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Panzerknacker
12-14-2006, 10:26 AM
At the start the Matilda was capable of taking on all comer but well out of date two years later.

But still in 1940 the Matilda had thicker armor than a 1944 firefly, in the desert it had his time of glory.


http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/4576/matilda22bc6.jpg




It may be better to say what tank was a total waste on time, money and lives not what is best.



That would be the cruiser A-13 to me, a single german corporal destroyed 7 of those in Arras , 1940.

Nickdfresh
01-12-2007, 09:40 PM
I once read of a Matilda attack during the battle of France in which the tanks thick armour caused the German troops to briefly be routed. But there were too few Matildas, and British infantry, to make any real difference

Panzerknacker
01-13-2007, 10:02 AM
Thanks panzerknacker! Good stuff.



You re welcome.


I once read of a Matilda attack during the battle of France in which the tanks thick armour caused the German troops to briefly be routed. But there were too few Matildas, and British infantry, to make any real differenc

It was true, those were some guys form the SS totenkopf Division wich trown away his guns and start to run in the opposite direction, however the arrival of the heavy antitanks guns finally decide the situacion. With the French B-1 bis happen some like that also. In some desperate situations the german infantry used his Flametrowhers against that tanks, because the normal panzergranate 39 of 37 mm bounced like tenis balls.

George Eller
01-13-2007, 02:06 PM
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THE COUNTER-ATTACK AT ARRAS
21st May, 1940
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-NWE-Flanders/UK-NWE-Flanders-6.html



...The British 'counter-attack' at Arras is frequently referred to as having been made by the 1st Army Tank Brigade and two infantry divisions, but a much smaller force was actually engaged in the opening fighting on May the 21st. In the first place, the selected divisions—the 5th and the 50th—had each at this time only two infantry brigades instead of the usual three. Of these, the 5th Division sent one brigade (the 13th) to relieve the 23rd Division and the French cavalry on the Scarpe in order that the latter might be freed to take part in the action. Its other brigade (the 17th) was to be held in reserve till the first phase of the operation had been completed. Only the 50th Division was to be used in the opening phase. Of this division one brigade (the 150th) was sent to strengthen the Arras garrison and to hold the Scarpe immediately to the east of the town. Thus at the beginning of the operation only the 50th Division's second brigade (the 151st) was employed in the clearing-up action, and of this brigade's three infantry battalions one was kept back in support of the attacking troops. The attacking infantry on May the 21st were thus not two divisions but two battalions. In the second place, the 1st Army Tank Brigade had covered very long tank distances by road with few opportunities for maintenance and it was by now much reduced in strength through mechanical breakdown. Fifty-eight Mark I and sixteen Mark II tanks were all it could muster that day, and many of them were in urgent need of thorough overhaul. (The Mark I tank was the first infantry tank—very slow and, though protected by heavy armour, equipped with only one 7·9-mm. machine gun. The Mark II was a much bigger heavy infantry tank with one 2-pounder gun and one 7·9-mm machine gun.) To the attacking force was added artillery and a motor-cycle battalion...

Right Column
7th Royal Tank Regiment
8th Durham Light Infantry
365th Battery, 92nd Field Regiment, R.A.
260th Battery, 65th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.A.
One platoon 151st Brigade Anti-Tank Company
One scout platoon 4th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (Motor-cycle)

Left Column
4th Royal Tank Regiment
6th Durham Light Infantry
368th Battery, 92nd Field Regiment, R.A.
206th Battery, 52nd Anti-Tank Regiment, R.A.
One platoon, 151st Brigade Anti-Tank Company
One company and one scout platoon, 4th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (Motor-cycle)

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Arras 21st May, 1940
http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=137325&sid=fef178961f24cc1f36976dfdfbf0a66b


Gort shared Billotte’s doubts but continued his preparations nevertheless. At 2pm on May 21st, elements of two British infantry divisions and 74 tanks ran headlong into Rommel’s 7th Panzer and the SS Totenkopf Divisions west of Arras. The SS troops briefly panicked, but stood their ground and suffered heavy casualties. [Sydnor, pp.95-6] Rommel, however, found his anti-tank weapons “ineffective” against the heavily-armoured British tanks. His men gave way, artillery was destroyed or over-run and gun crews wiped out. [KTB 7th Pz Div, 21/5/40. AL 596]
Bringing up anti-aircraft guns, Rommel first halted the British tanks then drove them back towards Arras in confusion by nightfall. [Rommel, p.33] Though he regarded his situation as “fully restored”, Rommel’s losses had been heavy – 84 dead and 289 wounded or missing. [KTB 7th Pz Div 21/5/40. AL 596. According to the division’s records, 43 British tanks were destroyed, 200 soldiers killed and 50 prisoners taken.]
The British had penetrated just six miles, but the attack rattled the Germans. “A certain air of panic dominated the staffs,” one officer recalled. [Gunsburg, p.256] The concern extended throughout Panzergruppe von Kleist and Fourth Army. [KTB XIX Pz Corps, 21/5/40. Ellis, p.379] That evening, Kluge conceded that May 21st had been “the first day on which the enemy had met with any real success”. [Jacobsen, p.51]

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Arras
http://www.forum.fun-online.sk/viewtopic.php?p=21132&sid=830c511c4866c65e46350203b368026e


During the battle of Arras (21st May 1940), the British force attacked west of Arras and was composed of :

Right column :
- 7th Royal Tank Regiment (23 Matilda I and 9 Matilda II)
- 8th battalion, the Durham Light Infantry
- 365th battery, 92nd regiment, Royal Field Artillery (12 25Pdr howitzers)
- 260th battery, 65th anti-tank regiment (12 2Pdr AT guns)
- One platoon equipped with 3 French 25mm AT guns
- One motorcycle platoon from 4th Northumberland Fusiliers

Left column :
- 4th Royal Tank Regiment (37 Matilda I and 7 Matilda II)
- 6th battalion, the Durham Light Infantry
- 368th battery, 92nd regiment, Royal Field Artillery (12 25Pdr howitzers)
- 260th battery, 52th anti-tank regiment (12 2Pdr AT guns)
- One platoon equipped with 3 French 25mm AT guns
- One motorcycle platoon from 4th Northumberland Fusiliers
- General Martel and is headquarter staff

That makes a total concerning the equipements of :
60 Matilda I
16 Matilda II
24 25Pdr howitzers
24 2Pdr AT guns
6 French 25mm AT guns

The British troops faced the 7.PzD and the SS motorized division 'Totenkopf', the 5.PzD was arriving from the east. The Matilda II havy tank spread some panic in the German ranks, mainly in the SS 'Totenkopf' positions where several troops simply disbanded, without mean of destroying the Matilda II. But the 8.8cm Flak and the use of artillery in direct fire solved the problem.

