Primary RoleTankette


ww2dbaseIn 1929, Italy purchased four Carden Loyd Mark VI tankettes from the United Kingdom; based on those units, a line of Carro Veloce, "fast tank", designs emerged in the 1930s. They had bolted armor and two machine guns in tandem. In 1938, these tankettes were re-designated as L3 light tanks, although they were technically tankettes based on Anglo-American standards. Between 2,000 and 2,500 L3 tankettes were built between 1933 and 1936. In the 1930s, they were sold to various nations such as Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, and Nationalist Spain.

ww2dbaseL3 tankettes were used by Italian forces in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Nationalist Spanish forces during the Spanish Civil War, and Hungarian forces in the brief Slovak-Hungarian War of 1939. They were not considered effective tankettes; on at least two occasions in Ethiopia, for example, L3 tankettes were disabled by massed infantry attacks. After the European War began, they were used in all theaters that Italian troops were deployed, despite of their weaknesses. They were soon vastly out-classed by the light and medium tanks used by the British forces in North Africa, rendering them to be used only as pillboxes. Some of them were captured and used by Yugoslav and Greek resistance forces, while some units were given by Italy to Germany's puppet government in Croatia to fight local resistance groups.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2009


MachineryOne FIAT-SPA CV3 water cooled engine rated at 43hp
Armament2x8mm machine guns in tandem
Length3.17 m
Width1.40 m
Height1.30 m
Weight3.0 t
Speed42 km/h
Range125 km


Chiang Kaishek inspecting a L3/33 tankette, China, 1930sBenito Mussolini giving a speech atop a L3/35 tankette, date unknownSpanish Nationalist vehicles, Battle of Guadalajara, Spain, Mar 1937Greek soldier posing with a wrecked Italian L3/33 tankette during the Battle of Elaia-Kalamas, northern Greece, early Nov 1940
See all 5 photographs of L3 Tankette

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Renato Vita says:
14 Jan 2012 02:24:07 AM

Unfortunately, those criminals of Mussolini and of our generals still in 1941 sent many L3 with ARMIR in URSS !!! ... soviet T34 and KV51 not fire but simply crushed our poor L3 by their weighte, reported by veterans !!!!

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L3 Tankette Photo Gallery
Chiang Kaishek inspecting a L3/33 tankette, China, 1930s
See all 5 photographs of L3 Tankette

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