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Ethiopian "armor"

February 20 2007 at 10:00 PM

Response to Ethiopian equipment

Some time ago I prepared short summary about Ethiopian "armoured/armed" vehicles:


1) in 1925 : delivered 1 Fiat 3000 Mod. 21;
“Probably there was an Italian doctor who was a close friend of the Ethiopian Emperor, one tank was some kind of a present for the Emperor thru this doctor, this is all by memory, so handle it with care”.

in 1930 : 3 more Fiat 3000 Mod. 30 were purchased for Emperor
All four tanks were later captured by Italians in Addis Abeba. All tanks were armed with mgs.

Photo : 2 ex-Ethiopian Fiat 3000 guarded Imperial Palace Gate, on the left side Mod.21, on the right Mod.30; captured by Italians in Addis Abeba, May 1936

Source :
- nowa Technika Wojskowa 7/97 p. 18 – Polish military monthly magazine
- Italianisti D/G

2) “Some sources stated about up to dozen tanks and 5-7 armoured cars in Ethiopian service”.
From “HPM” – Czech monthly military history magazine

3) I've read on 18 CV tankettes captured by Ethiopians during the war, but
not used due to lack of trained crews.
From “HPM” – Czech monthly military history magazine (very good, 3-part monography of Italian CV tankette), one photo of captured vehicle known for me – Ras Nasibu, commander of the South Abbyssinian army inspected a captured tankette.

4) From Polish Military History Quarterly (Published by Institute of Military History) – 4 or 5-part monography of Italo-Ethiopian War :
“7-12 tanks more of them English origin (????) and 7 armoured cars”

5) Osprey “The Italian Invasion of Abyssinia 1935-36” by D. Nicolle and R. Ruggeri pg. 24
“It probably inc. around 7 armed (but unarmoured) Fiat “assault cars, 7 or so Ford Type A and other lorries mounting machine guns, and perhaps 7 so-called armoured cars. The latter may have been confused with the armed truck or “assault cars” , since other reports maintained that that the Ethiopians only had one real armoured car. Some of these vehicles would be used in the Ogaden.”

6) E-mails from Italianisti D/G :
a) “There is some skatchy info about some kind of ambush set up by Ethiopians at
Hamanlei on November 11th 1935, a detachment of colonna Maletti was ambushed
by the Ethiopians while it was crossing a river, the Ethiopians 6 vehicles which are somewhere referred to as armored trucks and somewhere else as tanks, the Ethiopians were crushed but with very heavy casualtis among the Italians, whose actions was frantic and uncoordinated”

b) “The only "mechanized" equipment the Ethiopian Army used by 1936 were, 1 armored car, about 15 vehicles armed with MGs and a few thousands light horsemen (If the last can identified as mechanized).
Ethiopian Army, was underequiped, it didn't even has enough rifles for the soldiers. It had only 250 artillery pieces, many of them from the 19th century. Despite the above, they fought bravely for 7 months the Italian invading troops, and in many occasions won some battles”.

c)“Ethiopia received a Fiat 3000A light tank as a gift in 1925, and three Fiat 3000B light tanks were bought in 1930. A U.S. firm reportedly built three u/i armored cars for ethiopia but they may not have been delivered.
From TANKS and armored vehicles, Lt.Col Robert j. Icks, 1945”.

d) “Ethiopians had less than a dozen armoured cars with MGs that fought agasint Grazani in the south.....that’s all I know of them.”

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