This releases sees the Italians entering in force, with an officer team, forward observer, infantry, support weapons and transports. As well as the grunts, their support includes an anti-tank rifle, light mortar, MMG, light howitzer and medium AT gun. Transportation is supplied by either the solid and reliable Fiat 626 truck or an armoured S37.
In addition, we also offer an Italian infantry platoon bundle of all of the above infantry and an armoured car. This is available at a very reasonable discounted price and free UK shipping. This is the second of our platoon bundles, in addition to the Japanese platoon already released.
As always, here’s a little background on the various units…..
Italian officers were committed to restoring Italy as a major power on the world stage. Despite inadequacies in the general make-up of the army, the officers were often tenacious defenders, holding until the last minute and inspiring the troops to do likewise.
Forward Observer Team
The Italian Army was well supported with both air and artillery backup, with each division being assigned it’s own artillery support. Despite the age of many of these assets, often dating back to the Inter-War years, or even WWI in some cases, they were used effectively and could still swing the tide of the battle in the correct circumstances.
Despite Mussolini’s boasts, the Italian Army started the war ill-equipped and ill-prepared for a modern war. Problems included inferior rifles, small and relatively ineffectual grenades and a lack of motivation. However, as the war progressed, so did the quality of the infantry and ultimately the Italian Army was a match for any it faced.
Beda M37 – MMG Team
A variety of machine guns were used by the Italian Army; some natively manufactured and some captured. The most widespread and reliable of these was the air-cooled Breda 8mm M37.
Solothurn 20mm – AT Rifle Team
The Italian Army generally used the Swiss manufactured Solothurn S-18/1000 20mm anti-tank rifle. Usually deployed on a wheeled carriage, it could also be used with a bipod. It was a cumbersome weapon with a heavy recoil, and as with many AT rifles of WWII was obsolete against most tanks very quickly.
Brixia 45mm – Light Mortar Team
The standard light mortar of the Italian Army was the 45mm Brixia. The Brixia was an excellent weapon, with a high rate of fire and outstanding accuracy. However, it was also a technically complex weapon and despite it’s high standards, was often let down by poorly manufactured ammunition.
Cannone 65/17 – Light Howitzer
A field artillery piece dating back to the First World War, the Cannone 65/17 was a light weight gun designed to be used by infantry units, particularly those operating in the mountains. It could be broken down for easy transportation, and was also supplied with a folding gun shield. It was a popular weapon with the infantry, due to its light weight and high reliability. In addition to its use as an artillery piece, it was also effective as a truck mounted AT gun in North Africa.
Cannone 75/39 – Medium AT Gun
The “Cannone 75/39” was the Italian designation of the German PaK 97/38, a hybrid AT gun manufactured using captured French components and used during WWII. In addition to the Italians, it was also fielded by Finland, Hungary and Romania, as well being fitted to the chassis of the Soviet T-26 to make an interim mobile AT platform. It performed acceptably, despite being based on a late 19th century gun, but suffered from a low effective range, violent recoil and difficulty in hitting small, mobile targets.
S.37 – Wheeled APC
The Autoprotetto S.37 was an Italian armoured vehicle used during WWII. Originally based on the chassis of a TL37 light artillery tractor, the S.37 was an all wheel drive and all wheel steered APC with excellent mobility and low ground pressure, making it an excellent vehicle for desert action. Armed with an 8mm Breda MG, it was comparable to the halftrack transports of other countries, though with smaller passenger compartment than many. After Italy’s surrender, some vehicles were used by the Germans and even made their way to the Yugoslav partisans.
Fiat 626 – Truck
Various trucks were used by Italy during the war, but the Fiat 626 was the most common. The fiat was a medium truck manufactured by the Italian’s but used by multiple countries during WWII. It was a solid, reliable vehicle that saw service with France, Bulgaria and Germany in addition to Italy.
We hope that you found this little bit of background history and that soon our models will be reinforcing your Italian armies – Avanti!