Wednesday 25 May 2016

The Real Matilda I

When seeing the term "Matilda I", many people imagine the awkward looking Infantry Tank MkI (A11). Matilda II evokes the image of the Queen of the Desert we know and love. But should it?

As you can see here, the Matilda I, Infantry Tank MkII, is armed with a 2-pdr gun and a Vickers machinegun, clearly the "senior" Matilda and not the machinegun-only A11. From this document, you can see that the Infantry Tank MkI never bore the name "Matilda".

Via Yuri Pasholok.


  1. The reason why the A11 isn't listed lies, most likely, in the fact that by 1942 (the date on that document) the type was long out of service (and thus there was no need to differentiate it from the A12 in service). Then again, I could be wrong.

  2. I agree with the first poster. Because it isn't on a document 6 Oct. 1942 doesn't infer 'never'.

    1. Why would you call a tank Matilda I and then call a completely different tank Matilda I? AFAIK, the nickname system was only implemented around this time. If the A11 was no longer in production, it would not receive a nickname.

    2. You can see that these instructions supersedes all previous instructions. If you have all previous instructions on the nomenclature then you can prove it.

  3. I have to agree that Yuri is here drawing rather broader conclusions than the presented evidence supports. (It doesn't help that British nomenclature regarding tank types and their variants seems to have been more than a little inconsistent.)

    Doubly so as the document is discussing variants of the A12 by time when the A11 had been removed from service for several years already.

    For all we know the nickname was originally a quirk associated specifically with the infantry tanks - it's perhaps worth noting that the Tank, Infantry, Mk III Valentine (accepted into service already in '40) also had one.