By Pier Paolo Battistelli

The Italian military, not like these of the British and French, didn't use tanks in strive against in the course of international battle I and, by way of November 1918, just one education unit built with French Schneider and Renault tanks have been shaped. this is able to mostly impression the improvement of Italian armour in the course of the interwar interval - having no longer had any likelihood to guage firsthand using armour at the battlefield, and given the general strategic settings that observed Italy getting ready for a potential struggle opposed to both France or Yugoslavia (whose borders with Italy have been set in mountainous terrain), the armoured and mechanized section of the Italian military was once sidelined and regarded of secondary value. therefore, through the Twenties the Italian military purely had one unmarried tank in its armoured stock - the Fiat 3000. This was once a far better Italian-built model of the French toes 17 mild tank of which a few a hundred samples have been equipped, yet no experiments have been performed within the box of armour, aside from the improvement of wheeled AFVs to be used within the African colonies. simply in 1927 was once the 1st tank unit shaped as a department of the infantry (as with different professional troops reminiscent of the Alpini or Bersaglieri) and never as an self reliant association, whereas the cavalry rejected the belief of either tanks and armoured autos and made up our minds to face by means of horses for its fastened devices. therefore, the Italians went into global battle II with no tank able to taking over medium tanks within the North African desolate tract. of their 1st crusade opposed to them, a military of 30,000 British troops destroyed an Italian military of over 250,000.

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Extra info for Italian Light Tanks: 1919-45 (New Vanguard, Volume 191)

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During the retreat followed the Soviet offensive started on 11 December 1942, those still in running order were soon lost, mostly because of mechanical breakdowns or simple lack of fuel. By September 1943 some 70 L 6/40 tanks and 90 L 40 self-propelled guns were still available in Italy. L 3/35, UNKNOWN BATTAGLIONE CARRI L, 132ª DIVISIONE CORAZZATA ARIETE, LIBYA 1941 The last L 3/35 production series, built in 1938, had the main armament replaced with two 8mm Breda 38 machine guns that gave an improved traverse over the old 8mm Fiat 35; the Breda, with their shorter barrels, could be traversed 28° in both directions as opposed to the Fiat, which only had 24° traverse (Breda also had a vertical traverse of 36° against the 27° of the Fiat).

38 A view of the top of a Semovente L 40 negotiating mud in Tunisia in 1942–43; this view gives an idea of the crammed space of the fighting compartment with the pilot on the right, the loader immediately behind him and the gunner/commander on the left. Its 1942 establishment included an HQ squadron and two Gruppo esplorante corazzato (armoured reconnaissance groups), the first equipped with one armoured car and two L 6/40 squadrons, the second with one L 40 self-propelled gun, one anti-aircraft and one motorcycle-mounted squadron.

The first tests of war in North Africa were equally disappointing, particularly because of a fragmented use of the available L 3, split at company level into different mobile groups (raggruppamenti). On 15 June 1940 an Italian column, supported by two truck-borne companies of the IX light-tank battalion, was attacked by British armour while moving towards the Egyptian frontier at Sidi Omar–Capuzzo. The British forces, with armoured cars and two A 9 cruiser tanks, were able to destroy most of the column and the 12 L 3 tanks used to support it.

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