Italian Tanks

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The Maserati Supremo MkII. The current main battle tank of the Italian army.

Italian tanks are unique machines of war. The Italians, after centuries of warfare in fighting and losing against men with spears, have adopted a doctrine to building their tanks that no other world power has adopted. Instead of the conventional doctrine of improving armour and firepower, the Italians design each new tank faster than the one before. This doctrine was developed thanks to the North African Campaign, where the Italians and later Germans fought against the British Commonwealth, the Free French, and the Greeks. It was adopted as the original Italian tanks were so useless against the British that a machine gun could take the tank out.

To improve on the tanks' design, the Italians played to their strengths. They had already made Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis, so all they needed to do was put an engine from one of those into a bathtub with wheels and their tank was born. Thanks to this, their tanks could run away from an enemy machine gun before it had a chance to fire. This was seen as a brilliant move in Italy and the Italian generals used the same tactic throughout the rest of the war.

Tank manufacture

Every Italian tank has three gears, all in Reverse. The Italians are famous for building the World's fastest reversing tanks. They do this by getting the weight balance just right. To get each successive tank to go faster, they use a smaller armament and a larger engine. The first Italian tanks manufactured before WW2 were armed with a machine gun and could only go 10mph backwards. The modern Italian tank Maserati Supremo MkII is armed with a rifle and does up to 85mph backwards.

An example of an Italian tank from WW2.

The Italians are also famous for having small tanks. Small tanks are harder to shoot at when they are running away at 80mph. To do this, the Italians strip off as much armour as possible off the tank.

The petrol tank on Italian tanks is bigger than usual to accommodate for large amounts of highly explosive jet fuel. This naturally makes them go faster. And having a larger fuel capacity means an Italian tank can carry on running for a lot longer than its rivals. There are only two problems with this: Firstly, thanks to the Italians taking off most of the armour, it only takes a standard infantry rifle to penetrate the hull of the tank, igniting and exploding the jet fuel. Secondly, jet fuel is used up a lot quicker than petrol so the Italian tank can sustain a top reversing speed of 80mph for only two minutes and forty seconds.


The engineer riding on the tank.

Each Italian tank has one person inside it and one person outside it. The occupant of the vehicle acts as the driver/gunner while the person riding on the exterior refuels the tank every five minutes and carries out constant maintenance work.

The occupant gets a small space behind the fuel tank to put his legs in. His upper body stays outside the tank as there is no room inside. The engineer sits in between two wheels in the tank tracks as pictured on the left.

Sometimes an anti-aircraft gunner is seated on top of the tank if that weapon is present. In a command tank, a trailer is attached to the back of the tank where the commanding officer stands.

The easiest and safest job is the engineer as he only needs to fix things and when the tank is hit he can simply jump off to safety. The driver on the other hand has to perform two jobs at once: firing and driving. He needs to look backwards to see where he is driving at the same time as firing forwards which is a very difficult job to do. Also if the tank is hit he is surrounded by a tank full of jet fuel so probably will not survive.


The anti-aircraft turret.

The main armament on the Maserati Supremo now is a A236 S2 rifle. The rifle has passed all necesary tests and easily penetrated and blew up another Italian dummy tank at a range of 200metres. It is comfortable to use and can be fired at stationary targets when the tank is standing still. The rifle is also multi-purpose as it can be used as an anti-Infantry and anti-tank weapon. Each tank contains 10 rounds of ammunition for the rifle which is plenty of bullets to use before the tank disappears over the horizon.

The Maserati Supremo also has an optional anti-aircraft system. This provided by a man holding a catapult and firing pellets into the air at incoming fighter planes. In a test done at the end of WW1 4/10 pellets hit the planes overhead so it is proven to be effective enough. Also, by having a human as the turret of the anti-aircraft System instead of a machine turret, the turret can react faster to incoming missiles by jumping off and running for cover.

The tank also has a radio operating system in the back of the tank which is powered by electricity made by the jet fuel. Another optional extra is to attach riot shields to the front so that the tank can be used against leftist mobs. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi used them on many occasions to keep back all the protestors outside the government building in Rome after he said that he agreed with Mussolini's ideals. After seeing this the Greek government bought a huge batch of up to thirty tanks from the Italian government. The only problem with using them against demonstrators in Greece is that flame bombs can easily blow an Italian tank in one hit whilst batons and clubs can simply smash through the light armour and get to the men inside. Protestors can also jump over it as it is so small. The Catholic Church also "borrowed" some of the Maserati Supremo tanks off the Italians and used them to crush the protestant uprisings in the North of Europe however it was soon useless against the enemy's Porsche Tiger anti-catholic tank which could just roll over a Maserati tank.

The history of Italian tank warfare

Italo-Ethiopian War

The first Italian tanks were employed in the second Italo-Ethiopian War from 1935-1936. These tanks were sought to be employed against the local natives, in order to deal a quick and decisive blow. This would prove to be a surprise to the Italian war machine, as their new tanks weren't much of a match in the face of their enemy. The Ethiopian natives would simply thrust a spear into the wafer thin wall of the tank, which immediately set it ablaze and promptly led to a fiery explosion. Out of the 43 proud Italian tanks put into the war, only 8 survived. In the end, after a prolonged and fierce fight between the advanced Italian army and the native Ethiopian tribes, a truce was settled where the Italians were to receive only half the territory, and George Lucas was to receive half his inspiration for the battle of Endor.

North African Campaign

The Semovente Italian tank on the front line in North Africa.

Italian tanks were first pitted against another super power's tanks in WW2 in the North African campaign when they faced the British. The Italians took their 10th Army under General Graziani into British controlled Egypt. It had 300,000 men and 600 tanks. After travelling 50 miles over the border into Egypt Graziani halted the invasion as they had used up all their rare jet fuel and needed re-supplying.

The British general Richard O'Connor was given command of the 7th Armoured Division (the desert rats) and the 4th Indian Division composing of 30,000 men and 275 tanks to strike back at the huge Italian army. The attack was successful and drove the Italians out of Libya and back into Tripoli.

The Italian tanks proved obselete against the British Crusader botch-job tanks and Matilda II WW1 style infantry tanks. The British didn't even need anti-tank weapons to destroy them and simply poured hot tea over the Italian tanks as they were running past which would ignite the tank and make it explode.

The North African Campaign continued with little success for Italian tanks for the three years it went on for. The best tank the Italians were ever to produce in WW2 was the Semovente (pictured) which was armed with a olive and grape shooter on the front as shells had been rationed and there was a huge supply of olives and grapes.

After Italy's defeat in the war the Italians decided not to use there tanks in a combat for a while as they did not want their tanks to get damaged, dirty and scratched as they prized them so much.


In 2001 the Italians were forced to send troops to Iraq as a leading super power in the World. This move was made in response to a Terrorist Attack on the Vatican in which three Bishops were killed and another bishop was seriously injured. There was also a minor incident in the US involving the Twin Towers although the US had to be pushed by the Italians to respond to that action. Therefore Italy declared war on the terrorists and was backed up by the British, the US and France.

Italian tanks performed very well during the campaign with none damaged. It was noted that they didn't fight in any major battles and might not even have sent tanks there at all. This proved that finally the Italian tanks after years of technical evolution were truly great war machines. The tanks lost no casualties in tanks to tens of thousands of terrorists and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. The Italians withdrew their troops from Iraq in 2008 after they suffered 7 casualties during occupation there.

See Also

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