The Italian CV-33 Light Tank Series

The Carden Loyd tankettes were a series of British pre-World War II tankettes, the most successful of which was the Mark VI, the only version built in significant numbers. It became a classic tankette design worldwide, was license-built by several countries and became the basis of several designs produced in several different countries.

One of these countries was Italy who The Italian CV-33 Light Tank Series:

The Italian CV-33 Light Tank Series

In 1933, a new design was built jointly by the Fiat Company of Turin and the Ansaldo Company of Genoa. This vehicle was introduced as the Fiat-Ansaldo CV-33. About 300 CV-33s were built.

In 1935, a slightly improved model of the CV-33 was introduced and designated as the CV-35. The primary differences were that the armour was bolted rather than riveted and the single 6.5 mm machine gun was replaced with twin 8 mm machine guns. Many older CV-33s were retrofitted to meet the specifications of the CV-35. In 1938, the vehicles were redesignated as the L3/33 (“L” for Leggero or ‘light’) and the L3/35.

1938, a further development of the L3 vehicle was created and designated as the L3/38. It does not appear that many of these vehicles were built or saw service. The L3/38 had a torsion bar suspension and a single 13.2 mm Madsen machine gun.

The Italian CV-33 Light Tank Series Combat History

Between 2,000 to 2,500 L3 tankettes were built in different models and variants for the Royal Italian Army (Regio Esercito) and for other users. In addition to seeing action in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Spanish Civil War, the Slovak-Hungarian War, and the Anglo-Iraqi War, the L3 was used almost everywhere that Italian troops fought during World War II. L3s were found on the Italian/French border, North Africa, Italian East Africa, the Balkans, USSR, Sicily, and Italy.