Canal Defence Light (CDL)

The Canal Defence Light (CDL) was a British “secret weapon” of the Second World War, based upon the use of a powerful carbon-arc searchlight mounted on a tank. It was intended to be used during night-time attacks, when the light would allow enemy positions to be targeted. A secondary use of the light would be to dazzle and disorient enemy troops, making it harder for them to return fire accurately. The name Canal Defence Light was used to conceal the device’s true purpose.

The only surviving CDL-equipped Matilda tank is in the collection of the Royal Armoured Corps at The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, in Britain.

Matilda II

When I was last in Manchester, I had some time so I popped over to the Salford Quays to visit the Imperial War Museum North.

Imperial War Museum North

This is a fascinating museum, but unlike London and Duxford there aren’t quite as many vehicles or aircraft.

They have lots of smaller items and the displays are both fascinating and informative.

They do have a Matilda II infantry tank.

Matilda II infantry tank

This is a British WW2 infantry support tank, crew of 4, powered by two Leyland 6-cylinder diesel engines, armed with 2pdr gun and machine gun.

Matilda II infantry tank

This tank served with various Royal Armoured Corps training regiments within Britain.

I do have an old 15mm metal model, but that is still on the workbench since I bought it in the 1990s, typical wargamer!

SDD Matilda II

Matilda II
By No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Infantry Tank Mark II, best known as the Matilda, was a British infantry tank. The design began as the A12 specification in 1936, as a gun-armed counterpart to the first British infantry tank, the machine gun armed, two-man A11 Infantry Tank Mark I. The Mark I was also known as 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”.

With its heavy armour, the Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank but with somewhat limited speed and armament. It was the only British tank to serve from the start of the war to its end, although it is particularly associated with the North Africa Campaign. It was replaced in front-line service by the lighter and less costly Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine beginning in late 1941.

This model is an SDD white metal kit that I bought in the 1990s.

Matilda II