The French troops began their attack later, covering the western flank of the British attack and faced the SS motorized division 'Totenkopf' and the Panzer Regiment 25 from the 7.PzD. The French forces were composed of elements from the 3e DLM (division légère motorisée) but mainly of the 13e BCC (45 Hotchkiss H35 tanks). The French had a total of about 60 tanks in this battle, therefore probably about 15 Hotchkiss H39 and Somua S35 from the 3e DLM itself. They were soon confronted to direct 10.5cm artillery and Flak fire as well as Pak and tanks. They destroyed at least 3 Panzer IV and 6 Pz38(t) from the PzRgt 25. There is no precise data concerning the French losses but after the whole battle the 13e BCC had lost about 10 tanks and the 3e DLM itself lost also probably about 10 tanks. The 11e RDP (Régiment de Dragons Portés) had only light losses. The French troops covered the retreat of the British units.

The British lost 62% of the tanks (47 tanks) before retreating and had about 50% in the infantry. 75% of the reconnaissance vehicles (16 from 21) from the Northumberland regiment were also lost.

Concerning the whole German losses, the 7.PzD lost 89 KIA, 116 WIA and 173 MIA mostly POW as well as about 20 tanks and many Pak and various vehicles. The SS 'Totenkopf' lost about 100 KIA and 200 POW.

Regards,

David

(CONTINUED BELOW)

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George Eller
01-13-2007, 02:06 PM
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)

Part of British 1st Army Tank Brigade attached to "Frankforce" (5th and 50th Divisions)
and taking part in the Battle of Arras on May 21, 1940.

Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_Mk_I
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/IWM-KID-68-Matilda.jpg
Maximum armor: 60 mm
58 Mk I total at Arras

Tank, Infantry, Mk II, Matilda II (A12)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_tank
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Matilda_Compass.jpg
Maximum armor: 78 mm
16 Mk II total at Arras

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Standard German 3.7cm PAK anti-tank gun (considered the best anti-tank gun in general service in the world at that time) shells were unable to penetrate the heavily armored Matilda tanks. One tank had fourteen gouges made in it's armor by shells that failed to penetrate. Although a few British tanks suffered broken tracks or were hit by German dive bombers. In the early stages of the battle the Germans lost six Pzkw III's, three Pzkw IV's and some Pzkw II's. The British lost seven Mk. I's. Also in the initial stages 400 German prisoners were taken. Only by the personal intervention of General Erwin Rommel and his skillful use of 8.8cm FLAK guns firing Panzergranate (armor-piercing shells) were the British tanks finally stopped. The British withdrew after 48 hours of battle. During the battle, the German 7th Panzer Division suffered its highest losses for the campaign. Arras was the most significant counterattack made against the Germans during that stage of the war in France.

Strategically, the operation was a British success. By delaying the German armor for two and a half days, four British divisions and a large part of the French 1st Army were able to withdraw in good order to the channel coast.

The success of British tanks against German armor intimidated the German High Command, which ordered its panzers to halt. Rommel's 7th Panzer Division was pulled back for rest and repairs. Later, the Germans decided to conserve their tanks for future battles in central France (Operation "Red").

A direct consequence of this decision by the German High Command was that the panzer divisions were prevented from attacking Dunkirk. This was very important, because it helped preserve the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) for evacuation from Dunkirk (Operation "Dynamo"). The successful rescue of the BEF at Dunkirk was a turning point in the war; almost a quarter of a million British soldiers were saved from capture during the evacuation, including almost all of Britain's regular peacetime army. Had they been lost, there would have been very few first-class professional soldiers left to train a new army.

from: Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk, Len Deighton, Ballantine Books, 1980, p 252-254, 265
and Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia, Lt Col Eddy Bauer and Brigadier Peter Young, H.S. Stuttman Inc., 1978, p 165

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SEE ALSO:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arras_%281940%29

http://history.farmersboys.com/Battles/defence_of_arras.htm

http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?uri=%2Fww2peopleswar%2Findex.shtml&q=ARRAS%2Bww2&x=11&y=4

http://pedia.counsellingresource.com/openpedia/Battle_of_Arras_(1940)

http://www.search.com/reference/Battle_of_Arras_%281940%29

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/timeline/factfiles/nonflash/a1119926.shtml?sectionId=2&articleId=1119926

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Panzerknacker
01-13-2007, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the information George. Some Matildas A11s, had an 12,7mm Vickers heavy MG.

George Eller
01-13-2007, 09:41 PM
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Thanks Panzerknacker, yes some were armed with a Vickers .50 cal MG.

Here is more on the Infantry Tank Mk I - Matilda I (A11)
the most numerous of the Matilda tanks at the
Battle of Arras - 21 May 1940.

Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11)
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2344305330094410232HquShK
http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/7624/matildamki01us7.jpg

http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/6386/matildamki02ly7.jpg
from: British and American Tanks of World War II, by Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, Arco Publishing Company, 1975, p 54

http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/4346/matildamki03fh5.jpg
from: British and American Tanks of World War II, by Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, Arco Publishing Company, 1975, p 55

http://img242.imageshack.us/img242/3540/matildamki04en5.jpg
from: World War Two Tanks, George Forty, Osprey, 1995, p 33
and Tanks of World War II, Chris Ellis, Chancellor Press, 1997, p 100

SEE ALSO:
http://www.webshots.com/search?query=matilda+mk+1

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Panzerknacker
01-14-2007, 05:16 PM
Nice pics.

The captured A11s were named "infanterie Begleitwagen Mk.I" (infantry escort vehicle) , but never introduced again in combat by the germans , mostly for trining duties and police task.

Interesting shots of the Matilda Mk-II A-12 crossing steel obstacles.

http://i16.tinypic.com/2d9a5jp.jpg


http://i13.tinypic.com/29ca26d.jpg

George Eller
01-14-2007, 10:09 PM
Nice pics.

The captured A11s were named "infanterie Begleitwagen Mk.I" (infantry escort vehicle) , but never introduced again in combat by the germans , mostly for trining duties and police task.

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Thanks Panzerknacker,

The British did the same with their A11's. After Dunkirk they were relegated to training duties.

I like those pics of the A12 crossing steel obstacles. Great shots.

