M11/39

Carro Armato M11/39 was an armored vehicle (tank, AFV or armoured fighting vehicle) in combat use during the Second World War (World War II or WWII) in the European theater. The Carro Armato M11/39 was a fully tracked all-terrain vehicle designed for military operations. M11/39 was produced and deployed by the Italian Army of Italy, an Axis ally of Nazi Germany (the Third Reich). The technical drawing (plan, layout or profile) shows the general appearance characteristics of the specified model (version) of the M11/39 tank for purposes of identification and reference. For more detailed information about this armored fighting vehicle, refer to M11/39.

Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1937
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Australia View
Italy 1939 1944 View

The M11/39 was developed as a "breakthrough tank" (Carro di Rottura). The design of the M11/39 was influenced by the British Vickers 6-Ton. This influence is reflected particularly in the track and suspension design. A novelty of the design was the placement of the final reduction gears inside the front-mounted drive sprockets, eliminating the need for enlarged final drive housings in the bow armour. Service use of the M11/39 was short due to several deficiencies in its design, particularly the placement of the main 37 mm gun in the hull. The design concept was to use the main gun against other tanks and to defend the tank with the turret armament. The gun was in a fixed position with traverse restricted to 15° to port and starboard. Dual 8 mm machine guns were housed in a small rotating one-man turret, with manual controls.

The original intent was to place the 37 mm /L40 armament in the turret but there was insufficient space. The gun placement followed the French Char B1 and anticipated the early versions of the Churchill tank, American Grant/Lee tanks, although in these tanks the hull guns were howitzers, rather than high-velocity guns. The M11/39 had other shortcomings: its endurance and performance were poor, it was relatively slow, it was mechanically unreliable and its 30 mm maximum riveted steel armour, designed to withstand 20 mm fire, was vulnerable to British 2-pounder guns at any range at which the M11/39s main gun was effective. The tank was designed to carry a radio but none were fitted to the production vehicles. The M11/39 hull was modified for use its successor the Fiat M13/40, which was redesigned to put the main gun in the turret; an order for 100 M11s was placed as a stop-gap.

In Libya 72 × M11/39s were used in the North African Campaign, 24 operated in the East Africa Campaign and the first four prototypes remained in Italy. The M11 was vastly superior to the 36 × L3/33 and L3/35 tankettes stationed in East Africa. The M11/39 proved somewhat successful in early encounters with the British Light Tank Mk VI. The 37 mm gun of the M11 acted as a deterrent against attacks by these relatively fast but thin-skinned vehicles, armed only with machine guns. The tank was outclassed by heavier British cruiser and Infantry tanks, the Cruiser Mk I (A9), Cruiser Mk II (A10), Cruiser Mk III (A13) and Matilda.

GENERAL DATA
Formal DesignationCarro Armato M11/39
Manufacturer(s)n.a.
Production Quantity90Production Period1937-1940
TypeLight/Infantry SupportCrew3
Length hull/overall (m)4.74Barrel Overhang (m)n.a.
Width (m)2.17Height (m)2.25
Combat Weight (kg)11000Radio Equipmentn.a.
FIREPOWER
Primary Armament37mm (bow)Ammunition Carriedn.a.
Traverse (degrees)n.a.Elevation (degrees)n.a.
Traverse speed (360°)n.a.Sightn.a.
Secondary Armament2 x 8mm MG (turret)*Ammunition Carriedn.a.
MOBILITY CHARACTERISTICS
Engine Make & Modeln.a.No. of Links/Trackn.a.
Type & Displacementn.a.Track Widthn.a.
Horsepower (max.)200hpTrack Ground Contactn.a.
Power/Weight Ratio18.2 hp/tGround Pressuren.a.
Gearboxn.a.Ground Clearance (m)n.a.
Fueln.a.Turning Radius (m)n.a.
Range on/off road (km)200Gradient (degrees)n.a.
Mileage (liters/100km)n.a.Vertical Obstacle (m)n.a.
Fuel Capacity (liters)n.a.Fording (m)n.a.
Speed on/off road33 km/hTrench Crossing (m)n.a.
ARMOR PROTECTION
Armor (mm@degrees)FrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Hull7mm to 30mm
Superstructure
Turret
Mantlet
NOTES
*Turret had manual 360° traverse.

End notes