L6/40

Carro Armato L6/40 was an armored vehicle (tank, AFV or armoured fighting vehicle) in combat use during the Second World War (World War II or WWII) in the European theater. The Carro Armato L6/40 was a fully tracked all-terrain vehicle designed for military operations. L6/40 was produced and deployed by the Italian Army of Italy, an Axis ally of Nazi Germany (the Third Reich). The technical drawing (plan, layout or profile) shows the general appearance characteristics of the specified model (version) of the L6/40 tank for purposes of identification and reference. For more detailed information about this armored fighting vehicle, refer to L6/40.

L6/40
Class Vehicle
Type Infantry Combat Vehicle
Manufacturer Fiat
Production Period 1941 - 1943
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1941
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany View
Italy 1940 1944 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Fiat 1941 1943 283 View

The L6/40 was a conventional light tank design of riveted construction. A one-man turret in the centre mounted a single Breda Modello 35 20 mm main gun and a Breda 38 8 mm coaxial machine gun. The driver sat in the front right of the hull. The riveted armour was six to 30 mm in thickness, which was roughly equivalent to existing Allied light tanks.

A further development of the Fiat L3 light tank, the L6 went through a number of prototypes during the late 1930s. The first was armed with a sponson-mounted 37 mm main gun and a machine-gun armed turret. A later version featured a turret mounted 37 mm gun and yet another version had only twin 8 mm machine guns. Ultimately, the production configuration, named Carro Armato L6/40, was put into production in 1939, with 283 finally produced.

Variants

The L6 Lf flame tank variant was developed in which the main gun was replaced by a flamethrower with 200 litres of fuel. A command-tank variant carried extra radio gear and had an open-topped turret.

The most successful of the L6 variants was the Semovente 47/32, which eliminated the turret and substituted a 47 mm antitank gun in the open-topped hull.

A final version late in the war was an ammunition carrier armed only with a single 8 mm Breda machine gun. It was used alongside the Semovente 90/53, carrying 26 extra 90 mm rounds, as the Semovente 90/53 itself could only carry six rounds.

L6/40 light tanks were used by the Italians in the Balkans Campaign, in the war against the Soviet Union, in the latter stages of the North African campaign, and in the defence of Sicily and Italy.

The L6/40 was the main tank employed by the Italian forces fighting on the Eastern Front. The L6 fought alongside the L6/40-based Semovente 47/32 self-propelled gun.

Although a good light tank for its size and an improvement over the tankettes that were common within the Italian army, it was already obsolete by the time of its introduction. The low silhouette of the vehicle (somewhat taller than the average man) made it useful for reconnaissance, and its armament was effective against any light vehicles it might encounter. However, due to a lack of a suitable medium tank, it was often employed in a combat role, for which it was unsuited.

The L6 was also used by the German Army[citation needed] and the Croat Ustaše militia.

The L6/40 was used postwar by the Italian militia until it was phased out during the early 1950s.

GENERAL DATA
Formal DesignationCarro Armato L6/40
Manufacturer(s)Fiat
Production Quantity283Production Period1941-Feb. 1943
TypeLight TankCrew2
Length hull/overall (m)3.78Barrel Overhang (m)n.a.
Width (m)1.92Height (m)2.03
Combat Weight (kg)6800Radio Equipmentn.a.
FIREPOWER
Primary Armament20mm Breda M35Ammunition Carried296
Traverse (degrees)Manual (360°)Elevation (degrees)-12° to +20°
Traverse speed (360°)-Sightn.a.
Secondary Armament8mm Breda M38
(coaxial)
Ammunition Carried1560
 
MOBILITY CHARACTERISTICS
Engine Make & ModelSPD 18DNo. of Links/Trackn.a.
Type & Displacement4 cylinderTrack Widthn.a.
Horsepower (max.)70hpTrack Ground Contactn.a.
Power/Weight Ratio10.3Ground Pressuren.a.
Gearboxn.a.Ground Clearance (m)n.a.
FuelGasoline (Petrol)Turning Radius (m)n.a.
Range on/off road (km)200Gradient (degrees)31°
Mileage (liters/100km)n.a.Vertical Obstacle (m)0.7
Fuel Capacity (liters)n.a.Fording (m)0.8
Speed on/off road42 km/hTrench Crossing (m)1.7
ARMOR PROTECTION
Armor (mm@degrees)FrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Hull6mm to 30mm
Superstructure
Turret
Mantlet

End notes