In the 1930s Fiat Ansaldo built an export tank based on the chassis of the L3 tankette, itself a development of the British Garden Lloyd Mark VI tankette. The first prototype was armed with twin machine-guns in the turret and a 37 mm gun in a sponson. This was followed by models with a turretmounted 37-mm gun and a co-axial machine-gun, and another with twin turret-mounted 8-mm (0.315-in) machine-guns, The production version, designated Carro Armato L 6/40, was built from 1939 and armed with a Breda Model 35 20-mm cannon with a co-axial Breda Model 38 8-mm (0.315in) machine gun. Totals of 296 rounds of 20-mm and 1,560 rounds of 8-mm (0.35in) ammunition were carried. At the time of its introduction the L 6/40 was roughly equivalent to the German PzKpfw II, and was used by reconnaissance units and cavalry divisions. A total of 283 vehicles was built, and in addition to being used in Italy itself the type was also used in North Africa and on the Russian front. The L 6/40 continued in service with the militia in post-war Italy, finally being phased out of service in the early 1950s.
The hull of the L 6/40 was of allriveted construction varying in thickness from 6mm (0,24m) to 30mm (1.26 in), The driver was seated at the front right, the turret was in the centre, and the engine at the rear. The turret was manually operated and could be traversed through 360°; its weapons could be elevated from -12° to +20°. The commander also acted as gunner and loader, and could enter the vehicle via the hatch in the turret roof or via a door in the right side of the hull. Suspension on each side consisted of two bogies each with two road wheels, with the drive sprocket at the front and idler at the rear; there were three track-return rollers.
There was also a flamethrower version of the L 6/40 in which the 20-mm cannon was replaced by a flamethrower for which 200 litres (44 Imp gal) of flame liquid were earned. The command model had additional communications equipment and an opentopped turret. Some of the L 6/40s were completed as Semovente L40 47/32 self-propelled anti-tank guns, which were essentially L 6/40 with the turret removed and a 47-mm anti-tank gun mounted in the hull front to the left of the driver. This had an elevation from -12° to +20°, with a total traverse of 27°; 70 rounds of ammunition were carried. In addition to conversions from the L 6/40 tank about 300 vehicles were built from scratch and these saw service in Italy, North Africa and the USSR from 1941, A command version was also built on the same chassis and this had its armament replaced by an 8mm (0.315-in) Breda machine-gun, which was made to look like the larger calibre gun to make detection of the vehicle more difficult.
Specification Carro Armato L 6/40 Crew: 2 Weight: 6800 kg (l4,991 lb) Dimensions: length 3,78 m ( 12 ft 5 in); width 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in); height 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) Powerplant: one SPA 18D fourcylinder petrol engine developing 70hp(52kW) Performance: maximum road speed 42 km/h (26 mph); maximum range 200 km (124 miles); fording0,8 m (2 ft 8 in); gradient 60 per cent; vertical obstacle 0.7 m (2 ft 4 in); trench 1,7m (5 ft 7 in)