Char Britannique A.12 Matilda III
Char d’Assaut Mk.II

Revue de la Maquette Airfix au 1/76

Char Britannique A.12 Matilda III, Char d’Assaut Mk.II, 1/76 Maquette Airfix 01318

Matilda chars d’assaut were used by l’Armée Britannique en France et Afrique du Nord until gradually replaced by chars M3 Lee/Grant et M4 Sherman en 1942. L’armée australienne also deployed chars Matilda in the infantry support role. The Matilda was very popular due to its heavy armour protection which rendered it immune from all chars italiens en Afrique du Nord as well as many of the armes antichars allemandes available early in the war. The Matilda’s 2 pdr. gun was already obsolete at the beginning de la guerre, but it had sufficient armour penetration capability to deal avec the flimsy chars italiens encountered en Afrique du Nord. Although designated as an char d’assaut, the 2 pdr. gun could not fire high-explosive shells which might have been useful in defeating enemy infantry positions.

Spécifications Techniques

  • A.12 Matilda III
  • Type: Char d’Assaut Mk.II
  • Longueur: 5.62 m
  • Largeur: 2.59 m
  • Hauteur: 2.44 m
  • Poids: 27 t
  • Armement: Canon QF 2 pounder avec 93 rounds,
    co-axial 7,92 mm Besa Machine Gun
  • Équipage: chef de char, conducteur, tireur
  • Année: 1939-1942

Initially, the Wehrmacht had to rely on support from Luftwaffe 88 mm FlaK (anti-aircraft gun) units, heavy artillery units firing over open sights, ou tank-hunter detachments using the new canons antichar de 50 mm PaK 38, to stop a Matilda tank. Pendant la campagne de 1940, les chars d’appui Pz.Kpfw. IV et canons d’assaut StuG. III used hollow-charge anti-concrete shells to defeat chars Matilda.

Armour Penetration Capabilities of German Anti-tank Weapons at 100 metres

Weapon A.P. A.P.C.R.
7.92 mm Panzerbüchse 38/39 34 mm
2 cm L.55 Kampfwagenkanone 30/38 40 mm 52 mm
3.7 cm L.45 KwK 35 & PaK 35/36 65 mm 79 mm
7.5 cm L.24 StuK 37 & Kampfwagenkanone 37 57 mm 76 mm
Tungsten cored A.P.C.R. (Armour Piercing Composite Rigid) rounds had better penetration capabilities than regular A.P. (Armour Piercing (Manganese steel solid shot)) rounds, but they were significantly more expensive to produce. Tungsten was scarce, and German supplies of it ran out in 1944. None of the above weapons penetrated the Matilda’s armour of 78 mm all-round. Those listed below could defeat the Matilda, but the more effective of these weapons were static, ground mounted anti-tank guns. As a result, the Matilda dominated the desert tank battles and Rommel had to adopt a defensive tactical posture to counter this threat.
2 cm L.112.5 FlaK 30/38 81 mm 106 mm
28 mm schwere Panzerbüchse 41/td> 94 mm (A.P.S.V.)
5 cm L.42 Kampfwagenkanone 38 69 mm 115 mm
5 cm L.60 PaK 38 & KwK 39 99 mm 141 mm
7.5 cm L.48 KwK 39 & PaK 39 144 mm 172 mm
7.5 cm L.46 PaK 40 149 mm 176 mm
8.8 cm L.71 FlaK 35/36 247 mm 311 mm

When Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 avec the long 75 mm L/43 gun was introduced in Juin 1942, the Matildas no longer dominated the desert tank battles. Using an A.P.C.R. shell, the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 had an estimated 34% chance of defeating a Matilda at 500 metres, compared to a 26% probability of the Matilda defeating it. Spare track links were fitted to provide Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 avec additional frontal armour which reduced the Matilda’s rate of success even further. In combat, the Matilda would have to approach to within 100 meters of a Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 to gain a slight advantage, whereas the panzer commander could use the better speed et mobility of his véhicule to maintain the tactical advantage at 500 meters range.

