Background on the Fiat L6/40
The Fiat L6/40 developed as a replacement to the Carro Veloce CV 33 tankette and intended for the export market. The export demand didn’t materialize, but the Regio Esercito showed an interest in this light tank. In 1936, Fiat-Ansaldo completed the first prototypes. One came armed with coaxial 8mm MG and another armed with a 37 mm cannon. The armament was standardized to a Breda Modello 35 20 mm main gun and an 8 mm Breda 38 coaxial machine gun. The Italian Army ordered 283 L6/40’s which Fiat-Ansaldo delivered between 1941 and 1942. The tank faired well against other light tanks but became quickly outclassed by Allied medium tanks on the battlefield.
The hull was of riveted construction with a minimum thickness of 6mm of armor and a maximum thickness of 30mm. The driver sat at the front of the hull on the right; the turret is offset to the left, and the engine is in the rear. The suspension consists of two bogies each with two road wheels, with the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear.
The Breda Mod 35 20 mm gun has an elevation of +20 degrees and a depression of -12 degrees. The L6/40 carries 296 20 mm rounds and 1,560 rounds 8 mm rounds.
The L6/40 saw service in North Africa, the Eastern Front, Balkans, and Italy.
- The L6/40 came in three variants:
- L6 lf is flamethrower version capable of carrying 200 liters of fuel. It never entered production.
- Fiat built a command model fitted with radios and an open roof.
- Semovente 47/32 – The most successful variant was a self-propelled gun which replaced the turret with a Cannone da 47/32 anti-tank gun. Fiat-Ansaldo built 300 of these units.
|Max Speed||26 mph (42 km/h)|
|Range||124 miles (200 km)|
|Length||12ft 5in (3.78 m)|
|Width||6ft 4in (1.92 m)|
|Height||6ft 8in (2.03m)|
|Weight||14,991 lbs (6,800 kg)|
|Powerplant||70hp SPA 180 four-cylinder inline engine|
|Armament||One Breda 35 20mm cannon and One Breda 8mm co-axial machine gun|
|Armor||6 mm to 30 mm|
|Vertical Obstacle||2ft 4in (.7 meters)|
|Trench||5ft 7in (1.7 meters)|