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Nickdfresh
01-15-2007, 06:49 PM
It's a pity that they never could figure out how to mount a significantly larger gun in the Matilda. I believe the turret was too small, and redesigning the tank was too cumbersome.

Panzerknacker
01-15-2007, 06:53 PM
There was a prototipe with a 6 pounders, I dont know succesful but ugly for sure. Not only that the armament was inadecuate but also the british mania of having troubles with the HE ammo in his guns, ridiculous.

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/GreatBritain/GB-Matilda2-6pdr.jpg

George Eller
01-16-2007, 11:38 PM
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Interesting photo Panzerknacker. Seems like many of the British tanks of that era had very boxy shaped turrets.

Here is a three-view color drawing of
Infantry Tank, Mk I, Matilda I, (A11)
http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/5021/matildamki06xx7.jpg
http://www.europa1939.com/tanques/tanques/matilda.html

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George Eller
01-16-2007, 11:39 PM
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Infantry Tank, Matilda II

http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/3870/matildamkii01ft9.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Puckapunyal_Matilda_Tank_DSC01931.JPG

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/1091/matildamkii02uo2.jpg
http://www.europa1939.com/tanques/tanques/matilda.html

http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/3796/matildamkii03lc8.jpg
http://www.europa1939.com/tanques/tanques/matilda.html

http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/2041/matildamkii04zg2.jpg
http://www.acmalmeria.com/Revisiones/Panzer-Aces/Panzer-Aces-08/Panzer-Aces-08.htm


SEE ALSO:
http://apma.org.au/reference/ausarmy/matilda/matilda.html

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Panzerknacker
01-17-2007, 07:10 PM
I really like the Matilda senior, with 57 mm gun and explosive shells it would be a fersome tank in the 1940-42 period. Like a mini KV-1.

Matilda with AMRA demining rollers.

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/GreatBritain/GB-MatildaAMRAMk1a.jpg

Nickdfresh
01-20-2007, 07:05 AM
There was a prototipe with a 6 pounders, I dont know succesful but ugly for sure. Not only that the armament was inadecuate but also the british mania of having troubles with the HE ammo in his guns, ridiculous.

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/GreatBritain/GB-Matilda2-6pdr.jpg


They weren't successful. The turret ring was too small making it very unwieldy and unreliable...

Besides, by that point, it really needed a 17.2-pounder/77mm gun. Then it would have been quite a tank that would have been useful well after WWII.

My source states that when the British Army replaced the Matildas with Shermans and Grants, most of them were in "good running order" and the armor still made them very useful for other applications such as: mine clearing vehicles, combat engineer applications, lights, and of course --flamethrowers!!

The Australians were especially fond of using flamethrowing Matildas against Japanese jungle bunkers...

(From: "Tanks of the World" by David Miller)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/36/Matilda_Frog%28AWM_111056%29.jpg
Australian infantry escort a Matilda "Frog" flamethrowing tank in 1945.

Nickdfresh
05-13-2007, 11:14 AM
Nice pics.

The captured A11s were named "infanterie Begleitwagen Mk.I" (infantry escort vehicle) , but never introduced again in combat by the germans , mostly for trining duties and police task.

Interesting shots of the Matilda Mk-II A-12 crossing steel obstacles.

http://i16.tinypic.com/2d9a5jp.jpg



http://i13.tinypic.com/29ca26d.jpg

Is that lovely girl named Matilda or Matilda II? :D

tankgeezer
05-13-2007, 01:22 PM
Is that lovely girl named Matilda or Matilda II? :DI think that she is one obstacle that the matilda would have trouble getting past,,,,

Panzerknacker
05-13-2007, 02:03 PM
Well.. I dont know what happen there, it should be a tank picture no a girl picture :shock: :D

tankgeezer
05-13-2007, 06:43 PM
Well.. I dont know what happen there, it should be a tank picture no a girl picture :shock: :D

I believe it to be an act of the 5th column ! ;)

Panzerknacker
10-16-2007, 08:44 PM
I going to edit aniway.

Matilda II Mark I "good luck" ( :rolleyes: ) captured in france 1940. Note the bulgeos armored casing for the Vickers water cooled MG.

http://i20.tinypic.com/2gviyvp.jpg

Panzerknacker
10-24-2007, 09:04 PM
Matildas in the desert, operation Compass.

http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/5070/dibujoyw3.jpg

35 mark II were in the spearhead of the british counteroffensive that almost knocked out completely the Italian army off Afrika.



[I]"The initial British assault would fall on Nibeiwa Camp, where the only available Italian armoured unit was based, and it achieved complete surprise. Raggruppamento Maletti, or Maletti Group, under General Pietro Maletti, was an ad hoc formation consisting of 2,500 Libyan soldiers and 2 Armoured Battalion, with thirty-five M11/39 medium tanks and thirty-five L3/35 light tanks.

It was earmarked for early destruction in the assault, which commenced at 05:00hr with what appeared to be no more than another raid on the eastern side of the camp. At 07:00, however, forty-eight Matilda tanks suddenly appeared from the opposite side of the camp. They struck twenty-three unmanned M11/39 tanks of the Maletti Group, which had been deployed to guard the unmined entrance to the camp. The Italians were caught completely off guard and many did not even reach their tanks, including General Maletti, who was killed emerging from his dugout. They were slaughtered and their vehicles destroyed by the British in less than ten minutes.

The Italian artillery fought on valiantly, firing on the Matildas and recording many hits, some at point-blank range - but none penetrated their 70mm of armour. The remaining Italian tanks were captured intact, and the Libyan infantry, left practically defenceless, quickly surrendered. The British had captured Nibeiwa and destroyed the only front-line Italian armoured unit in less than five hours."


Matilda pictured in conquered emplacements outside Tobruk.

http://i23.tinypic.com/dfekox.jpg


Matilda with ramp for antitank ditch, it was used in the attack against Bardia.

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/2851/matildabardialt5.jpg


Matilda with fascine. Another device for crossing large trenches/ditches.

http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/7816/matildafajinayx4.jpg

Dani
10-25-2007, 12:14 AM
As a beutepanzer:
http://img452.imageshack.us/img452/3343/matilda37ga1.jpg

And a nice shot from early 1941 in Libya:
http://img452.imageshack.us/img452/7933/libyatanksmatilda19411wx9.jpg

Panzerknacker
10-25-2007, 07:16 PM
How you put 3 men in that turret ? :)

thanks Dani , nice pictures.

tankgeezer
10-25-2007, 07:28 PM
How you put 3 men in that turret ? :)

thanks Dani , nice pictures.
The third guy must be very small,,,, or folded up in a really cramped firing position.

