, however, the caliber, speed, and projectile do not meet the needs of anti-tank gunnery, but only firing against those slightly armored vehicles. The need for a higher caliber was therefore felt. A "Bofors" type 40mm would be a good solution.

Precision equipment [range finders] - The lack of a range finder in the 75mm batteries and the 20mm companies was strongly felt and deplored. First, the rangefinder adopted for self-propelled vehicles should be distributed [to all the 75mm batteries]; second the stereotelemeter belonging to the 20mm sections in the artillery regiment should be given to all 20mm units.

Finally, it is necessary to have a greater number of binoculars in all the infantry, artillery, tank and anti-aircraft units. One must have many [binoculars] in the desert because one must be able to see far and in all directions. This deficiency is greatly felt by machine gunners and anti-tank gun teams.
 
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jwsleser

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Staff member
4º) - MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS/LIAISON

Radio

Station r.d. 3 / C - Excellent in terms of its operation, however, it was inadequate in range. For communication between the division command and armored units, stations with a range of at least 100 km must be available.

The forgone means of unit transport in force is the motorcycle: a vehicle that has proven absolutely unsuitable for running on trails.

A light radio truck must be built: the vehicle could be the specially equipped Sahariana truck, in which A. 350 station and the radio staff should be placed.

Finally, the station must also be able to operate on the move.

Stazione R.F. 2 - It has proven suitable for artillery communication. However, it requires an increase in range and its installation in a vehicle, whose engine should power the accumulator batteries intended for its operation.

Keep in mind that overall the station is too heavy and uncomfortable for man-pack transport.

R.F. station 1 C/A and R.F. 2 C/A - The apparatuses gave, on the whole, good results, however their range proved insufficient.

It is very necessary to authorized a suitable stock of spare parts, especially thermionic valves.

What is not practical is the arrangement of the two radio devices inside the tank combat compartment, in relation to the distribution of the crew-equipment duties. The machine gunner finds it difficult to operate the radio key, especially in combat; he finds it impossible when he is called to operate the R.F. 2 C/A. In turn, the tank commander finds it difficult to transmit orders to the radio operator given the noise of the engine.

R.F. station 2/3 - Of no use to tank units: it is proposed to abolished it authorization to tank regiments.

In consideration of the paramount importance that the radio link assumes for the command/control of the tank units in combat it is absolutely necessary to rationally arrange the r.t. inside the tank, even if reducing its offensive efficiency.

It would be possible, for example, in command tanks, to abolish the machine guns in the hull, and to allocate in its place the r.t. station.
Added first part on artillery.
 
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jwsleser

Member
Staff member
5º) - AUTOMOTIVE MATERIAL

It is necessary to distinguish between the vehicle needed for the transport of troops (combat truck) from the one needed for the transport of various services.

The first (combat) one must be:
- wheeled or tracked;
- light at most and contain eight or ten men with their armament and equipmentl (i.e. a complete squad);
- with great range (at least 500 km);
- partially armored against fire machine gun fire and shrapnel from artillery and aviation bombs.

Expecting the most suitable type proved to be the Sahariana, suitably equipped.

The second (transport) is preferable to be heavy.

Lancia 3 Ro - it has proven excellent, especially the military type without accumulators. [The 3 Ro used an inertia starter that was more reliable than the electric starter, hence no batteries needed.]

The length of operation was greater than that of the other vehicles and would certainly have been much greater if there had always been the possibility of using the suitable fuel (diesel fuel in a long mixture) and having the necessary number of spare parts.

Towing the trailer has proved to be too taxing at some posts or in various terrain.

Fiat 626 and 666 - These types of vehicles less suitable for use in A.S. - The arrangement of the engine makes driving particularly tiring, especially on the tracks.

Problems related to the power supply, starting, and engine power have been detected.

The length of operation was minimal due to the considerable wear and tear due to the intense use, the lack of an oil filter, the unavailability of required fuel and lubricant, and the scarcity of spare parts.

Note that the low strength of the body due to the metal used has led to a limitation of the useful payload.

Trailers - The Viberti type in use for the transport of M 13-40 tanks, the replacement of the carrier not yet in distribution, has shown the inconvenience of frequently losing the spring recovery spring, which puts the trailer out of use. It is very high from the ground so the trailer is very unstable.

It is hoped that a trailer specially designed for tank transport will be distributed as soon as possible.

Spa 38 R - It has given good results: however it has little range, it has no oil filter and its leaf springs are too weak.

Tractor L 37 - Sahariana truck - It has proven excellent proof, however, it is necessary:

- increase traction (possibly four-wheel drive);
- attract suspension with four independent wheels;
- increased range by providing all them with fuel tank - colonial.

