Scotti , italian 8 mm antitank rifle


#1

In the last “armi e tiro” magazine issue , there is an article about an experimental antitank rifle that had to be adopted by the italian army during WWII , the Scotti 8 mm .

The writer says that the cartridge is unknown but he made a chamber cast and found it very similar to German 318 Patrone , only longer.In the article is also written that maybe some samples were found , loaded with the AP bullet used for the 8 x 59 Breda and headstamped “SMI 941”

Has someone ever seen this cartridge?Could someone post a picture of this round?


#2

After the Fall of Poland, Germany captured a large number of recently made Polish Maroszcek (?sp) 7,9mm Anti-tank Rifles ( Bolt action, v.similar in design to the T1918 Mauser Action, but much slimmer barrels) I think the Poles classed them as Wz38 ? Panzerni W Karabinek? ( Anti tank rifle).
They had been made in secrecy, issued in haste, and almost all captured without any real combat use, in September 1939.

Being a totally “non standard” item, and by 1940-41, totally out classed for all but the most lightly armoured vehicles, the Germans gave some to Finland, and the rest to Italy, where it became to "Fucile ControCarro cal. 7,9mm ( 7,9x107? or 109?). They were issued in North Aftrica, and mostly used for Long range sniping at staff cars, Artillery crews, etc, across long flat desert, by picked marksmen. The Germans also used the similer Model 38 and 39 AT rifle (with a similar long barrel, and the "318 ( 7,9x92) cartridge
which also as wll as APBall and Trace, also had a teargas (Lachrymogenous) projectile, the idea being that on piercing the light armour, the gas generayted would cause the crew to evecuate the vehicle.

Australians in North Af\rica who captured such rifles, returned the favour, using them against Italian and German vehicles in the open desert ( Convoys, etc.)

There exists an Italian Language manual for the "Fucile Controcarro " and also Ammo was made in italy for it.
Some wewre issued in 1941-42 on the Russian front as well.

As to a “Scotti design” I don’t know, as I have never heard of it (Scotti was famous for semi-auto designs, and some MG prototypes in the 1930s);
Sosso and Beretta did make a 8x59Breda semi Auto rifle prototype in 1942-43 (Beretta Museum).

If the cast is similar to the German 318, but longer, I would say it is the 7,9x109 Maroszcek ( whose head is slightly smaller than the .50 cal-sized 318 German round ( 7,9x92)…the name “318” was a secret code meaning 8mm on older 13mm case ( the T18 case).

Occasionally, even “serious” Italian magazines ( and others) get their facts (or what passes for Facts) totally wrong…are there any dimensions (“quote” )for the cartridge or the chamber? Any other references to Scotti, such as prototype guns, designs, etc.

Even such things as the Arma Guerra (Cremona) Holek Brothers etc Semi Auto rifles developed during WW II ( 7,9 cal) and actually used in very small quantities in the RSI period, were very little known except for some Intelligence doc ( US Army) and some actual examples ( Photos in SAOTW ( ZH 383,418, 420, etc). The Holek briothers had also designed the ZB ZH29 and 31 in Czechoslovakia, and the German Authorities gave them facilities in 1940 at Cremona, to continue their experiments on a Gas operated Auto rifle in 7,9mm. Only the demands of the war, and slow supplies caused a scarcity of the excellent design rifle ( Garand-type trigger mech, removable 10 or 20 round mag ( Used the ZB26 large mag) and “sporting rifle type short stock” ( unencumbered barrel, like the G43)…over all, a much better built rifle than the G43, from all accounts…the Czechs did offer an advanced version in their ZH481 series, Post-war ( first two digits are the year, last digit the prototype model number). Some of the Holek features eventually ended up in the smaller, 7,62x45 Vz52 short auto rifle.

