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Manufacturer: Zvezda (Russia)
Paint: Unpainted, Unassembled, Kit do not contain paints and glue.
Condition: New in Box
The Infantry Tank Mark II (sometimes referred to as Matilda II, Matilda senior, by General Staff Specification A12, Waltzing Matilda, or simply an 'I' tank) was a British infantry tank of the Second World War. It served from the start of the war to its end and became particularly associated with theNorth Africa Campaign. It was replaced in service by the Infantry Tank Mk IIIValentine. With its heavy armour the Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank, but with somewhat limited speed and armament.
When the earlier Infantry Tank Mark I which was also known as "Matilda" was removed from service the Infantry Tank Mk II became known simply as the "Matilda".The Matilda Senior weighed around 27 tons (27 tonnes or 60,000 lb; more than twice as much as its predecessor) and was armed with a QF 2 pounder (40 mm) tank gun in a three-man turret. The turret traversed by hydraulic motor or by hand through 360 degrees; the gun itself could be elevated through an arc from -15[ to +20 degrees. One of the most serious weaknesses of the Matilda II was the lack of a high-explosive round for its main gun. A high-explosive shell was designed for the 2 pounder but for reasons never explained it was not placed in production. The tank's best weapon against un-armoured targets was thus its single machine gun.
Like many other British infantry tanks, it was heavily armoured; from 20 mm (0.79 in) at the thinnest it was 78 mm (3.1 in) at the front, much more than most contemporaries. The turret armour was 75 mm (3.0 in) all round, the hull side armour was 65 to 70 millimetres (2.6 to 2.8 in), and the rear armour, protecting the engine to sides and rear, was 55 millimetres (2.2 in).The frontal armour was 75 millimetres (3.0 in), although the nose plates top and bottom were thinner but angled. The turret roof was the same thickness as the hull roof and engine deck: 20 millimetres (0.79 in). The German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks, of the same period, had 30 to 50 millimetres (1.2 to 2.0 in) thick hull armour. The shape of the nose armour was based on Christie's designs, and came to a narrow point with storage lockers added on either side. The heavy armour of the Matilda's cast turret became legendary; for a time in 1940–41 the Matilda earned the nickname "Queen of the Desert". The sheer thickness of its armour made the tank impervious to the 37 mmand 50 mm calibre anti-tank guns that were then commonly used by the Germans, as well as the 47 mm used by the Italians in North Africa; only the 75 mm PAK 40 anti-tank gun and 88 mm anti-aircraft gun could penetrate its armour reliably.
While the Matilda possessed a degree of protection that was then unmatched in the North African theatre, the sheer weight of thearmour mounted on the vehicle contributed to a very low average speed of about 6 mph (9.7 km/h) on desert terrain. At the time, this was not thought to be a problem since British infantry tank doctrine prioritized heavy armour and trench-crossing ability over speed and cross-country mobility (which was considered to be characteristic of cruiser tanks such as the Crusader). The slow speed of the Matilda was further exacerbated by a troublesome suspension and a comparatively weak power unit, the latter of which was actually created using two bus engines linked to a single shaft. This arrangement was both complicated and time-consuming to maintain, as it required technician crews had to work on each engine separately and subjected automotive components to uneven wear-and-tear. It did however, provide some mechanical redundancy, since failure in one engine would not prevent the Matilda from travelling under its own power using the other.
The tank's suspension system was that which had been developed by Vickers for their Medium C prototype in the mid-1920s. The tank was carried by five double wheel bogies on each side. Four of the bogies were on bellcranks in pairs with a common horizontal coil spring. The fifth, rearmost, bogie was sprung against a hull bracket. Between the first bogie and the idler wheel was a larger diameter vertically sprung "jockey wheel". The first Matildas had return rollers; these were replaced in later models by track skids, which were far easier to manufacture and to service in the field.
The turret carried the main armament with the machine gun to the right in a rotating internal mantlet. Traverse was by a hydraulic system. As the gun was balanced for ease of movement by the gunner much of the breech end was behind the trunnions. Two smoke grenade launchers were carried on the right side of the turret. The grenade launcher mechanisms were cut down Lee-Enfield rifles, each firing a single smoke grenade.
|Infantry Tank Mark II|
A Matilda's crew display a captured Italian flag as they enterTobruk, January 1941
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by|| United Kingdom
|Wars||Second World War|
|Designer||Mechanization Board and Messrs Vulcan|
|Manufacturer||Vulcan Foundry and others|
|Variants||see Variants below|
|Length||15 ft 11 in (6.0 m)|
|Width||8 ft 6 in (2.6 m)|
|Height||8 ft 3 in (2.5 m)|
|Crew||4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)|
|Armour||20 to 78 mm max|
|2 pounder (40 mm),
93 armour-piercing rounds
|7.92 mm Besa machine gun
|Engine||2×diesel 6-cylinder 7 litre engines: 2×AE|
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