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Italy's Semovente da 75/18 Su Scafo M 41; Obice da 75/18 Semovente; Semovente M.41M da 90/53 self propelled gun

Photos

Semovente M 41M da 90/53 self propelled gun:
Italy's Semovente M 41M da 90/53 self propelled gun

Semovente M 41M da 90/53 self propelled gun:
Italy's Semovente M 41M da 90/53 self propelled gun

Design

Colonel Borlese of the artillery suggested a self-propelled design using the M13/40 chassis with later vehicles using M14/41 chassis. First prototypes were tested in early 1941 and production started in late 1941. Equipped artillery assault groups of 2 batteries of 4 each and in 1943 3 batteries of 6 each. First saw service with Ariete in North Africa.

A need for an AFV with a more powerful gun lead to the Semovente, which were inspired by the German Sturmgeschütz.

Main Armament

Semovente da 75/18 M41

Type Weight Range Muzzle Velocity
AP 13.9 lb 10,454.9 yards
9,560 m
1,394.4'/sec, 1,562'/sec
425 m
HE   8,200 yards  
The Semovente da 75/18 M41 was fitted with a 75 mm Ansaldo L/18. The HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) round could penetrate 2.8" (70 mm) of armor.

There was a muzzle brake and a flash eliminator installed. The recoil system was inside the gun cradle and was in a gimbal mounting. The sighting gear was on the right side. There was a bracket that had a dial sight which projected through an aperture in the roof.

Semovente M.41M da 90/53

Type Weight Range Muzzle Velocity Penetration
AP 22.2 lb 15,000 yards 2,756'/sec 5.63"@0° at 500 yards
The Semovente M.41M da 90/53 used a cannone da 90/53. It was a very potent gun that was similar in performance to the German 88 mm Flak.

It was felt that the 90 mm gun could engage the enemy at long range and thus the crew wouldn't need armor protection. Producing the gun as an anti-aircraft gun received priority.

Production

  • Semovente da 75/18 Su Scafo M 41, Semovente da 75/18: 150
    • Production: 1941 - ?
    • Manufacturer: FIAT-Ansaldo
  • Semovente da 75/34: 190
    • Production: 1942-1943
    • Manufacturer: Fiat Ansaldo
  • Carro Commando M41/M42:
    • Manufacturer: FIAT-Ansaldo
  • Semovente M 41M da 90/53: ~30, 48
    • Production: 1941 - ?
    • Manufacturer: Ansaldo, Fiat, SPA

Variants

  • Semovente 75/34: Produced in late 1942.
    The 75 mm L/34 gun had a muzzle velocity of 2,047.2' (624 m)/sec. Range was 13,670.2 yards (12,500 m).
  • Carro Comando per Semoventi (Command): Turretless M13/40 with a 3.2' (1 m) range finding equipment and a RF 1 CA and RF 2 CA radios. The antennas could be folded and put onto Y shaped rests at the rear of the hull. It had a goniometer (device for determining true north) installed.
    The early models had two 8 mm Breda Model 38 machine guns in the front of the hull on the right. In 1942 a 13.2 mm Breda Model 31 machine gun was installed instead.
    Each Semovente battalion received four of these vehicles. The 75 mm gun was removed, and four outward opening hatches were installed.
    The crew consisted of a commander, a driver, and one or two machine gunners.
    In 1941, 30 were produced on M13/40 hulls. On the M14/41 hull, 34 were built in 1942, and 45 in 1943.
  • Semovente M 41M da 90/53; 90/53 Semovente: Gun was positioned towards rear and left crew exposed. The gun was an anti-aircraft gun. The engine was moved to the front so that the gun could be placed at the rear of a M14/41 chassis. Had to be accompanied by a L.6 light tank that was converted to an ammunition carrier that carried 26 rounds and it towed a trailer that carried 40 rounds.

Usage

North Africa

The Semovente da 75/18 da M41 had four 5.3 gallon (20 liter) fuel or water cans mounted behind the radiator cover. These were held by a metal tube that was bent and bolted horizontally to the cover plate. These containers weren't always carried.

The Semovente M.41M da 90/53 was primarily used in North Africa.

Organization as of November 11, 1942

A Semovente Gruppo had a Battalion HQ, two batteries of four Semovente each, and four Centro Radio.

German Use:

Once these were taken over they were used primarily as long range artillery as it was difficult to use them in the mountainous regions in northern Italy.

  • Sturmgeschütz M42 mit 75/18 850(i): 123 confiscated in September 1943.
  • Sturmgeschütz M42 mit 75/34 851(i): 36 confiscated, and 80 produced in 1943 and 1944.