Dani
10-25-2007, 10:58 PM
thanks Dani , nice pictures.
You are always welcomed PK!:D

In the line of what you and George have posted on page 1:

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/7199/matildaamcrso4.jpg

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/4750/dozer2vn4.jpg

Panzerknacker
10-27-2007, 06:43 PM
Talking about captured Matildas....here is another one. Next to a panzer one.

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/8448/scan0001800x488ih5.jpg

Is idle to say, but with the coming of the Afrika Korps the Matilda "kingdom" began a stedy decline. However it continued to be a battleworthy tank until 1943 mostly due its good armor.


http://img165.imageshack.us/img165/4759/materialot0.jpg

Panzerknacker
11-09-2007, 06:09 PM
Matilda in the Bardia italian fortress february 1941, note the bullet impacts on the Wall.

http://img530.imageshack.us/img530/7372/matildabardiazl6.jpg


Matilda in dug out emplacemet near Tobruk, those vehicles play a fundamental role in defeating the german attemp to breach into the fortress in april 1941. Exposing only its solid cast steel turret was a hard nut to find and to crack for the advancing german Panzers.

http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/254/20438294um6.jpg


The arrival of the Lufwaffe in early 1941 made camouflage a badly needed improvement.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/2424/87802916ts0.jpg

Panzerknacker
11-16-2007, 06:03 PM
Some more images of the Matilda in the desert. Recovered by the "Scammel" 30 tons tractor, this vehicle was also used to help the Matilda maneouvering in closed curves like the road outside Bardia. Also some sudanese troops doing maintenence work is depicted.

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/8924/scammmel2pr2.jpg

tankgeezer
11-17-2007, 02:29 PM
Quote from P.K. :"Matilda in dug out emplacemet near Tobruk, those vehicles play a fundamental role in defeating the german attemp to breach into the fortress in april 1941. Exposing only its solid cast steel turret was a hard nut to find and to crack for the advancing german Panzers."

The Hull defilade(sometimes called hull-down) is a classic when using armor in a defensive postion.There would be 2 or 3 dug-outs for each tank(if time permitted), and after a few shots, would move to an alternate. Indeed it was very difficult for the attackers to get a good shot at them, while the tank in defilade could take its time and engage any targets within its field of fire.Kind of like a tank sniper...

Panzerknacker
11-17-2007, 04:30 PM
And here you got another Matilda emplacement, this a very ease to conceal and very hard to find by aerial recce operations.
However Rommel did not repeated his 1941 mistakes when he go after the allied fortres in mid 1942 and the value of this positions became a very low one.

http://i14.tinypic.com/6oaaijq.jpg

Panzerknacker
11-19-2007, 09:49 PM
Operation Battleaxe, the kingdom in Peril:

The operation Battleaxe was the first british major offensive agaist the Afrika Korps, it took place the June 15th 1941. The armor componentes of this operation arrived to Alexandria in the shape with the convoy “Tiger”. Those were 135 Matildas, 85 “Cruisers” tanks, and 25 light tanks.

The main objetives were to relieve the garrison of Tobruka nd also bring to the battle and destroy most of the german armored forces.
One of the most strategical points were the Halfaya pass near the Libian Egyptian border.
On the eastern side, at 05:15, Coast Force, commanded by Brigadier Reginald Savory and charged with capturing Halfaya Pass, started to move on to their objective.

On the top of theescarpment was the Halfaya Group, composed of the 2nd battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, the thirteen tanks (twelve Matildas and one light tank) of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment's C Squadron (which had previously captured
Halfaya Pass during Operation Brevity), and an artillery battery from the 31st Field Regiment.
To their east and below the lip of the escarpment were the 1st battalion 6th Rajputana Rifles and 2nd battalion 5th Mahratta Light Infantry, two troops of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment's A Squadron, and a few 25-pounder guns.

At 05:40, British artillery for the Halfaya Group was scheduled to open fire on the German and Italian forces stationed in Halfaya to provide cover for the tanks and infantry, but the battery had become bogged down by soft sand.

After waiting until 06:00, fifteen minutes after the fighting began to the west below the escarpment, the commander of C Squadron, Major C.G. Miles, ordered his tanks to attack at the top of the pass; soon after though the [anti-tank guns of the German and Italian defenders opened fire and within a few hours all but one light tank and one of the Matildas had been destroyed, the well concealed 88s Flak 18 guns were particulary aiming to the british infantry tanks.

Two near penetrations by the 88mm gun.

http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5529/dibujonv1.jpg

At 10.00 am Miles radioes a last and desperate message “…they are tearing my tank to bits ! “, minutes later he also fell prey of the german antitank guns when one 88 shell penetrated his Matilda and caused a catastrophic internal explotion.

Turret blew off

http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/6610/halfaya2ej4.jpg

The British forces below the escarpment did not fare much better, as four of the Matildas were disabled by anti-tank mines which were supposed to have been cleared; this blocked the path of the remaining two and reduced the small tank force to acting in a pillbox capacity.

Burned out. Note the small caliber impacts.
http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5633/halfaya3lf5.jpg

The Rajputana Rifles and Mahrattas made several attempts to reach the pass, but were repelled each time; the former losing their commanding officer, Colonel P.R.H. Skrine, in the final attack.

After 3 days of battle the offensive succeded only in capturing the Fort Capuzzo but failed any other objetive, the british forces withdrawn leaving behind 91 tanks destroyed, including 64 Matildas.

In the other hand the germans have 50 tanks damaged, but only 12 remain irreparable losses.


"Matildas graveyard", a view of the Halfaya pass with hulls of some matildas and a Marmon Harrington AFV.

http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/7535/halfayatc2.jpg

Panzerknacker
11-25-2007, 05:59 PM
Rare cammo in the "Griffin", a Malta based Matilda mark III, it was designed to mix up the tank with the Maltese envoriment...wich was rich in low white stone walls.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/251/maltaoi2.jpg

About a dozen of Matildas were based in the mediterranean island paired with some Valentines, those were to be the main defense force in case of the axis landing , that was the operation Hercules, operation that never took place given the german lack of confidence in the Italian naval support.

Dallas
11-26-2007, 02:30 PM
I have always "enjoyed" the Matilda tank. It looked very stately in a desert setting to me. Besides when I first started studying the British in the desert the Mitilda was the first British tank I learned about.

