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Mk.II Matilda

General Characteristics
Length: 6.0 m
Width: 2.6 m
Height: 3.5 m
Weight:27 tons
Speed: 24 km/h(road)
15 km/h(off-road)
Range:80 km
Primary armament: 2 pdr (40 mm) gun
Secondary armament: 7.92 mm coaxial machine gun
Power plant: -
Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

The Mark II "Matilda" (Mk.II) was a British tank of World War II. The armored combat vehicle weighed 27 tons and was armed with a 2-pounder cannon. In the deserts of North Africa, the Mk.II often averaged ~9.5km per hour. The tank had frontal armor of ~7.5cm.

Table of contents
1 Production History
2 Combat History

Production History

The Matilda was first produced in 1937 but only two were in service when war broke out in September 1939. Some 2,987 were produced until 1943.


Combat History

The Matilda was first used in combat by the 4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments in
France in 1940. Due to the thickness of its armor, it was largely immune to the cannon fire from the German tanks in France, and was only effectively countered by 88 mm anti-aircraft guns pressed into the anti-tank role.

In the early days of the conflict in the African Front, the Matilda again proved highly effective against the Italian and German tanks. Its 2-pounder cannon had the best armor penetration of any tank weapon in use in the desert. It had no high-explosive capability, however, and thus was vulnerable to the larger caliber anti-tank guns which outranged its machine guns.

As the German army received new tanks with more powerful guns, the Matilda proved less and less effective. Due to the small size of its turret ring, it could not be up-gunned sufficiently. With the arrival of the American Lee/Grant and Sherman tanks, the Matilda was phased out.