Wednesday, 29 April 2009

(1940-1949) L3/35 tankette

Captured L3/35. The text reads 'The Avenger of Elli' (the Greek cruiser that the Italians sunk before the war)Before World War 2, Greece had tested and considered ordering Renault NC2 tanks from France, but the breakout of the war forced France to refuse. The Greeks also ordered 14 Vickers 6-ton MkVI from Britain, but these weren't delivered in time for the Italian invasion. As a result, they started the war without any armoured fighting vehicles at all. However, they quickly captured L3/35 tankettes from the Italians and efforts were made to form the mechanised 19th Division, with truck borne Infantry supported by them.

Captured L3/35. Photo from War Illustrated, 13 April 1941

Operational History
Late 1940 - About 40 L3/35 tankettes are captured from the invading Italians and are turned against them.
1941 - All are destroyed during the German invasion of Greece.
1945 - More captured Italian L3/35 tankettes are obtained from Greece's allies. They are used during the Greek civil war.

Greek soldier on L3/35Specifications
L3/35 Tankette
Weight: 3.2 tonnes
Length: 3.17 m
Width: 1.4 m
Height: 1.3 m
Armour: front and driver - 13.5mm, front angled - 8.5 mm, side and rear - 8.5 mm, top - 6 mm
Speed: 42 km/h on road
Range: 120 km
Crew: 2 (commander and driver)
Armament: 2×8 mm Machine Guns (in Greek service some were re-armed with .50 cal)
Engine: FIAT-SPA CV3 water cooled 43 HP (32 kW)
Operational Range: 125km

For gamers and game designers
The tankettes can be used only in anti-personnel role. They are relatively fast and their machine guns can be quite effective. However, they are vulnerable even to machine gun fire.

For modellers
Greek L3/35 schematic


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