Italian Medium Tanks in Action (Armour Number 39)
By Nicola Pignato
Publisher: Squadron Signal Publications 2001 48 Pages
PDF 8 MB
The British introduced tanks into combat on 15 September 1916. late in their Somnie Offensive during World War One. The British - soon followed by the French and Germans -deployed tanks in an attempt to break the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front in France and Belgium. The mountainous conditions of the Italian Front, where Italy faced Austria-Hungary between 1915 and 19IX, were not considered ideal for effectively employing the early tanks. The Italian Comando Supremo (High Command) did recognize the potential of these new weapons and acquired a Schneider C.A.1 medium tank from France in 1917. This vehicle was tested on terrain similar to that found on the Italian Front.
The Italians planned to purchase a limited number of tanks: however. Italy's defeat at the Battle of Caporetto (24 October-12 November 1917) and the subsequent retreat to northern Italy's Piave River halted tank procurement for the time being. A French Renault FT was delivered to the Regio Est-rvito (RiW\ Italian Army) in July of 1918. followed immediately by three others from France. An order was placed at that time with Fiat for 1400 license-built FTs for completion by May of 1919. Only 100 Fiat-built FTs were completed when World War One ended, and the remaining order was cancelled.