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Italian Light Tanks: 1919-45 (New Vanguard) Paperback – June 19, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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“I immensely enjoyed this convenient compendium. Photos, extended captions, color plates and informative illustrations season OSPREY's savory study. Bibliography and index complete contents. Grab this entertaining little book.” ―David L. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com

About the Author

Pier Paolo Battistelli earned his PhD in Military History at the University of Padua. A scholar of German and Italian politics and strategy throughout World War II, he is active in Italy and abroad writing titles and essays on military history subjects. A contributor to the Italian Army Historical Office, he is currently revising his PhD thesis for publication: The War of the Axis: German and Italian Military Partnership in World War Two, 1939-1943.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Vanguard (Book 191)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781849087773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849087773
  • ASIN: 1849087776
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Italian Light Tanks 1919-1945 by Cappellano and Battistelli

“Italian Light Tanks” makes a nice companion volume to “Italian Medium Tanks” by the same authors. Filippo Cappellano in 2012 had the assignment of serving in the Italian Army Historical Branch as a Lt. Col. He companion Pier Paolo Battistelli earned a PhD in Military History. Both are frequent contributors to the appropriate journals. They bring their expertise to bear on the subject of the “Italian Light Tanks”.
Italy had a deficit in terms of the auto industry and industry in general in comparison to other major powers in WWII. Italy never could overcome the disparity between what she could produce and what other powers could produce. The major type of light tank was actually a tankette, a two man machine armed with machine guns. This tankette, similar to the British Bren Carrier, could not hold its own against other tanks, even in the 1930's in the Spanish Civil War. They were under armed and not very reliable. There were however lots of them, for a while. They were knocked out in battle quickly and often had to be left behind with mechanical defects. The L/3-35 can not be called a success but the crews often showed great courage.
The other prime Italian Light Tank was the L/6-40 series including the Semovente L-40 self propelled gun. The problems of protection, armament and reliability also applied to the L/6 series. By the time the L/6 tanks came into play they were already obsolete. The tank was armed only with machine guns or a 20mm cannon. Even the up-gunned self propelled gun could field only an inadequate 47mm anti tank cannon.
This slim 48 page volume is crammed with numbers, descriptions of various deployments and loads of photos.
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By ItsMe on February 7, 2013
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This book reads very well, it is not a dry "just the facts" book at all. It is also well researched and packed with information. Anyone interested in World War II armor will enjoy this book.
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Not a lot of books available in English that focus upon Italian tank development. This is a pretty good overview.
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Very detailed introduction for the average reader--more than the average person wants/needs to know about the subject. Essential for model makers.
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Shows the light tanks used in combat and the organization that deployed them. The campaign where they fought is covered in each chapter. The good part of the book is the italians wish to modernize their forces. As we know events over took this idea.
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Much like the work in the same series on Italian Medium tanks this work puts many things into perspective regarding Italian AFV development. Their lack of experience in terms of tank warfare in the First World War hampered their understanding, they were hamstrung by a view within their doctrine that the tank was a ‘breakout’ weapon and they gave little thought to tank vs tank combat. Further they had – perhaps surprisingly given later history – come to the conclusion that the desert was not conducive to armoured warfare. And hence their main focus of planning for AFV use was the smaller tracks and small bridges of the mountainous terrain in the nations north. Hence their obsession with strict weight limits and the serious constraints this put on their designers in terms of armour protection, armament and the overcrowding of the fighting compartment inherent in trying to maintain a small size.

Set out in chronological order the book discusses the Italians acquiring French tanks for evaluation and their own FT-17 copy the Fiat 3000 (as well as a cursory glance at the certainly NOT light Fiat 2000). It then moves onto the further developments in light tanks undertaken in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Thus we get the CV33/L3 and derivatives, the L6 and Semovente L40 self propelled guns. There is very brief discussion about the export of these vehicles and also some dissection of how they fared in combat in both the Spanish Civil War and the Italian campaign against Ethiopia. This is particularly interesting given the campaign was across rugged terrain far from logistics. Which you would think would give the Italian military a heads up…..
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Italian Light Tanks: 1919-45 (New Vanguard)
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