Italians and baby elephants in the stickers
Italian gunners man their light field piece in a field of Tunisian cactus, on 31 March 1943 during the tail-end of the North African campaigns. The last Axis force to surrender in North Africa was Maresciallo d’Italia Giovanni Messe’s 1st Italian Army, on 13 May, just six weeks after this image was taken.
The gun appears to be an Austrian-designed Cannone da 47/32 M35. Commonly called the “elefantino” (little elephant) by the Italians, the light artillery piece was pressed into service as an anti-tank gun/bunker buster in North Africa with a good bit of early success as it could penetrate 58 mm (2.3 in) of steel armor at 100 m (which meant camouflage was essential to get close enough to British tanks to be able to do the job– hence hiding in a cactus clump.)
While effective against trucks, armored cars, British cruiser type tanks and Lend-Leased M3 Stuart light tanks, the elefanto was a pop gun when confronted with taking a Valentine head on or a Matilda A12 from any angle. By the stage of the war shown in the above image, the gun was about as effective as a t-shirt cannon against Allied armor barring a lucky shot at an exposed track or roadwheel.