Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Book review – Italian Light Tanks 1919-45

Italian Light Tanks 1919-45, Filippo Cappellano and Pier Paolo Battistelli with illustrations by Richard Chasemore, Osprey New Vanguard 191, 48 pages, 2012

As we are playing the desert war, and especially early action with Italians, I have read up a bit on the equipment used. Finding something on Italian armour isn’t the easiest, so I was pleased when this title showed up.
So, let’s see what we get. The different chapters:
Historical Background – how it started and why
Early tanks and units – Fiat 3000 (an Italian version of the famous French FT 17), CV 29 and the first tank units
The CV 33 / L3 tank and derivatives – the well-known turret-less tankette, useful against tribesmen in Ethiopia but more or less worthless against someone with armour and AT-guns. Also flamethrower variants and others. A photo of a silly one-man MG-armed tank weighting 470 kilos – fantastic suicide vehicle.
The L 6/40 Tank, L 40 self-propelled gun and derivatives – a light tank with a turret-mounted 20mm quick-firing gun and a Semovente with a 47mm gun.
The interwar years- Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War, the development of Italian armour
World War II – Experiences during the war, how they were used etc. Also a bit on their use in German hands.
Camouflage and markings
Surviving vehicles – very short on where you can find them today.
Specifications – for the L3/35, L 6/40 and Semovente L 40
Bibliography – understandably but unfortunately mostly Italian titles.

Lots of very good pictures and some colour ones on surviving vehicles, a cut-away two page spread of an L3/35, four one-page plates of different vehicles, and two action plates, that I feel is a bit of a filler. Now, these two are rather good, so it is forgiven for this book…
I feel this is what I want from an Osprey. Good text, informative plates and photos and very little filler. So, I’m very happy with this book. I rate it a strong 4 out of 5. Recommended!

And welcome to new follower Chuck Cathcart, who don’t seem to have a blog of his own (correct me if I’m wrong)


  1. Might have to pick this up, it sounds odd but I've always had a bit of a love for Italian tanks, they just look so optimistic when you compare them to anything else of the period. FYI you might want to check out the Osprey Members section its £3 a month for silver membership and they have a huge number of plates for uniforms tanks etc on there. I'm a member and its insanely useful.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I've noticed the members section, and been tempted. Might try it out, especially if someone actually finds it useful. We'll see.

    And, yes, Italian tanks are fun. Actually most early war tanks are interesting. Clunky, ugly and mostly harmless.