Specifications

  Semovente da 75/18 Su Scafo M 41, Semovente da 75/18
Crew Commander/gunner, loader, driver
3, 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 26,000 lb, 28,880.1 lb
14.4 tons, 15 tons
13,100 kg
Length 16.1', 16' 1.5", 16' 2"
4.915 m, 5.04 m
Height 5.9', 6' 0.1", 6' 1"
1.85 m
Width 7.3', 7' 3", 7' 5.8"
2.28 m, 2.23 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 4", 16.2"
Ground contact length 116"
Ground pressure 12.2 psi
Armament  
Main 75 mm L/18 howitzer
75 mm Model 34 L/18
75 mm Ansaldo L/18
Secondary  
MG 8 mm MG
MG - anti aircraft 6.5 mm Breda Model 30, (early)
8 mm Breda Model 38, (late)
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 44, 44-50 (HE, AP, HESH)
Secondary  
MG 1,104
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.4" - 2"
10 - 50
Hull Front, Upper 25+25@5°
50 round
Hull Front, Lower 30 round
Hull Sides, Upper 25@9°
Hull Sides, Lower 25@0°
Hull Rear 25@0° & 25@20°
Hull Top 10@84° & 10@90°
Hull Bottom 15@90°
Superstructure Front Mantlet: 2"
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) FIAT SPA 15T
15 TB
Fiat SPA, liquid cooled
Type 15T
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-8, 8
Capacity  
Net HP 125, 125@1,900 rpm, 185@2,400 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Monodisc type
4 forward, 1 reverse
5 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch brake
Steering ratio  
Starter Hand inertia and electric
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel, Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 50 gallons (in 2 tanks)
Road consumption 2.5 mpg
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 18° left, 20° right, 20° left, 20° right, 20° left, 18° right, hand
Speed - Road 18.6 mph, 19.7 mph, 20 mph
30 kph, 38 kph
Speed - Cross Country 7.2 mph
Range - Road 124 miles, 130.5 miles
210 km, 230 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits +22°, -12° to +22°, hand
Fording depth 39.4", 3' 3.5"
Trench crossing 6.9', 6' 6.75"
Vertical obstacle 31.5"
Climbing ability 40° (84%) slope
Suspension (Type) Double articulated bogies, each with 4 twin road wheels, each group independently sprung
Wheels each side 8x2
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Dry pin
Length  
Width 10.2", 1'
Diameter  
Number of links 83
Pitch 5.25"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.2'
  Semovente da 75/34
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length 5.69 m
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 75 mm L/34
75 mm Model 34 L/34
Secondary  
MG  
MG - anti aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 42
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  
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 16° left, 16° right
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
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  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Carro Commando M41/M42
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 27,557.3 lb
12.5 tons
12,500 kg
Length 16' 1.5"
4.915 m, 4.92 m
Height 5' 11.9"
1.815 m, 1.82 m
Width 7' 5.8"
2.23 m, 2.28 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 13.2 mm MG
13.2 mm Breda Model 31 MG
Secondary  
MG 8 mm MG
MG - anti aircraft 8 mm Breda Model 38 MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 420
Secondary  
MG 504, 1,560
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@9°
Hull Top 15@90°
Hull Bottom 15@90°
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) 15 TB
Fiat SPA 15T, liquid cooled
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 145
185 @ 2,400 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse.
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 19.9 mph
32 kph, 40 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  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  Semovente M 41M da 90/53
Crew 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 37,400 lb, 37,479 lb
16.73 tons, 17 tons
17,000 kg
Length 17' 0.9", 17.4', 17' 9"
5.205 m
Height 7', 7' 0.6", 7.15'
2.15 m
Width 7' 2.6", 7' 2", 7.4'
2.2 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 16.2"
Ground contact length 121"
Ground pressure 13.8 psi
Armament  
Main 1: 90 mm
1: Ansaldo M90/53 Model 39
1: 90 mm L/53
1: 90 mm Model 41, L/53
Secondary  
MG  
MG - anti aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Front: 1"
Side: 1"
None
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Superstructure Front 1.6"
Superstructure Sides 0.4"
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) SPA 15-TM-41
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 8, V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 125, 145
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering Clutch brake
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel, Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 80°
Speed - Road 20 mph, 22 mph
35.5 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 124 miles
200 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -5° to +24°
Fording depth 3' 3", 39.4"
1 m
Trench crossing 6' 10.7", 7'
2.1 m
Vertical obstacle 2' 11.4"
0.9 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Double articulated bogies, each with 4 twin road wheels, each group independently sprung
Wheels each side 8
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Dry pin
Length  
Width 10.2"
Diameter  
Number of links 86
Pitch 4.9"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.3'

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. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  5. Italian Medium Tanks in Action, Nicola Pignato, 2001
  6. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site