Tuesday 15 May 2018

Fiat M13/40 Medium Tank

This is the first batch of 15mm tanks to roll off my production line specifically for use with What a Tanker!. The Fiat M13/40 was built to supersede the earlier and smaller L6/40 and M11/39 and served throughout the war. It was built with riveted steel plates with 30mm frontal armour (42mm on the turret) which when initially designed would have been comparable to the British tanks in service at that time. However while other nations tanks were developed further with welded hulls, thicker armour and more effective guns the M13/40 became increasingly obsolete as the war progressed.

Three M13/40's move cautiously through the Western Desert

The tanks had a crew of four with the tank commander doubling up as the loader of the 47mm gun. With so much to do, and with most tanks not fitted with a Radio, communication between vehicles of the same unit must have been hell. Powered by a 125hp diesel engine in this respect alone it was ahead of its time providing greater range and reduced danger of fire compared to petrol engines. The M13/40 was also armed with up to four machine guns (if one was mounted on the roof with a special flexible mount). Carrying 104 rounds for the main gun and ammunition for all the MG's its amazing there was any space left for the crew in this medium sized tank. 

Not the best painting I have done (missed some areas of flash that have been emphasised by the ink wash) but I may revisit these again at a later date. 

The M13/40 first saw service in Greece but as production was increased it was soon being sent to Libya....just in time for the British offensive, Operation Compass. Despite heavy losses and the increasing disparity between Italian and British tanks the M13 continued in service until the end of the North African campaign. While the tank itself could never be described as any more than conventional its crews gained in expertise, professionalism and bravery to become a true elite arm of the Italian forces in North Africa.

While I was photographing these I couldn't resist a size comparison between the tiny Italian tanks at the start of the war and a massive German King Tiger from the end... just in case anyone was in doubt about the pace of tank development during the war! 

Yes, these are both 1/100th (15mm) scale.


  1. Nicely done and interesting article.

  2. Great job Lee, but that was a sobering last shot - wow!

  3. As the Western Desert One assumes the British can also use it! (Captured ordinance was used by ALL sides). Well done sir! They look splendid


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