Land Weapons

FIAT / Ansaldo

Semovente L40

The Semovente L40 was one of Italy's two tank destroyer designs of World War II. It was designed using the chassis of the L6/40 light tank, but with the upper hull and turret removed and in its place was mounted a 47-mm M35 anti-tank gun. This was based on an Austrian Böhler dual-role (anti-infantry and anti-tank) gun that was license-produced, and which was also fitted on the M13/40 medium tank. Early versions of the L40 had no roof; the gun was mounted at the front of the hull and the only protection afforded to the crew was the gun shield. It was later decided to incorporate a box-like superstructure which offer a greater degree of protection although it was still highly vulnerable. The L40 was used in the Balkans, North Africa and especially in Russia, where it was the main armored fighting vehicle in service with the Italian Army on that front. Remaining units after the Italian surrender were taken up by the German Army and some were also provided to Axis ally Croatia.

Initial attempts at converting an existing armored vehicle into an anti-tank plaform involved the L3 tankette but this was later discarded in favor of the L6/40 light tank. The full designation of the resulting vehicle was Semovente L40 da 47/32 and came in two versions, the early type with an exposed gun mount and the later type with a lightly armored superstructure (later with a retractable cover). A command vehicle armed with 8-mm Breda machine guns was also built.

L40 da 47/32
L40

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

Semovente M41 (1941)

Datafile

DesignSemovente L40 da 47/32
TypeTank Destroyer
Year1942
Crew3
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)3.84 m
Width1.86 m
Height1.55 m
Weight
Loaded6,800 kg
SuspensionTorsion bar
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)42 km/h (25 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)200 km (80 km)
AmphibiousNo
Fording0.80 m
Vertical Obstacle0.79 m
Trench1.71 m
Gradient60%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 68-hp
FIAT
SPD 18D
FuelGasoline
Power/Weight10.00 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 37-mm L/40
Cannone da 37/40 Mod. 30
Anti-Tank Gun (70)
↑ 20° / ↓ -12° / ↔ 27°

Secondary1 x 8-mm
Armor
TypeSteel
Thickness6 - 51 mm
Max Effective39 - 53 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front38 mm / 10°
Hull Lower Front38 mm / 10°
Hull Upper Sides15 mm / 10°
Hull Lower Sides15 mm
Hull Lower Rear15 mm
Hull Top6 mm
Hull Bottom6 mm
Turret Mantlet51 mm / 15°
Production
Built283
Total300

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