Colonel Berlese, a high ranking Italian artillery officer, first made the suggestion to create a vehicle similar to the German StuG III, which had much success in the French campaign. The first Semovente da 75/18 (Self-Propelled Gun) prototype was delivered on 10 Feb 1941 and showed much promise. A order of 60 other units were ordered, all of which were delivered in 1941 and shipped to the Italian divisions in Libya in Jan 1942.
Initially, the Semovente da 75/18 was internally identical to the M13/40, the major difference being the 75 mm Ansaldo L/18 field gun fixed in the superstructure, and the obvious upper hull changes. By 1942, Italy was producing armored vehicles that were better suited for desert conditions than their previous models, and the Semovente da 75/18 was considered an interim vehicle until the heavier “P” tanks could be produced. The Semoventi 75/18 were quite effective against the U.S. built M3 Grant and M4 Sherman medium tanks utilized by the British Army.
These units were of good quality and very respected in the deserts of N. Africa, and the use of the Italian 75 mm EP (Effetto Pronto; Ready Effect, or HESH rounds), allowed for the piercing of 2.8 inches (70mm) of armor plating. A total of 60 vehicles were built using the M-13/40 hull, and 162 using the M41 chassis (M 14-41 hull).
|Class||Semovente da 75/18|
|Rate of Fire||4 rnds/min|
|Fire Range||10,280 yards|
|Weapons||75mm L/18 with 44 rounds Breda Model 38 MG (early models) 6.5mm Breda Model 30 MG|
|Elevation||-11º to +22.5º|