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Historic Armour - Matilda 1 & Valentine IX Mark 3 - British WW Infantry Tanks - Tankfest 2016

Jukka O. Kauppinen

Matilda I (A11) Designed by Vickers-Armstrongs to a War Office order that made price a very high consideration the result was a well-armoured but otherwise useless tank. Designed by Sir John Carden it had the General Staff specification number A11 and Vickers' own code name of Matilda. If, as some suggest, it was intended to serve as a heavily protected, mobile machine-gun mounting there may have been some justification but only if produced in large numbers. As it was only 139 were completed. The Ford engine, simple transmission and rugged suspension ensured that the Matilda was reliable but when a wireless set was installed it had to be located on the floor, behind the commander/gunner who then had to lower himself to the floor, reach behind himself for the controls meanwhile rendering the tank incapable of fighting. First A.F.V. described as an infantry tank. Armour sufficiently thick to give it immunity in the shelled areas. New features included a heavy internal gun, mantlet and seat raising gear. Vehicles of this type saw action in France in 1940 with 4 RTR and 7 RTR. Discontinued in August 1940 but vehicles still used for training. Evidence is coming to light that among the large number captured from 1st Army Tank Brigade some were employed by the Germans as internal security vehicles, probably in Poland. Precise Name: Tank, Infantry, Mark I, Matilda I Other Name: A11 Valentine IX Tank Infantry Mark III, Valentine IX (E2000.577) The precise identity of this tank is not clear, all identification marks having been removed many years ago. It stood outside the Army Base at Long Kesh in Northern Ireland for many years, subsequently moving to the Maze Prison and Lisanelly Camp, Omagh. It was subsequently acquired by Vickers Defence Systems and restored to running order in Newcastle using the engine from our Valentine Archer (E1969.43). In due course it was offered to the Tank Museum on loan and ultimately, in March 2002 was gifted to the Museum. The Valentine Mark IX was upgunned to fit a 57mm (six-pounder) gun into the turret although this did not leave enough room for a co-axial machine gun and in any case, with just a two-man turret crew the tank was very difficult to fight. Our tank carried the number T123358 on the turret which is correct for the type but not necessarily for this actual vehicle. Mark IX Valentines saw service in North Africa and some may have been suppplied to Russia but by 1943 the Valentine had been replaced in front line service by more modern vehicles and was either being relegated to secondary roles or supplied to other countries such as Portugal. The Valentine development started without a specification from the War Office (hence the absence of an army designation), as a private design by Sir John Carden, and was submitted on February, 10, 1938, to the authorities. By then, the Matilda II had been chosen for production, but the Valentine was something different. Vickers engineers basically tried to enhance their A10 Cruiser tank design, with a dramatic increase in protection (up to 60 mm/2.36 in). This choice allowed the use most components and parts of the already produced Cruiser I and II, therefore creating an efficient and cheap solution to the need of new infantry tank models. By then, the Matilda II was found to be far costlier than the Matilda I, and not suitable for mass-production. Comparatively, the Valentine seemed a good compromise. The Mark I set the tone for the entire series of eleven main variants, with many sub-variants, and a staggering total of 8300 units. The main armament and turret design, as well as the engine and protection, were continuously improved while keeping roughly the same general appearance until 1945. The Mk.I was recognizable by its original two-man turret and 2-pdr (40 mm/1.575 in) gun. From the start, a coaxial Besa machine-gun constitued the secondary armament. The crew consisted of only three men due to the cramped interior, and the commander was also busy as gun loader, machine-gunner and radio operator. The production was rushed to such point that many problems were later detected and fixed with the next Mk.II. The main engine was the AEG A189 petrol delivering only 135 hp, and the hull was riveted. 350 were delivered in all, most seeing action in Libya, while others stayed at home for training. Tankfest by World of Tanks - 24.-25.6.2016 The Tank Museum - Bovington, UK Worlds biggest and best live display of historic armour, living history, and much more at the Home of the Tank - The Tank Museum, Bovington, United Kingdom. More from Tankfest: More from me: Tankfest videos:

#tankfest #wargaming #thetankmuseum #bovington #worldoftanks #tanks #parhaus #reissussa #juhannus #soviet #german #us #usa #world_war_2 #ww2 #old_tanks #britain #england #uk #matilda #matilda1 #vickers #a11 #infantrytank #valentine

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