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MZ (Italy)

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MZ (Italy)

Postby D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:03 pm

MFP motozattera MZ.jpg
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moto zattere 1.jpg
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In preparation for its proposed invasion of Malta, Operazione C3, the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) secured design plans from the Kriegsmarine for the MFP-A in late 1941 and placed an initial order for 65 vessels, numbered 701 through 765. These motozattere (or Bette MZ as they were officially designated) were built in Italian shipyards, primarily in and around Palermo, and gave the Italian Navy the necessary amphibious capability to land infantry, armored vehicles and supplies directly onto an open beach. Up to three M13/40 medium tanks and 100 fully equipped infantrymen could be carried or an equivalent weight in cargo. The only major design changes were to substitute Italian-made diesel engines (OM BXD 150 hp six-cylinder types as used in the Littorina diesel trains) for the German powerplant of three Deutz truck engines and to replace the German-made 7.5 cm deck gun with a 76 mm/40 quick-firing Italian gun.
The first motozattera was laid down in March 1942. By July of that year, the month slated for the Malta invasion, all 65 MZs had been completed and were ready for deployment. On 27 July, however, the invasion was indefinitely postponed and many Italian MZs were diverted to the task of ferrying supplies from Italy to Libya and between ports along the Libyan coast in order to support Panzerarmee Afrika's advance into Egypt.
In September 1942, 40 additional MZs (761-800) were ordered. This modified version featured a raised bow to improve sea-keeping, a strengthened keel, larger fuel tanks for increased range, a lining of concrete “armor” 100mm thick for anti-splinter protection and a second 20mm AA gun mounted amidships.
A third series of 40 MZs was ordered in June 1943 but none were ever completed. A further 20 examples (MZ 801-820) were also planned, being an exact copy of the MFP-D (including the same engines and armament), but this too never materialized as by then the war situation for Italy had worsened considerably and her armed forces had been expelled from North Africa.
In all, 95 motozattere were built in Italian shipyards prior to Italy’s signing of an armistice with the Allies on 8 September 1943.
Displacement:239 tons, L:47m. B:6,50m. D:2,30m/4,15m. Draft:0,95/1,40m. 3-6 cil. Saurer BXD/Milan diesels:450 hp. 11 kn., range:1450 nm/8 kn. complement:13.

(Somaliland 2011, 1500 a. StG.?)
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D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen
 
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