This Matilda II was on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington.
The Infantry Tank Mark II, better known as the Matilda, was a British infantry tank that served in World War II. It had a crew of four, was powered by two Leyland 6-cylinder diesel engines, and was armed with a 2-pounder gun and a machine gun.
The Matilda was designed in 1936 as a gun-armed counterpart to the first British infantry tank, the machine gun-armed A11 Infantry Tank Mark I. The Mark I was also known as the Matilda, and the larger A12 was initially known as the Matilda II, Matilda senior, or Waltzing Matilda. The Mark I was abandoned in 1940, and from then on the A12 was almost always known simply as “the Matilda.”
The Matilda was an excellent infantry support tank, thanks to its heavy armor. It was impervious to most German anti-tank guns at the time, and it could withstand heavy fire from enemy tanks. However, the Matilda was slow, with a top speed of only 14 mph. It was also not very well-armed, and its main gun, the 2-pounder, was effective against other tanks, but it had limited anti-personnel capabilities.
Despite its limitations, the Matilda was a valuable asset to the British Army during World War II. It was a reliable and well-liked tank by its crews, and it played a significant role in the North Africa Campaign. It was eventually replaced in front-line service by the lighter and less costly Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine beginning in late 1941, but the Matilda continued to serve in other roles until the end of the war.
Overall, the Matilda was a versatile and effective tank that served the British Army well during World War II. Its heavy armor made it a formidable opponent on the battlefield, and its reliability and popularity with its crews made it a valuable asset to the British war effort.
A Matilda II infantry tank is at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.