Nickdfresh
11-26-2007, 07:50 PM
Rare cammo in the "Griffin", a Malta based Matilda mark III, it was designed to mix up the tank with the Maltese envoriment...wich was rich in low white stone walls.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/251/maltaoi2.jpg

About a dozen of Matildas were based in the mediterranean island paired with some Valentines, those were to be the main defense force in case of the axis landing , that was the operation Hercules, operation that never took place given the german lack of confidence in the Italian naval support.

This is an excellent picture showing the scale of the Matilda, and how small it was relatively speaking considering its thick armor. Unfortunately, this meant the turret was it Achilles Heal as a bigger gun could never be mounted successfully in the design...

Panzerknacker
11-29-2007, 06:06 PM
Actually the Matilda is a little longer than the pz III and IV with 6.1 meters, however the turret ring in both german designs in larger.

Incidentally the Churchill have a inch more in ring diameter but its different turret allowed the 6 pounder.

Panzerknacker
12-03-2007, 09:58 PM
A very curious image, a german used Matildad...recaptured by british infantry, I suppose than given the slow speed of the infantry tank you can reach it running.

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/1480/recapturadodo2.jpg

Panzerknacker
06-26-2008, 06:18 PM
Profile of the "Gamecok", a Matilda II mark I captured in France, note the tailskid designed for avoid falling in a wide trench. also it had the increased clearance wich improved cross country capabilities but incemented stress on suspension parts.

http://i20.tinypic.com/105un44.jpg


The same tank in repair shop.

http://i23.tinypic.com/14b556s.jpg

DavidW
06-27-2008, 02:43 AM
Ping.

Walther
09-22-2008, 05:33 PM
A very curious image, a german used Matildad...recaptured by british infantry, I suppose than given the slow speed of the infantry tank you can reach it running.

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/1480/recapturadodo2.jpg

The Germans were using a lot of captured equipment, especially in Africa, but also in Russia, since the German industry was not able to manufacture enough stuff themselves.
E.g. in Northern Africa, whole German artillery regiments were equipped with captured British 25Pdr guns (which BTW were very much liked by the German gunners). Both sides liked to use captured trucks and the LRDG liked to use the Italian Breda 3.7 cm AA gun on their trucks, both for AA defense was well as for ground support (e.g. when they ambushed a German convoy).

Jan

Panzerknacker
09-23-2008, 07:11 PM
Sure , the germans used captured Matildas even before the Afrika krops, this is one modified with a open turret and 50mm gun.

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/8523/matya7.jpg

tankgeezer
09-24-2008, 03:08 PM
I suppose it would be difficult to escape in a vehicle that one can chase down of foot,,,,:)
Given that all sides were short of materiel, using abandoned, captured,munitions or whatever enemy equipment may be gained, to ones own benefit would be the order of the day. Even if there were field modifications needed, to weapons automotive, etc. these were more easily done than to get replacements through channels.(yeah, like that was going to happen. )

Panzerknacker
09-24-2008, 06:29 PM
24 km/h full speed ahead was the top speed for the Matilda, so yes if were a good runner you probably would cath it up, and in the desert the hatch is likely to open, a couple of hand grenades....hmmm, no good for the crew.

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/8924/scammmel2pr2.jpg

tankgeezer
09-24-2008, 11:28 PM
Quote: "24 km/h full speed ahead was the top speed for the Matilda, so yes if were a good runner you probably would cath it up, and in the desert the hatch is likely to open, a couple of hand grenades....hmmm, no good for the crew."

That is why the Allies developed the Anti-Tank bicycle. :)

Panzerknacker
09-25-2008, 07:01 PM
Hmmm, a burst with the besa mg and the bike is no more.

transporting the Matilda.

http://i36.tinypic.com/2lcrxqc.jpg

tankgeezer
09-25-2008, 11:19 PM
I do agree my friend,, I used to sell surplus BESA ammo in my gun store, it was a hot load,, to strong for some of the lesser rifles chambered for the 7.92x57 cartridge. I liked shooting the A.P. rounds, they did a fine job holing steel plates if they were not too thick, 3/8"- 1/2". I have a soft spot in my head for the matilda,, one of the few English tanks I favor.

Panzerknacker
09-25-2008, 11:28 PM
I have a soft spot in my head for the matilda,, one of the few English tanks I favor.


My too, is one of the few ww2 british tanks that actually worth something. :cool:


I used to sell surplus BESA ammo in my gun store, it was a hot load,, to strong for some of the lesser rifles chambered for the 7.92x57 cartridge.

Uh...get a K-98K or a VZ-35 and you will be fine shooting hot loads until the end of the world.

Russian Matilda MK III kalinin 1942.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/2889/matildall4.jpg

tankgeezer
09-26-2008, 10:59 AM
My too, is one of the few ww2 british tanks that actually worth something. :cool:



Uh...get a K-98K or a VZ-35 and you will be fine shooting hot loads until the end of the world.

Russian Matilda MK III kalinin 1942.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/2889/matildall4.jpg
The 98K, or other such strength action was the only ones i would sell them for.the newer mauser actions MkX, Brno, etc. would as you say eat them till the end of the world, but some people with the old M1888 bolt rifles wanted them, and that was far too fragile a rifle for the Besa load. I would not recommend them in semi auto rifles, FN49, or even the German semi auto rifles in that caliber. So if any of you yahoos out there, have a rifle in 8mm, be careful what you feed it,, I purposely destroyed an old raggedy 1888 by firing 10 rds of Besa thru it, the receiver did not blow out, but it did crack in a dangerous place, the front ring. The bolt also showed signs of over pressure, headspace was gone. I wish I had pics of it to show you all. One additional thing, the Reich produced ammunition in tropical loads, and arctic loads, (if I remember right) Tropical, used in very hot climates were loaded down, to reduce pressure spikes as the combustion was accelerated by the hot temps of the desert. Conversely, the arctic loads were hot loaded so they would function normally in the extremes of cold. The point here is if you live in a warm/hot climate, do not use arctic loads as they will burn too hot for safe use in some rifles. Regard this for any nationality of rifle, as I dont remember which country used this type ammo.

ww11freak34
10-06-2008, 07:05 PM
i heard about the tank i was a good tank

at the end of ww2 the british came up with a tank that could stand up to a tiger and a panzer.

it was called the comet tank

Churchill
10-06-2008, 07:18 PM
Uh... Yeah... I tried that too, got pwnd... Lol...

Panzerknacker
10-11-2008, 11:12 PM
As I promised, The Matilda campaign in East Africa, extract of "The Matilda" by Bryan Perret:

http://i38.tinypic.com/2rws56c.jpg


http://i38.tinypic.com/641p9y.jpg


http://i35.tinypic.com/vy4j0h.jpg

To be continued soon.

