The Anti-Tank Vespa
The Vespa 150 TAP (Italian “Troupes Aero Paracadutate”; French “Troupes Aéroportées”, also ACMA Vespa 150 TAP) is a military anti-tank scooter manufactured by Piaggio and marketed under the Vespa brand name. The scooter was ordered from Piaggio by the French Ministry of Defense. The Vespa 150 TAP was first introduced at the 33rd Milan Motor Show in December 1955. Production began in January 1956 in the factories of the French subsidiary ACMA (Ateliers de Construction de Motocycles et Automobiles), which was already producing the Vespa under license for the transalpine market. By 1959, approximately 600 units of the Vespa had been produced.
Changes from the civilian Vespa included a reinforced frame and an American M20 recoilless gun mounted on the scooter. Recoil was compensated for by venting the propellant gases at the rear of the gun, eliminating the need for a mechanical recoil system. The rollers were parachuted in pairs with a team of two. Lacking any aiming devices, the recoilless gun was not designed to be fired from the scooter. The gun was mounted on a Browning M1917 machine gun mount, which was also carried on the scooter. However, in an emergency, it could be fired while in the frame and the scooter was moving.
The Vespa were produced in two versions: TAP 56 and TAP 59. Both versions had a 150 cc engine. Only the Vespa TAP pre-series or prototypes (1955) were equipped with the engine of the 125cc civil version. Depending on the year of its commissioning.To distinguish: The handlebar of the 56 is rotated 90%, so it is in the saddle axis. On the 59, on the other hand, the handlebars cannot be rotated as much, which caused problems when parachuting.
Manufacturer Piaggio, ACMA
Production period 1956 to 1959
Single-cylinder two-stroke engine
Displacement: 150 ccm
Power (kW/PS) 3.3 / 4.5
Top speed (km/h) 60 km/h
Wheelbase (mm) 1160
Dimensions (L × W × H, mm): 1760 × 695 × 1110
Unloaden weight (kg) 115 kg
The M20 recoilless rifle is a U.S. 75 mm caliber
It could mount up to 6 grenades (3 on each side)
Books: Giorgio Sarti, Motorbooks, 2006 (ISBN: 9780760325773, 0760325774)