ww1 italy (1918)
Armored car - 14 built
The "Tripoli" FIAT-Terni, also known as the Terni armored car, "FIAT" or "FIAT Tripoli Libya", was an armored car used in colonial areas controlled by the royal army during the interwar period. It was born at the Terni steel mill in OTO (Livorno) in 1918. It was one of the first components of the future OTO-Melara consortium.
However, the northern Italian front was not favorable for armored cars. At the end of the conflict, the general staff issued specifications for an armored car intended for use in the colonies. These were put into service at the end of the war and remained so until the beginning of 1942.
The FIAT-Terni Tripoli was more than twice as light as the Lancia IZ, as well as faster and more agile. It was based on the Fiat 15b Military, a two-axle rear-wheel drive chassis with a wheelbase of 3.07 meters (9 feet 12 inches), 1.4 meters (4 feet 7 inches) wide. The wheels were steel discs, with a single front axle and a double rear axle (2 × 4 configuration).
The engine was the Fiat 53A, 4,398 cc petrol, which developed 36 hp at 1,600 rpm. The armored body consisted of cold steel plates 6 mm (0.24 inches) thick, forming a combination of two cylinders, one that housed the engine in the front and one vertical, containing the main guide and combat compartment, and a flattened rear storage tail with a fixed spare wheel.
The main compartment was equipped with two side doors, while the front driver and co-pilot received their sight slits with armored flaps. A four-man crew was housed in the narrow space of the turret and the cockpit, without separation. The radiator grille of the engine was protected by armored shutters.
The large two-man fully revolving turret received a single Fiat-Revelli Mod. 1914 machine gun 6.5 × 52 mm (0.25 inches). The roof of the production tower was flat, but the prototype had slanted sides and fenders on the rear wheels.
FIAT-Terni Tripoli in action
A first group of 12 armored cars was sent to Libya, for the Royal Corps of Colonial Troops in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, and were engaged in the reconquest. The Tripoli served in mixed units with Lancia IZ and FIAT trucks armed with pistols, part of the armored squadrons of the III and IV Battalion "Cacciatores de Africa" (African hunters).
After the pacification, FIAT-Terni remained in service, taking on colonial police duties and patrols against the possible insurrection. In the mid-thirties, better and more modern vehicles succeeded in this model, which joined the reserve.
However, with the outbreak of World War II, the colonial forces of the royal army were found to be running out of motorized vehicles. Therefore, the surviving 6-8 Tripoli vehicles were stripped of their chassis and the bodies were mounted on more modern Fiat SPA-38R truck chassis. The turrets were open toe and 12.7 mm (0.5 inch) Breda-Safat heavy machine guns were installed, removed from obsolete aircraft.
These vehicles were assigned to the special "Babini" armored Brigade in the role of antiaircraft, but all were lost in the first months of the campaign in North Africa.