So it would not be impossible for Scotti to have made such an AT rifle, but it would have been already obsolete when designed…in the 40-42 period…I think the cartridges are a small lot of SMI manufacture for the Polish guns, when Polish supplies of ammo (only made in 1938-39) ran out…the Finns used them quite a lot as well.
Of course, as a Long range Anti-materiel rifle, it would have been ideal…and was, to a certain extent, used in that role when the AT capacity was found to be useless against heavier armour
The Italians used the Pezzo Controcarro da 47/85mm very much in North Africa, with its light frame carriage for hand maneuovre. ( and Russia); it was a deadly piece in the Hands of the 8vo Rto Bersaglieri at Alamein. other AT rifles included the Semi/Full Auto Solothurn S1800 20mm Gun, also with a bicycle steel tube carriage – also mainly North Africa ( cartridge is the 20mmx138, same as the German 2cm Flak, and the Lahti 20mm AT. Much more effective against medium armour of North Africa, and likely to disable the tracks of even heavy armour.

A/T gun developement for the “Infantry Rifle” style (Late WW I) to Light Artillery, to the “RPG” style of the Panzer-Faust ( Armour-Fist) and US “Bazooka” is a storuy in itself.

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#3

I will post some pictures of the article later.No,the cartridge is not the Polish one,as I said they made a chamber cast and found it adapted for a large bottleneck cartridge,almost identical to the 318 patrone,but longer


#4

They found a Scotti prototype.Italy used other antitank rifles,but this was a new design.Similar to the Maroszek rifle,but with some differences

This one is almost unknown,but also Breda made an unknown prototype of an antitank rifle chambered for the 12,7mm cartridge

Scotti ( which was actually a factory instead of a single guy) made the drawings of their weapons ( semiauto - rifles,cannons and machine guns) but other factories actually made them ( Fna , Gnutti , Castelli , Isotta fraschini, Om …)
The rifle described in the article has Isotta Fraschini marks and is marked over the chamber " SCOTTI ANTICARRO CAL. 8 m/m"

barrel lenght: 874 mm
Total lenght : 1475 mm
Weight : 8,5 Kg

Scotti cartridge ( graphic reconstruction) on the right , compared to a 318 Patrone

Scotti rifle action

Scotti rifle compared to a Mauser K98


#5

Very interesting, Pivi, I’ve not heard of that one before.

Any chance of a higher-quality scan of that pic of the two rounds and the guns? It would be an interesting item for the ECRA Bulletin.


#6

I can ask the writer of the article if he can send me some digital pictures,I will let you know


#7

The cartridge is probably a 13 mm Breda necked down to 8 mm


#8

Thankyou Pivi, for the excellent expose’ on this rare prortype.

The Rifle itself is a close replica of the maroszek rifle, in style and “Mauser” type action, but there may be detail differences.

As to the cartidge, there has been a suggestion that it is an 8mm version of the 13mm(sic) Breda, which is a copy of the 13,2mm Hotchkiss Cartridge; this cartridge is 13,2x99 ( same as the US .50 cal case length and head dimensions)), so any “Necking” down, could possibly make it a 8x104 or 105 or so, unless they made the case only on the design of the 13,2 Breda, and lengthened it somewhat. The Only other cartridge case which would come close is a necked down, 12,7x108 Degtyarev ( also used in an early Russian AT (Mauser type) Rifle, of the 1920s, before the Development of the 14,5x114 versions ( PTRS (semi Auto) and PTRD ( Bolt action ), both 1941 Guns.

Obviously a Long-lost prototype, hidden away in some Gov’t store or Factory back-room, and salvaged for Posterity… I wonder what happened to the several hundred Trials Holek rifles made at ArmaGuerra Cremona in 41-44?

Thanks again, Pivi,
and best Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#9

Hi Pivi,

     This cartridge is the 8 x 99 mm Scotti.

     It was made from a 13,2 x 99 mm Hotchkiss Mle 30 steel case and a 8 mm Modello 35 armour-piercing bullet (white tip). I believe that the only known headstamp is S M I  41.

     A drawning was made by E. L. Scranton for an "Italian Ammunition" article by Alessio Grimaldi wich was published in ICCA Special Bulletin Vol. 3 No. 2.

     There is another similar 8 x 100 mm cartridge made from a 13,2 x 99 mm Hotchkiss Mle 30 case and french 8 mm Balle "D". It could be a variation for the same rifle or a totally unrelated experimental. However, 8 mm Balle "D" and 8 mm Mle 35 bullet diameters are compatible.

#10

Extra thanks to all