Motorcycles and Motor tricycles - They carried out effective service on asphalted roads. but indications are they are absolutely unsuitable for driving on tracks and in desert terrain.

Despite the elimination of the two-seater and the lightening of the load, the behavior of the equipment was less than any expectation.

The long paths on the slopes make the journey extremely tiring and slow.

Discarding their use as a means for reconnaissance, they were only used for relay services with extremely random performance.

Consequently, it was proved useless to have them carry machine guns.

The type that has been shown to meet the requirements for use in desert land is the Guzzi 500 “Alce".

The motorcycle proved to be absolutely unsuitable: the motor tricycle in fact requires three tracks »corresponding to its three different wheel lines. The desert terrain, even when it offers the best track characteristics, never satisfies this need. So the motorcyclist suffers a torment beyond its springs capacity.

A type of tracked motorcyclist could be made similar to the type used by the German Army, which proved to be very suitable for movement in the desert.

Cars - The only type among the ones in the division that met the requirements was the «Fiat 1100 colonial torpedo».

However, you need to:
- increase its range by fitting water and lubricant cans outside the bodywork;
- provide them with special racks for the transport of individual weapons;
- replace the wheels with others of larger diameter in order to avoid sanding and sliding in the mud.
Special vehicles

Needed are:
- light buses equipped for offices (and official canteens);
- trucks equipped for official accommodation;
- trucks equipped for officer and enlisted canteens/kitchens.

An essential requirement these vehicles must have: they don’t differ in their exterior characteristics from the normal common use vehicles.

The kitchens must be mobile (self-transporting) and using liquid fuel: there is no wood in the desert.

*****​
In conclusion, all types of vehicles must be equipped with an oil filter, have «Ballon» type rubber wheels, have long range, and fitted with shovels and a means to be able to disengage from sand or mudslides ( preferable the perforated "iron channel" or shower types).
 
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jwsleser

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Staff member
MATERIAL UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT THE 12º AUTORAGGRUPPAMENTO​

M 13/40 tanks with petrol [engine]

Two tanks have been converting using S.I.A.T.A. engines

Results obtained:

favorable
- power increase to 135 horsepower
- better engine acceleration
- maximum speed increased by a few km/h
- eliminated the inconvenience of the diesel filter
- easier to start the engines

opposed
- less power than the motor used in the [M] 14/41
- range reduced by half
- sure to catch fire when tank is hit
- the cost of the conversions are least L. 30,000 each.

The two tanks are now in use by 132º tank crewmen for use.
The insufficient increase in [engine] power and the halved range caused these crew to express a negative judgment against the conversion.

Truck - 65/17 cannon (one battery created)

The medium 'Morris' type truck has the characteristics shown in the attached file.

A simple and rudimentary installation has been placed on the cargo bed (made with 360 ° rotating iron beams and can shoot in elevation up to the maximum range.

In the rear part of the body there are racks for 40 rounds and will be increased with another order to 60.

Range has been increased to over 500 km. will add to the normal tanks (109 liters) 8 field cans (160 liters).

ved. fot.

Saharian-cannon 75/27 (one battery created)

The 75 gun as placed on the T 37 chassis with an installation similar to the 65 [gun] seen above: the carriage was cut to be able to place it.
The steering column has been modified so that the steering wheel can be lowered to allow shooting.

100/17 cannon truck (one battery created)

The 100 piece is carry of a 3 Ro truck:
I do not know the details because I did not see it.

Tank-Repair vehicle

It consists of an M 13 tank in which the turret has been replaced by an externally shaped metal box of similar shape and the paired machine guns in the hull remain.

Inside are spare parts and especially those that the tanks don’t carry because they are rarely needed (radiator, pumps, fittings, springs, etc.), as well as a series of screws/fasteners and various tools and vises/grips so they can perform the works .

The driver and 2 mechanic-motorists crew the vehicle.

The usefulness that mechanic-motorists can reach the damaged tanks, sometimes due to small problems, is felt by all units and the solution (using old wagons) can be useful.

Tank-ambulance

It consists of an M 13 tank on which the turret has been replaced by an elongated metal tower in which the wounded are transported (2-3 at a time).
The first example is still being worked on.
A medic and stretcher bear are in the vehicle, along with the medical/dressing material placed there.

There is a clear need to be able to quickly transport back the seriously wounded in the vehicle. This is not possible if the medical personnel do not have a motorized and protected means of transporting themselves between fighting vehicles to carry out their task.

The solution of employing a tank is not great; perhaps with self-protection it will be more practical.
 
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jwsleser

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