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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

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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.6 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.3,5

Main Armament

Semovente da 75/18 M41

Type Weight Range Muzzle Velocity
AP 13.9 lb4 10,454.9 yards5
9,560 m5
1,394.4'/sec5, 1,562'/sec4
425 m4
HE   8,200 yards4  
The Semovente da 75/18 M41 was fitted with a 75 mm Ansaldo L/18.5 The HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) round could penetrate 2.8" (70 mm) of armor.5

There was a muzzle brake and a flash eliminator installed.5 The recoil system was inside the gun cradle and was in a gimbal mounting.5 The sighting gear was on the right side.5 There was a bracket that had a dial sight which projected through an aperture in the roof.5

Semovente M.41M da 90/53

Type Weight Range Muzzle Velocity Penetration
AP 22.2 lb4 15,000 yards4 2,756'/sec4 5.63"@0° at 500 yards4
The Semovente M.41M da 90/53 used a cannone da 90/53.3 It was a very potent gun that was similar in performance to the German 88 mm Flak.3

It was felt that the 90 mm gun could engage the enemy at long range and thus the crew wouldn't need armor protection.6 Producing the gun as an anti-aircraft gun received priority.3

Production

  • Semovente da 75/18 Su Scafo M 41, Semovente da 75/18: 150
    • Production: 1941 - ?
    • Manufacturer: FIAT-Ansaldo2,4,5
  • Semovente da 75/34: 1905
    • Production: 1942-19435
    • Manufacturer: Fiat Ansaldo5
  • Carro Commando M41/M42:
    • Manufacturer: FIAT-Ansaldo2
  • Semovente M 41M da 90/53: ~30, 483,6
    • Production: 1941 - ?3
    • Manufacturer: Ansaldo4, Fiat, SPA

Variants

  • Semovente 75/34: Produced in late 1942.5
    The 75 mm L/34 gun had a muzzle velocity of 2,047.2' (624 m)/sec.5 Range was 13,670.2 yards (12,500 m).5
  • 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.5 The antennas could be folded and put onto Y shaped rests at the rear of the hull.5 It had a goniometer (device for determining true north) installed.5
    The early models had two 8 mm Breda Model 38 machine guns in the front of the hull on the right.5 In 1942 a 13.2 mm Breda Model 31 machine gun was installed instead.5
    Each Semovente battalion received four of these vehicles.5 The 75 mm gun was removed, and four outward opening hatches were installed.5
    The crew consisted of a commander, a driver, and one or two machine gunners.5
    In 1941, 30 were produced on M13/40 hulls.5 On the M14/41 hull, 34 were built in 1942, and 45 in 1943.5
  • 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.3 The engine was moved to the front so that the gun could be placed at the rear of a M14/41 chassis.3 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.3

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.5 These were held by a metal tube that was bent and bolted horizontally to the cover plate.5 These containers weren't always carried.5

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.5

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.6

  • Sturmgeschütz M42 mit 75/18 850(i): 123 confiscated in September 1943.2
  • Sturmgeschütz M42 mit 75/34 851(i): 36 confiscated, and 80 produced in 1943 and 1944.2

