The origins of the Matilda Tank or “I” Tank date back to 1934, when Maj. Gen. Percy C.S. Hobart, then the Inspector, Royal Tank Corps (RTC), itemized the features of a new infantry support weapon that would be “moderately well-armoured and equipped with a machine gun, available in large numbers to swamp the enemy defences; or a larger type, mounting a cannon and armoured sufficiently to be proof against field artillery.” Due to finances, Britain’s interwar military leaders favored the smaller of Hobart’s prototypes, the A11, which was codenamed Matilda. This curious name was derived from a popular feathered cartoon character of the time, Matilda the Duck, because the tank’s 27 tons of metal moved about as elegantly as an overweight waddling duck. The initial A11 offering from Vickers-Armstrong, Ltd., in 1935 was an inexpensive, small, two-man tank that possessed a solitary machine gun, thus, hardly a mechanized weapon to “swamp the enemy defences,” but rather a mobile, armored machine gun. By January 1938, as the prospects for war in Europe heightened, the British Army now desired a cannon-armed infantry tank, which was labeled the A12, Matilda Mark I, and was to be produced by ...