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Italy's M13/40; Carro Armato Tipo M 13-40; Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank

Photos

Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank

Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank

Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank drawing:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank drawing
Aberdeen Tank Museum

Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank drawing:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank drawing
Aberdeen Tank Museum
Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank in North Africa:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank in North Africa
U.S. Army in World War II - Pictorial Record, 1951, pg 55
Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank in North Africa:
Italy's Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank in North Africa
U.S. Army in World War II - Pictorial Record, 1951, pg 55

Design

In December 1937 the Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army) authorized the design for the M 13/40. It was to be based upon the M 11/39. Ansaldo delivered the first prototype in October 1939. However, it wasn't accepted until March 1940.

General Caracciolo di Feroleto (head of Inspectorate of Technical Services) supervised the design. Fifteen prototypes were ready by July 1940. Similar chassis to M11/39 but was riveted. Was built from armored plates bolted to a steel frame. The armor had a tendency to crack when hit. After about 150 tanks being produced it had a radio installed and the long mudguards were cut back. In action proved to be unreliable and prone to catching fire.

This was the most widely used tank by the Italians.

Had a radio installed. These were fitted to later production vehicles.

In 1940 Italian crews were given 25 days of training with two hour of driving before going into combat.

The front of the hull was rounded. There was a towing hook placed in the rear, and there were towing pintles in the front and rear.

Crew

The driver was located at the front and to the left in the M13/40. The machine gunner was to his right and he also operated the radios.

The turret contained the commander, on the right side, and the loader, on the left side, which was located in the center.

Turret

The turret gun slots were open. There was a telescopic gun sight mounted in the turret. The 47 mm gun could be fired by manual or pedal firing. There was a hydraulic system for traversing the turret, with a manual backup. On the turret roof were two periscopes. On each side of the turret were oval pistol ports. The prototype had a pistol port in the rear of the turret, but this was eliminated in the production version. The hatch on the roof was in two pieces.

Some crews removed the power traverse system as it was viewed as unnecessary and took up valuable space.

Superstructure

On each side of the hull superstructure were two circular pistol ports, and in the rear of the superstructure were two more pistol ports.

Suspension

The suspension was made of four sets of double wheels that were articulated bogies that were then mounted by two assemblies which had semi elliptic leaf springs. The drive sprocket was at the front, the idler at the rear, and three return rollers.

Weapons

Two 8 mm MGs were in a gimbal mount on the right side of the superstructure.

The 47 mm gun had a muzzle velocity of 2,060 ft/sec. It shot a 3.25 lb AP shell at a velocity of 2,067'/sec.

Engine

The engine could be started by and inertia starter or electrically. The power went through the transmission to the drive sprockets in the front. To control the M13/40 a steering and braking gear was used. A reduction gear was placed in the front to reduce the engine revolutions.

Production

An order for 538 tanks was made and production started in June 1940. 22 were produced each month. The production rate of the M13/40 was around 60 - 70 per month.

  • M13/40: 710, 779, ~800, 1,960
    • Manufacturer: Ansaldo-Fossati
  • M14/41: 752, 1,100, 1,203
  • Manufacturer: Ansaldo-Fossati, FIAT-Ansaldo.

Variants

  • M13/40:
  • M13/40 Centro Radio (Radio Center): Had a RF 1 CA and RF 2 CA radio installed. Two of these were assigned to each battalion HQ. The antennas were mounted on the right of the turret.
  • M14/41: Had crew access door on left side of hull. Improved the air and fuel filters and installed a more powerful diesel engine. Had transversal radiator outlet grills, mud clearing blades at the drive sprockets, and longer fenders. Supports for 5.3 gallon (20 liter) cans were added.
    The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th Tank Battalions were issued the M14/41s. They were also issued to the 18th Tank Battalion, which was located on Sardinia.
  • Sermovente Commando M40: Was a M13/40 with turret removed and extra communications equipment added.
  • Semovente M40 da 75, Semovente da 75/18: Based on the M13/40 chassis. Turret removed and 75 mm gun installed as an assault tank.
  • Semoventa M41: Based on the M14/41 chassis.

Usage

Greece

The 4th Battalion, which had two companies of M13/40s, was deployed to Albania in November 1940.

In January 1941, the 1st Company was almost destroyed in the fighting for the Klisura Castle in the Tepeleni basin in northwest Greece. Mines in the road, Greek gunfire, and the destruction of the bridge over the Desnizes River destroyed four of the M13/40s.

Two tanks of the 2nd Company were lost in the attack on Hill 731 in northern Green in March 1941.

Yugoslavia

The regime of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia was overthrown on March 27, 1941. On April 6, 1941, Germany invaded Yugoslavia.

The 4th Tank Battalion was sent to the northern Albanian border to support the light tank battalions of the Centauro Armored Division. After the truce talks between the Italians and Yugoslavians broke down, 22 tanks were ordered to cross the Pron River on April 11, 1941. Eleven light tanks and two medium tanks were destroyed. A second wave was sent and eventually the Centauro Armored Division entered Montenegro.

On April 12, 1941, the Italians reached Podgorica.

Five M13/40s of the Littoria Armored Division entered Yugoslavia from the northwest at Sussa on April 12, 1941. They went down the Dalmatian coast and reached Ragusa on April 17, 1941.

North Africa

Three battalions were sent to Libya in October 1940. There were all lost during the British offensive in western Egypt.

First saw action on December 9, 1940 at Sollum-Halfaya. In service in North Africa, Greece (with battalion of the Centauro), Yugoslavia, and Montenegro.

