Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The first British Infantry Tanks
The Infantry or "I" tank was born out of a mistaken idea that there should be a slow, specialized tank to work with infantry. Since the infantry would be marching, the Infantry tank could be slow. The idea, though, was that the Infantry tank should be "shell proof", much as the KV-I was. That armor protection was the saving grace of the Infantry tank. The first tank, the Infantry Mk.I Matilda I was not very useful. The follow-on Infantry Mk.II Matilda was a super-tank for its time, due to its armor protection. It's slow speed was an impediment, but the armor protection with 78mm maximum thickness largely made up for the lack of speed. It was only by 1942, when better tanks appeared that the Infantry Mk.II became obsolete, as its cast hull kept it from being upgunned with the 6pdr or 75mm guns.