M14/41 Carri Armato
Also usable as the Early War M13/40
In 1940 the deficiencies of the M11/39 became obvious from the fighting in Africa, and it was decided to substantially modify the design and to upgrade the armament. General Caracciolo di Feroleto (head of the Italian Inspectorate of Technical Services) supervised the original M13/40 design and fifteen prototypes were ready for testing by July 1940.
The main gun was upgraded from the 37mm to the 47/32 gun and it was moved to an enlarged turret, while twin machine guns were mounted in the hull position. The chassis of the M11/39 were preserved, including the diesel engine, suspension and road wheels. Instead of welded construction the M13/40 was of riveted construction, and assembled from armoured plates bolted to a steel framework.
The first order for 1900 tanks was placed in 1940, and it was subsequently increased to 1960. The M13/40 proved a much-improved vehicle over the M11/39, and the excellent 47mm gun proved lethal against British opponents in 1941.
The armour had a tendency to crack when hit due to the poor quality of Italian armour plate.
After the first 150 tanks had been produced a radio was installed and the long mudguards were cut back for the desert conditions.
The first tanks were sent to North Africa in 1941 with the Ariete Armoured Division, and after the December campaign, experience soon called for improvements to cope with the tropical conditions. In action the M13/40 proved to be unreliable and prone to catching fire.
Improved air and fuel filters and the installation of a more powerful diesel engine led to the M14/41 tank.
The M13/40 first saw action on December 9, 1940 at Sollum-Halfaya. The M13/40 and M14/41 saw service in North Africa, Greece (with a battalion of the Centauro Armoured Division), and Yugoslavia.
Over 100 were captured at Beda Fomm and some were used to equip the British 6th Royal Tanks and Australian 6th Cavalry.
Weight: 13 Tons
Engine: Diesel V8 105 HP.
Production: M13/40 710; M14/41 695
Armament: 47/32 gun, 3 x 8mm MG