Autoblinda AB41 – Fiat-Ansaldo – Italian Armored Car


Fiat Ansaldo – Autoblindo AB41 – photo 2019

History – AutoBlinda AB40

The Italian army was one of the first who adapted the armored car concept in 1912. But the 1912 versions became outdated during WW2, the speed of these old armored cars was to low and their armor weak. Fiat and Ansalo started the develop new armored vehicles, the Autoblindo series. At first they made a vehicle with 2 forward machine guns in a small turret an one machine gun towards the back. They named it the AB40 for short. After 24 cars they stopped this production because they wanted more punch the vehicle. This led to the use of the Breda 20 mm model 35 Anti-aicraft autocannon in the Autoblinda AB41. Most of the older machine gun AB40 armored cars were converted to AB41’s.

Fiat Autoblinda AB41 – photo 2019
Fiat-Ansaldo Autoblinda AB41 – photo 2019

Autoblinda AB41

The Fiat Autoblinda AB41 was produced from 1941 until somewhere around 1944, some 550 to 600 were made. The AB41 served in North Afrika, Yugoslavia, Hungary and on the Russian Front. Sand tires could be fitted for deserts, and with special bogies it could run on train tracks. The two spare wheel on each side of the armored car could rotate and help the car cross difficult terrain. After Italy stopped fighting in World War Two due to the Armistice of Cassible in September 1943 the German took over the defense of Italy and the production of the AB41. They produced 120 vehicles under their supervision.

Fiat Autoblinda AB41 – photo 2019

Armistice of Cassible

The Armistice of Cassibile was an covenant between Italy, the UK and the US. The Italians signed it on 3 September 1944 and laid down their arms, just before they incarcerated Benito Mussolini. The German forces stepped in, took over reign in Italy, attacked defending Italian forces and freed Mussolini to continue their war.

Autoblinda AB41 – photo 2019

Autoblinda AB43

Plans to upgrade the gun even further came in the last part of the war. The“Autoblinda AB43” had an 47 mm gun in its turret, some 70 units were made in the last part of the war.

Autoblinda Ferroviaria

A total of twenty AB40 (machine gun version) and AB41 (20 mm Anti-aircraft version) were converted into Armored Rail Vehicles. These specialized armored cars patrolled the Yugoslav railways against the partisans. Ferroviaria means Railway.

Autoblinda AB40 Ferroviaria in Yugoslavia – courtesy Wikipedia

Specifications

It had a crew of 4. All wheel drive, a range of 400 kilometers and a top speed of almost 80 km/h. It had a Breda 20 mm model 35 autocannon and a Breda 8 mm model 38 machine gun. 5 to 17 mm armor had to protect the crew of 4 which consisted of two drivers, a gunner and a commander.
In the German army the Autoblinda AB41 armored cars were deployed with the Wehrmacht, the Afrika Korps under Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. The Germans named it Panzerspähwagen AB41 201

Fiat SPA TM40 and FIat Autoblindo AB41 – photo 2019


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