|Carro Armato L3/33|
Italian L3/33 (CV-33), Flamethrower variant at The Tank Museum, Bovington
|Place of origin||Italy|
|In service||from 1933|
|Used by||Italy, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Hungary, Nationalist Spain, Nicaragua, Iraq, and others|
|Wars||Austrian Civil War, Second Sino-Japanese War, Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Spanish Civil War, Slovak–Hungarian War, Invasion of Albania, Anglo-Iraqi War, and World War II|
|Unit cost||89.890 lires in 1933|
|No. built||~ 2,000–2,500|
|Variants||L3/35, L3 cc, L3 Lf,|
|Length||3.03 m (9 ft 11 in)|
|Width||1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)|
|Height||1.2 m (3 ft 11 in)|
|Crew||2 (commander and driver)|
|Armour||6–12 mm (0.24–0.47 in)|
|1 × 6.5 mm machine gun|
|Engine||FIAT-SPA CV3 water-cooled|
43 hp (32 kW)
|110 km (68 mi)|
|Speed||42 km/h (26 mph)|
The Carro Veloce 33 (CV 33) or L3/33 was a tankette originally built in 1933 and used by the Italian Army before and during World War II. It was based on the imported British Carden Loyd tankette (also license-built by Italy as the CV 29). Many CV 33s were retrofitted to meet the specifications of the CV 35 in 1935. In 1938, the CV 33 was renamed the "L3/33" while the CV 35s became known as "L3/35s."
The original CV 33 carried a two-man crew protected by 12 mm of welded armour and was armed with a single 6.5 mm machine gun.
The L3/33 saw action in China, Spain, France, the Balkans, North Africa, Italian East Africa, Italy, and Russia.
Development of the "L3 Lf" (Lancia fiamme, "flamethrower") flame tank, based on the L3 tankette, began in 1935. The flamethrower nozzle replaced one of the machine guns, and the flame fuel was carried in an armoured trailer towed by the vehicle. Later versions had the fuel carried in a box-shaped tank mounted above the L3's engine compartment. The vehicle weighed 3.2 tons, and the armoured trailer carried 500 litres (110 gallons) of fuel. It had a range of 40 meters (130 feet), though other sources report a 100 meters (330 feet) range. They were fielded in North Africa, although there is no record of them being involved in combat there.
Footage exists of an unarmed, open-topped, artillery tractor based on the L3. This could be used to tow a tracked trailer, as could the L3, as well as light artillery pieces, including a 100mm mountain howitzer. This vehicle does not appear to have entered production.
One example of the L3/33 is on display in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia. It is believed this example was captured by British and Commonwealth troops in North Africa in 1940 or 1941. There is also a flame thrower variant on display at The Tank Museum in Bovington. There is also an example on a plinth at 305 Corps HQ at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.
At least one example was in running order in 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to L3/33.|
- L3/33 (CV 33), L3/35 (CV 35) Tankettes at wwiivehicles.com