SPA-Viberti AS.42

The SPA-Viberti AS.42 Sahariana was an Italian reconnaissance car of World War II. The AS 42 Sahariana was developed by SPA-Viberti using the same chassis as the AB 41 armoured car, including its four-wheel steering, specifically for desert operations, primarily in a reconnaissance role. Its origins trace back to requests stemming from units operating on the North African Front for a long range, highly manoeuvrable vehicle, similar to those widely used by the highly successful British reconnaissance forces, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG).

SPA-Viberti AS.42
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Viberti
Production Period 1942 - 1943
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Italy 1942 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Viberti 1942 1943 View

The Sahariana engine located in the rear which gave it enough space in the middle of the hull to accommodate up to five fully equipped men and weapons, though the mission crew seldom exceeded three or four. The open compartment's only overhead protection was a waterproof canvas sheet. The AS 42 had front and rear internal fuel tanks of 200 litres each with an additional 24 externally mounted jerrycans holding 80 litres of water and 400 litres of fuel.

Various armament combinations were used, which included:

  • 8 mm Breda model 37 machine-gun
  • 20 mm Breda model 35 gun
  • 20 mm Solothurn S18/1000 gun
  • 47 mm Breda 47/32 gun

The AS 42 Sahariana's performance was very good, but it was expensive to manufacture and the vehicle was mechanically complicated. There are no known surviving complete examples of an AS 42 Sahariana.

Type Reconnaissance vehicle
Place of origin  Italy
Service history
In service 1942-
Used by Royal Italian Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Designed 1942
Manufacturer Viberti
Produced 1942-1943
Number built unknown
Weight 5,140 kg (11,330 lb)
Length 5.620 m (18 ft 5.3 in)
Width 2.260 m (7 ft 5.0 in)
Height 1.800 m (5 ft 10.9 in)
Crew 5
see text
Engine 4,995 cc 6-cylinder diesel
Payload capacity 6,000 kg (13,000 lb)
Transmission 6 forward 1 reverse
300 km diesel, with spare cans 800 km
Speed 80 km/h (50 mph)

End notes