Italy’s Workhorse; the CV.3 Series

So I’ve been looking at Italian tanks for some time now here and with talk of forthcoming European vehicles for a new tree it’s a good time to have a look at some more Italian tech.

Italy’s Workhorse; the CV.3 Series


The CV.3 tank was developed from the British Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk.VI, examples of which Italy had bought complete in 1929 along with kits for a further 21 vehicles and a licence (a little later) to produce more which were named CV.29. The CV.29 initially used the same Ford Model T 4 cylinder petrol engine producing 20hp and had armour ranging from 4 to 9mm thick. After a fairly short development process the first vehicles were accepted in 1933 under the name Carro Veloce 3. (Fast Tank 3 tonnes – even though it weighed 3.2 to 3.4 tonnes depending on source) The name was later changed to L.3/33. (‘Leggero’ Light Tank 3 tonnes 1933 and the names L.3 and CV.3 are used interchangeably across sources. I prefer CV.3 so shall stick with that)

Initial models of the CV.3/33 were armed with a single Fiat-Revelli M.14 or M.35 Aircraft MG and others with a short 37mm cannon. The hulls went through numerous changes too lengthy to go into here and so did the suspension system but over the development of the series the Italians moved from an all welded upper structure on the CV.3/33 to a bolted body on the later CV.3/35 and CV.3/38 not because the Italians lacked welding technology but for ease and quickness of manufacture.


Armour Scheme from British report of captured vehicle (weapon shown is the Lanciafiamme flamethrower)

When the second series of production (CV.3/35) came around they were up-armed to a twin MG setup using Fiat M.18 or M.25 8mm MG’s or Breda M.35 8mm MG’s and the addition of a track tensioner wheel. All of the early vehicles were meant to be upgraded to this leading to numerous configurations. The CV.3/35 also differed slightly internally from the earlier CV.3/33 as it replaced the linoleum covered wooden floor (inside the steel hull) with one of waterproof painted plywood. Both versions retained padded seats and height adjustments so both members could ride the vehicle with their heads out. There are also at least two different style of steel track used too.

Some of the different configurations for the suspension

View of inside of the firing position showing rear of twin MG setup.

The gun mount on the front left of the hull had a good range of motion:

Gun elevation maximum:     15 degrees
Gun depression maximum:  12 degrees
Gun traverse each way:       12 degrees (24 degrees total)

Engine and transmission

A variety of engines were used in the series from 38hp to around 46p giving a top speed of about 42 kmh.

Engines and layout in vehicle along with gearbox with workings exposed.

The gearbox was an aluminium case as were the pistons in the Fiat SPA CV3-005 engine and could also had a second starter inside the vehicle by means of a crank which was a novel feature continuing into the M.11/39 Medium Tank which British examiners considered very useful.

“provision is made for starting externally and from the fighting compartment. It is our opinion that this latter feature might with advantage be incorporated in our own design” – British military assessment

The same report also notes that:

“…..the mechanical layout and design shows considerable ingenuity combined with a certain freedom from conventional ideas. The latter is doubtless due to the fact that the various components appear to have been designed specifically for the job and not originally for some other purpose. The above remarks apply in particular to the power plant layout which is exceptionally compact”


CV.3/38 with 13.2mm Breda Model 1931 Heavy Machine Gun

Carro Radio: (Command version with radios)

Carro Lanciafiamme CV.33 Lf:

3 of the various flamethrower setups

CV.3/33 Carro Gettaponte: Carrying a 7m bridge

CV.3/33 Carro Recupero: Light recovery vehicle

Semovente da 47/32: Prototype tank destroyer version

Mortar Carrier: Fitted with the unusual 45mm Brixia mortar

CV.3/33 CC (Controcarro): 20mm Solothurn S-18/1100 or 1000

Breda 20mm Cannon:

The CV.3 was widely exported to countries including Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Paraguay, Spain, United Kingdom, Yemen and Yugoslavia. They also served with German forces following the Italian capitulation of September 1943.

CV.3 Series vehicle in German service

So the important issue of course is can it fit in the game and if so how?

Well. Italy obviously has the Fiat 3000 which to all intents and purposes is just an improved French Renault FT-17 and would obviously be able to fill the Tier 1 slot.

But do we really want yet another identi-tank Tier 1? For me I see the CV.3 as Italy’s most numerous tank and as the proginator of following tanks as absolutely essential to fitting on the future Italian tank tank line in whatever form it takes.

The CV.3 directly led to the L.6/40 light tank (and a host of other tanks not getting out of prototype stage) but also to the Tank Destroyers starting with the Semovente 47/32 above through to the L.6 based experiments and Semovente vehicles but also the M.11 Medium tanks and all that follows whereas the Fiat 2000 is essentially a dead-end in technological terms.

To have a tree progressing from Tier 1 in technical terms it has to start with the CV.3 Series as the modules are used going up the tree to later vehicles whereas the Fiat 3000 a fine little vehicle as it was leads to nothing.

What it would be though is the first and only turretless Tier 1. Sure the early twin MG’s or HMG despite having some modest AP ability would be lacking but there is also a 37mm gun and a nice Breda 20mm cannon option too not to mention the Solothurn 20mm AT Rifle which has a choice of mounting options all of which are historic.

What you would get is a unique Tier 1 very different to everyone other nations with its own playstyle and a choice of guns to suit whether a player likes to snipe with good ROF and low damage like the Solothurn or burst some close range damage with a cannon or a longer range and slower firing 37mm gun. It would also be an extremely small target with pretty good sloping armour at the front and importantly a very decent top speed.

I see the CV.3 as a Tier 1 as being a very interesting development to the game and from a historical point of view essential to any implementation of Italian vehicles.

Size comparison with the Panther


  • Janes Tanks and Fighting Vehicles by Leland Ness
  • Veicoli da Cambattimento dell’esercito italiano dal 1939 al 1945 by Cesare Falesi and Benedetto Pafi
  • Italian Medium Tanks 1939-45 by F.Cappellano and P.Battistelli
  • “Preliminary Report No.17, L.3-33 / L.3/35”, School of Tank Technology, October 1943
  • “Preliminary Report No.11, M.11/39”, School of Tank Technology, March 1943
  •  Tank
  • “Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World´s Tanks and Fighting Vehicles”, by Christopher Foss, 1978.
  • http://forum.worldof…lian-tanks/#top
  • Carro Veloce C.V.33 e C.V.35, Storia Militare Magazine, March 1994
  • Gli Autoveicoli da Combattimento Dell’Esercito Italiano V.2 – Pignato, Cappellano
  • Italian Armoured Vehicles of World War Two by Nicola Pignato
  • La Meccanizzazione dell Esercito Italiano by Ceva and Curami

About Vollketten


33 thoughts on “Italy’s Workhorse; the CV.3 Series

  1. I’m not sure, since I haven’t been much curious about this tank, and I don’t know the correct names of all the versions, but being italian I know flamethrower is spelled “lanciafiamme”, and not “lanciaflamme”, hope this helps. Good article by the way

      • I hope I didn’t suggest wrong, because I see there are some results even on google searching for “lanciaflamme”, all of wich are however not in italian, so they are possibly mistranslations too (And I wouldn’t understand why italians would have named it english-like, when they were trying to nationalize all the words they could think of :) )

  2. Intresting article Volketten, I’d like to see more about this topic, and I swear I’m not saying it just because I’m italian :P
    Anyway, I’m wondering: would this tank be able to replace the T1 Cunningham in CW and 7/42 lineups?

  3. “What it would be though is the first and only turretless Tier 1.”

    That would be interesting!

    “Mortar Carrier: Fitted with the unusual 45mm Brixia mortar”

    Tier I arty ;)

  4. I cant wait for the Italian tanks that way I can muder those patriotic Russians with some patriotism of my own!

  5. Sounds to me like tier 2 material. Anyway, I cannot see an entire Itialian tech tree going anywhere, so it would have to be an EU tech tree. Which is probably at least 3 years away.

  6. Very interesting article! I have CV 3/33 model in 1:35, it’s so unbelievable small, even compared to tier 1 tanks …

    Another thing: I think you mixed up the FIAT 2000 and FIAT 3000. The FIAT 3000 was the variation of the Renault FT-17.

    And I also read an official statement somewhere, that the FIAT 3000 will come as the tier 1 tank.

  7. This little turd is not even worthy to be called a tank. Look at it! It’s more like a shoe!

  8. BTW Volketten, the FT-17 clone is the Fiat 3000.
    Fiat 2000 was a WWI design, although revolutionary on its own we’d have trouble fitting it in WOT…

  9. Interesting article.

    While not being a fan of pedo tanking (*looks at T-127, oh snap O_o), I really cant wait to have all the historical lower tier tanks and tankettes in the game and incorporating them into upcoming historical battles.

    With right balancing, 1939-1940 early war battles could be one hell of a fun.

  10. Yes, yes!! Add these to the game. And an Italian Tech tree is needed. Confrontation on Airfield or Sand River and Matilda will once again be “Queen of the Desert!” Muah ha ha ha!!! Give them a buggering they soon shan’t forget!

  11. Italy really deserves their own tech tree and not to be thrown in with the generic European tree, any gaps in the tree could be filled with German tanks in the low and mid tiers and American in the mid and high tiers. But anyways I’d love to see that turret less tankette as the tier 1, that tiny little thing zipping around the battlefield almost like a baby Pz I C or AMX scout tank. :)

  12. I like to see it in tier 1, though I’m not sure about “no turret = better DPM” in that tier..

  13. We can’t have Italian tanks in the game. It will be too confusing, as they will keep changing from green team to red team to green team, depending on who is winning.

  14. YEAH i would love to see this as a tier 1!
    The end of the dominant T1 Cunningham ( in terms of auto cannon)
    I have seen T1 one clip tier 2!!! with its 20mm cannon!!!