The first infantry tank, the Infantry Tank Mk I "Matilda I", was designed during the mid-thirties as an infantry support vehicle. It was intended to advance alongside the infantry, and engage enemy strongpoints and infantry. Since it would only need to drive at a walking pace, speed was sacrificed for armor protection.
The Matilda I was only armed with a heavy machine gun, which was considered insufficient even when production began in 1937. As a result, the Matilda II was designed. Nevertheless, the order of 140 tanks was completed, and the Matilda I saw action in France in 1940. Despite its heavy armour, however, its slow speed and weak armament made it unsuited for modern tank warfare.
|Infantry Tank Mk I "Matilda I"|
|Armour (range)||10-60 mm|
|Speed (max)||12.9 km/h|
|Primary weapon||.50 cal. Vickers Machine Gun (1)|