|Upgrades to||Autoblinda 43|
A great early reconnaissance vehicle, the Autoblinda 40 is mainly used to harass infantry, supply lines or other reconnaissance vehicles. If under heavy fire, it can quickly retreat, and come back to haunt enemies again. It can be upgraded to a Autoblinda 43, which is more capable in battle situations.
The Autoblinda 40 appeared in mid-1940. After a small number of units had rolled off the production line, experiments were conducted with a new turret and a 20mm cannon in place of the twin 8mm machine guns in order to increase firepower.
The Autoblinda 40 was first designed and built in small numbers in 1940. During production a need for heavier armament was envisioned and so the AB 40 was redesigned as the AB 41 which was the same vehicle except for a new turret with a 20 mm autocannon. Most of the 24 AB 40s that had been built were then converted to AB 41s.
The AB 41 was based on the machine gun armed Autoblinda 40. Made with an all-riveted construction, the AB 41 had four-wheel drive and a four wheel steering system that proved troublesome. The spare wheels fitted to its sides were free to rotate, thus helping the vehicle over rough terrain and allowing it to drive over higher obstacles. It could also be fitted with wheels that would allow it to run on railway tracks and some were modified further to better serve in this role, with the addition of sand boxes and rail guards to deflect objects from the rails. This version was designated AB 41 Ferroviaria.
The AB 41 was first used during World War II in North Africa, the Balkans, Italy, Hungary, and on the Eastern Front. The Autoblinda 40/41 was issued to cavalry, Italian Africa Police and Bersaglieri units. The cars were organized into reconnaissance battalions of 48 cars, 12 in each independent company, and 4 in each squadron that proved highly suitable for reconnaissance, escort and security duties.
The AB 41 could be quickly adapted for operation on any terrain. Sand tires could be fitted for desert work and it could run on railway tracks with special bogies and extra lights. The rail-converted vehicles were primarily used in anti-partisan patrols in the Balkans.
After the Italian armistice the Germans confiscated some 57 AB 41s and also built 120 more.