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The Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 modello 35 (Breda), also known as Breda Model 35, was a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun produced by the Società Italiana Ernesto Breda of Brescia company in Italy and used during World War II. It was designed in 1932 and was adopted by the Italian armed forces in 1935. It was the one of two 20-millimetre-calibre anti-aircraft guns used by Italy during World War II, the other being the 20 mm Scotti. Both weapons fired the 20x138mmB cartridge.

Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 modello 35
Breda 20-65 anti-aircraft gun in Beijing.jpg
A 20/65 Breda anti-aircraft gun in Beijing. This example does not have the predictor sight mounted or the muzzle booster fitted on many other examples.
TypeLight anti-aircraft gun
Place of originItaly
Service history
In service1935–ca 1985
Used byKingdom of Italy
Australia
Republic of China [1]
Ecuador
Finland [2]
Nazi Germany
Slovakia
Dominican Republic
United Kingdom
WarsSecond Sino-Japanese War, Spanish Civil War, World War II, Ecuadorian–Peruvian War
Production history
Designed1932
ManufacturerBreda Meccanica Bresciana
Specifications
Mass330 kg (730 lb)
Length3.34 m (10 ft 11 in)
Barrel length1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Crew3–6

Shell20×138mmB
Caliber20 mm (0.79 in)
Barrels1
ActionGas-operated
Elevation-10 degrees to +80
Traverse360 degrees
Rate of fire240 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity840 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
Effective firing range1,500 m (4,900 ft) (against aerial targets)
Maximum firing range5.5 km (3.4 mi)
Feed system12 round strip
SightsTelescopic predictor sight

DesignEdit

Designed as a dual purpose weapon for use against both aircraft and ground targets, it was effective against light tanks, with the armour-piercing round being able to penetrate 30 millimeters of armour at a range of 500 meters. It had a two-wheeled trailer, but due to its structural weakness that limited the towing speed to 20 km/h, the weapon was usually transported on a truck bed instead.

Naval versionEdit

This gun was widely employed by the Regia Marina as a deck-mounted anti-aircraft weapon in most Italian warships, in both single and twin mountings; considered a fairly efficient weapon, in the widespread Model 1935 twin mounting, it shared with the similar Cannone-Mitragliera da 37/54 the operating systems and therefore its flaws, namely high vibrations and the requirement for a strong supporting structure. Of the two single mountings (Model 1939 and 1940), the latter (widely used on small units like corvettes, and MAS), partly corrected these faults and had a better sight; however, overall the Breda 20 mm was considered somewhat inferior to the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon (used by the Regia Marina from 1941). All the mountings had an elevation of −10 to +90 degrees.[3][4]

UseEdit

 
An AS.42 of the Italian Auto-Saharan Company mounted with a Breda 20/65 M35.
 
A Breda 20/65 M35 mounted as the main armament on an Italian AB 41 armored car. The vehicle on the left is a German Sd.Kfz 10/5 mounting the 20 mm FlaK 38.

In addition to use as an anti-aircraft gun, the Model 35 was mounted as the main armament in several vehicles. It was initially fitted in four Panzer Is converted during the Spanish Civil War, by the Nationalists, in an effort to improve their fighting capability against the Soviet T-26s fielded by the Republican forces. Later the gun was fitted to Fiat L6/40 light tanks and the AB 41 armoured cars.

After the Winter War had begun, Finland bought a total of 88 Breda guns from Italy, the last arriving during the Interim Peace in June 1940. Five of the Finnish Bredas were later lost in action during the Continuation War. In addition, the four Italian-built Jymy class motor torpedo boats operated by the Finnish Navy each had one 20 mm Breda cannon on the rear deck. The Finnish Defence Forces used the 20 ItK/35 Breda, as the gun was officially known in that service, as a training weapon for anti-aircraft crews for several decades after the end of World War II. In 1985 there were still 76 guns remaining in the inventory, but all of these were discarded later during that decade.

In North Africa, the Commonwealth forces captured a large number of Breda Model 35s during Operation Compass, enabling the Australian 2/3 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment,[5] parts of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Brigade (which had a total of 42 Bredas in its Light Anti-Aircraft batteries during the Siege of Tobruk) and one battery of 106th (Lancashire Hussars) Regiment, RHA to be equipped with them.

Captured Bredas were used by the Long Range Desert Group and aboard a number of Royal Australian Navy and Royal Navy vessels including HMAS Vendetta, HMAS Perth[6] and HMS Ladybird, and at least one Marmon-Herrington Mk II armoured car.[7]

 
Gunner R.K. Bryant of 8th Battery, Australian 2/3 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, with a Breda Model 35 gun at Derna, Libya, in March 1941. The predictor sight and a 12-round ammunition strip can be seen in this image.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (World War 2 in China), Chinese Nationalist Army soldiers used the Breda Model 35 during the Battle of Xinkou, shooting down 3 Japanese planes. The Breda Model 35 was not only used in the anti-aircraft role but was also used to destroy Japanese tanks and armored vehicles.

Ecuadorian Army bought some Breda guns before the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War but lost 9 of them during the war.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Some were captured during the war and pressed into service". Archived from the original on 13 September 2007.
  2. ^ FINNISH ARMY 1918 – 1945: ANTIAIRCRAFT GUNS PART 1
  3. ^ Campbell, p. 346
  4. ^ Bagnasco, p. 85-7
  5. ^ Rae, CJE, Harris, AL & Bryant, RK 1987, On target: the story of the 2/3 Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment from formation on 18th July 1940 until disbandment on 14 July 1943 and the subsequent service of 7th Battery, 8th Battery, and 9th Battery, until the end of World War II, 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association, Melbourne
  6. ^ [1] Australian War Memorial photograph collection, ID Numbers P00219.015 and P01915.015.
  7. ^ "The British Army in North Africa 1941: E 2872 (photograph)". Imperial War Museum Collection Search. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  8. ^ Jowett, Philip (28 June 2018). Latin American Wars 1900–1941: "Banana Wars," Border Wars & Revolutions. Men-at-Arms 519. Osprey Publishing. pp. 40, 42. ISBN 9781472826282.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 modello 35 at Wikimedia Commons