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Matilda Tanks in Crete
Jamesite
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United Kingdom
Joined: December 05, 2006
KitMaker: 2,208 posts
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Posted: Monday, June 02, 2008 - 04:39 AM UTC
Hi guys,

Have been having some thoughts for a while on doing a little dio on the battle of Crete, as its a compeling story and having visited the island twice has a personal interest. I've recently decided to tie in the idea with my long time desire to build a Matilda as a few were used to defend the island, however i'm having some trouble on getting information on the tanks used.

The idea is to have a knocked out Matilda being used as cover for advancing fallschirmjager, these will be from DML's Gen 2 Fallschirmjager Holland 1940 kit as the equipment used is near identical.

I'm planning on using the old Tamiya kit as its the only one available and I beleive the upcoming ICM kit is supposed to be a Mk.IV? Although i'd be interested on any more info about this as perhaps a kit bash could be in order?

The info I have so far is that there were 9 Matilda's present on Crete, and dispersed around the island to defend airfields and the like. These were from B squadron of the 7th Royal tank regiment and were supposed to be dug in, although at Rethymon airfield and elsewhere commanders decided to use them in their mobile role, although they were hamperd by a lack of HE ammunition. I beleive they were Mk. IIA versions and had seen action in Lybia beforehand and were somewhat 'used' when they arrived on Crete. I have read a couple of accounts of the combat at Rethymon airfield where two Matilda's were used but little of the other 7. I beleive a couple were used as a rear guard to the allied evacuation of the island?
I have found two pictures of Matilda's on Crete, which I beleive to be in the caunter scheme (note the diagonal line along the armoured side skirts), although I can see no evidence of any markings. I'd appreciate an experts opinion on these and any mods I may need to make to the Tamiya kit.
My limited knowledge tells me that the rear external fuel tank is absent, and the mantlet is the later type without the extended armoured cover over the co axial BESA, im thinking of getting the armourscale barrel and mantlet which should rectify this.
Here are the pics, I'm fairly certain they are of the same Matilda:




To help me with some of the more basic fixes to the Tamiya kit I have Steve Zaloga's article on converting a Matilda to a BEF version, some of which is relevant and some which isn't.
I also know Eduard used to do a PE set which is now OOP (No. 35099) does anyone have a spare or knows where I can get one? Is it worth getting for that matter?

I'd appreciate all help and suggestions.

Cheers,

James
jjumbo
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British Columbia, Canada
Joined: August 27, 2006
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Posted: Monday, June 02, 2008 - 08:31 AM UTC
Hey James,
ICM's Matilda II Mk. IV will apparently be a Lend-Lease vehicle.
If the vehicles were old and worn from use in Libya, the ICM kit may not be suitable for a setting in Crete.
Here's a couple of sites that may be of some help:

http://ww2armor.jexiste.fr/BritTanks/English-Files/1-Vehicles/04-InfantryTanks/Mk.II-Matilda-II/04-Action.htm

http://WWW.CRETE-1941.ORG.UK/

FYI - The extended armoured cover over the coaxial MG in the Tamiya kit is for the Matilda II Mk. I and is a Vickers water cooled MG and not a Besa air cooled MG.
Cheers

jjumbo
Jamesite
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Posted: Monday, June 02, 2008 - 09:36 PM UTC
Thanks jjumbo,

I thought the ICM kit would be too late a version and you seem to have confirmed this. Does anyone know a release date for the kit anyway? It may be of some kit bashing use, ie. indy link tracks.

Thanks for the heads up on the mantlet and co-axial arrangements. I did a bit of research after that and it tells me that the Matilda II Mk. I had the vickers and the extended mantlet, but this was replaced by the BESA in the Mk. IIA, without the extra armour around the gun. As the Tamiya kit is supposed to be a Mk.II is it incorrect in this capacity? Or is this another one of the multiple examples of changes between tank models being gradual and not as clear cut as we modellers may like!
Thanks for the links too.

On the PE front I see airwaves also does a PE set. does anyone have any experience of this?

Thanks,

James
TimTam27
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 11, 2006
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Posted: Monday, June 02, 2008 - 10:19 PM UTC
Hi.

Some advice from someone who has been there. Wait for the ICM kit before beginning this project.

The Tamiya Matilda is so awful in some many ways I reckon it would be a lot easier to backdate the ICM kit than try and correct the Tamiya one. I know from experience that there are many, many problems with the Tamiya Matilda. The more I did, the more I found wrong. And no matter how much work you do on it, it will still be out of scale. (Apparently it is closer to 1:32 than 1:35.)

