Breda Model 35

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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.
Type Light anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin  Kingdom of Italy
Service history
In service 1935–ca 1985
Used by  Italy
 Australia
 China[1]
 Ecuador
 Finland[2]
 Nazi Germany
Slovakia Slovakia
 United Kingdom
Wars Spanish Civil War, World War II, Ecuadorian–Peruvian War
Production history
Designed 1932
Manufacturer Breda Meccanica Bresciana
Specifications
Weight 330 kg (730 lb)
Length 3.34 m (10 ft 11 in)
Barrel length 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Crew 3–6

Shell 20×138mmB
Caliber 20 mm (0.79 in)
Barrels 1
Action Gas-operated
Elevation -10 degrees to +80
Traverse 360 degrees
Rate of fire 240 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 840 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
Effective firing range 1,500 m (4,900 ft) (against aerial targets)
Maximum firing range 5.5 km (3.4 mi)
Feed system 12 round strip
Sights Telescopic predictor sight

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 of the weapons fired the 20x138mmB cartridge.

Design[edit]

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.

Use[edit]

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. Initially 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. In addition, this gun was employed as a deck-mounted anti-aircraft weapon in at least some of the MAS torpedo boats. The naval mounting had an elevation of -10 to +90 degrees and it used the same sights as the land based version.

After the Winter War had begun, Finland bought a total of 88 Breda guns from Italy, last ones 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.

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,[3] 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[4] and HMS Ladybird, and at least one Marmon-Herrington Mk II armoured car.[5]

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 those were discarded later during that decade.

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.

References[edit]