Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Ariete Division

The Italian Ariete Armoured Division was the best of the Italian units to serve in North Africa. We have seen in late November and early December 1941 that repeatedly, the Ariete achieved various successes over British and Commonwealth forces. That was despite having the obsolescent M13/40 tank, in the process of being superceded by the somewhat better M14/41 tank, which was better protected and had a more powerful diesel engine. Apparently, the M14/41 designation was not official, and simply referred to a late production M13/40. The Italian tank gun, the 47/32, was a medium velocity piece that fired a 3.25 pound shot or shell. With a direct impact, the 47/32 could penetrate 48mm at 400 yards. At the beginning of the Crusader Battle, the Ariete had 146 M13/40 tanks. Altogether, about 1,960 M13/40's were produced. Of these, 250 were delivered in 1940. There is a nice M13/40 at what is now called The Tank Museum at Bovington, Dorset. There is a Wikipedia page that leaves something to be desired.

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