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Reliability of Italian M13/40 Tank?

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  • #16
    Not on the M11, the much superior M13, suitably reinforced to take the Canone da 75/32 in the right hull sponson (in place of the dual machine guns). Accepted in 1937 it went into production in 1940 (but would need to increase the production rate).

    Let's not forget that the Semovente M42 da 75/34, or Semovente M43 da 105/25 "Bassotto" was also produced so the chasis was capable of heavier guns. These were built on the improved M14/41 and M15/42 hulls respectively.

    The potential for an excellent, if not "superb" (a la M3 Grant), Italian combat vehicle was there.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #17
      Who would have thought that being "almost as reliable as British tanks" could be seen as a good thing?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by The Purist View Post
        Not on the M11, the much superior M13, suitably reinforced to take the Canone da 75/32 in the right hull sponson (in place of the dual machine guns). Accepted in 1937 it went into production in 1940 (but would need to increase the production rate).

        Let's not forget that the Semovente M42 da 75/34, or Semovente M43 da 105/25 "Bassotto" was also produced so the chasis was capable of heavier guns. These were built on the improved M14/41 and M15/42 hulls respectively.
        Oh yes, they were - at the exclusion of a turret and a turreted second gun, however. The bigger the short-barrelled gun - you are now considering a 105! - the less likely it is you could cram it in the space that was meant for a couple light MGs. Ditto for the respective ammo in terms of both volume and weight.
        Michele

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        • #19
          Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
          Who would have thought that being "almost as reliable as British tanks" could be seen as a good thing?
          It is a good thing in terms of relative comparison. What the enemy has at a given time is what counts in terms of comparison for that time, i.e., if you are considering the present moment and not your chances down the road. What a neutral country is developing far away and has not yet decided to deliver to the enemy is irrelevant, for that moment in time.

          The problem with the M13 and its variants is that it was in service in 1940 - and remained in service even after the armistice. Meanwhile, the tanks the British had in 1940 were phased out to training units.

          So if you decide to just look at 1940, you have to conclude that the M13 was not hopelessly outclassed by the British Cruiser tanks. As I mentioned, the latter had an advantage in speed, were slightly better off as to reliability, were roughly equal in terms of armor, but were inferior in terms of the main gun.
          OTOH if you look at 1942-43, you'll still have a variant of that tank, the M14, on the one side, and on the other you'll have a Grant or even a Sherman. Now "hopelessly outclassed" does apply.
          Michele

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            It is a good thing in terms of relative comparison..
            I know, I was just being a smart-ass.

            Italy had the P-40 coming out just when they surrendered, it was roughly equal to the Sherman. And they DID manage to shoe-horn a 105mm into the Semenovette chassis, but they had to make it a little longer and a lot wider.
            From 1943-45 the Germans made use of many hundreds of Italian tanks and SPGs in various ways and even exported dozens to Croatia.
            The best one was a version of the Semenovette that had added armor and the equivalent of the PaK 40, something they could and did use the same way as the StugIII.
            The Panzerwaffe in Italy must have been very self-sufficient, overall.

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            • #21
              I think the whole issue of the unreliability of British cruiser tanks is not understood particularly well. I have some original British reports of the performance of British cruiser tanks in the desert, and the A9 Cruiser Mk.I was considered satisfactorily reliable, the A10 Cruiser Mk.II was considered extremely reliable (and a very good tank indeed), and the A13 Cruiser Mk.IV was considered fairly reliable, though with issues with the suspension and air filters. One of the big advantages these tanks would all have had over the M13/40 was their three-man turrets, which made them easier to command in battle.

              It was the A15 Crusader that was to prove consistently unreliable, more so than is generally appreciated, and this tank provoked much anger and bitterness within the War Office and Ministry of Supply. The Crusader was the only British tank of the war that was consistently unreliable in frontline service, and is the source of the myth that British tanks were inherently unreliable. Even then this has to be understood in the context that the British put a particular emphasis on reliability - their own intelligence indicated that the Crusader was no more unreliable than the Panzer III, for example, but being no better than the chief opponent was not considered good enough.

              I also have some original late-war reports that indicate that both the Cromwell and Comet were considered more reliable than the Sherman, which was a much-disliked tank in 1944-45, after being the darling of the British Army in 1942-43, so relative opinions at the time were much more fluid than the perceptions that have crystallized in the post-war period.
              "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
              - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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              • #22
                M13/40 could and did kill British armour.

                What few realise about the M13/40 in 1940 to mid 42 was that it was perfectly able to shoot holes in the US M3 Light tank, the Crusader I and the hull armour of the Crusader II and III. One often reads of the British field 700-800 tanks for Crusader and Gazala but the authors dismiss the 50% of the axis tank park as 'obsolete" and claim Rommel was outnumbered 3-4:1 in tanks.

                Since the majority of the British tank fleet were Crusader and Stuart, and considering the 47mm gun on M13/40 could hole them the odds were closer to even - actually in the axis favour since the British tended to fight by brigade rather than by complete divisions.

                Take for example the British brigade that tangled with Trieste at Bir el Gubi early in Crusader. The British advanced against the dug in AT guns and infantry of the division only to be taken in the flank by the division's medium tank battalion. The British lost some 40 tanks with little to show for their efforts
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                  Italy had the P-40 coming out just when they surrendered, it was roughly equal to the Sherman.
                  Well, very roughly.

