$10.00
Carro Veloce CV-35 or L3/35 Italian tankette
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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No respect! The mighty L3/35 saw much combat and made many newsreels in its day. The official Italian army classification of the L3/35 was as a light tank. However, this type of vehicle is classified as a "tankette" by Anglo-American militaries. Between 2,000 to 2,500 L3 tankettes were built in different models and variants. They even came out with the cool sounding Lancia fiamme, "flamethrower," L3-Lf variant of the L3. What could be better?

Well, actually almost anything else. In addition to seeing action in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the Spanish Civil War and the Slovak-Hungarian 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, and Russia.

The combat history of the L3s during the interwar period was not good. On at least two occasions during the invasion of Ethiopia, L3s were put out of action by massed infantry attacks. In Spain, L3s were totally out-classed by the tanks provided by the Soviet Union. Luckily for the Hungarians, the L3s were not a factor in their brief war with Slovakia.

On 10 June 1940, when Italy entered World War II, the Royal Army possessed only about one-hundred M11/39 medium tanks in two tank battalions. L3 tankettes still equipped all three Italian armored divisions, they equipped the tank battalions in the motorized divisions, they equipped the light tank squadron group in each "Fast" (Celere) division, and they equipped numerous independent tank battalions.

Though numerous, Italy's tankettes soon proved to be nearly worthless. In many places L3s were used as stationary pillboxes or were just pushed to the sidelines or abandoned as soon as they malfunctioned. Few L3s remained in front line service past the end of 1940.

Here is a list of war games for those who wish to relive the past power and the glory of the rightfully maligned L3. Feel free to share your L3 experiences or mention war gaming gems that feature the L3 that I may have missed?

*** Disclaimer: My first encounter with a real L3 (pictured) was in Beijing, China (not Aberdeen proving grounds!) I figure Albania used to be an ally of China back in the Cold War days and the Chinese may have acquired it from the Albanians as old surplus from the Italians during World War Two? I tried not to laugh. Honest.
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1. Board Game: Soldiers of the Negus [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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No, the The Lion of Judah's troops are not laughing at the L3 on its side. Instead they are in awe of its side-ways slope climbing abilities.
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2. Board Game: Between Two Flags: Guadalajara 1937 [Average Rating:5.77 Unranked]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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One can almost feel the power of the L3 leap out from the counter sheet? The Republicans were no doubt dazzled by the 108 L3/33 tankettes and L3/35 tankettes pitted against them at Guadalajara.
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3. Board Game: Hollow Legions: ASL Module 7 [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Look at all those L3s! (Well, you have to zoom in to appreciate them.)
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4. Board Game: The Legend Begins [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:2966]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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The legend did begin; but not for the L3. At least it has a nice silhouette in this fine war game.
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5. Board Game: 8th Army: Operation Crusader [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:4006]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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The L3 even gets featured on this important looking chart!
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6. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Desert Rats [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3377]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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Italian tanks are in the lower left.
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7. Board Game: Advanced Tobruk [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Mo Caraher
Canada
Ontario
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Advanced Tobruk and several of the expansions (Wavell's 30,000 comes to mind) features all manner of dubious Italian armour. The game pic has an L3cc down in the lower right, a variant that sported the deceptively dangerous 20mm anti-tank rifle.

And here's a pic of yours truly with a rare surviving L3. Life size, baby!

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8. Board Game: Axis & Allies Miniatures [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1686]
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
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The L3 is one of the models included in this game.
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9. Board Game: España 1936 [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1084]
Tim P.
United States
Thousand Oaks
CA
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In this game of the Spanish Civil War; two of the units available as reinforcements by the Nationalist player are Italian tank units, these are model CV-33 tankettes, an earlier model of the CV-35.

see the top right of the Nationalist counter sheet



The awesome fighting ability of the tankettes means it gets just a +1 dice rolling modifier, while the German built Panzer Mk.I and the Republican Soviet built T-26 both get +2 ratings.


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10. Board Game: Desert Steel [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:3907]
Germany
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Ahh, the infamous "self-propelled coffin"!

