|This page is about the Italian SPAA AS 42. For the tank destroyer version, see AS 42/47.|
During World War II, the Italian army needed a vehicle that was fast and could cover long distances to carry out reconnaissance missions in North Africa, so the AS 42 was born. Known by two names: Auto Sahariana del 1942 or Camionetta Desertica Mod.42, it was used in various campaigns from North Africa to the Italian Campaign and was also used in the post-war period by the Italian state police, in service from 1942 until 1952. The vehicle also had the possibility of mounting various armaments such as the Fucile Controcarri S Mod.39 (20 mm), 47/32 mod.39 (47 mm) and Breda Mod.35 (20 mm).
Introduced along with the initial Italian ground tree in Update 1.85 "Supersonic", the AS 42 has good acceleration and speed, allowing you to flank around enemy armoured vehicles and attempt to destroy them with your 20 mm (much like the AS 42/47). You can also use AS 42 against enemy air targets, for which it is recommended to use the Grenade mod.35 belt which contains rounds with high-explosive filler. However, with light armour and only 2 crew members, the survivability of the AS 42 is rather limited - try to watch out for any enemies and especially their machine guns.
Survivability and armour
The AS 42 lacks any armour and is very vulnerable to attacks from the air. While the sloped 3 mm of armour and 10 mm thick spare wheel on the front may be sufficient against standard machine guns, most heavy machine guns will simply cut right through and knock out the crew.
Though the armour itself is not sufficient against heavy machine guns, it is possible to use the rear engine compartment as armour to protect the crew from heavy machine guns, though this will leave you immobile and unable to return fire. The ammunition compartments at the sides of the vehicle may stop machine guns from penetrating all the way through to knock out the crew, but these have dubious protective qualities in the long run. If HE or HEAT is fired, it will simply not matter and the vehicle will be destroyed by overpressure.
However, due to these extremely thin armour characteristics, standard armour-piercing rounds tend to penetrate straight through with minimal damage. In addition, the gun cannot traverse to fire directly at the back of the AS 42, and in any case the gunner is still fully exposed. Your best protection is going to be hard cover and the element of surprise; don't let the enemy get a shot at you. The AS 42 has 2 crew with ammo located in the flanks of the car. The gun's armour will only protect the gunner in rare cases. The small profile makes it easy to conceal the vehicle in realistic battles, especially from aircraft's sight.
- Structural steel (chassis, gun breech, gun mount)
- Wheel (tires & spares)
- Gun Steel (cannon barrel)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Gun mount|| 150 mm Gun Breech
20 mm Gunner's Seat
20 mm Elevation and Traverse Mechanisms
- Tires are 10 mm thick. * There is a spare tire on the front and on the rear of the vehicle.
- Storage boxes, fuel containers and fenders are 3 mm thick.
- Storage Boxes and fuel Containers cover much of the flanks in addition to the chassis armour.
- The belly of the car is 3 mm thick.
The car has very high mobility with speeds exceeding 80 km/h on concrete and 35 km/h offroad. The 4x2 configuration severely reduces the AS 42's effectiveness on soft terrain (snow, mud). The AS 42 cannot turn on the spot, and is best used on roads of sufficient width or open, hilly terrain.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
Your sole armament is a 20 mm autocannon. It is a longer-barreled version of the 20 mm autocannon found on the L6/40 and AB 41, with a bigger magazine capacity, shorter reload time, and similar belt composition. For an anti-aircraft role, the gun has an inferior magazine size and rate of fire. In addition, you don't have a 360° traverse arc, something that is detrimental when engaging aircraft or enemy tanks.
|20 mm Breda Mod.35||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: API-T · HEFI-T* · HEFI-T* · HEFI-T* - The belt composition means that 75% of the shells (HEFI-T*) are useless against tanks. However, this belt is reliable against open-topped or lightly armoured targets like SPAA vehicles.
- Granata mod.35: HEFI-T* - This belt does little damage against armoured targets and should be used especially against aircraft or open-topped vehicles. The high-explosive filler is effective against crew members.
- Perforante mod.35: API-T - This belt offers a good transition from the Default to the PzGr 40 belt. The round offers decent damage against lightly armoured tanks, especially at close range. Due to lack of high-explosive filler, however, it is better to focus on the PzGr 40 belt to maximize penetration power.
