MANUFACTURER(S): State Arsenals - Italy
OPERATORS: Albania; Kingdom of Italy
LENGTH: 3.61 feet (1.1 meters)
WEIGHT: 1 Tons (560 kilograms; 1,235 pounds)
ENGINE: None. This is a towed artillery piece.
RANGE: 4 miles (7 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Cannone da 65/17 modello 13 Mountain Gun / Anti-Tank Gun.
Entry last updated on 7/24/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In 1913, the Italian Army adopted a 65mm towed mountain gun artillery system intended for its specially trained mountain infantry elements. The system was designated as the "Cannone da 65/17 Modello 13" and entered service in time for the Italian commitment in World War 1. The Modello 13 received its long form designation by its projectile size ("65mm") and its barrel length (measuring "17" calibers). Modello 13 guns were used extensively throughout the war and remained in the Italian inventory long enough to serve in World War 2. Prior to this, the gun was also witnessed in the Spanish Civil War as Italy threw its support behind the Nationalist movement.
The Modello 13 gun was designed from the outset to be as portable an artillery piece as possible. As such, the type was a relatively lightweight development with wheeled carriage for ease of use in the mountainous regions of Italy which neighbored potential enemies of the period. The system constituted a breech-loaded barrel assembly fitted atop a recoil mechanism which, altogether, was mounted to a stout arrangement supported by a single axle and two solid, multi-spoked steel wheels. There was a single trail arm at the rear for towing by pack animal or mover vehicle. The carriage allowed for an elevation span of -10 to +20 degrees and a traverse of 8-degrees before the entire unit would have to be shifted. Muzzle velocity was 1,130 feet per second while effective range for the HE (High-Explosive) 9.5 shell was out to 4.2 miles. A trained crew could fire off between six and eight rounds per minute.
The Modello 13 gave a good account of itself in Italian service throughout World War 1, proving to be both reliable and very manageable under the most adverse of battlefield conditions. After the war and during the recovering 1920s, Italian mountain divisions received all new guns which allowed the still-effective Modello 13s to be passed on to regular Italian infantry divisions. They existed in their basic forms until 1935 to which an optional folding gun shield was added to provide some basic protection to the gunnery crew. Beyond this, the guns remained largely unchanged heading into World War 2 to which they were now categorized as infantry guns and utilized in the close-support role where its direct-fire prowess could be put to good use. Italian gun crews were highly respected in the conflict for their "fight to the last" mentality rather than abandoning their guns. When pressed, the system also made for an adequate anti-tank gun (particularly against light-class tanks and vehicles) and examples were fitted onto Italian Army trucks to provide a more stable firing platform for the role. The 65mm projectile was, however, limited in this case but admirably filled a required battlefield role nonetheless.
Modello 13 guns managed an existence up through the end of World War 2 by which time they had become obsolete instruments, their caliber too specialized and their firepower too weak against the growing armor protection of the day. Beyond its use by Italy, the Kingdom of Albania became a noted operator of the type.
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