Semovente 105/14 SPG

In the final months of WW1, the Italian Army, which had developed a keen interest in armoured vehicles, aquired four FT-17's from France: two with cast Girod turret (1 MG, 1 cannon) and two with riveted Omnibus turret (both equipped with MG). The Italians first just wanted to produce a simple copy, but soon started modifying and improving the existing FT design, a process that eventually would end in perhaps the best tank of the early Twenties, the FIAT 3000.

Semovente 105/14 1 Semovente 105/14 2

Also, in the end of 1918, the idea came up to use the existing FT chassis for a Self-Propelled Gun. The Girod cannon armed FT-17 no 66947 was selected for prototype work. The project was led by an Engineer named Bennicelli, and was done by Ansaldo. It was a simple conversion: the turret was removed, and a 105mm Howitzer installed in it’s place, facing backwards. Also, the vehicle had no space for the ammunition, which had to be transported separately, which of course limited its tactical useability (at least as long as there was no separate fully-tracked supply vehicle, i.e. also a FT-17 supply variant). In april 1919 the first Semovente 105/14 was shown off, in presence of the King, at the Stadio di Roma. The Italian Army had plans to order 12 Semoventi 105/14, but nothing came of this.