- PzGr 40: HVAP-T · API-T - Probably the belt with the best penetrating shell for the vehicle. While the damage effects post-penetration can be quite poor, the rapid fire from the autocannon can remedy this problem by following up quickly with another penetrating shot. In close combat, these shells should be used against modules and crew member to make the most of each shell. Against angled armour, however, the HVAP ammo may not be very effective.
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|100||94 (+6)||88 (+12)||82 (+18)||76 (+24)||70 (+30)||64 (+36)||58 (+42)||52 (+48)||46 (+54)|
|40 (+60)||34 (+66)||28 (+72)||22 (+78)||16 (+84)||10 (+90)||4 (+96)||0 (+100)||Yes|
- The visual discrepancy is the rack 17. It contains 4 clips whereas only one is modeled.
- Racks 1 to 16 contain 6 clips each.
- Clips are modeled by sets of 2 and disappear from the rack after you've fired/loaded both clips in the set.
Usage in battles
- Combat tactics
The main roles of the AS 42 are as an SPAA and as a scout car. When playing as an SPAA, position the vehicle in an open space to be able to detect aircraft from a distance, usually near your spawn point. You can move forward and stay close to your teammates to offer the best AA support, but be careful not to reveal yourself to enemy tanks. Engage approaching aircraft only under 1,000 m to increase your chances of hitting, and ideally within 500-700 m. Avoid being detected too early: your fire rate and clip size is poor for an AA gun, so you'll have to shoot precisely and make every shot count. Your vehicle's protection is non-existent: plan to have an obstacle nearby you can use as cover, and have an escape route ready.
You can also play as a scout car on some maps: use your speed to flank enemy forces and ambush them. After ambushing, retreat and relocate after destroying an enemy. Avoid frontal engagements at all costs for the best penetration, and because your vehicle and crew are fully unprotected. Keep in mind that you have good mobility on hard terrain (solid ground, roads, etc.) but not on soft terrain (mud, sand, snow) because of your tires. The big turn radius of the AS 42 also prevents it from sneaking through narrow passages in urban maps. Drive precisely: any obstacle will immobilize you very quickly if you don't pay attention and your mobility is key to your survival in this role.
- Notable enemies
Pretty much any enemy can destroy the AS 42 in seconds. The most lethal enemies are:
- Strafing planes. The biggest threat is enemy aircraft, as even a 7.62 mm MG can kill your SPAA in one burst.
- Vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns. They will destroy you from 1 km distance in a heartbeat.
- Tanks firing HEAT or HE shells. The blast effect will knock out your already limited and unprotected crew.
- Heavily armoured tanks that are immune to your gun, even if you catch them by surprise.
- How to defeat a AS 42
Being a vehicle without any armour, it remains a vehicle easy to destroy: the 2 quickest ways to deal with the AS 42 are machine guns/autocannons and HEAT/HE projectiles. But any shell with explosive filler will do. Avoid close quarters and engage from long distance to increase your armour advantage while decreasing the AS 42's firepower. You can also force your opponent to play on a terrain hindering its mobility (mud, snow, sand) to negate its main advantage. Aim for the driver or the engine to immobilize it, then finish it off with a follow up shot or machine gun fire.
Pros and cons
- High top speed
- Access to PzGr 40 rounds
- Sloped frontal armour, may deflect some rounds
- High penetration for the 20 mm cannon
- Small profile helps when flanking the enemy
- Small magazine for SPAA
- Virtually no protection at all, even rifle rounds will penetrate the armour
- Only has two crew members
- Crew is exposed
The AS (Autosahariana) 42 was derived from the AB 41 armoured car. It was, however, unarmoured and did not have the rear driver position. Designed for long-range reconnaissance in North Africa, it had a cross country range of almost 500 miles (800 km). It was also known as the Camionetta Desertica (Desert Weapons Carrier) mod. 42, or "la Sahariana" (the Saharan). The main armament varied: 20 mm anti-aircraft cannons, 20 mm anti-tank rifles, and machine guns were common alternatives. For heavier firepower, some were fitted with a Breda M35 47 mm anti-tank gun, represented by the AS 42/47. About 200 were built and saw service in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. After the armistice, some continued in use with Fascist Italian forces and Germany, including on the Eastern Front, and in the Ardennes in 1944-5.
Post-war, about a dozen survivors, painted amaranth red and disarmed, were used by the Polizia di Stato in Udine and Bologna.
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
|Italy anti-aircraft vehicles|
|R3 Capraia||R3 T20 FA-HS|
|SIDAM 25||SIDAM 25 · SIDAM 25 (Mistral)|
|Wheeled||AS 42 · CM52|