Specifications

  Semovente da 75/18 Su Scafo M 41, Semovente da 75/18
Crew Commander/gunner, loader, driver5
32,5, 44
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 26,000 lb, 28,880.1 lb5
14.4 tons4, 15 tons2
13,100 kg5
Length 16.1'4, 16' 1.5"5, 16' 2"
4.915 m5, 5.04 m2
Height 5.9'4, 6' 0.1"5, 6' 1"
1.85 m2,5
Width 7.3'4, 7' 3", 7' 5.8"5
2.28 m5, 2.23 m2
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 4", 16.2"4
Ground contact length 116"4
Ground pressure 12.2 psi4
Armament  
Main 75 mm L/18 howitzer4
75 mm Model 34 L/182
75 mm Ansaldo L/185
Secondary  
MG 8 mm MG2
MG - anti aircraft 6.5 mm Breda Model 30, (early) 5
8 mm Breda Model 38, (late)5
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 442,4,5, 44-50 (HE, AP, HESH)5
Secondary  
MG 1,1042,5
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.4" - 2"5
10 - 505
Hull Front, Upper 25+25@5°2
50 round2
Hull Front, Lower 30 round2
Hull Sides, Upper 25@9°2
Hull Sides, Lower 25@0°2
Hull Rear 25@0°2 & 25@20°2
Hull Top 10@84°2 & 10@90°2
Hull Bottom 15@90°2
Superstructure Front Mantlet: 2"4
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) FIAT SPA 15T
15 TB2
Fiat SPA, liquid cooled 5
Type 15T4
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water4
Cylinders V-82,5, 84
Capacity  
Net HP 1255, 125@1,900 rpm4, 185@2,400 rpm2
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Monodisc type4
4 forward, 1 reverse4
5 forward, 1 reverse2
Steering Clutch brake4
Steering ratio  
Starter Hand inertia and electric4
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt4
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel4,5, Gasoline2
Octane  
Quantity 50 gallons (in 2 tanks)4
Road consumption 2.5 mpg4
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 18° left, 20° right4, 20° left, 20° right2, 20° left, 18° right, hand5
Speed - Road 18.6 mph5, 19.7 mph4, 20 mph
30 kph5, 38 kph2
Speed - Cross Country 7.2 mph4
Range - Road 124 miles4, 130.5 miles5
210 km5, 230 km2
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits +22°, -12° to +22°2,4,5, hand5
Fording depth 39.4"4, 3' 3.5"
Trench crossing 6.9'4, 6' 6.75"
Vertical obstacle 31.5"4
Climbing ability 40° (84%) slope4
Suspension (Type) Double articulated bogies, each with 4 twin road wheels, each group independently sprung4
Wheels each side 8x2
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Dry pin4
Length  
Width 10.2"4, 1'
Diameter  
Number of links 834
Pitch 5.25"4
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.2'4
  Semovente da 75/34
Crew  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length 5.69 m2
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 75 mm L/345
75 mm Model 34 L/342
Secondary  
MG  
MG - anti aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 422,5
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° right2
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 42,5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 27,557.3 lb5
12.5 tons2
12,500 kg5
Length 16' 1.5"5
4.915 m5, 4.92 m2
Height 5' 11.9"5
1.815 m5, 1.82 m2
Width 7' 5.8"5
2.23 m2, 2.28 m5
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 13.2 mm MG2
13.2 mm Breda Model 31 MG5
Secondary  
MG 8 mm MG2
MG - anti aircraft 8 mm Breda Model 38 MG5
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 4202,5
Secondary  
MG 5045, 1,5602
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 30@11°2
Hull Front, Lower 30 round2
Hull Sides, Upper 25@9°2
Hull Sides, Lower 25@0°2
Hull Rear 25@0°2 & 25@9°2
Hull Top 15@90°2
Hull Bottom 15@90°2
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) 15 TB2
Fiat SPA 15T, liquid cooled5
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-82,5
Capacity  
Net HP 1455
1852 @ 2,400 rpm2
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse.2
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel5
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 19.9 mph5
32 kph5, 40 kph2
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 124.3 miles5
200 km2,5
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 21,3,6
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 37,400 lb6, 37,479 lb3
16.73 tons1, 17 tons4
17,000 kg1,3,6
Length 17' 0.9"3,6, 17.4'4, 17' 9"1
5.205 m1,3,6
Height 7'1, 7' 0.6"3,6, 7.15'4
2.15 m1,3,6
Width 7' 2.6"3,6, 7' 2"1, 7.4'4
2.2 m1,3,6
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 16.2"4
Ground contact length 121"4
Ground pressure 13.8 psi4
Armament  
Main 1: 90 mm1,6
1: Ansaldo M90/53 Model 39
1: 90 mm L/533
1: 90 mm Model 41, L/534
Secondary  
MG  
MG - anti aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Front: 1"4
Side: 1"4
None1,6
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Superstructure Front 1.6"4
Superstructure Sides 0.4"4
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model) SPA 15-TM-411,3,6
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders 81,3,6, V-84
Capacity  
Net HP 1254, 1451,3,6
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering Clutch brake4
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel4, Gasoline1,3,6
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 80°4
Speed - Road 20 mph4, 22 mph1,3,6
35.5 kph1,3,6
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 124 miles3,4,6
200 km3,6
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -5° to +24°4
Fording depth 3' 3"3,6, 39.4"4
1 m3,6
Trench crossing 6' 10.7"3,6, 7'4
2.1 m3,6
Vertical obstacle 2' 11.4"3,6
0.9 m3,6
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Double articulated bogies, each with 4 twin road wheels, each group independently sprung4
Wheels each side 8
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Dry pin4
Length  
Width 10.2"4
Diameter  
Number of links 864
Pitch 4.9"4
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.3'4

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