Oct 27

Italian M 13-40

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Edited: Oct 27

 

Italian
M 13-40
Italy resisted entering WWII until June of 1940, as it was not ready. However, Mussolini and the Royal Italian Army understood that it was only a matter of time. The order for 400 M 13-40 tanks was made on November 16th, 1939, even before it was accepted into service. Like with the M 11-39, the order was split between Ansaldo (assembly, armament, and other components) and FIAT (engines, gearboxes, and other transmission components).

A first series production tank.
A batch of 100 tanks was built first. The first vehicles were delivered by Ansaldo in June of 1940. These tanks with registration numbers 2762 and 2781 entered service on August 6th, 1940. Production of the first series ended in the fall of 1940. The first production tanks differed from the prototype. M 11-39 steps on the sides of the hull were removed in favour of a simpler design. The design of the hatch in the left side of the hull changed. The complex observation devices were replaced with simple pistol ports.

A typical Carro Armato M 13-40 from the second production series. The shorter fenders are the most noticeable change.
The second production series of 200 tanks began in the fall of 1940. Production of this series ended in 1941. The tanks did not change much. The biggest difference was the movement of the jack from the front left fender to the rear. The number of spare road wheels was reduced to one. The steps were reinforced. The fenders changed: the middle and rear sections disappeared. Considering that these tanks were fighting in the desert and kicking up huge clouds of dust, this was an odd decision. A number of tanks in this series received radios, unlike the first series.

One of the first tanks of the second production series. The rear tow hook is not yet reinforced, but a supercharged engine is already installed. Also the air intake on the turret roof is present.
The third series, produced in 1941, was the most numerous. Italy was deep in the war by this point and significant losses in vehicles had to be replaced quickly. The order increased to 410 units. This was the ultimate version of the M 13-40. The radio that was tested on the M 13-40 prototype was only installed in large numbers starting in 1941. The engine was also supercharged. Its power increased to 125 hp, increasing mobility, but not top speed. The rear tow hook was strengthened, the exhausts were altered for the new more powerful motor, and an air intake was added to the roof of the turret.

Hull of the Carro Armato M 13-40.
There was a certain inconsistency in the serial number of the vehicles. Only one range of serial numbers can be attributed to it for sure: 2762 to 3797.

A small amount of vehicles was built as commander's tanks called Carro Centro Radio. These vehicles can be distinguished by two antennas.
The Carro Armato M 13-40 continued to change. Improved vehicles received a new name: Carro Armato M 14-41. The first tank of this type received the registration number 3498. The first M 14-41 had nearly no differences from the late M 13-40. The only difference was the return of full fenders in initial production vehicles.
Tankarchives
Original article by Yuri Pasholok
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Sources: CAMD RF documents. NARA documents. H. Hoth, Tank Operations L.N. Lopukhoskiy, Vyazemskaya katastrofa 41 goda Defense of Moscow: 17th Tank Brigade, http://konkurs.senat.org/notabene/17TBR.html Fragment from "Geschichte des Panzer-Grenadier-Regiments 73", http://www.eco-kovcheg.ru/ilinskie_rubezhi-04.html.