Italian Armour and Avanti

Avanti (FW244)

Italian Armour and Avanti
with Chris Townley
The release of Avanti sees the Italians join Mid War and with them comes two great little tanks that are so interesting we thought they deserved a brief preview all of their own.

After World War I, Italy began developing their own tanks using imported models as the basis. The L3 tankette saw combat in the years leading up to World War II and was lightly armed and armoured but was fast and saw combat almost everywhere the Italian Army fought.

It's limited capabilities required the development of a series of medium tanks, starting with the M13/39 (used by the Italian Army in Early War) and then M13/40 and M14/41.

The Italians learned about modern warfare the hard way in 1940. Now they are back, showing the world what the Italian soldier can do. Fighting under the famous ‘Desert Fox’, General Rommel, they form a crucial part of the Italian-German Panzer Army. Tough, determined, skilled, and aggressive veterans, the Italians broke through the British Gazala Line to save the trapped German Afrika Korps, held the line at El Alamein, and opened the way at Kasserine Pass, before holding up the American offensive at El Guettar.Fight or die for the new Roman Empire!

Avanti: Italian Forces In North Africa 1942-43 

M14/41 Tank
The M14/41 (and M13/40) were the mainstay of the Italian armoured corps for the Battles of Gazala, Alam El Halfa, and El Alamein in 1942. Armed with a 47mm cannon and four machine-guns it was more than capable of facing off against British light and cruiser tanks such as the Honey and Crusader, but found itself out gunned and out armoured when encountering heavier designs.

M14/41 Tank

In Flames Of War
The M14/41 is (just like its history suggests) quite good for taking out enemy light armour. It's 47mm gun has AT 6 with 4+ firepower giving it a good chance of knocking out any light tanks or recce vehicles that it comes across. The addition of HEAT means that enemy vehicles do not gain the +1 to their armour values for being more than 16" away. This benefit can be enough to swing a firefight to their advantage.

For engaging soft targets the M14/41 is loaded with MGs getting a whopping 6 dice! A platoon of 5 can lay down enough fire to pin even a veteran platoon, paving the way for your infantry to assault.

Thanks to the 8 Million Bayonets rule M13/41 units can have very high Motivation ratings. This will ensure that your tanks can push forward and remount with ease keeping them in the fight for as long as possible. Finally, like their German allies the Italian forces are hit on a 4+, so combining this with the benefits of engaging targets at long range means that if you can avoid being hit, your light armour is less of a problem.


Right: An assembled plastic M14/41 tank

The M13/41 tank looks nothing like an Italian sports car, covered in rivets and with very industrial looking slab sides. However it has a very unique look that can be quite appealing when compared with the 'sportier' looking German Panzers of the period.


 Assembled M14/41 tank

Semovente SP Gun
The Semovente 75/18 self-propelled gun was available in small numbers for the battles in Libya and Egypt as a support tank. The divisions sent to Tunisia included a far greater proportion of Semovente 75/18, to the point where, in some cases, they outnumbered the accompanying M13/41 tanks.

Semovete SP Gun

In Flames Of War
The Semovente brings Italian players a small toolbox of options for supporting infantry and tanks. The 75mm gun is capable of knocking out anything short of a Churchill tank through the front with its AT of 8. Like the M13/41 it also has access to HEAT rounds, although with a range of 20"/50cm you may have to work harder to benefit from these in most engagements.

It can also fire as artillery where it's Firepower rating of 4+ will be quite useful of destroying enemy artillery and anti-tank guns that may be holding up the tanks.

Like the M13/41 the Semoventes are Careful, meaning they are hit on a 4+ so combining this with their ability to drop a template at long range can keep them involved in the battle whilst minimising their chances of being destroyed. Semovente SP Guns generally don't have the best Skill or Motivation ratings (other than Remount) so cannot be relied on to do clever tricks, so find don't rely on them pulling off a Shoot and Scoot unless your are particularly lucky.

Right: An assembled plastic Semovente SP Gun

The Semovente is built using the same hull and tracks as the M13/41 but with it's gun in a casemate rather than turret. Like it's cousin it is also a very compact looking vehicle on the table allowing you to pack a lot of firepower in a small space.

 Assembled Semovente SP Gun

Fielding the M14/41 and Semovete in Avanti
In Avanti you can field a Tank Company with an M14/41 as the HQ tank, and then up to three M14/41 Tank Platoons, or Semovente SP Batteries (or a mix of the two). I like the idea of fielding a mixed (full strength) Formation of an HQ M14/41 tank, two platoons of five M14/41 tanks and a platoon of six Semovente SP Guns for a total of 17 armoured vehicles and a total of 50 points. This gives me plenty of points to add an infantry Formation in support as well as some artillery and 90mm guns for dealing with pesky Churchills and Shermans.


Last Updated On Thursday, January 25, 2018 by Chris at Battlefront