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Artillery in the Desert, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 6, November 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. 75/18 Gun-Howitzer, 1935 (fig. 7)

The characteristics of this piece are—

Muzzle velocity: 1,430 feet per second.
Maximum range: 10,200 yards.
Weight of shell: 13.9 pounds.
Elevation: 65°.
Depression: 10°.
Traverse: 50°.
Weight in action: 1.1 tons.
Method of transport: on wheels or carrier at 19 miles per hour.

[Figure 7: Italian 75/18 gun-howitzer, model 1935]
Figure 7.--Italian 75/18 gun-howitzer, model 1935

b. 75/18 Self-Propelled Gun

The Italians have been mounting their guns on tank chassis. They have mounted their 75/18 gun-howitzer, described above, on a turretless M 13/40 tank chassis. It is not thought that the gun as mounted in the tank has any great amount of independent traverse. The maximum range is reported to be about 6,500 yards, with an effective range of 4,300 yards. Both armor-piercing6 and high-explosive7 ammunition may be fired. The complete self-propelled equipment weighs about 14.5 tons. It has 45 mm laminated armor. Both key and voice radio are used, and the mobility of the gun is increased to about 18 miles per hour on roads and 12 miles per hour across country.

c. 75/27 Gun

This is the standard light field piece of the Italian Army. British users consider it to be satisfactory equipment, giving no trouble in spite of constant use. But the gun has the following disadvantages: (1) light hitting power; (2) poor fragmentation effect; (3) at ranges above 6,600 yards, it is necessary to use a false angle of sight, slope the platform, and dig a hole for the trail. The characteristics of the gun are—

          Model 06         Models 11 and 12
Muzzle velocity 1,730 feet per second. 1,675 feet per second.
Maximum range 11,200 yards. 9,075 yards.
Rate of fire (theory) 8 rounds per minute. 8 rounds per minute.
Rate of fire (practical) 4 rounds per minute. 4 rounds per minute.
Length of bore 27 calibers. 27 calibers.
Weight in action 1 ton. 1.06 tons.
Weight in draught 1.67 tons. 1.87 tons.
Maximum elevation 16°. 65°.
Maximum depression -10°. -15°.
Traverse 7°. 59°9'.

d. 75/34 Gun

While there is no report of this gun being used in Libya, a report of 1940 stated that it was expected to replace the 75/27 guns in mobile divisions.

Muzzle velocity: 1,650 feet per second.
Maximum range: 13,500 yards.
Weight of shell: 14 pounds.
Weight in action: 1.25 tons.
Method of transport: towed on own wheels.

e. 100/17 Howitzer, 1914

This howitzer has been used in Libya as organizational artillery with the Italian motorized and normal infantry divisions. The British have found it to be an accurate and satisfactory howitzer. However, it has a long unwieldly trail that has to be dug in for high elevation.

Muzzle velocity: 1,800 feet per second.
Maximum range: 8,400 yards.
Weight of shell: 28 pounds.
Rate of fire: 3 rounds per minute (practical).
Maximum elevation: 48°.
Maximum depression: 8°.

f. Captured Matériel

The information contained in this section has been obtained from British sources. These weapons have been captured, inspected, and used by the British. (See par. 9b.)

(1) 149/13 howitzer (149-mm, 13 calibers in length).--This howitzer fires a heavy 80-pound shell accurately up to a range of 10,000 yards. The rate of fire is two to three rounds per minute.

(2) 105/28 gun (105-mm, 28 calibers in length).--This weapon is considered to be the most valuable battalion artillery piece in the Italian Army. But very few have been captured. The gun fires a 35-pound shell a maximum range of 13,600 yards, at the rate of six rounds per minute.

[Figure 8: Italian 105/28 gun]
Figure 8.--Italian 105/28 gun

(3) 75/46 (75-mm, 46 calibers in length) Ansaldo mobile AA gun.--While this is primarily an antiaircraft gun, successful experiments in engaging ground targets have been carried out. The weapon is mechanically sound, and practically no maintenance has been required. The muzzle velocity is probably about 2,500 feet per second, although it may be higher. The gun has a high rate of fire, and with a trained crew it is estimated that 20 rounds per minute can be fired. The silhouette is satisfactory and it is believed that it would be difficult to hit from a tank at 600 to 1,000 yards. The Italians camouflage the gun with light gray and dirty white colors, and from a range of 500 yards it is difficult to see, even on level ground. A speed of 25 miles per hour over good terrain and 10 miles per hour over rough terrain should be obtainable.

(4) 37/54 (37-mm, 54 calibers in length) light double-barrel AA gun.--This is a tray-loaded twin antiaircraft gun serviced by a detachment of seven men. The rate of fire is 250 rounds per minute--125 rounds per barrel per minute. It is considered to be a very effective light antiaircraft gun, although stoppages are frequent unless all the equipment is kept scrupulously clean and free of sand.

(5) 102/35 (102-mm, 35 calibers in length) AA and coast defense gun.--This antiaircraft weapon has a muzzle velocity of approximately 2,476 feet per second, a maximum horizontal range of 14,500 yards, and a maximum vertical range of 31,000 feet. The breech mechanism is semiautomatic.

(6) 76/40 (76-mm, 40 calibers in length) dual-purpose AA-AT gun.--This is a fixed weapon and is not expected to be satisfactory for antiaircraft work, but sufficient tests have not been made to give any details.

5 See paragraph 9b.
6 Weight of projectile 14.1 pounds.
7 Weight of projectile 15.9 pounds.

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