Over 100 were captured at Beda Fomm and some were used to equip the 6th Royal Tanks and Australian 6th Cavalry. The Australians named the three squadrons that they outfitted Dingo, Rabbit, and Wombat. White kangaroos were painted on the sides to help differentiate them from enemy tanks.

The 7th Battalion of the Ariete Armored Division was the first M13/40 Battalion to attack after the Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK) arrived on February 12, 1941. It had a HQ company and three tank companies. Each company had a HQ platoon and three platoons with five tanks each. The Ariete also had the 8th, 9th, and 10th battalions with M13/40s. The division received 132 M13/40s by spring 1941.

Also sent to North Africa was the 31st Tank Battalion, Littorio Armored Division, and the 14th Tank Battalion, Centauro Armored Division. The 12th Battalion had its tanks sunk on the was to North Africa. The 11th Tank Battalion, Trieste Motorized Division, was the last to receive the M13/40s. During 1942 most of these tanks were replaced by the M14/41s.

German Usage

Issued to 2 SS SturmGeschütz detachments and to Panzerabteilung Adria.

  • PzKpfw M13/40 735(i): 22 confiscated from Italian Army.
  • PzKpfw M14/41 736(i): 1 confiscated from Italian Army.

Specifications

  M13/40, M14/41
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 14.3 tons
Length 16' 1.5"
4.915 m, 4.92 m
Height 2.39 m
Width 2.23 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 47 mm L/32
Secondary  
MG 3: 8 mm
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 87
Secondary  
MG 2,592
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30@11°
Hull Front, Lower 30 round
Hull Sides, Upper 25@9°
Hull Sides, Lower 25@0°
Hull Rear 25@0° & 25@20°
Hull Top 14@90°
Hull Bottom 6@90°
Turret Front 37@16°
Mantlet: 37 round
Turret Sides 25@22°
Turret Rear 25@22°
Turret Top 14@85°
Engine (Make / Model) 8 T
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 8
Net HP 125 @ 1,800 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 4 forward, 1 reverse.
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 32 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 200 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -15° to +25°
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  M13/40
Crew Commander/gunner, loader, hull machine gunner, driver
4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 30,800 lb, 30,864.2 lb, 30,865 lb
13.78 tons, 13.8 tons, 14 tons, 15.4 tons
14,000 kg
Length 16' 1", 16.18', 16' 1.5", 16' 2", 16.2'
4.9 m, 4.915 m, 4.92 m
Height 7.8', 7' 9", 7' 9.3", 7' 10"
2.37 m, 2.38 m, 2.39 m
Width 7.33', 7' 3", 7.25', 7' 5.8"
2.2 m, 2.21 m, 2.28 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 16.2'
Ground contact length 116"
Ground pressure 13.2 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 47 mm
1: 47 mm L/32
1: 47 mm L/32 Ansaldo
1: 47 mm Ansaldo 47 L/32
1: 47 mm Model 37 L/32 Ansaldo
1: 47 mm / 1.85" Model 37 L/32 Ansaldo
Secondary  
MG 2: MG
MG - coaxial 1: 8 mm Breda 38 MG
1: 8 mm Modello 38 MG
1: 8 mm / 0.315" Breda Model 38 MG
MG - hull 2: 8 mm Breda 38 MGs
2: 8 mm Modello 38 MG
2: 8 mm / 0.315" Breda Model 38 MG
MG - anti-aircraft 1: 8 mm Breda 38 MG
1: 8 mm Modello 38 MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 104 (70 in hull, 34 in turret)
Secondary  
MG 2,832 (120: turret, 120: AA, 2,592: hull), 3,048
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 42, 9 - 30, 9 - 40, 40, 42
Front: 1.2"
Side: 1"
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front 1.6"
Turret Sides 1"
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) SPA 8 TM40
SPA TM40
Spa 8T
Fiat SPA 8T
Type 8T M 13
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 8, V-8
Net HP 105, 125
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 17.6:1
Transmission (Type) Monodisc type
4 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch brake
Steering ratio  
Starter Hand inertia and electric
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel
Octane  
Quantity 50 gallons
Main fuel tank: 38.3 gallons, 39.5 gallons, 145 liters
Reserve fuel tank: 9.2 gallons, 10.5 gallons, 35 liters
Road consumption 2.5 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Hand
8 mm MGs in hull: 30° left, 15° right
Speed - Road 18.6 mph, 19.7 mph, 19.75 mph, 20 mph, 21 mph
30 kph, 31.8 kph, 32 kph
Speed - Cross Country 7.2 mph
Range - Road 124 miles, 125 miles, 130.5 miles
200 km, 210 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 3' 3", 39.4"
1 m
Trench crossing 6.9', 6' 11"
2.1 m
Vertical obstacle 31.5", 2' 8"
0.8 m
Climbing ability 40° (85%) slope
Suspension (Type) 4 double-wheel bogies mounted on 2 assemblies
2 double articulated bogies with 4 road wheels each, independently sprung
Wheels each side 8x2
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (type) Dry pin
Length 84 links
Width 10.2"
260 mm
Diameter  
Number of links 84
Pitch 4.9"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.3'
  M14/41
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 14.5 tons
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 87
Secondary  
MG 2,664
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) Spa 15T
Fiat SPA 15T
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-8
Net HP 145
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 19.9 mph, 20 mph, 22 mph
32 kph, 33 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 124.3 miles
200 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (type)  
Length 84 links
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

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. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  6. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  7. Italian Medium Tanks in Action, Nicola Pignato, 2001
  8. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  9. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  10. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site