The AS.42 had a diesel powered, SPA engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 80 km/h. Because of the AS.42's capability to handle the intensive desert landscape and the fact that most AS.42s were used in long-range reconnaissance groups that operated in the Sahara desert, it was often nicknamed "Sahariana".
The armament of the Sahariana varied greatly, it was often customized per operation, but commonly, those used were the 20 mm Solothurn S18/1000, 20 mm Breda Model 35 cannon, 12.7 mm Breda M37 machine gun, or the 47 mm Cannone da 47/32.
The total length of the AS.42 was 5.62 meters while the total weight was 5,443.1 kg. The AS.42 had a five-man crew and a maximum range of about 300 kilometers using only internal fuel. However, large amounts of extra gas canisters (often called "jerricans") were also often carried on board and all together, they increased the maximum range to up to 800 kilometers.
The AS.40 also had a six speed forward, one speed reverse transmission system and had no armor protection whatsoever. Only a tarp that could be placed above the car as protection from rain/the elements.
The AS.42 was first developed in 1941 due to the need for a new long-range vehicle to serve as Italy's own Long-Range Desert Group. The finished vehicle arrived in 1942 and became a great success. It was commonly used with reconnaissance units and had good reliability. However, the AS.42 was very expensive to manufacture and thus was not suited for mass production. Throughout its use in the 1942-1943 period in which Italy was still fighting, it served with several units and it is currently unknown just how many were made.
- ↑ http://www.italie1935-45.com/RE/photoscopes/automitrailleuses/as42sahariana.html
- ↑ Forty, George. A Photo History of Armored Cars in Two World Wars. Blandford Press (1984), Page 163
- ↑ http://comandosupremo.com/sahariana.html/2