Panzerknacker
10-23-2008, 05:57 PM
Matildas in Somaliland, continues.

http://i34.tinypic.com/2hyf9t3.jpg


http://i38.tinypic.com/25z0bvm.jpg


http://i38.tinypic.com/10fcp3o.jpg

Panzerknacker
11-06-2008, 05:15 PM
Final part:

http://i36.tinypic.com/4lt2sy.jpg


http://i36.tinypic.com/2a5ixi0.jpg

Churchill
11-06-2008, 06:29 PM
That was an interesting story, thanks for the good read.

Panzerknacker
11-07-2008, 03:16 PM
You are welcome.

http://i36.tinypic.com/2dlj528.jpg

Django
11-09-2008, 12:25 AM
That was a great read Panzerknacker, thanks for posting it!
The Matilda and the Churchill were two of my favourite British tanks! along with the Cromwell.

navyson
11-09-2008, 08:14 AM
Thanks for the read PK, it's cool to read articles from the little known theaters of the war.

Panzerknacker
11-09-2008, 08:42 PM
Yes, that was my idea :)

And this is also rare, Matilda in US soil.

http://i33.tinypic.com/16ggaqu.jpg

DavidW
11-10-2008, 02:43 AM
I'm suprised that the Americans were not very impressed. As it was a better tank than anything they had in September 1940.
Admitedly it was "snail" slow, but the gun was as good as any then mounted on a "Yank tank" & the armour much thicker.

Interestingly, Grampus went on to serve in North Africa i.i.r.c.

Panzerknacker
11-10-2008, 04:59 PM
It was better armored than anything the the Us had in that time , for sure. But I guess since the tank was not suited for cavalry like penetrations it didnt fit in US tank doctrine.

http://i33.tinypic.com/311kx1g.jpg

Churchill
11-10-2008, 05:03 PM
I bet those double-deckers were jealous that they didn't have two motors... B)

Panzerknacker
11-10-2008, 05:38 PM
The engine were diesels, but 2 stroke diesel, a very rare one, specially for that time. It had the advantage of fewer parts tha the usual 4 stroke engine, but is a bit tricky to repair and requires a very clean air to work properly.

http://i37.tinypic.com/2ztedf9.jpg

I suppose the air cleaners in this tank were very good, few complains reported in that aspesct.

Churchill
11-10-2008, 09:25 PM
Thanks PK. I thought that was particularly interesting, as I didn't know what the motor looked like.

DavidW
11-11-2008, 03:01 AM
Panzerknacker.
What you write makes perfect sense.

Churchill.
I bet that Matilda was jealous of the double-deckers top speed!

Panzerknacker
11-12-2008, 06:01 PM
Thank you lads.

Some squematics, external stowage, turret, and driver location.

http://i35.tinypic.com/25r049c.jpg


http://i33.tinypic.com/2jc8tw5.jpg


http://i35.tinypic.com/2n95ed.jpg

navyson
11-12-2008, 08:23 PM
Maybe a stupid question........is that cylinder at the rear of the tank an external fuel tank? Just want to be sure.

Churchill
11-12-2008, 08:58 PM
Probably.

DavidW
11-13-2008, 04:28 AM
Definately!

Panzerknacker
11-13-2008, 04:27 PM
It is, in the pictures is rarely seen with that attachment though.

Track repair.

http://i37.tinypic.com/2udvxo6.jpg

CliSwe
11-14-2008, 12:10 AM
[QUOTE=Panzerknacker;141296]It was better armored than anything the the Us had in that time , for sure. But I guess since the tank was not suited for cavalry like penetrations it didnt fit in US tank doctrine./QUOTE]

Yes, I can imagine the US Cav's reaction. They had control of US armoured doctrine at the time, I believe. Absurdly, because of a political decision not to build tanks (US public opinion was very isolationist at the time), 1930s procurement requests had to call them "combat cars". The Matilda 2 would hardly have been welcome in 1940, when Chaffee and Patton were emphasising speed and exploitation.

Cheers,
Cliff

Panzerknacker
11-14-2008, 07:17 AM
Well, I guess the concept of speed was right, the speed was the engine behind the Blitzkrieg too, however the US tank of that time were too lightly armored and too lightly armed to do real harm in other than soft skinned targets once achieved the penetration. ( that is if they achieved to penetrate a defensive screen, thing that is doubtful considering its characteritics)

The sturdy Matilda in the other hand, was the only tank of the time wich could survive frontal attacks against enemy emplacements, and hold on the penetration defending the acompanying infantry from a enemy tank attack.

British tactic wasnt that bad after all, the problem is that to be really sucessful it required of a static enemy waiting to be attacked like in Bardia, Nibeiwa, Sidi Barrani, Capuzzo..of the werstern front in 1918.

If the enemy tanks are constantly in the move and supported by heavy AT guns ( like in the case of Afrika Kors) the Matilda efectiveness is greatly undermined of course.

http://i38.tinypic.com/2d0xh74.jpg

Nickdfresh
01-25-2016, 12:19 PM
I'm reading Antony Beevor's Crete and will have some comments on the Matildas and their overall mixed performance on the island. So I'm returning this thread to active duty...

Panzerknacker
01-26-2016, 01:44 AM
Did the matildas actually fired in anger in that island ? i knew there were a dozen of mark IIs but I thought that armor was overrun by german paratroopers. By the way is good to see most of the photos in this topic had actaully survived, in many other they dont. :D

Rising Sun*
01-27-2016, 07:31 AM
Did the matildas actually fired in anger in that island ? i knew there were a dozen of mark IIs but I thought that armor was overrun by german paratroopers.

My recollection of the Crete campaign is that tanks would have played quite a minor part in what was reduced to numerous small infantry contacts, although often quite bitterly fought and at times involving Cretans as fighters, over a couple of hard weeks.

A dozen, or even several dozen, tanks scattered over the island wouldn't have been able to change the result.

Panzerknacker
01-27-2016, 10:35 AM
Well, they could be used as mobile fire support for the kiwis , purely fighting agaist infantry, the Matilda armor cannot be defeated by the ridiculous 8mm antitank rifles wich some nazi paratroopers carried, the terrain didnt help much for tank mobility either.

