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The Lancia IZ and the Lancia IZM were two variations of an Italian armoured car built during World War I and which saw limited service during that war, the interwar period, and during World War II.

Design

The Lancia IZ armoured car was built by Ansaldo of Italy starting in 1916 and was the most common of the early Italian armoured cars. Based on a Lancia truck, the armoured car was an advanced design for its day. For firepower the vehicle was equipped with twin turret mounted machine guns. The initial ten vehicles featured a further small turret on top with yet another machine gun. This gave the vehicle considerable firepower for the time. As a result of experiences in World War I, steel rails were installed over the top of the vehicle for cutting wire.

Having had good results with the early car, another production run of a slightly modified version (the Lancia IZM) or "Model 1918" was ordered. The major difference between the IZ and IZM was that the IZ had a top turret on the main MG turret, whereas the IZM did not.

The Lancia IZM was the second batch of Ansaldo-Lancia armoured cars built. 110 cars of the improved model were ordered in 1917 and all were delivered before the end of 1918. Sometimes difficult to identify from the original Lancia IZ ("Model 1916"), the most obvious difference is the removal of the top machine gun turret. This left the IZM with just the one larger, twin machine gun turret. Other features that will help are that the first IZM's usually have two spare tyres mounted on the right side of the vehicle (on the IZ they were under the rear). The cooling vents and front armour of the engine compartment are slightly different and there are fewer vision ports in the armoured crew compartment. The front bumpers were also simplified. However, some of the original IZ series were modified to initial IZM standard by the removal of the extra top turret and up-dating the chassis. This makes it possible to find photos of IZM armoured cars with both IZ and IZM features. American troops on the Italian Front during World War I trained with and used some of these vehicles.

In combat

The Lancia IZ/IZM armoured car saw little combat in World War I due to the mountainous terrain in which the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) fought. However, a few were deployed in the northern parts of the country where they saw combat against the Austro-Hungarian Army.

After World War I, Lancia IZ/IZM armoured cars were sent to North Africa and to East Africa for policing duties. Many were also sent to the Albanian Kingdom where they were to form the sole armoured force of the country for many years. Some Lancia IZ/IZM played a minor role during the Italian invasion and the occupation of Ethiopia. Some Lancia IZ/IZM were sent to Spain during the Spanish Civil War and were used by the Italian Corps of Volunteer Troops (Corpo Truppe Volontarie Italia, or CTV). These armoured cars were already hopelessly outdated by this point and performed poorly for the CTV against the Spanish Republican forces.

A few obsolete Lancia IZ/IZM armoured cars were still in use with the Italian Royal Army during World War II. In 1940 and 1941, several vehicles served with the Royal Army during the East African Campaign. In some instances, operable machines were pressed into service by other Axis forces even after Italy quit the war. In the service of the forces of Nazi Germany, the vehicle was identified as the Panzerspähwagen IZM (i).

Operators

  • Italy
  • Albania
  • Kingdom of Afghanistan
  • Austria
  • Austria-Hungary
  • German Empire 1871-1918
  • Hungary 1918-1940