Matilda Frog

The Matilda Frog was a flamethrower tank produced in Australia, around the A12 Matilda infantry tank Mk II.

The Australians produced a number of specialised versions of the Matilda, under the overall designation of 'Circus Equipment'. The standard European flamethrower tanks, with a separate fuel container towed behind the tank, wasn't suitable for use in the jungle. The 'Frog' thus carried the flame projector and eighty gallons of fuel within the turret, along with a single crew member.

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. The flame projector used Geletrol, a thickened flame fuel. Each burst used 10 gallons of fuel, and fuel had to be transferred in to the turret tank once it was empty.

The flame thrower replaced the main gun in either the Matilda Mk IV or Matilda Mk V. It was designed to resemble the 3in howitzer used in some Mk IVs, in an attempt to make it stand out less. The weapon had a range of 80-100 yards. 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.

Twenty five Matilda Frogs were converted late in 1944. The Matilda Frog was used operationally on Borneo, where it was judged to have been a success. A version using cordite instead of the gas pressure was produced, as the Matilda Murray, but this arrived too late to see active service.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 April 2015), Matilda Frog , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_matilda_frog.html

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