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Mk.II Matilda Heavy Infantry Tank

Written by Евгений Болдырев
Published on Saturday, 24 September 2005 23:27
Last Updated on
Read 11663 times

Heavy infantry tank Mk II «Matilda» served from the very beginning of the World War Two. The large usage of this tank was in northern Africa and on Eastern Front.

This 27-ton tank was protected by 78 mm frontal armor and armed 42 mm gun. Depending on modification, on tanks put two 6-cylinder diesel engines AEC or 6-cylinder diesel engines «Layland» by total power of 174 h.p. or 190 h.p., that provided it with 24 km/h — quite enough for the infantry support tank. In 1941–1942 «Matilda» was the invulnerable to any German tanks and AT-guns except their heavy 88 mm AA-guns.

The main armament of the «Matilda» was equal to the Russian 45 mm tank gun — the most common Russian weapon at the beginning of the war that theoretically was able to destroy any German tank in 1941–1942.

The engine and the planetary gear-box were rather reliable, but the well protected running gear was too complex and quickly broke because of Russian rough terrain. 2987 tanks were totally produced and 1084 vehicles were sent to the USSR untill August 1943. Because of weak armament, in December 1941 Soviet engineers tried to rearm Matilda with more powerfull weapon. One of the best Soviet tank gun was used: 76 mm ZiS-5 Tank Gun. However small turret of the Matilda hampered this. Project was cancelled.

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