The Carri Veloci (Fast Tank) CV33, later renamed Carri Leggeri (Light Tanks) L3-33/35/38 series or “tankette” were the primary tracked armored vehicle of the Italian Army during the 1930’s. Developed from the British Carden Lloyd tankettes, production began in 1933. They were lightly armed and armored. Several variants were developed using different armament combinations. They first saw combat during the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935. From that point on, they saw action in numerous campaigns and finished World War II being used in the anti-partisan role in Yugoslavia.
The book basics
Carro Leggero L3-33/35/38 and L6/Semovente L40 is published by Auriga Publishing International and is number 2 in their “Large Photo File” series. The authors are Alessandro Bruschi and Daniele Guglielmi. Color plates and line drawings were prepared by Vincenzo Auletta and Alessandro Bruschi.
Published in 2009, the book is printed in both Italian and English. It is a soft-cover book printed in landscape format and is similar in format to other books of the type. Included in its 74 pages are 104 black and white photos, 70 color photos, 53 diagrams and drawings from various technical manuals, 4 pages of 1/35 scale line drawings and 25 color plates. The photos are of vehicles in various museums and collections. No period or combat photos are included. The ISBN is 88-88711-31-7.
The book details
The book starts off with a 1-page overview covering the development and history of the tankettes. The next 10 pages provide coverage of the L3/33. Numerous b&w photos are used with diagrams and drawings from the appropriate technical manual(s) used to supplement the photos. The L3/35 gets similar treatment in 8 pages. Next, 6 pages are devoted to the L3/33 and 35 flamethrower versions.
Overall coverage is good and provides details that will be useful for builders of the current L3 series kits. Items that are not original or accurate on the subject vehicles are pointed out in the captions by the authors. Interior shots are provided when available and when not, the technical manual drawings pick up the slack. This is continued throughout the rest of the book. A few of the interior shots of the flamethrower variants are somewhat obscured by shadows but that's only a minor drawback and does not detract from the rest of the book.
The next major section covers the L3/38. Coverage of the L3/38 is rather extensive with 12 pages of photographs, all of which are of a restored and running vehicle. Many color photos are used in this section. An extra bonus in the L3/38 section are 4 photos of the Viberti trailer, which is used to transport the tankettes in non-combat areas.
After the L3 series of tankettes, the book covers the L6 series of light tanks and self-propelled guns. Coverage of these vehicles starts with a brief half-page history followed by 17 pages of color photos and tech manual drawings of the L6 light tank. 3 pages of color photos covering the 47/32 L40 self-propelled gun follow the L6.
The book wraps up with 4 pages of 1/35 scale line drawings. The L6 line drawings show 4 views while the 47/32 L40 has one side profile drawing. This is supplemented with a 2 drawing view of the L40 ammunition carrier, which was used to supply the 90/53 self-propelled gun. The L3-33 receives multiple drawings showing different weapons and antenna fits. The L3-35 and –38 receive similar treatment.
The last 7 pages consist of color plates and information about the camouflage schemes and markings of the Italian light tanks. A wide variety of schemes and markings are presented here. The modeler should find this section very useful.
The final page covers vehicle specifications.
This book covers a subject that has seen minimal coverage over the years. The photos are clear and show good details. Technical manual diagrams are used when needed to fill in the details that are missing from the vehicles. I found the book to be laid out in a logical and easy to use format. I think this book is just what a modeler would want to refer to when building the new kits from Bronco and Italeri. Highly recommended!
Highs: Good photo coverage of the various L-series tankettes. Very useful color plates and line drawings.Lows: Other than a couple of shadow issues in a few photos, none really.Verdict: Highly recommended for owners of the new L3 and L6 kits!