One of the two standard Italian 20mm anti-aircraft guns was the Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 modello 35 (Breda) that was first manufactured in 1934. The Breda was designed as a dual purpose weapon for use against ground and air targets and was taken into service by the Italian army in 1935. The 20mm Breda was a very effective weapon and was much used by the Italian army. It had a rather complicated twin-wheeled carriage that could be towed into action behind a truck but that was light enough to be broken down into four pack loads for man or mule carriage. In action the gun required a three-man crew. The aimer sat on the gun and used a complex telescopic sight incorporating a predictor function. Ammunition was fed into the gun on 12-round trays and the feed mechanism contained the feature of placing the spent cartridges back into the tray once it was fired. This feature appeared on many Italian automatic weapons and had the advantage of keeping the gun position tidy.
Against ground targets the gun fired armor-piercing rounds. Aircraft targets were engaged with a high explosive projectile that incorporated a very sensitive percussion fuse to operate against light aircraft structures. The projectile also had a self-destruct feature if it did not hit a target. The tripod platform of the gun provided a steady base for firing and against aircraft the gun proved very successful. Against tanks it was less effective, but any weapons captured by the Allies during the North African campaigns were usually mounted on the light armored cars to provide them with more offensive capability than a machine gun provided. The Germans also took over numbers of Breda guns for their own use in North Africa under the designation 2-cm Breda (i). Breda guns were also given to the German allies after Italy’s surrender, such as Slovakia, and was used in China as well. There was also a modello 39 that was a more complex weapon on a static pedestal type mounting on which the gun itself was suspended below curved arms that carried the sighting system. This version was usually retained for homeland defense of Italy.
|Length of Piece||51.2in (1.3m)|
|Firing Weight||678lbs (307.35kg)|
|Maximum Ceiling||8,202ft (2,500m)|
|Elevation||–10º to +80º|
|Muzzle Velocity||2,723-2,789 ft/sec (830-850m/s)|
|Rate of Fire||cyclic: 200-220 rpm|
|Shell Weight||.298lbs (.135kg)|
Information courtesy JDG