Italian Beute

Today Duncan is back looking at the wonderful world of the beute panzer, this time looking at Italy and how to incorporate Italian vehicles into your MW forces.

By now I don’t think it’s going to come as a shock to anyone that I love to diversify my German forces with the myriad of captured and repurposed vehicles from their allies, enemies or anything else lying about the place. I’ve been looking at Italy quite a bit recently and this has opened the door to including more wonderful German designations into the proverbial pot.

The Semovente

Sturmgeschütz M42 mit 75/34 851(i)

MW players will be very familiar with the Italian Semovente M41 da 75/18 self-propelled gun. But, by the time that the Allies invade the Italian mainland in 1943/44 and the capitulation of the Italian armed forces, the design of the Semovente had moved on.

The Semovente da 75/34 armed with an L/34 gun mounted on an M15/42 tank chassis and saw action during the defence of Rome in 1943 and later served with the Germans in Northern Italy and the Balkans. 141 were produced during the war: 60 before the Armistice of Cassibile in September 1943, 81 later under German control.

The Semovente 75/34 took inspiration from the German StuG III and like the long-barrelled StuG become more of a de facto tank hunter rather than an infantry support weapon. It sported heavier armour that then original the 75/18 model, what could probably be considered average for the Mid War period, and the 75/34 gun gave it decent firepower.

Sturmgeschütz M43 mit 105/25 853(i)

The Semovente da 105/25 was the final stage of Italian design of their assault gun series. Initially the intent was to mount a 105mm gun on the new P40 hull.  However, this was dropped, due to production issues, in favour of the M15/42 hull.

To accommodate the large 105mm gun the hull had to be widened and this new chassis became the M43. As well as a wider hull the M43 had 75mm of front armour and combined with its powerful 105mm gun the Bassotto (“Dachshund”) was a popular addition to the German arsenal in Italy.

Semovente da 90/53

The Semovente da 90/53 was Italy’s answer to the T-34 and the KV-1. An ungainly, slightly impractical answer, but nevertheless, ultimately the Semovente da 90/53s 90mm HEAT round could penetrate 70mm of armour at an impressive 2km. Yes, the chassis offered little protection for the crew, and yes the engine could’ve had a little more grunt but for what it was and the time frame it was manufactured in the Semovente da 90/53 did a job.

Only 30 vehicles were produced, 24 vehicles of the 10° Ragruppamento Semoventi were heavily used during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 with the remaining vehicles soldiering on after the armistice in German service, mainly as mobile gun positions.

Shamelessly stolen from a great article on the Flames of War website is a very interesting list of all the deployments of the various Semoventes in German service during the latter part of the war in Italy and the Balkans:

  1. Infantry Division, 194. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 Company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  2. Infantry Division, 171. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  3. Reichsgrenadier Division Hoch und Deutschmeister, 46. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  4. Gebirgs Division, 95. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  5. Jäger Division, 114. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  6. Infantry Division, 334. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  7. Static Infantry Division, 304. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18, 75/34 and StuG M43 105/25
  8. Infantry Division, 165. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18, 75/34 and StuG M43 105/25
  9. (Turkistani) Infantry Division, 262. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1262. Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  10. Infantry Division, 278. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  11. Infantry Division, 356. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  12. Infantry Division – 362. Panzerjäger Abteilung – 1 company of StuG M42 75/18 and 75/34
  13. Fallschirm-Sturmgeschütz Brigade XI, StuG M42/M43, slowly replaced all M42 with M43.
  14. Fallschirm-Sturmgeschütz Abteilung “Schmitz” (later Brigade XXI) – StuG M42/M43 likely received the above’s M42/M43.

In Flames of War

It is straight forward enough to use the Semovente da 75/34 in our Italian forces by using the StuG (Late)Assault Gun Platoon or Company from Ghost Panzers (this is my plan so no stealing you lot… I’ll know if you do!).

The inclusion of the Ghost Panzers command card for the 189th StuG company allows us to bring the awesome StuH to the table top and this 105mm armed assault gun is the perfect analogue for the Semovente 105/25.

