The Autoblinda 40 (AB 40) was an Italian armored car built in small numbers in 1940. Armament consisted of two 8 mm machine guns in a turret. 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 Autoblinda 41 (AB 41) was an Italian armored car in use during World War II. It was armed with a 20 mm Breda 35 autocannon and a coaxial 8mm machine gun in a turret similar to the one fitted to the Fiat L6/40, and another hull mounted rear-facing 8mm machine gun.
The AB 41 (named after its first year of production, 1941) 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.
It had six forward gears and four reverse gears, with a driving position at the front and one in the rear, so two crew members were drivers. Its chassis was later used on the AS 42 "Camionetta Sahariana". About 550 vehicles were built in all. It was planned to upgrade the AB 41 with a 47 mm anti-tank gun as the AB 43 but those plans were disrupted by the armistice in September 1943.
The AB 41 was used during World War II in North Africa, the Balkans, Italy, Hungary, and on the Soviet Front.
The AB41 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. The German designation was Panzerspähwagen AB41 201(i).
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