Matildas began arriving in Australia from the United Kingdom during March and April 1942, and continued to be delivered until the second half of 1943. In all, 409 Matildas were delivered to Australia. The Australian forces modified many of Matilda II  for other purposes, like the flamethrowers named "Matilda Frog". In total, 25 Australians Matilda II tanks were converted to flame tanks in late 1944.  

They served in the Australian 4th Armoured Brigade, in the South West Pacific Area. The "Matilda Frog" was used operationally on Borneo, where it was judged to have been a success. Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank, with heavy armour,  but with somewhat limited speed and armament. Thanks to its participation in Pacific Campaing, the Matilda was the only British tank to remain in service throughout the war. 

Borneo: Balikpapan Area. Members of A Company, 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion, behind a Matilda 'frog' flamethrower tank from 2/1 Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of 4th Australian Armoured Brigade Group, moving from the Tank Plateau feature towards the town area during Operation Oboe 2 (Via Wikimedia - AWM - 111056)

The "Matilda Frog" carried the flame projector and eighty gallons of fuel within the turret, along with a single crew member. The flame projector used Geletrol, a thickened flame fuel. The weapon had a range of 80 to100 metres.   

More fuel was carried in tanks scattered around the vehicle - 100 gallons on an external tank on the back of the tank, capable of being jettisoned, 30 gallons in the space normally used by tool lockers and 32 gallons in four tanks on the side of the tank, for a total of 242 gallons. 

Each burst used 10 gallons of fuel, and fuel had to be transferred in to the turret tank once it was empty. One problem was that it used a gas pressure system to power the flame jet, and it took 20 seconds to pump the system up between shots.

(Photographs via Milweb)

As the seller says, this "Matilda Frog" is ideal for Museum or collector. It has been sandblasted inside and out and re-sprayed. It needs a power pack and a transmission to make it run. It would be ideal for a static display. It still has most of the flame thrower equipment inside the turret though the flame gun is a replica.

(Photographs via Milweb)

As per UK practice, in wartime, each vehicle was given a name starting with the same letter as the squadron to which the tank belonged. This Matilda named "Charcoal" could be attached to "C" Sqn.

This "Matilda Frog" is offered for sale, for just $220K (AU). Contact the seller


Rickard, J (16 April 2015), Matilda Frog , | Wikipedia | |

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