Monday, August 18, 2008

Italian colonial artillery

It all started with what seemed a harmless question: which ordnance was available to the Italian troops in Abyssinia?
It turns out that the information is not as easily available as I was expecting. I googled long and hard, with very little satisfaction. I found out what artillery was available to Menelik (old muzzle-loaders, about 30 Krupp cannons and a few Hotchkiss quick-firing guns), but very little about the Italian guns.
The most promising bite of information is from a page by Associazione Nazionale Alpini, which refers to the "75" mountain pieces - I believe these were the guns also referred to as "75 A" or "75 B", where A=acciaio (steel), and B-bronzo (bronze.) Another a mention is for "cannone da 75/27", a Krupp model that, stricly speaking, was first produced in 1906 (ten years after Adowa.) Not that I am that picky, yet...
I can get stubborn, at times. So I kept digging, until finally I reached the information I was looking for: here. It's in Italian, but it is very interesting. Strictly speaking, it only refers to the mountain batteries manned by the askaris, but for the time being, it suffices. And it includes a nice pictures of the Italian 75 mountain gun, which I will share below.

Of course, the article doesn't cast light on the regular Italian line guns, but fortunately, I recently found a Yahoo groups ("Adowa1896") specifically dedicated to the Italian colonial wars. I guess I will head there next.

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