Finally, we have the Semovente da 90/53, the relative problem child here. You have some options; the Hornisse might be an option but you may get accused of modelling for advantage in a more competitive environment. You could use it as a Marder, the gun might not be similar but the chassis footprint is much more akin what you are trying to represent on the table top.

Personally, I would use the Semovente da 90/53 as a Wespe; a bit controversial I know. The reasoning behind this is that later on in the Italian Campaign the few remaining Semovente da 90/53 in service were used as field artillery pieces.

Panzerspähwagen AB41 201(i) & AB43 203(i)

With its 20mm cannon the AB41 was the eyes and ears of the Italian armed forces and the Germans, not one to pass up reusing other nations assets, saw the versatility of this scout car and 37 found their way into German service. The AB43 was only produced after the Italian armistice and sported an up-gunned 47mm high-velocity gun; this meant a whole new turret but this didn’t stop the German’s manufacturing around 120 AB41 and AB43 before the end of the fighting in Italy.

In Flames of War

There’s not much to consider here; the AB41 is a perfect analogue for the Sd Kfz 222 and we can easily exchange the AB41 for these. The AB43 might be trickier but the most sensible course of action might be to use the Sd Kfz 222 with the 2.8cm AT Rifle as the basis for getting it in game.

I hope that is a useful stroll through some of the options we have to add Italian vehicles to our MW German forces to give them a taste of the Italian peninsula.

Until next time

 – Dunc

Category: Flames of WarGermansItalian CampaignLate WarMid WarV4

3 comments

  1. Dont mean to be negative (the article was interesting!) but the gyrations and contortions you need to use units that were previously readily available in V3 is illustrative of the step back we’ve taken with V4.

    A shame really, as I like the streamlined V4 rules. But I still dont like the new 100-point system and I still can’t overlook the boxes and boxes of units that have no place in V4–at least without the jerry-rigging the article discusses.

  2. the AB43 with the 47/40 was only ever a prototype, the germans built the AB43s with 20/65 guns (as the italian 20/65 can fire german 20mm ammo which is easier to supply then italian 47mm ammo which was still new to italian production lines when germany took over) the only tank that used the 47/40 in german service was the M15/42s used by the SS, the M15/42 has got 5cm frontal armour and a 47mm with 900m/s mussel velocity. this makes it superior to the short 5cm kwk38 L42 interms of APHE (which only has 685m/s) AND the long 5cm kwk39 L62 (830m/s), so argualy you could use panzer III long 5cm to represent the M15/42, however panzergrenate 40 exists and this gives the Panzer III short euivilent proformance to the 47/40 gun, thus assuming the panzer III in game uses the pzgr 40 then the panzer III short is the best stand in, but either panzer III is argueably useable. aditionally the 47/40 EPS rounds (which the only sources i could find give it 115mm of HEAT penatration) which gives a (poor) arguement to use panzer III short 7.5cm.
    you can uses M14/41 models modified with longer barrels and storage on the sides to hide the side hatch changes for M15/42, the M15/42 was used by german troops against the soviets.

    there is also the P40, largely used by the SS aswell but the only unit i can remember used them once against the british in italy itself. the P40 had 5cm plates, but its hull plates were at 50 degrees with a lower plate at 70 degrees and an even lower plate flat. and its gun mantel had 2 5cm plates (100mm intotal) this means it had more armor then the flat 5cm plates of earlier panzer IVs like the F2, thus the best use would be later panzer IVs like the H (the one in ghost panzers)

  3. I have to agree completely with Bash On. Our V3 gaming group had 18 guys. 3 months in to V4, the group had dwindled to 6 and eventually to 4. The frustration and disappointment was all because of the lack of availability of units in V4 lists that previously existed in V3 AND the point structure change. Had just the new streamlined V4 rules been introduced, while keeping all the V3 lists (and their options), along with the V3 point structure, we’d still have a group of 18. A good example is my favorite gaming unit being Fallschirmjager. Here we are 2 1/2 years in to V4 and no sign of them anywhere, when they were in the thick of things from the outset.

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Article by: Duncan Gosling