M14/41 and M13/40 tanks advancing in the Libyan desert, 1942.

M14/41 – History

History of M14/41, an Italian medium tank produced by FIAT and used by the Royal Italian Army in North Africa during the Second World War.

In this post I’ll talk briefly about the history of the M14/41, a medium tank used by the Royal Italian Army during the Second World War. It was produced by FIAT and it saw service mainly in the North African front.

The production of this vehicle started in 1941 as an evolution of the M13/40. Its main improvement was the installation of a more powerful engine, but it kept most of the defects of its predecessor. The designation M stood for "medio" ("medium", in Italian), whereas 14 was its weight in metric tons and 41 the year it entered service.

Technical description


The main armament was a 47 mm (1.85") 47/32 Mod. 39 gun. It was a good weapon in the first years of war, superior to its German and British counterparts; while initially capable of taking out most of the enemy tanks – with the exception of the Matilda Mk II – later in the war it became ineffective against the new American-built vehicles, namely the Grants and the Shermans.

The secondary armament consisted in three or four 8 mm (0.31") Breda Mod. 38 machine guns; two of them were placed in pair in the front of the hull, manned by the radio operator, whereas a third one was coaxial to the main gun. There could also be a fourth optional machine gun on the turret roof, for anti-aircraft use.


The armor thickness varied from 15 mm (0.59") in the hull floor to 42 mm (1.65") in the turret front. As in its predecessor, the armor plates were riveted instead of welded. This was a disadvantage, because it weighted more for the same level of protection; moreover the rivets could shear off when hit, becoming additional projectiles that ricocheted inside the tank.

Other features

The engine was a 145 HP V8 diesel, capable of bringing the vehicle to a maximum speed of 35 km/h (21 mph). Maximum range was 200 km (124 miles).

Its crew was of four persons: commander, loader, radio operator/machine gunner and driver. The commander had to act also as a gunner, thus reducing his operational effectiveness.

Combat history

The M14/41 were already obsolete when they entered service. They saw service mainly in North Africa since 1941, fighting in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia until May 1943. The Commonwealth forces used many captured tanks to make up for their lack of combat vehicles.

After the armistice of 8th September 1943, only one tank was used by the Wehrmacht (designated "PzKpfw M14/41 736(i)"); the remaining ones were given to the troops of the collaborationist Italian Social Republic, fighting until the end of the war. A total of 752 vehicles was built.

Today eight M14/41 remain: seven are in Italy, Canada and United Kingdom, the eighth is on display at the Italian War Memorial of El Alamein, in Egypt.

From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

M14/41 on display at the Bovington Tank Museum, United Kingdom.

Image sources: 1, 2

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