In 1929 the Italian Army bought several Carden Loyd Mark VI tankettes and these formed the basis for the development of a new breed of Italian army vehicles designated as Carro Veloce (Fast Tanks). The CV29 was the first but was quickly upgraded and improved leading in 1935 to the CV35. By 1938 these vehicles had been re-designated as Leggero (light) tanks. The CV35 (now known as the L3/35) had bolted rather than riveted armour and carried twin 8mm Machine Guns and a two man crew. The main weakness of the CV35 was its armour, a mere 6 to 12 mm (0.24-0.47 in) and really only protection against light weapons.
Despite a less than illustrious military career L3's saw service almost everywhere the Italians fought in World War II, including North Africa. In 1940 when Italy invaded Egypt from Libya they had 324 tankettes in its seven tank battalions but they were no match for British Matilda's and many were lost during General O'Conners offencive culminating at Sidi Barrani. Despite being hopelessly outdated the L3/35 continued to serve in the Italian Army for the rest of the war. While their equipment left a lot to be desired the bravery of the Italians who rode to war in these tiny vehicles cannot be doubted.
|The L3/35 was a tiny vehicle with barely enough space inside to accommodate the two man crew|