Carro Armato L35/c

Carro Armato L35/c (C.V.33/II Serie) fitted w/the Swiss Solothurn S18-1100 20mm Gun
Manufacturer: Bronco (CB35049) – Scale: 1/35

Model by Clayton Ockerby

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A brief history


L35As early as 1928 the Italian authorities began to show an interest in a small two-man tankette. Twenty-five Carden Loyd MK.VI tankettes were purchased from the British in 1929, and an Ansaldo/Fiat version was designed. This was designated as ‘Carro Armato da accompaniment per la Infantry’ standing for infantry support tank. After trials in 1931 and a number of modifications, it was accepted as the ‘Carro Armato veloce Alsaldo’, and full production began in 1933.

The new vehicle was now standardized as the C.V.33 series I, and mounted a single air-cooled 6.5mm Fiat type AV machine gun. This series is recognized by its armament and a prominent track tension roller assembly. In 1935 the C.V.33 series II appeared mounting twin 8mm Fiat 1935 machine guns. It now also featured the simpler rear tension roller, and revised armour plate angles on the rear of the crew compartment. The riveted superstructure appears mainly on the later C.V.35 models starting in 1936.

A confusing number of upgrade alterations followed, until many of the earlier models were retrofitted to series II or the latest production C.V.35 standards. From that point on they were all usually referred to as the C.V.35. Then in 1938 the designation L3-35 became the standard, and finally just L35.

The interesting field modification shown here features the 20mm ‘Solothurn’ anti-tank gun fitted to a C.V.33 series II radio model and locally designated as L35/c. In 1941, when it was realized that the MG armament was now ineffective, a small number of vehicles were customized with this 20mm gun in an attempt to give the L35(C.V.33) some much needed firepower. The modification utilized the same parts and supports as the mono armed early C.V.33, thus maintaining the original line of sight and fire. Ammunition stowage was also the same, so few changes had to be made.

The few on record were modified in the field and saw action in North Africa. They were mainly used for covering fire in the final battles of the first British counteroffensives of 1941. During later operations they were all withdrawn from frontline service and several were later captured by the British on the high ground above Bardia. The large storage bins on each side of the radio version housed the Marelli Batteries.

(taken from the notes on the Bronco Instruction Sheet)

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