Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This Day in the History of Proving the Italians Ought to Stick to Making Cars

On this day in 1940, British and Commonwealth troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II, when they attacked Italian troops in Libya. The Brits slapped the Ities around until the Afrika Corp showed up in February, 1941.

That's a Matilda tank. Slow, under gunned, under armored, but there.

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There are lots of bad things you can say about the Matilda, but "under-armored" isn't one of them. For its time, it was one of the best-armored tanks in the world.

Now, it was slow and the 2-pounder was not useful by 1942. (In 1940 it was entirely capable of breaching the armor on any face of any German or Italian tank. Remember that in 1940, 20mm ATRs were still in use and somewhat effective.) And British doctrine varied between suspect and pathetic all war. But its armor wasn't the Matilda's problem.
I didn't know there were any Matilda fans out there. OK, Slow and undergunned but there.
If only I had remembered to write something like, "There are lots of bad things you can say about the Matilda...", I wouldn't have been mistaken for a fan of the tank. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Good one, Doug. Have a Merry Christmas.
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