Needing a P – designing an Italian “heavy” tank list

What ever your personal feelings about including the mid war monsters in the game, you have to admit they are fairly cool, these hulking leviathans with their massive guns and huge slabs of armour that people designed, but that never actually saw service. Unless of course you are talking about the Italian’s options, in which case you get a fairly respectable medium tank and an assault gun which did actually see service, even if most of that wasn’t actually with the Italian army.

Light weight heavies

Like many armies of the period, the Italians split their tanks into 3 different classifications; light, medium and heavy, but their definition of the 3 different types was different from the other nations. An Italian heavy tank would be considered a medium by most other nations, (although I think the Japanese might have believed the Italians had they seen the tanks in question,) likewise an Italian medium would be considered a light tank and an Italian light tank would be considered a joke.

The Italians did design and start to build what they considered to be a heavy tank, the P26/40, (the P standing for ‘pesante’ which is Italian for heavy), however they didn’t really get to use it, as they surrendered after only a handful had been built. The Germans did think it was an acceptable vehicle though, and continued to build and use them under the catchy designation of Panzerkampfwagen P40 737(i). Those Germans really do know how to come up with names that just roll of the tongue. Still, at least it’s better than just calling everything M3.

from left to right an M3, an M3, an M3, an M3, an M3 and an M3
(M3 not pictured)

This brings me in my usual rambling fashion to something that is in the vague vicinity of the point; now that the new North Africa book is out, the Italians do actually get access to this “heavy” tank, which actually means a decent (ish) medium tank, and so I have decided to design an army list where it’s the main focus. You might even say I’m desperate to do it… desperate for a P, get it?

Breakthrough Assault would like to apologise for the above joke, it in no way reflects our usual comedy standards.

Black boxes

We best take a look at the formation then

Lots of options

It doesn’t look like it on the diagram, but for the HQ we can either have a P26/40 or a M14/14. The first black box can be P26/40s or Semovente longs, and the second black box has options of M14/41s and Semovente shorts, or maybe I should call them regulars? Either way, it doesn’t matter, as this is meant to be a heavy tank, list so I’m going to fill all my black boxes with heavy tanks. So, the list starts as:

CHQ – P26/40 – 8pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
Total 56pts

The P26/40 platoons can either be 2 ,3 or 4 tanks. I’ve put them as 3 for now, as having a unit of 2 means that as soon as you take one casualty, you’ll be a taking morale test. A unit of 4 would be nice, but I’ll take them as 3 for now to save points. I can always bump them up later if I have a few points spare.

Speaking of points, a P26/40 is 8 points a tank-as someone who is used to paying 2 to 3 points for an M14/41, this is a crazy amount, but just look at these stats; AT of 10, front armour of 5; we are living the dream!

Its not terrible!

But 56pts gone already, so maybe something cheap to bulk the numbers up. For the third company box I’ll take a full-sized platoon, so M14/41. This will bulk the numbers out in the company, plus give me a light unit for charging around, and the 6 MG dice a piece might come in handy.

CHQ – P26/40 – 8pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
5x M14/41 – 12pts
Total 68pts

That’s the core formation sorted, so time for some support.

Ze little grey boxes

priot pic

The worlds greatest detective – in your face batman

Seeing as my main force is all tanks, I’ll need to use the support to flesh out the army into a nice well-rounded force.

First a unit of infantry to help hold objectives.

I find a Bersaglieri weapons platoon is a great infantry unit as it includes plenty of integral AT, especially if you include the optional 47mm gun. So, a full unit of those with the 47mm gun is 8 points.

Another key unit in an army is artillery. The options for this are 100mm howitzers or the 2 types of Semovente, whilst the self-propelled guns are great and provide some more direct fire AT. I think the howitzers would be a better option, as I already have decent direct fire AT in the P26/40s, and the howitzers are fairly cheap. Their ability to fire smoke might also come in handy.

So, the list is now:

CHQ – P26/40 – 8pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
5x M14/41 – 12pts
Bersaglieri weapons platoon + 47mm AT gun – 8pts
4x 100mm howitzer – 12pts
Total 88 pts

Right, 17 points left, (assuming we are aiming for 105 points, which we are). The big thing I’m lacking now is some high-end AT to do the heavy lifting; this is after all mid war monster territory, and you never know when you’ll face a TOG2, or other tanks that are not named after a duvet rating system.

Tog 2 vs Tog 13.5

Luckily the Italian list has 3 options for high end AT; the 88s, the Lancia 90s or the Semovente 90/53. It’s a close contest, but I think I’m going to bag the Semovente 90/53, mostly because they are cool. I could argue that it’s because I want them mobile, and to have a chance of an armour save, but no, it’s purely because they are cool. 

who needs ammo storage when you look this good

Two of those are 14 points, so that only leaves us with 3 points to play with. Handily those 3 points are just enough to buy 4 AB41 armoured cars for some spearhead movement.
That means the final list is:

CHQ – P26/40 – 8pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
3x P26/40 – 24pts
5x M14/41 – 12pts
Bersaglieri weapons platoon + 47mm AT gun – 8pts
4x 100mm howitzer – 12pts
2x Semovente 90/53 -14pts
4x AB41 – 3pts
Total 105 pts

Well, that worked well, it’s almost like I planned it out all in advance before I started writing this article.

Final thoughts

There you have it, my attempt at a P26/40 list. I could have technically fitted in a few more P26/40 hulls, but it would be at the expense of other areas of the list. If I was pushing the list up to 125pts I would probably swap the M14/41s for another unit of 4 P26/40s, which would hit 125 pts exactly, or perhaps swap the M14/41s and the howitzers for some Semovetes either longs or shorts, but I haven’t done the maths on that yet.

Maybe I’ll have to go design a Semovente long list, but that would be an article for another day.

One thought on “Needing a P – designing an Italian “heavy” tank list

  1. The perfection of that list must have been destiny, as were the superb M3 jibe & Poirot fandom.

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