The basic Italian light tank of the war was the Fiat Carro Armato L6/40, the descendent of the 5-ton Fiat-Ansaldo light tank of the 1930s. Somewhat equivalent to the German PzKpfw II, the L6/40 weighed approximately 15,000 pounds, had a 70-hp engine, and was capable of 26 mph. It mounted a 20mm (.79-inch) main gun and one machine gun and had maximum 40mm armor protection.
Unsuitable for front-line service because of its light armament, the L6/40 was utilized in the fighting in North Africa in cavalry and reconnaissance roles. It also was sent to the Eastern Front in fighting against the Soviet Union, and it served in Italy. Variants included command tanks and flamethrower tanks, and the L6/40 was also utilized in the Semovente 47/32 self-propelled assault vehicle mounting a 47mm antitank gun.
Light tank developed as successor to the Fiat-Ansaldo 5-Ton.
Production dates: 1941–February 1943
Number produced: 287
Armament: 1 x 20mm Breda M35 main gun; 1 x 8mm (.315-caliber) Breda M38 machine gun (coaxial)
Weight: 14,987 lbs.
Length: 12’5” Width: 6’4” Height: 6’8”
Armor: maximum 40mm; minimum 6mm
Ammunition storage and type: 296 x 20mm and 1,560 x 8mm
Power plant: SPD 18D four-cylinder 70- hp gasoline engine
Maximum speed: 25 mph
Range: 125 miles
Fording depth: 2’8”
Vertical obstacle: 2’4”
Trench crossing: 5’7”
Special characteristics (pos/neg): Far outclassed by Allied AFVs in a front-line role, it nonetheless saw considerable action in cavalry and reconnaissance roles in North Africa, Italy, and the Soviet Union. Special models: command tank; flamethrower; converted into Semovente self-propelled antitank guns
Panzerkampfwagen L6/40 733(i)
This light tank was produced for the Italian Army from 1941 to February 1943. 283 were built and many were confiscated from the Italian Army in September 1943. Armed with a 2cm M35 and an 8mm MG, it was protected by armour of 40mm for frontal plates. The engine was a Spa18D 70PS. These tanks were issued to the Panzerabteilung Adria and to Police units. The remainder were exported to Croatia.
Sturmgeschutz L6 mit 47/32 770(i)
About 300 of this light assault gun were built for the Italian Army from 1941 to 1943. 78 were confiscated by the Germans. The gun was the 4.7cm 47/32 and the mounting allowed traverse of 27° and -12° +20° elevation. Seventy rounds of 4.7cm ammunition were carried with a crew of 3. Sixteen of these StuG L6 were issued to the pz Kp z b V12 (Armoured Company for Special Employment), and in 1944, many of the remainder were exported to the Croatian Army.