In addition to its limited armour penetration capability, the Matilda’s 2 pdr gun was not designed to fire high-explosive shells which could have defeated positions de tir de canon antichar et mitrailleuse enemy. The Matilda was a designated char d’assaut, unable to support friendly troops avec direct high-explosive fire against entrenched enemy position. The A.12.C.S. (Close Support) conversion of the Matilda II fulfilled this role more effectively, but at the cost of increased logistical requirements, et a more complicated tactical deployment of these specialist véhicules. By comparison, chars avec a multi-purpose gun carried armour piercing et high-explosive ammunition which enabled them to engage any possible ground target effectively.

The Matilda tank also suffered from being underpowered by two 86 BHP moteurs de camion, giving the Matilda III a top speed of only 12 MPH. Because of their low cruising speed, les chars Matilda were carried to the battlefield by tank transporters. Les chars M3 Lee/Grant et M4 Sherman which eventually replaced the Matilda traded the heavy armour protection for higher speed et greater maneuverability.


  • Scale model avec much raised detail.
  • Choix de sujet excellent, a key véhicule et a very attractive model.
  • Few parts, easy to assemble. Track assembly is easier than on most other tank models.
  • High quality kit. Parts fit well et there is minimal flash.
  • Compatible avec Fujimi, Matchbox, Nitto, et VAC-U-CAST.
  • The model was unavailable for some time, but Humbrol released it again en 1997.
  • Soft plastic tank tracks should be painted on both sides to retard a chemical reaction which is known to dissolve them eventually.

Déploiement Historique

  • Armée Britannique, Afrique du Nord 1940-1942
  • Armée Australienne, New Guinea 1942
  • Armée Soviétique, 1941-1943

Possibilités de Conversions

  • A.12 Matilda II, Corps Expéditionnaire Britannique (B.E.F.), France 1940. The véhicile was equipped avec the Vickers 0.303 Inch water cooled machine gun in an armoured housing. The Vickers housing may be modelled using small plastic ou metal tubing.
  • A.12.C.D.L. (Canal Defense Light) conversion kit available from VAC-U-CAST.
  • A.12.C.S. (Close Support) equipped avec a 94 mm L/18 Field Gun et the Vickers MG. Metal ou plastic tubing may be used for the conversion. The field gun’s barrel is shorter than that of the 2 pdr gun, it should only be 75% of the length of the original barrel supplied avec the kit. All A.12.C.S. conversions were based on the A.12 Matilda II, not the Matilda III version.
  • Armée Australienne field conversions of the Matilda included flamethrowing véhicules, popularly know as Frogs, et bridgelayers avec makeshift ou prefabricated bridges. Matildas australiens participated in amphibious landings.
  • Pz.Jäg. A.12, Normandy 1944. Chars Matilda captured in the 1940 campaign were later converted to Panzerjäger (tank hunters), et these véhicules took part in the defense of the Atlantic Wall. The Pz.Jäg. A.12 had the turret removed et un canon antichar de 50 mm PaK 38 allemand mounted instead. A photo of a Pz.Jäg. A.12 taken in Mai of 1944 shows its immatriculation "T" britannique, presumably because it was still in the original B.E.F. camouflage scheme. The Airfix Panzerabwehrkanone PaK 40 may be used for this conversion, it looks identical to the PaK 38.

Matilda chars d’assaut played an important role in the early campagnes de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en France 1940 et de la Guerre du Désert 1940-1942. Without the Matilda, the involvement britannique in these campaigns cannot be simulated accurately. Chars A10 et A13 cruiser would be another important addition to the early war range, enabling the joueur de guerre to simulate this period in history.

Andy Reid

Autres Revues des Figurines et Maquettes Airfix.

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Figurines Britanniques de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale