As for my last article I covered the CV.3 series and gave my opinion that I want it to be the Tier I tank for Italy (as it is the progenitor of most of the rest of their tanks) I also mentioned the Fiat 3000.
In 1917 Count Alfredo Bennicelli (a Major and later Colonel in the Artillery) saw the success of tanks. The Italians were interested in the French FT-17 and obtained 3 French made Renault FT-17s along with 2 Schneider tanks. The Schneiders did not arrive until late 1918 but the FT-17’s arrived from France on 2nd August 1918 at Piacenza.
They do not appear to have seen action for Italy in WW1 (although some sources say that they were sent to the Carso front) and as a response to the development of tanks and the obtaining these Renaults, Fiat produced their own tank; the Fiat 2000 which is an iconic beast in its own right and subject for a write up another time.
Renault could not meet the Italian production requirements of 200 a month starting May 1919 and had already purchased 84 FT-17’s in 1917, for a total of 1400 units ordered. Major Bennicelli conducted negotiations with Renault and the Ministry of War agreed to produce a version of the Renault in Italy. This contract to produce the FT-17 in Italy was to be an improved vehicle and given the name (Carro d’Assaulto) Fiat 3000.
The first production vehicle of a batch of 100 was finished in June 1920 and 100 examples entered service in 1921 named Fiat 3000A. The first Fiat 3000s underwent acceptance trials in late 1921 and it was already found to be underarmed with only machine guns and needing a cannon to enable it to fight enemy armoured vehicles. This change though was slow in coming.
Following manouevres in 1927 and 1928 again this deficiency was highlighted and eventually in collaboration with the Turin Arsenal they installed the 37mm L.40 cannon into the turret; which required some modification. Along with some improvements to the hull this became the Modello 1930 of Fiat 3000B.
This improved vehicle was manufactured in 52 examples in 1929 (entered service 1930) and sported a better engine, suspension, tracks (the first vehicles used a smooth plate French track and the later ones used a contoured tracks for improved grip) and armament, namely a 37mm L.40 gun as well as a Breda 8mm machine gun. There were a number of variants of no relevance to WoT such as smoke generating vehicles etc.
So in a nutshell the Fiat 3000 and Fiat 3000A are just copies of the FT-17 and the Fiat 3000B is an improved vehicle. The Fiat 3000 was essentially obsolete by the time it entered Italian service as it did not fit with the requirements they had for mobility, reliability or combat. It had been relegated to second line and training duties prior to the outbreak of WW2.
By February 1939 some 90 of these vehicle were still armed with twin 8mm Fiat M.35 Machine Guns and a further 37 had been stripped of their 37mm guns to be reused elsewhere. A report that month from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed major flaws with the Fiat 3000 which by this time was also known as the M.21/30, (It is also sometimes referred to as L.5/21 and L.5/30 respectively because of changes in Italian tank classification systems around that time) the reports conclusions were damning:
- Too slow – 18kmh top speed
- Small width lends itself to toppling over when crossing rough ground [not an advantage when planning for fighting in the mountains of Italy]
- Even with better tracks than the original FT-17 from which it was copied the new plates were inadequate and broke off easily
- Low radius of action being a mere 60km or 4 hours of operation off-road
- Inadequate armour [6-16mm] against new anti-tank weapons
- Problems with engine and transmission
- Components built in 1919 were technically outdated
None-the-less this vehicle stayed in service being deployed in the African campaigns by Italy and in Sicily against the Allies as late as July 1943. Try fighting M4’s in your FT-17 in game to see how well it works out for you and you get an idea of what totally unrealistic expectations were put on the poor crews of these things.
As I said earlier it is a very close visual copy of the FT-17 we already have in game in more than one iteration already. So it could definitely fill the requirements for a Tier I tank depending on whether you want yet another FT-17 tank at Tier 1 or not.
The WoT game thrives on the fact that there is a mix of play styles and vehicles to sum up different attributes of tanks which suit in varying degrees the styles of various players. The game needs a broad appeal of gamers and those historically minded individuals who want to fight in the real vehicles of the past. For me the Fiat 3000 is an uninspiring choice adding little to the game in terms of diversity, and historically there are issues too.
There is only one real gun option at Tier 1, the 37/40; although Italy was supplied with surplus French FT-17 turrets by Germany with the 37mm L.21 as well during the war. Next issue is that it is a dead-end technologically. Fiat abandoned their gloriously beautiful Fiat 2000 to build these things and they lead nowhere. (There was an 105mm SPG project based on an FT-17 hull but it too lead nowhere) The Fiat 3000 is not ‘legendary’ or ‘iconic’ in any sense of the word and does not epitomise Italian design in any way.
Compare and contrast with the CV.3 series vehicles (yes, I love them I admit it) which not just served prior to WW2, in the Spanish Civil War, throughout the whole of the war for Italy and beyond in a Policing capacity (last one being retired from service in 1950) but was also the most produced tank by Italy. The CV.3 series served on all Italian fronts and many other fronts too for other countries and led directly to both the Italian Medium and Light Tanks. In this we have the crux of the matter.
A tech tree needs a logical (where possible) technological progression. In this instance we have a choice of two Tier 1 tanks; the Fiat 3000 and the CV.3 Series. So unless it starts from the CV.3 or a vehicle derived from it there can be no technological progression.
So there you have it. It is no worse than any other Tier I but it is a rather boring, and unimaginative choice for a tech tree. I’d prefer something distinctively Italian to start their tree. Those are my opinions good or bad and not necessarily shared in whole or in part with anyone else.
http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/200193-italian-tanks/#topmost The Fighting Tanks Since 1916 – Robert Icks, Italian Tanks 1917-1945 – Dr. Emiliano Ciaralli, Iron Arm – John Sweet, Festung Italien – Carlo Clerici, Mezzi Corazzati Italiano – Paolo Emilio Papo, La Meccannizzazione dell’Esercito Italiano – Ceva and Curami, www.regioesercito.it www.britishpathe.com