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Italy's Autoblinda AB 40, AB 41, and AB 43 armored cars

Design

The requirements for a new armored car for the Italian Colonial Police and the Italian Cavalry were combined into one specification.

The four wheel steering did cause problems for the Autoblindas. There were two drivers in the crew as there were positions in the front and the rear that could drive the Autoblinda.

Wheels

The Autoblindas could be outfitted with extra wide sand tires for used in North Africa.

There were also kits that could allow the Autoblindas to ride on railroad tracks. These could be changed in 30 minutes by the crew. These were primarily used in anti-partisan patrols in the Balkans.

Prototype

The first Autoblinda prototype appeared in 1939.

Production

Production started in 1940 with the AB 40. These were the most produced Italian armored car in World War II.

  • AB 40: 24
  • AB 41: 550
    • Manufacturer: Ansaldo
  • AB 43:

Variants

  • AB 40: Initial production model. Initially had two machine guns in the turret, one of which was facing to the rear. A few had a 20 mm gun in the turret.
  • AB 41: Turret from L6/40 was used. Was 4-wheeled drive. 25% of the vehicles had a mount for an anti-aircraft gun.
  • AB 43: This was to mount a 47 mm gun but was never put into production.
  • ??: One that had no turret and was used as a command vehicle or artillery observation post.

Usage

Autoblinda 41

The Autoblinda 41 was used in North Africa, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Hungary.

Anti Partisan

The Autoblinda 41s were used widely in the Balkans against partisans.

German Captured Use

  • Panzerspähwagen AB41 201(i): 37 (57) confiscated from Italian Army in September 1943. 20 (120) more were produced. Later models had a new motor installed and were called the AB41/43. This had a 108 HP engine, could go 81 kph, and go 350 km.

 

Specifications

   
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length 17' 3.5"
Height 8' 1"
Width 6' 5"
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial 8 mm Breda modello 38
MG - rear 8 mm Breda modello 38
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) SAP Abm 1
Ansaldo
Cylinders 6
Cooling Water
Net HP 80
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 49 mph
Speed - Cross Country 24 mph
Range - Road 248 miles
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth 2' 4"
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle 1'
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires 4
  AB 40
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 15,344 lb
7.38 tons
7,500 kg
Length 17' 1"
5.2 m
Height 7' 11"
2.48 m
Width 6' 4"
1.92 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 20 mm,
2: 8 mm
Secondary  
MG 2: 8 mm MGs
MG - coaxial  
MG - rear  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 9
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 49 mph
78 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 248 miles
400 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires  
  AB 41
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16,500 lb
7.4 tons, 7.5 tons
7,500 kg, 7,518 kg
Length 17' 1.5", 17' 2"
5.2 m
Height 7' 11.5", 8'
2.48 m
Width 6' 4", 6' 4.25", 6' 4.5"
1.92 m
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 20 mm Breda cannon
1: 20 mm Breda modello 35 AA
1: 20 mm modello 35 L/65
Secondary  
MG 2: 8 mm modello 38
2: 8 mm MG
MG - coaxial 1: 8 mm (0.315") modello 38 air cooled MG
MG - rear 1: 8 mm (0.315") modello 38 air cooled MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 456
Secondary  
MG 1,992
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 40, 17
Hull Front, Upper 9@23°
Hull Front, Lower 9@45°
Hull Sides, Upper 9@30°
Hull Sides, Lower 9@0°
Hull Rear 9@20° & 9@40°
Hull Top 6@90°
Hull Bottom 6@90°
Turret Front 18@16°
Mantlet: 18 round
Turret Sides 9@20°
Turret Rear 9@16°
Turret Top 6@90°
Engine (Make / Model) SAP Abm
SAP Abn
SPA Abm 1
5 liters
Cylinders 6, I-6
Cooling Water
Net HP 80, 88 @ 2,700 rpm
Transmission (type) 6 forward, 4 reverse
Fuel (type) Gasoline
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 49 mph
78 kph
Speed - Cross Country 24 mph
38 kph
Range - Road 248 miles
400 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 2' 4"
0.7 m
Trench crossing 1' 4"
0.4 m
Vertical Obstacle 1'
0.3 m
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires  
  AB 43
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 16,732 lb
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 47 mm
Secondary  
MG  
MG - coaxial  
MG - rear  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 56 mph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 334 miles
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Tires  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site