The L3/33 and L3/35 was designed for reconnaissance, security, and to support larger tanks.
L stood for light, and 3 for 3 tons.4 33 and 35 stood for 1933 and 1935 respectively.4 Originally called CV.33 and CV.35 until 1938 when were redesignated.
L3/33, Carro Veloce 33
During the 1920s the Italians saw a Carmen-Loyd 2 man tank and purchased3 some as well as getting the rights to manufacture them.3 Twenty-five were built and called the CV (Carro Veloce) 29 (CV-284).3
Was armed with a 6.5 mm water cooled MG, and later armed with and air cooled machine gun.
It had a bolted superstructure, improved vision equipment, and a Breda 13.2 mm machine gun.
L3/35, Carro Veloce 35
1,300 of the L3/35s were initially ordered (1,200 with machine guns, and 200 with 37 mm gun).
Only 300 were built and were designated Series I and were armed with a 6.5 mm MG.
Riveted and welded construction. The commander/gunner was on the left and the driver on the right.4
Engine was mounted in the rear, transversely.4 A circular radiator was mounted behind it.4 The transmission went to the front to the final drive.4
The suspension had two 3 wheel bogies on leaf spring and a single unsprung wheel on each side.4 There was a acacia wood rail that the top run of the tracks went on.4
In 1935 the Series II was produced with twin FIAT Model 18/35 machine guns
Manufacturer: Ansaldo, FIAT
L3/33, L3/35: 2,250, 2,500
Production: 1933 - ?
L3/33; Carro Veloce 33 Tankette3:
CV Fiat-Ansoldo L38: Strong suspension and new tracks.2 From 1940 on some had a Swiss Solothum s18-2000 20 mm antitank gun in place of MG.
L3 Lf (Carro Lancia Fiamme); Carro Veloce L35/Lf Flamethrower Tankette3: Had a hooded long barrel flamethrower in place of the MG with a towed 110 gallon/500 liter fuel trailer.3
Another tank was sometimes mounted on the rear of the hull and carried 13 gallons (60 liters) of flame fuel. Range of 328'/100m.3 One platoon in each tank company was equipped with the L3 Lf. Was used in North Africa.
Carro Radio: Carried a radio on the rear hull.
Carro Veloce Recupero: Was developed as an armored recovery vehicle but never entered production.
Passerella: Had a 23' (7m) bridge on a towed trailer that was broken down into 4 pieces. The bridge could be assembled in 10 minutes.
Was not used in combat.2
All the battalions in the Littorio and Centauro armored divisions started the war with L3s.4
The L3/33 saw action in Ethiopia5, Spain5, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania5, Crete, North Africa, Russia, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and Italy.
They were also sold to Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Nationalist Spain5, and Salvador.2
The L3/33s first saw action against Ethiopian5 tribesman at Ual-Ual in December 1934.4
First used the L3/35 in Dec. 1934 against Ethiopians at Ual-Ual in Italian Somaliland.
A total of 155 were supplied to the Nationalist forces.6 Two battalions of the L3/35s were sent to Spain to fight with Franco.4 When returned from Spain they became the basis for the Littorio Armored Division created in May 1940.4
The L3/35 was used with Italian troops that fought in Russia.4