MANUFACTURER(S): State Factories - Italy
OPERATORS: Kingdom of Italy
LENGTH: 10.40 feet (3.17 meters)
WIDTH: 4.59 feet (1.4 meters)
HEIGHT: 4.27 feet (1.3 meters)
WEIGHT: 5 Tons (4,450 kilograms; 9,811 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x FIAT-SPA CV3 4-cylinder water-cooled engine developing 43 horsepower.
SPEED: 25 miles-per-hour (40 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 62 miles (100 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Carro Armato L3-35Lf (Lanciafiamme) Mobile Flamethrower Tankette.
Entry last updated on 6/13/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
After a good showing of its man-portable backpack flamethrowers in Ethiopia, the Italian Army moved to expand the effectiveness of this lethal weapon. The system was revised some and enlarged to be installed in the existing Carro Armato L3/38 tankette series to produce the L3-35Lf (Lanciafiamme) mobile flamethrowing vehicle. The tankette retained its crew of two but one of the hull-mounted machine guns was replaced by the flame projector which was positioned offset to left in the upper hull superstructure (the driver sat right of the weapon). Behind the vehicle was a two-wheeled carriage (weighing 1,100lb) containing the necessary propellant stores for the weapon. A rigid arm joined the two components while a flexible hose was used to drive the propellant from trailer to tankette. The trailer was required as there proved little room within the vehicle itself to store the flammable contents.
In practice, the vehicles proved of limited value on the battlefields of World War 2 (1939-1945) as time wore on. Crew conditions were cramped and armor protection was light while no defensive armament was fitted. The projector held a range of about 25 yards and could fire a stream for 20 seconds total - further limiting any advantage the vehicle had. Regardless, the L3-35lf became the most widely used of all the Italian flame-projecting tanks available.
A revised form of the vehicle finally did away with the trailer and mounted a smaller fuel/propellant store atop the rear hull of the tankette.
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