Life is too short. Work on something else till the ICM Matilda appears. It will be released soon enough. Chances are that they will do a Mark.II shortly after releasing the Mk.IV as well.

TimTam27
jjumbo
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Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 04:58 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Thanks for the heads up on the mantlet and co-axial arrangements. I did a bit of research after that and it tells me that the Matilda II Mk. I had the vickers and the extended mantlet, but this was replaced by the BESA in the Mk. IIA, without the extra armour around the gun. As the Tamiya kit is supposed to be a Mk.II is it incorrect in this capacity? Or is this another one of the multiple examples of changes between tank models being gradual and not as clear cut as we modellers may like!



Hi James,
When Tamiya produced their Matilda back in early 1970's, I doubt they did the same degree of research they do now.
It's possible that they decided to hedge their bets and include the Mk. I gun mantlet with the armoured cover for the Vickers MG's water sleeve jacket when they originally produced the kit.
Not exactly the same as DML's 3 in 1 kits we're spoiled with now a days !!
Mind you, British tanks were pretty much hand made back in the late 1930's and early 1940's.
The castings used were not exactly the same in each vehicle and a degree of swapping, switching and matching of old and new parts between vehicles probably happened on the factory production line.
It's also possible that the Tamiya mold makers examined a number of Matildas sitting around in museum collections and decided that both mantlets were used by the Mk. II A.
Like TimTam27 said, it might be better to wait for the new ICM kit and backdate it rather than spend a lot of time making a silk purse from a sow's ear.
Cheers.

jjumbo
Jamesite
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Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 10:28 PM UTC

But I like Tamiya kits despite their age!

However, I think you guys are talking sense, the ICM kit could be the way to go, however, patience is not one of my strong points!

Thanks for all the info, I have plenty to work on before I brgin this idea so no worries there!

Kits aside, does anyone have any more info (or even pictures???) of Matilda's on Crete, particularly any unit markings etc.

Cheers,

James
SGTJKJ
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Kobenhavn, Denmark
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Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 10:37 PM UTC
Hi James

Sounds like a really good idea for a diorama. I have seen at least one build tread here at Armorama on the Tamiya Matilda. That might be of help if you choose to use the Tamiya kit.

I believe I have some pictures of Matildas on Crete. I will check today. If I have not posted them here before the end of the week, please PM me to remind me.
Jamesite
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Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 11:53 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi James

Sounds like a really good idea for a diorama. I have seen at least one build tread here at Armorama on the Tamiya Matilda. That might be of help if you choose to use the Tamiya kit.

I believe I have some pictures of Matildas on Crete. I will check today. If I have not posted them here before the end of the week, please PM me to remind me.



Thats great news Jesper, I'd really appreciate those pictures thank you.
I have seen one build thread on the site but i'll do a hunt around and see if I can come up with any more.

Thanks again,

James
SGTJKJ
#041
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Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 - 07:49 PM UTC
Hi James

I only found one picture, I thought I had more. On the up side it is a very interesting camouflage. I know I have seen this tank (or a tank with similar camouflage) parked under a tree, but I cannot seem to find the picture now.

As a bonus there is also a colour plate of the tank.

Hope this helps







Drader
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Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 - 08:24 PM UTC
Jesper - that scheme locates the tank on Malta not Crete, though it is also from 7 RTR.

David
Jamesite
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Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 - 10:42 PM UTC
Hi Jesper,
Thankyou very much for posting those pics, but as David mentions, that tank was located on the island of Malta not Crete, the island remained isolated in British hands and so the camouflage pattern was unique to the island, with the intention of imitating mediteranean stone walls and buildings.
However, the pictures will be very useful as being a tank from the 7th RTR they should have similarities with the tanks on Crete, and so will be useful for the build, particularly as these pictures show the right hand side of the tank which is hidden in the pics I have.

Thaks again for your help, much appreciated.


David, I was hoping you would impart some of your wisdom of British armour on me! Im eager for more info if you have it!

James
SGTJKJ
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Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 - 11:36 PM UTC
Thanks for the info, David.

Sorry about posting a Matilda from the wrong island. I thought I had something of use. It is an attractive camouflage nonetheless.

Hope you find some pictures from other places, James.
neil22
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Cotes-d`Armor, France
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Posted: Thursday, June 05, 2008 - 12:02 AM UTC
those photos look interesting, is that tank pulling the downed aircraft? could be a good diorama.

neil
Drader
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Posted: Thursday, June 05, 2008 - 12:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

those photos look interesting, is that tank pulling the downed aircraft? could be a good diorama.

neil



It's a Beaufort torpedo bomber, Malta was handily placed for hitting Axis convoys for North Africa, specially since ULTRA gave advanced warning by decrypting German signals.

David