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World War II Wiki

The 5 cm KwK 38 L/42 auf Matilda, officially the 5cm KwK 38 L/42 auf infanterie PzKpfw MK II 748(e), and affectionately nicknamed Oswald, was a single British Matilda II tank captured by German forces during the North African Campaign. Oswald was converted into a training tank with a 50mm KwK 38 gun.[2]

Description

The converted Matilda during a training exercise. The "Oswald" inscription can be seen at the front of the tracks.

In many ways, Oswald was very similar to the standard Matilda II.

The only major difference was the lack of a turret. The standard British QF 2-pounder armament was removed from the tank's main body, and a pivot-mounted German KwK 38 anti-tank gun took its place. The weapon was mounted behind a specially crafted handmade shield, in addition to its standard gun shield[2] [3]

Aside from this, the Matilda was kept mostly the same. German camouflage and insignia were applied, and the name "Oswald" was inscribed on the front corner of the track fenders.[3]

History

Before its capture by German forces, the Matilda served under the British Army in North Africa with the serial number "111". Then, at some point in 1942, the fully intact Matilda came into German possession, and was shipped back to the occupied Netherlands. There it was used by the Hochsee-Lehrkommando in Terneuzen to train loaders and perform combat drills. [3]

Oswald transporting troops.

Towards the end of 1942, Oswald's turret was removed to fit a KwK 38 anti-tank gun. The modified infantry tank went on to continue its training service for an unknown period of time, even partaking in a mock Operation Sea Lion-style demonstration.[2] [3][4]

The tank's ultimate fate is not known. It was either broken down for scraps[2], or sent to to the Eastern Front for evaluation.[5] Either way, Oswlad did not survive to see much service during the war.

References

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