Osprey's Italian Armored and Reconnaissance Cars 1911-45


Filippo Cappellano & Pier Paulo Battistelli


Osprey Publishing


$18.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2433-2

Something that has been operated by most major powers since the type was first developed was the armored car. These were useful for reconnaissance as well, though the addition of armor and guns usually made them fairly slow and often unable to operate off hard surfaces. During WWI, Italy was one of the nations that developed and used armored cars.

However, once the war was over, no new vehicles were developed. This became a bit of an issue a few decades later. Even the planning for Army motorized units completely left off both armored and reconnaissance cars. It was felt that the tankettes that Italy produced (and they were probably at the forefront of development of this sort of vehicle) would suffice for both purposed. This did not prove to be the case. These vehicles were rather slow and so being able to do any realistic scouting was denied Italian planners.

Not to say that nothing was being developed. Indeed, several types were under development, it is just that until Italy entered WWII, nothing had gone beyond the planning and prototype stage. It was the Italian Army's defeats at the hands of the British in North Africa during 1940 that spurred the development of armored cars and reconnaissance vehicles. Those developed were actually some of the best of the war and included the AB40 and AB41. Later versions that were entering service just prior to the Italian Armistice were taken over by the Germans and several types were continued in production specifically for German Army use in the area and the Balkans. Post war, the newer types continued serving until replaced by more modern vehicles.

The book is part of my favorite series from Osprey. These all follow a similar format with the reason for the boat, the development of the systems and the development of the vehicles themselves. This follows a logical progression of the various types and sub-types and includes the weapons systems carried by each one. We are provided with a short history  of these vehicles including any notable incidents and accomplishments. The book is divided into two sections with armored cars covered first and the reconnaissance cars in the section major section. Add in the superb period photographs and illustrations and you have a super book.

It adds to a great series and would be what many would call a 'gateway' book as it provides a goodly amount of information and is an impetus to those who want to know even more. Highly recommended.

August 2018

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