Though a member of the Non-Intervention Committee, fascist Italy was in fact a very active participant in the Spanish Civil War, ultimately contributing over 60,000 troops to Franco's cause. In addition to significant numbers of men, aircraft and materiel Italy also sent several armoured units to Spain. One of the most numerous Italian armoured vehicles at the time was the L3/35 'tankette'.
|In this photo you can really get a sense of how tiny these vehicles were. A slightly piqued Ford Fiesta could run one off the road...|
In truth the L3/35 was a rather unfortunate tank design and it was essentially rendered obsolete before the first models rolled off the assembly line. It was thinly armoured, had only two clip-fed machine guns for armament (these could only fire forward as the tank had no turret) and the engine was anemic, being only 43 horse power (there are garden riding mowers that are more powerful). Nonetheless, to the doom of many Italian tanker, around 2500 L3s were ultimately manufactured and put into the field.
Even when they were captured the Republicans held the L3s in such low regard that they were often relegated to towing artillery pieces. The photo below shows Republicans milling around a L3 that has had its machine guns removed and is probably being used as a common schlepper.
Nonetheless, I really like the look of this little guy and I thought it would be a great addition to the collection. Even though they were fairly weak, the presence of any armour on the scene will cause a bit of consternation for the Republicans - unless they have a T-26, then this poor bugger better find someplace to lay low!
This is a 28mm metal model from Empress Miniatures. I added some stowage to give it more of a lived-in look (two boxes of pasta and a barrel of olive oil!). I haven't done-up a tank in years so you'll have to forgive me if this little guy looks a little rough around the edges, but I had a lot of fun working on it (thanks for the tips Greg!).
This L3/35 will give me 15 points.