From the historical notes of Desert Steel:

"L3/35: The Carro Veloce (Fast Tank) L3/35 was based upon the British Mk VI, but was far inferior to it. It lacked any sort of turret, but mounted a pair of 8mm Breda MGs in a blister to the left of the driver. The gunner had a limited field of fire and the vehicle interior was cramped. Worst of all, they chronically overheated, some quirky models requiring the radiator to be refilled every ten miles. The British captured hundreds of L3/35s in 1940, and just as easily lost them to the Germans in '41. One half-way redeeming model was equipped with a flame-thrower, but these were few in numbers and saw limited action."

Combat numbers for a platoon of L3/35s:

Movement Allowance 6 (4 for a Sherman M4)
(Firing) Range 4 (9 for a Panzer IVe)
Anti-Vehicle Strength 0 (14 for a 88mm FLAK)
Defense Strength 1 (9 for a Tiger)
Anti-Infantry Strength 3 (3 for a Infantry Platoon)
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11. Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:9820]
Michael Taylor
United States
Aurora
Indiana
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CV 35's are in abundance here as well (no picture of them though). they don't consume an abundance of fuel (I guess the small size accounts for that), but the breakdown number is bad. Basically, if the unit with the CV 35's moves, you can expect 10% (FRU) to break down. Then they have to be towed back to the shop, then they have to be repaired (always a tricky question), then they have to be sent back to the front, all the while consuming gasoline and stores....ah!

I'm going to have to play again.

Mike
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12. Board Game: Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942 [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2767]
Michael Taylor
United States
Aurora
Indiana
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My first experience with the CV 35 was with this baby. They weren't very good in this game either. Totally outclassed by anything that the Brits can put against them. The nickname "moving coffin" was well placed.

Not that the M11/39 tanks were much better. In Tobruk, if the Italians are attacking with tanks, they better have a lot of infantry support, or they'll get slaughtered. Even Crusader tanks knock them around, for cripes' sake.

Mike
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13. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:195]
Edward Kendrick
United Kingdom
Redditch
Worcestershire
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The L3 also appears in Up Front, where it is rated as slightly inferior (90 pts) to the Bren Carrier (94 pts) - the difference being, of course, that British armoured units weren't equipped with carriers as their main vehicle!

The FT version is also rated well below the WASP carrier FT.
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14. Board Game: Beda Fomm [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:4193]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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The 61 Light Tank Battalion still had 15 L3's at this battle!
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15. Board Game: Help Arrives! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Edward Kemp
United States
San Diego
California
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Fantastic image of my favorite tankette, this is an expansion for "A las Barricadas!" which includes the International Brigades, the Italian Corpo Troppe Volontarie, and the German Cóndor Legion.
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16. Board Game: Gazala: The Clash of Armor [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:8012]
MAURO BORNIOLI
Italy
CAGLIARI
SARDEGNA
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The L3 is the last tank silhoutte of the italian counters







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17. Board Game: Guadalajara [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:4915]
Ernesto Sassot
Spain
Barcelona
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All Italian "tank" units are L3... including the scary flamethrower!!!
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18. Board Game: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2306]
Javier Romero
Spain
Cerdanyola
Barcelona
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The upcoming The Spanish Civil War will have too its share of Italian tankettes (nicknamed "sardine cans" by the Spanish troops).

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19. Board Game: Crusade and Revolution: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:2042]
 
David Gómez Relloso
Spain
Dobro (Los Altos)
Burgos
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The CV-33 was the most abundant armored vehicle among the Nationalist forces (thanks to the Italian aid sent by Mussolini). This and the German Panzer-I were the best tanks of Franco's army, so they were in a difficult position against the much better Soviet T-26...

"Crusade and Revolution" includes armor units of CV-33 light tanks.
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20. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Conquest of Ethiopia [Average Rating:9.17 Unranked]
Jim
United States
Often in transit
CA, TX and MA
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Not a lot of armor in this 1935-1936 game, but the L3's are sent into battle!

-Jim
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