                  And they DID manage to shoe-horn a 105mm into the Semenovette chassis, but they had to make it a little longer and a lot wider.
                  Yes, but let me be fastidious and tell you that the name is spelled "Semovente". "-ette" is a French-sounding termination that amounts to defining something as a smaller than the real thing, as in "tank, tankette". In Italian it would be "-etto" (male) or "-etta" (female). Semovente, on the contrary, is made up by "se" (itself) and "movente" (moving). It is a generic name for any ordnance that is able to move itself, i.e. "self-propelled".
                  Sorry for the linguistic nitpicking.
                  Michele

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Michele View Post
                    Yes, but let me be fastidious and tell you that the name is spelled "Semovente". "-ette" is a French-sounding termination that amounts to defining something as a smaller than the real thing, as in "tank, tankette". In Italian it would be "-etto" (male) or "-etta" (female). Semovente, on the contrary, is made up by "se" (itself) and "movente" (moving). It is a generic name for any ordnance that is able to move itself, i.e. "self-propelled".
                    Sorry for the linguistic nitpicking.
                    I was wondering about that as I wrote it, so good call.

                    The P40 looks pretty good on paper; similar gun, slightly better armor, same speed, 65 rounds for the 75mm (34 cal).
                    What was wrong with it?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                      I was wondering about that as I wrote it, so good call.

                      The P40 looks pretty good on paper; similar gun, slightly better armor, same speed, 65 rounds for the 75mm (34 cal).
                      What was wrong with it?
                      It was catch up, not an advance.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                        The P40 looks pretty good on paper; similar gun, slightly better armor, same speed, 65 rounds for the 75mm (34 cal).
                        What was wrong with it?
                        The gun was a great step forward in comparison to anything that the Italians had, but it still came a bit shorter than the Shermans', in 75mm; not to make a comparison with the Shermans sporting the 76mm. The Germans's corresponding vehicle would have been at least the Pz IV version with the 75L43.

                        The armor was possibly better than a standard Sherman, mostly in that it was finally a rather effectively sloped design (in comparison to previous Italian ones); but its being still riveted in 1943 is unpardonable. Steel quality had not been improved AFAIK.

                        Note that while this should have been a Pz IV look-alike and it was classed as a heavy tank - P26 means "Pesante" (heavy), 26 tons - it still had a 4-man crew, with all the problems that that entailed.

                        As to anything to do with speed and HP/ton ratio and all that sort of things, they were fine - on paper. In practice the 420-HP engine was essentially a prototype, and even the 350-HP one was produced in a puny number. About 4/5 of the P26s that the Germans took after the armistice were engineless. They were dug in as parts of standing fortifications.
                        Michele

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Don Juan View Post
                          I think the whole issue of the unreliability of British cruiser tanks is not understood particularly well. I have some original British reports of the performance of British cruiser tanks in the desert, and the A9 Cruiser Mk.I was considered satisfactorily reliable, the A10 Cruiser Mk.II was considered extremely reliable (and a very good tank indeed), and the A13 Cruiser Mk.IV was considered fairly reliable, though with issues with the suspension and air filters. One of the big advantages these tanks would all have had over the M13/40 was their three-man turrets, which made them easier to command in battle.

                          It was the A15 Crusader that was to prove consistently unreliable, more so than is generally appreciated, and this tank provoked much anger and bitterness within the War Office and Ministry of Supply. The Crusader was the only British tank of the war that was consistently unreliable in frontline service, and is the source of the myth that British tanks were inherently unreliable. Even then this has to be understood in the context that the British put a particular emphasis on reliability - their own intelligence indicated that the Crusader was no more unreliable than the Panzer III, for example, but being no better than the chief opponent was not considered good enough.

                          I also have some original late-war reports that indicate that both the Cromwell and Comet were considered more reliable than the Sherman, which was a much-disliked tank in 1944-45, after being the darling of the British Army in 1942-43, so relative opinions at the time were much more fluid than the perceptions that have crystallized in the post-war period.
                          You are generally correct, except that the A24, A27L and early Churchills were also unreliable. The A15 was so bad, that when the Crusaders were exchanged for Shermans, the only element they missed on the A15 was the Besa mg's.
                          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                            You are generally correct, except that the A24, A27L and early Churchills were also unreliable. The A15 was so bad, that when the Crusaders were exchanged for Shermans, the only element they missed on the A15 was the Besa mg's.
                            I'm not so sure about the Centaur really, because it was rejected from service after failing a 3000 mile cross-country endurance test, which, when you think about it, very few tanks of any nation would have passed. It was certainly less reliable than a Cromwell or Sherman, but would it have been less reliable than, say, a late Panzer IV?

                            It's one of the tanks I'm researching to see what the full story was.
                            "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
                            - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Don Juan View Post
                              I'm not so sure about the Centaur really, because it was rejected from service after failing a 3000 mile cross-country endurance test, which, when you think about it, very few tanks of any nation would have passed. It was certainly less reliable than a Cromwell or Sherman, but would it have been less reliable than, say, a late Panzer IV?

                              It's one of the tanks I'm researching to see what the full story was.
                              You probably know this, but the A24 was basically a Crusader in a Cromwell skin.

                              Anyone interested in cars will know this. A production car will be given a new set of mechanicals to make it go better. Once that is a success it is given a new skin. Then new engineering followed by a facelift etc.
                              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                                You probably know this, but the A24 was basically a Crusader in a Cromwell skin.

                                Anyone interested in cars will know this. A production car will be given a new set of mechanicals to make it go better. Once that is a success it is given a new skin. Then new engineering followed by a facelift etc.
                                I actually checked the production record of the A24 Cavalier, because I couldn't believe that they bothered to build the full 500 on order, what with it being of no use to anyone.

                                But they did!

                                The Greeks used A27L Centaurs until the early 60's, and appear to have been very happy with them, but I'm not sure yet if they were re-engined with Meteors.
                                "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
                                - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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