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Milicast Model Company :: Premiere Range (1/76) :: A11 Matilda Mk.I Infantry Tank (Early)

A11 Matilda Mk.I Infantry Tank (Early)
A11 Matilda Mk.I Infantry Tank (Early) 
The A11 Infantry Tank Mk. I "Matilda" was powered by a Ford V8 engine and armed with a single .303 MG . A total of 140 were completed by August 1940 with most being sent to France with the BEF. With a maximum of 60mm armour they proved to be almost immune to German anti-tank guns but with a maximum speed of 8mph and the lack of hitting power, there limited tactical use became obvious and they ceased to be used after the Dunkirk evacuation.

They equipped both the 4th and 7th Battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment and upon the outbreak war the 4th RTR was deployed to France with the BEF being joined later, in May 1940, by the 7th RTR so forming the 1st Army Tank Brigade, which apart from the Light tanks assigned to the various infantry divisions, was the only British armoured force on the Continent at the start of the Battle of France on 10 May 1940.

58 Matilda Mk.I's along with 16 Matilda Mk.II's spearheaded the counter-attack in the Battle of Arras on 21 May, temporarily stopping the 7th Panzer Division under Rommel. The thick armour, on both types of Matilda's proved almost impervious to the German Pak36 37mm anti-tank guns and the attack was only halted by a hastily formed gun line of 105mm howitzers and 88mm anti-aircraft guns, personally directed by Rommel. Only 26 Matilda Mk.I's and 2 Matilda Mk.II's were still serviceable following this engagement.
They continued to fight throughout the remainder of the campaign seeing action at Souchez before joining the general withdrawal towards Dunkirk. A combined battalion, a composite unit of both the 4th and 7th, fought another counter-attack at La Bassée. Only two Matilda Mk.I's reached Dunkirk in the closing stages of Operation Dynamo.
In the south five Matilda Mk.I's and a few other tanks were formed into the Divisional Tank Company of the Beauman Division, an improvised formation, to defend Rouen and Dieppe. On 8 June, they supported the mainly infantry force in the ultimately unsuccessful defence of the Andelle and Béthune rivers. Subsequently evacuated from Cherbourg during Operation Ariel, only 22 tanks of various types were brought back to the UK, but no Matilda Mk.I's were among them.
A Matilda Mk.I was evaluated by the Germans but no deployment of the Mk.I's was thought to be made by the Wermacht but recent evidence suggests that Matilda I's may have seen use as internal security vehicles in Poland.
The remaining Mk.I's left in the United Kingdom were withdrawn for training purposes.

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Ref UK001
Price: £15.00

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