M13/40 medium tank
In the late thirties evolution of the tank strategy and tactics blossomed as a basic armoured warfare doctrine which implied that a 10-15 ton class of vehicles, termed „medium tanks“, would be regarded as main battle tanks in high mobility, deep penetration forces.
In 1940, in line with the prevailing tendency at the time, Ansaldo group completed the new “M13/40” tank (where “M” stands for medium and “13/40” refers to weight and year of construction respectively) for the Italian Army.
The “M13/40” was infact a 14-ton armoured vehicle made up of the hull of the previous, disappointing “M11/39” (an 11-ton tank appeared in 1939) and a new superstructure with a roundish turret armed with a semi-automatic 47/32 gun (made on Bohler’s license); 1 coaxial 8mm Breda mod. 38 M.G. and two additional 8mm M.G. installed in a gimbal mount on the right front-hull completed the armament.
In spite of acceptable off-road mobility, the M13 could hardly bear comparison with the opposing similar class of armoured vehicles due T6:
Bolted or riveted hull and turret which had lower strength than the same welded elements utilised by the adversary. The low-quality steel used on Italian tanks construction, furthermore, resulted in the armour plates being brittle when hit by even light anti-tank weapons. Underpowered engine (one 125HP diesel Fiat) which conferred too low a power/weight ratio for the desert warfare.
Feeble main armament (47/32) which soon became inadequate against more powerfully armed tanks.
The “M13/40” became, never the less, the standard medium tank of the Italian Army during world war II; 1400 units were delivered throughout (the last 700, bearing only minor modifications, had been marked “M14/41) and saw action in North Africa, Albania, Russia and Italy.
Engine: 1 125HP diesel Fiat Spa 8t, liquid cooled, V8
Max speed: 30 km/h