Italian 20mms


The Italian 20mm M35 machine cannon was used extensively in North Africa by them and later by the Australians. The Australians left them there. Any ideas what happened to these guns and ammo ?


The Australians took them to Syria in the campaign to occupy the Vichy French areas in 1940-1 (During the assistance to Greece). Several incidents involving shots at “un-recognised” British (RAF) Planes (no “Friend or Foe” acknowledgement) resulted in orders to withdraw the excellent AA Guns from the Aussie units who had “souvenired” them from North Africa.
Aussie units had only rifle-calibre AA equipment, and the occasional 40mm Bofors units. The 20mm guns were manna from heaven in North Africa, especially in Tobruk.

I would not be surprised if some even accompanied the Australians into Greece and Crete, where they would have subsequently been lost to the Germans. ( Ref. Australian WW II Official History)

After WW II, a lot of the (Italian) Equipment left in North Africa was sold off as Scrap iron, by the newly independant Libyan Kingdom of Idriess el Senussi, including the damaged Italian Colonial Railway system, which was systematically torn up as a “memory of Colonial Imperialism”.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Excellent history as usual. I have a request from a museum down your way to find a feed tray and some shells for their display of this gun brought back from WW2. Does anyone down there have the same ?


I don’t have a tray, but here’s a photo of an Italian Breda 20 mm AA gun as used by the Italians in the Spanish Civil War. The trays are visible and they look similar to those for the 8 x 59 mm Breda machine gun.


Thank you. That is certainly what I am looking for. The 8mm BREDA types are not rare in the US. The 20’s are.


The 20MMs exist in different capacities. No rarity in Europe.


Good to hear. Sell me one.


Several trays, the wooden boxes and ammo in good condition where offered here in Germany the last year. I will let you know if I see them for sale at auctions ect… Like always the problem would be to transport the stuff to you.


Many thanks for the kind assistance. These are going to the Australian war memorial Museum.