This Bonkers Italian Truck Had a 90-mm Cannon in the Bed, It's Coming to War Thunder

War Thunder Lancia 3RO 7 photos
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Inner Image) Gaijin Entertainment (Outer Image)
Lancia 3ROLancia 3ROLancia 3ROLancia 3ROLancia 3ROLancia 3RO
The Italians build their vehicles with a flair and a passion no other country can match. But don't think for even a moment that this only applies to flashy supercars and sports cars. Want proof positive? Let's take a look at the Lancia 3Ro Italian Second World War Army truck some mad lad decided needed a 90-mm cannon as its main armament.
Of course, Lancia itself needs no introduction. It's a moniker beloved for its rally racing heritage with its Stratos, O37, and Delta Integrale. Even so, it's also maligned somewhat in 2022 for having a lineup more boring than a maths exam on a Monday morning. These days, they only build one model, the Ypsilon, which is based on a Fiat. What a pity, right?

But nearly a century ago, Lancia was an auto industry titan with their hands in everything from coach-built luxury cars to heavy-duty trucks. It was during the interwar period between 1933 and 1938 that the mighty 3Ro's predecessor, the Ro, was manufactured.

With both an opposed-piston petrol engine or an inline diesel engine mated to the first-ever Italian 4-speed manual truck transmission as options, the Ro bucked the trend of Italian vehicles being stubbornly unreliable. The design was so good that even the Germans wanted to get involved. Doing so under license via the Junkers company, the same people that brought us the legendary Ju-87 Stuka dive-bomber.

Of course, during this pre-war period, the Ro was just another heavy-duty truck in an era where people were still convinced that the world's great powers didn't have any interest in going back to war. By the time the upgraded Lancia 3Ro hit the scene in 1938, that line of thinking wasn't very long for this world.

Lancia 3RO
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (fair use)
By the very next year, Europe was about to be under the grip of complete and total war. The Italians, aligned with the Germans and Japanese at this time, were thrust into a conflict that required them to use the full extent of their manufacturing might to aid the war effort. As many as 10,000 or more 3Ros were built between 1939 and 1945. All sporting a 6.9-liter, five-cylinder diesel engine with the same four-speed gearbox from the old Ro.

This Lancia truck was used for everything from troop transport to makeshift ambulances in its day. But the 3Ro wouldn't etch its name into global history until the North African and Sicilian Campaigns of 1940 through 1943. In North Africa especially, the 3Ros were modified to have the tops of their cabs removed and their sideboards significantly lowered. All for the purposes of mounting a single Ansaldo Cannone da 90/53 90-mm artillery cannon derived from anti-aircraft batteries.

Similar in size to the German 88 flak gun, the Ansaldo Cannone was one of if not the most powerful artillery pieces ever fitted to a flatbed truck in World War II. With an armor-piercing shell capable of blasting through 120 millimeters of armor plating from 500 meters away, it's a small wonder how the crews in these trucks weren't blown off the bed of the truck with every shot fired. Those puny hydraulic jack-stands don't look all that useful in this regard.

What this amounted to was a truck capable of blasting any Allied tank of the period into the middle of next week, including the mighty Sherman or T34. That's without mentioning the 30-mm machine gun available as a backup ordinance. Of course, these bonkers gun trucks ultimately contributed little to the success of the Axis war effort.

Lancia 3RO
Photo: Gaijin Entertainment
When the Italian people deposed their fascist dictator and signed a formal armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the Whermact proceeded to commandeer whatever remained of Lancia 3Ro rolling stock. From there, they aided in the ultimately futile effort of defending the German homeland from wave after wave of British and American strategic bombing campaigns.

After the war, the remaining Lancia 3Ros were once again passed on to the Italian military. With the last 3Ro truck leaving military service in 1964. In the 21st century so far, the 3Ro has been relatively unknown by modern wargaming circles.

That was until Gaijin Entertainment announced in May 2022 that the 3Ro, 90-mm gun included, would be making its way into War Thunder, their prized war-arcade video game, as a part of their next major update dubbed "The Danger zone."

In an update that also included the F-14 Tomcat, the 3Ro can still hold its head high as the easy second most awesome vehicle added in the update.

Lancia 3RO
Photo: Gaijin Entertainment
Check back soon for more military vehicle profiles and so much more here on autoevolution.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories