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65mm Gun in AT role

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Major Destruction, Apr 11, 2001.

  1. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    A provocative comment was made recently to meto the effect that the Italian 65mm Gun was a good tank killer both ib the Spanish Civil War and in the North African campaign.
    I have searched every reference available to me and can find no evidence that this gun even existed!
    Surely there is documentation somewhere?
    If I had at least a name to go by, I could begin a new tack in my search. Can anybody help me?
    The only detail that I have is that it was a 65mm L17 Gun. Is it a fictional thing or what?

    Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hmm....i think you might be talking about the 88mm AA gun that was used quite well as an AT gun in North Africa. There was a trap set for the British in which a buncg of their tanks were destroyed when the Axis hid the 88's to look like dunes. The Allied Tanks rolled right up the center of them, and none rolled out.
     
  3. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    No, not the 88.
    This was definitely described to me as a 65mm gun that fired solid shot, and possibly of WW1 vintage.
     
  4. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well...the 88mm is the only one i have heard of that was used very very effectively as an AT Gun, which wasnt its primary purpose. I'll check the book i have at home later today, to see if you are right. Anyone else have any ideas?
     
  5. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Major D, I have seen a lot of references to an Italian 65mm "infantry gun", but I discovered that it was also called a "mountain gun". Mountain guns were usually accurate at both direct and indirect fire, and because of it's strong direct fire capability it is very possible that this same weapon was turned against tanks. Especially the kind light tankettes found in the Spanish civil war and the early African campaign.

    Unfortunately that's all I could find for now, if i find anything else I'll let you know.

    [ 12 April 2001: Message edited by: Otto ]
     
  6. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

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    Hi!
    You got reason. The 65/17mm was the standard italian mountain artillery weapon in WWI. Between world wars mountain artillery passed to 75/13 howitzer and 65/17 were passed to infantry support with also AT role in which were employed in Spain Civil War giving also decent results. It was programmed it had to be substiuted by 47/32mm gun but in 1940 it was still the standard weapon for infantry support. It was employed in regimental cannon companies (4 guns for regiment). Considering its limits it gave good performances. I have to remember that British Light and cruiser Tanks had no a great armor....Logically when other guns started to be more spread its employment lowered (but never disappeared). At the moment I don't remember its data, when I find them, I'll write if you're intenrested in

    Bye
    Lupo
     
  7. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    Thanks Lupo,

    I would like to know the name of this gun so I can research it further. If you have any data; penetration or HE data, I'd be most interested to hear from you.
     
  8. Dub

    Dub Member

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    WW2 FACT FILES Infantry, Mountain, and Airborne Guns by Chamberlain and Gander sez: The Cannone da 65/17 was produced in 1913 and there were still over 700 in service. They had been withdrawn from Alpine units and were in use as infantry support guns. "The 65/17 was meant to have an anti-tank role but the rounds issued were ineffective and remained little used." The thing only weighed 1226lbs. Range was 6500meters. HE shell weight was 9.35lbs. Hope this helps a bit. No proof, but I'll bet the alleged AT round was solid shot.
     
  9. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    Thanks, Dub

    As for the solid shot, I mentioned that above. It was, supposedly, sufficient at short range to knock a track off a Matilda.
     
  10. Dub

    Dub Member

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    Believable about knocking the track off. Tracks have always been pretty fragile. Still, I'll bet it was one brave s.o.b. who pulled the trigger!
     
  11. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    From what I've read about the early war in the desert, during the British/Australian advance, the only Italian units that accounted well of themselves were the artillery. Perhaps this is in large part because the Italian gunners had confidence in their guns and were well trained and well-prepared. Besides that, the British tanks fired no HE ammo from their main guns so they had to get in close to the artillery before they could use their machine guns. This puts a tank at a disadvantage when attacking anti-tank guns. This disadvantage was only rectified when the Grant was introduced in mid 42.
     
  12. richard g

    richard g Member

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    The Italian artillery was often effectively attacked by counter-battery fire from the 25pdrs.

    Italian gun info is very hard to come by. There was the Somovente assault gun armed with the 75/18 gun and later the 75/32, the former classified as a gun/howitzer, the latter as a field gun. I think that only the 75/18 served in North Africa.
     
  13. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    The Book: Panzer Battles does explain a few things about Italian Artillery. This book is by: Generalmajor F.W.von Mellenthin.
     
  14. bogtrotter52

    bogtrotter52 recruit

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    One source for the Italian 65mm Infantry gun (Cannone da 65) is David Miller's "Fighting Men of Word War II, Axis Forces: Uniforms, Equipment, & Weapons", Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA. However, no statistics as to armor piercing ability. My sense is that this gun was not used much in any anti-tank role; perhaps it lacked muzzle velocity. This is odd because other general support guns like the Soviet 76mm divisional gun had very good anti-tank capability (as opposed to smaller AT guns like Soviet 45mm, Italian 47mmm, or Brit 40mm); these larger guns tended to be effective with both HE and AP shot. Were these 65mmm guns could have been effective firing the 9.5-pound HE shell if mounted in British Valentine tanks for infantry support or to knock out anti-tank guns (as with British 3.7" howitzers mounted in Crusader tanks as "close support" tanks.
     

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