Nickdfresh
01-27-2016, 12:58 PM
Did the matildas actually fired in anger in that island ? i knew there were a dozen of mark IIs but I thought that armor was overrun by german paratroopers. By the way is good to see most of the photos in this topic had actaully survived, in many other they dont. :D


My recollection of the Crete campaign is that tanks would have played quite a minor part in what was reduced to numerous small infantry contacts, although often quite bitterly fought and at times involving Cretans as fighters, over a couple of hard weeks.

A dozen, or even several dozen, tanks scattered over the island wouldn't have been able to change the result.

There were several Matildas on Crete, maybe around a dozen. I believe Freyberg's aim was to station at least two tanks at each major strategic target of the Germans (i.e. airbases). Typically, they were to be kept as sort of a strategic reserve in each area and generally were held back unless the the local Commonwealth commanders felt they were losing control or unless they could center a counterattack. The two Matildas at what turned out to be the most strategic point of the Maleme airfield suffered the fate of many of the tanks - they both suffered turret failures and one became logged in the rocky terrain. Unfortunately, Beevor reports that all of the tanks on the island were leftovers from the Western Desert and were in poor mechanical states requiring overhauls that could not be done on Crete. Also at Maleme, one of the Matildas had the wrong ammunition on board (I'm assuming Beevor meant the 7.92mm machine gun ammo was mistakenly left out for perhaps .303 rounds, but he doesn't specify whether it was the machine gun or cannon). In fact, the Matildas did have some success against paratroops lacking arms and in some cases even ran over unfortunate Germans. I believe the final major Allied counterattack, where tanks were most effectively used, was little more than a spoiling operation as the fate of the British command of the island was sealed. The Fallschirmjäger, while initially weak and scattered and suffering heavy casualties, did have some AT capability, and they were soon reinforced with the mountain troops and even motorcycle units. The Germans supposedly eventually landed tanks but I'm not sure this is correct. Of course, above all else the Germans had air supremecy for most of the battle and this also mitigated the effective use of armor.

Beevor also mentions "Whippet tanks", as being used but this is most certainly incorrect and I think the general consensus was that there were no Whippets left in the British inventory by 1941, and he probably means Light Tank Mark VI's (?) since he describes them having turrets.

Nickdfresh
01-27-2016, 01:08 PM
Well, they could be used as mobile fire support for the kiwis , purely fighting agaist infantry, the Matilda armor cannot be defeated by the ridiculous 8mm antitank rifles wich some nazi paratroopers carried, the terrain didnt help much for tank mobility either.

They wouldn't have been the first choice against the Matildas, but certainly they did knock out some light tanks...

Panzerknacker
01-27-2016, 04:28 PM
Good info Nick,I am pretty sure no german panzer landed until the end of the fight for Crete. Maybe some halftrack but surely no tanks.

Rising Sun*
01-28-2016, 09:13 AM
Good info Nick,I am pretty sure no german panzer landed until the end of the fight for Crete. Maybe some halftrack but surely no tanks.

Would the Germans have been able to bring a tank in during the battle for Crete?

After the Germans had secured the crucial main airfield at Maleme, they brought in reinforcements etc through that airfield. Could they have transported a tank by air?

Could they have brought tanks in by sea when they didn't control the Mediterranean?


Separate aspect on tank use, and loss, in small engagements in Crete.


New Zealand counter-attack


Destroyed British tank at Galatas

As the New Zealanders withdrew, the Germans wasted no time in occupying Galatas. Colonel Howard Kippenberger, commanding 10th (NZ) Brigade, realised that if the village was not retaken it would become a jumping-off point for an attack on the New Zealand line. So when two light tanks from the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment arrived that evening, Kippenberger quickly formulated plans for a counter-attack.

[Lieutenant] Farran stopped and spoke to me and I told him to go into the village and see what was there. He clattered off [in the tanks] and we could hear him firing briskly, when two more companies of the Twenty-third arrived … each about eighty strong. They halted on the road near me. The men looked tired, but fit to fight and resolute… . I told the two company commanders they would have to retake Galatos with the help of the two tanks… . The men fixed bayonets and waited grimly.

Colonel Howard Kippenberger in D.M. Davin, Crete, 1953, p. 311

Kippenberger placed the remnants of 18th Battalion on the eastern edge of Galatas. At the same time, two companies from 23rd Battalion fixed bayonets and moved into position on either side of the road into the village. The plan was simple: each company would attack on their side of the road behind the two tanks.
Alfred Hulme VC

Sergeant Alfred Hulme, 23rd Battalion, played a prominent part in the counter-attack at Galatas. When the New Zealand assault was delayed by a German strongpoint, Hulme rushed forward alone and used hand grenades to clear the position. For this action, and earlier exploits around Maleme airfield on 21–22 May, Hulme was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) in October 1941. Read more.

The tanks set off just after 8 p.m., followed by the infantry. They were soon under fire from all sides. Rather than stopping and clearing each house, the New Zealanders raced through the village to the main square. There they found the tanks: one was knocked out, the other damaged. Under heavy fire from the other side of the square, the men charged. The action was brutal – much of the fighting was at close quarters with bayonets and rifle butts – and the Germans withdrew in disarray. Reinforced by 18th Battalion, the New Zealanders pressed forward. When the fighting died down, the Germans had been pushed back to the south-west corner of the village.

Despite the success of the counter-attack the decision was made to withdraw from Galatas. The New Zealanders did not have the resources to hold the village – a lack of men, artillery and air support had left the defending troops exhausted. There was also concern that the Luftwaffe (German air force) would begin bombing Galatas. With many civilians still inside the village, it was considered an unacceptable risk for the New Zealanders to remain there. In order to maintain an unbroken defensive line, Puttick ordered his forward brigades to withdraw and set up a new line west of Canea.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/the-battle-for-crete/the-battle-day-4-6

Nickdfresh
01-28-2016, 02:06 PM
Good info Nick,I am pretty sure no german panzer landed until the end of the fight for Crete. Maybe some halftrack but surely no tanks.

I would agree. The only other possibility I think is perhaps the Germans put some captured/abandoned 'beutepanzers' back into service. But it seems the Commonwealth forces were pretty good about destroying the engines of any abandoned vehicles (usually with sand put into the sump then racing the engine). And as stated, many of the British tanks may already had been barely serviceable...

Nickdfresh
01-28-2016, 02:09 PM
Would the Germans have been able to bring a tank in during the battle for Crete?

After the Germans had secured the crucial main airfield at Maleme, they brought in reinforcements etc through that airfield. Could they have transported a tank by air?

Could they have brought tanks in by sea when they didn't control the Mediterranean?

...


