Matilda tank

Matilda Infantry Tank walkaround

Review by David Harvey


The Matilda filled an urgent need for a tank to operate in New Guinea for the Australian Forces. Approximately 140 tanks were provided by Britain in early 1942, and these vehicles subsequently proved suitable for jungle operations.

In 1943, a flamethrower version was produced, known as the Frog. Frog's were used in Borneo by 2/1 Armoured Brigade. A bulldozer version was also developed.

Many of the tanks were fitted with a variety of battle-field modifications, including wire mesh over the engine covers, spare track links on the hull and/or pierced steel planking (PSP) which was normally used in the construction of aircraft runways. It was also a common practice to festoon the exterior of vehicles with additional stores and personal items of equipment.

An example of the strength of the tank was shown in an action at Pabu Hill near Sattleberg (NB: There is a fine sculpture of a Matilda, titled "The Sattleberg Tank" in the Museum). On this occasion, a tank assisting the infantry was engaged and disabled at a range of less than 50 meters, by a Japanese 37 mm gun. Later a 75 mm gun, anti-tank mines and grenades were used against the tank. Although it was hit more than 50 times, the crew continued to fight the vehicle until its ammunition had been expended. They then managed to escape from the vehicle and return to it the following day. It was subsequently repaired and put back into action one day later.

During the South Western Pacific Campaign, the Matilda served with distinction as part of the 1st Australian Tank Battalion (The Royal New South Wales Lancers). With their war service completed, Matilda's were relegated to a training role and were in service with the 1st RSL until 1955, when they were finally retired.

(information courtesy of the Digger History Website)

The CD

This walkaround CD come in a plain brown envelope with no instructions on use, not that we really need it. The CD contains 50 large, high quality images of the Matilda Tank from a variety of angles. The images are clear and show a great number of details of the tank itself ranging from hatches to the track. The images are taken from a variety.


I highly recommend this informative CD for those in the process of building an Australian Matilda. For a cost of $9 plus postage it is not a bad little aid to detailing the kit.

CD provided courtesy of Ley reynolds of Platypus Publications. Contact ph: 02 4753 6148 (10am till 4pm) or PO Box 13, Glenbrook NSW 2773.

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