Thursday 27 February 2014

An Italian Mid-War Monster

My latest Challenge Entry takes me back to my 6mm North Africa Project. I already have an Italian Tank Company painted up but on the whole they are pretty poor quality machines. So I have decided to add a little punch to the company by the addition of a single platoon of P40 Heavy Tanks.

This is actually a Medium Tank (comparable in weight to a T34 or Sherman) but when it was initially designed it was twice as heavy as the M13/40 tanks that formed the mainstay of the Italian tank companies in North Africa. Despite the design being on the drawing boards in 1941 it wasn't until late 1942 that the first prototypes came of the production line. Unfortuantely for the Italians the main factory building the engine for this tank was bombed by the Allies and by the time Italy surrendered in September 1943 on 22 had been built. 

Some of these prototype tanks did actually make it to Egypt in time for 2nd Alamein and were used to bolster the otherwise inadequate firepower of the Italian tank forces in the region. I have painted one platoon and a HQ Tank which will provide a little backbone to my currently rather weak Italian tank company. I bought these from GHQ so the quality and detailing is superb making them a joy to paint. But at £1.40 each compared to just 40p for a typical H&R tank I won't be making a habit of this.

I have also painted some AB41 armoured cars to provide some recon screening for my Italian forces. These are some old recycled H&R models that I stripped for repainting. These servicable vehicles will come in handy in future games I am sure. 

Last up I painted six Opel Blitz trucks. These can be used by most German forces and in this case they will form part of a supply convoy for a battle scenario I am working on. 

I have just placed an order for yet more 6mm tanks to boost all my forces ready for another game later in the year.


  1. Love it! I've long wanted to do North Africa in 6mm.

  2. Splendid work. the joy of 6mm is that you will soon be able to collect everything you need. I must admit I am tempted to follow your example and also do some 6mm North Africa.

  3. Great looking vehicles! Seeing nicely painted 6mm really showcases for me the advantages using of micro scales in gaming. As regards the Italian usage of the P 40 in the desert, that is very interesting. Could you let me know your source for that as it is quite a departure from the usual story, and it sounds quite interesting.

    1. I'm ashamed to say my main 'source' is actually the Battlefront website. Most of the stuff I have read online suggest that by late 42 only a handfull (maybe 3 to 5) of prototype evaluation models had been produced.

    2. Hi Lee,
      No worries, using a source in good faith is not something to be ashamed of, I was just hoping that you had found something new that I could enjoy reading! As to P-40s, 3-5 is the usual range mentioned, with stories of engine-less models dug in by the Italians to defend Rome from the Germans - although that seems to be largely discredited. The North African usage appears to be popping up in various places on the internet, according to this thread on TMP:

      It appears the information on their use in North Africa was at first clearly marked as being hypothetical on the FoW site, but when I check the links, they present the information without disclaimers (unless I am being blind - which happens!). It seems that all mentions of the P 40 in North Africa stem from the FoW site, as does the number of 20+ preproduction vehicles - Although to my mind, given the nature of the Italian armament industry at the time, 20 vehicles could almost qualify as a production run.

      Still, they are nice looking tanks, and they do give a rather nice 'what if' option to help balance games or just spice them up a little.

    3. It wouldn't be the first time the Battlefront army lists have given me a bum-steer.

  4. Great work as usual Lee.

  5. Great work, the GHQ v H&R strikes a chord with me, at the heart is GHQ but the wallet says H&R


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