I don't see how they could have. AFAIK, the Ju-52 Junkers was the only widely available transport and I doubt it could carry a panzer. And there was an effort by the Kriegsmarine and Italian Navy to send a flotilla or rickety sailing ships to Crete, but this was destroyed by a Royal Navy sortie and was nothing more than a resupply effort, the heaviest equipment I think being AA guns...

Nickdfresh
01-28-2016, 02:59 PM
Incidentally, here is a relevant thread over at Axis: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=114&t=220187

Panzerknacker
01-29-2016, 12:58 PM
The only german machine that fly and could transport a tank in may 1941 was the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant, but they never had a proper 4 engined bomber for towing the beast, much less with 15 to 20 tons of tank inside. The tug He-111Z entered in service in late 1941.

Rising Sun*
01-30-2016, 03:30 AM
The only german machine that fly and could transport a tank in may 1941 was the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant, but they never had a proper 4 engined bomber for towing the beast, much less with 15 to 20 tons of tank inside. The tug He-111Z entered in service in late 1941.

I did a quick Google search on the Gigant, which I hadn't heard of before. Looks like it needed specialised equipment to move it around on the airfield, so that would have to be flown in too, creating a bigger logistical drain on German aviation resources.

Even if there was a suitable tug for it during Crete:

1. Was there a launching airfield under German control within range of Crete?
2. Was the airfield at Maleme, or other open ground on Crete, suitable to land the Gigant with a panzer on board? Obviously, there's no "go around" power for a second approach on a glider, and the British experience with gliders at Arnhem demonstrates that glider landings tended to have high crash rates compared with powered aircraft.
2. Could the airfield at Maleme launch the Gigant and its tug for a return trip?

My suspicion is that, even if the Germans had a suitable tug for the Gigant, the logistical effort and problems in getting a few panzers onto Crete by air would have been better directed to landing more troops and artillery, although the Germans won with what they actually had anyway.

Nickdfresh
01-30-2016, 10:45 AM
The answer came in last nights reading - I think Beevor is referring to Italian tanks and tankettes that were delivered via an unopposed landing at Sitia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete#Italian_landing_at_Sitia) performed Il Duce style (after an enemy was already essentially defeated by his ally Germany). I don't have the source handy, but Beevor mentions how German mountain officer wrote a scathing journal entry regarding the Italian tankers lack-of-will to fight, but warns that such entries needed to be taken with a grain of salt. The heer linked up with some Italian armor and used them for infantry support towards the end of the battle...

CliSwe
01-31-2016, 08:03 AM
The Italians were nowhere near the easybeats that British wartime propaganda made them out to be. Their army in Africa was the wrong shape: the lean, mean Brits took advantage of this - fought the right type of war for their resources. The Italian colonial troops - as expected - folded like paper. The professionals manning the artillery were a different proposition, and gave the Commonwealth forces a hard fight. Little could be said for their poorly-equipped armoured forces. Italian tanks just sucked - that's right, they sucked-in British 2pdr projectiles like they couldn't get enough. In that environment, the Matilda II came into its own - invincible against the then-current threat, but outmatched by German 88mm guns later in the campaign.

Cheers,
Cliff

Nickdfresh
01-31-2016, 11:18 AM
The Italians were nowhere near the easybeats that British wartime propaganda made them out to be. Their army in Africa was the wrong shape: the lean, mean Brits took advantage of this - fought the right type of war for their resources....

Cheers,
Cliff

I agree. Rick Atkinson gives numerous examples of Italian troops putting up spirited, even bitter resistance to U.S. troops in Italy. He recounts instances in the mountains where the Allied advantage in mobility and firepower were mitigated by terrain and in these circumtances, the Italian soldier often fought hard. In one passage, Italian and American soldiers were reduced to throwing rocks at one another in the mountains...

Panzerknacker
01-31-2016, 01:13 PM
The Italians were nowhere near the easybeats that British wartime propaganda made them out to be. Their army in Africa was the wrong shape: the lean, mean Brits took advantage of this - fought the right type of war for their resources. The Italian colonial troops - as expected - folded like paper. The professionals manning the artillery were a different proposition, and gave the Commonwealth forces a hard fight. Little could be said for their poorly-equipped armoured forces. Italian tanks just sucked - that's right, they sucked-in British 2pdr projectiles like they couldn't get enough. In that environment, the Matilda II came into its own - invincible against the then-current threat, but outmatched by German 88mm guns later in the campaign.

Cheers,
Cliff

The italian tank issue en 1939-41 was particulary awful, they probably should bought the license and tools to produce the panzer III and its arc welding technology.


RS

1. Was there a launching airfield under German control within range of Crete?

Yes, they controlled mainland Greece.


Was the airfield at Maleme, or other open ground on Crete, suitable to land the Gigant with a panzer on board? Obviously, there's no "go around" power for a second approach on a glider, and the British experience with gliders at Arnhem demonstrates that glider landings tended to have high crash rates compared with powered aircraft.

It could be done,the exercise was feasible.


3. Could the airfield at Maleme launch the Gigant and its tug for a return trip?

No, they need a very long take off with heavy loads.

Nickdfresh
11-25-2016, 09:56 AM
I reread Beevor's Crete and it seems the German 5th Panzer Div. was able to land a small number of tanks apparently but he only briefly mentions it and doesn't specify which tanks the German Luftwaffe and Heer used to finally secure Crete...

Incidentally some Matilda and "Whippet" tanks were in operation until nearly the end of the battle and were somewhat successful deployed in desperate, spirited counterattacks (until they mostly broke down) holding up the German advance and allowing a larger number of evacuees to get to Egypt. About 15,000 Commonwealth troops were withdrawn...

Tea Brewer
04-20-2017, 01:23 PM
Does anybody have the data for British World War 2 tank engines, especially the Matilda II?
It seems that the overall dimensions of British tank engines are still top secret. Of the many books I've read and websites visited, none gives the dimensions. I recently bought an AEC book, but it doesn't give any details as to the size of its engines.

Irritatingly, books about WW2 tanks just seem to recycle the same old stuff, such as the Meadows Flat 12 was low in height, but very wide, then go on about how radiators had to be relocated and so on. Frankly, it makes for boring reading when the actual length, width and height are never cited. It is a bit easier to find data about American tank engines of the period.

I've found the same thing concerning turret rings too and very often when given, different numbers are given, depending on the source. As engine size appeared to be crucial to the development of useless British tanks such as the Covenanter, it would not be unreasonable to assume that readers would be interested in the actual dimensions, but alas, this isn't the case.

So if anyone knows of a good reference book or website with British tank engine data, please let me know.

So