- As a TT vehicle
- As an event vehicle
- As a premium vehicle
- With additional fuel trailer
- With “compacto”
- I am not interested in the L3/35 LF at all
The L3 was one of the most mass produced tankettes of the second world war, designed in 1933 as the L3/33 and later two improved versions, the L3/35 and L3/38. The L3 series participated in multiple theaters both before and during the war: in the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese war, and in the theaters of the Balkans, North Africa, the Eastern Front and Italy. One of the L3/35s produced even made it until today, being operated by the Taliban in combat worthy conditions.
However, as commonly known by historians, the L3 series was, put mildly, one of the worst tanks during the war. Regular breakdowns, armor penetrable by allied machine guns and poor ergonomics made the tank perform badly in combat against the allies. It already performed badly against Soviet designs such as the BT series in Spain, and by the time the war broke out, it stood almost no chance against allied tanks such as the Crusaders. The statement against the tank is somewhat of a bias against the vehicle, as the limits of Italian industrial integration was not nearly as significant as the other countries when the war began, and the whole concept of tankettes is already severely outdated. The tank did get a revival in popular cultures, namely the anime series Girls und Panzer and the game War Thunder itself - albeit its reputation in War Thunder is just as bad as it was in real life.
L3/35 LF in Spain
There are a few modifications to the L3/35(same as the L3/33), and the one that is on this suggestion post is the L3/35 LanciaFiamme, the flamethrower tank, which is also the most produced modification of the tankette. After the successful use of flamethrowers in the invasion of Ethiopia, the military requested an enlarged flamethrower to be mounted on a tank chassis to act as the role of infantry support vehicle, and the L3/33 and L3/35 was chosen to be the mount. The Conversion took action as early as 1938. However, in combat, its lack of self-defense weapons such as a rotary machine gun and fragile protection meant for poor survivability. The flamethrower was also a lot lighter than its allied counterpart, with reduced ranges and burn time.
The only known photo of a L3 LF, with "compacto" design in Spain, credits: tank encyclopedia
Today, a few L3 LanciaFiamme tanks remained and were displayed in museums, namely one at Trieste, Italy and one captured by the allies, in Bovington, Britain.
The L3/35 features a much similar design to the L3/33, namely its lightly armored, 2-man crew nature. The layout is the same: the engine and radiator at the back, with a transmission traversing the bottom of the tank, and the crew in the center, driver on the right and commander/gunner on the left. The L3/35s most important improvement was the use of bolted armor instead of riveted, making the maintenance and repair works easier. The guns were also replaced with a pair of bred 38 8mm machine guns for improved firepower.
The LanciaFiamme conversion removed one of the hull mounted machine guns, namely the one to the leftward side of the commander’s view, and replaced it with a flamethrower. To fuel the flamethrower, the L3 is made to tow a 500 liters fuel trailer behind the vehicle, much similar to the crocodile. Later variants also featured a fuel tank mounted atop of the engines compartment, named the “Lanzallamas compacto”, allowing for another 60 liters of fuel for the flamethrower. The flamethrower can project fire up to 22 meters away for a total of 20 seconds.
Drawing of a "compacto" L3/35 Lanciafiamme, credits: tank encyclopedia
Role in War Thunder
Even with a flamethrower, the L3/35 LanciaFiamme is still likely to be one of the worst tanks in reserve tier, its modest attributes on firepower, protection and mobility at best made sure that the casemate tankette is going to have a bad day. However, unlike the British Churchill crocodile and the Soviet/Russian TO-55, the L3/35 LanciaFiamme would sat a much lower BR, namely 1.0 or 1.3, where it can meet a large amount of vehicles that are open top, which are easy kills for the tank(and would kill the L3 equally easy). Commonly used vehicles in starter tiers such as Sd.Kfz.221, Sd.Kfz.222(Germany/China), SU-5-1, M8(China), M3 GMC as well as every single SPAAs, commonly used against tank in low tiers, can be instantly evaporated by the flamethrower.
Due to its reserve tier nature, it does not matter where it sits. This can be a TT tank folded under the L3 CC, a very neat event tank for one of the lower tier events, or perhaps a GE premium costing 150 GE for the purpose of trolling.
Length: 3.17 meters
Width: 1.4 meters
Height: 1.3 meters
Weight: 4,450 kg
Combat weight: 4,900 kg
Engine: Fiat-SPA CV3 4-cyliner engine, 43 hp
Road speed: up to 40 km/h
Range: up to 100 km
Armaments: One breda 38 8mm machine gun, one flamethrower