The British have adapted a system of radio control to operate on a tank. The project is
successful but still entirely experimental.
The British have applied radio control to aircraft ("Queen Bee"). The Admiralty has also
placed it on motor launches. Now it has been extended to the tank, experimentally. A U.S. observer
accompanied by a British Junior Officer, saw and operated a Matilda tank equipped with
The tank had been stripped of its turret for ease of accessibility, and various devices
had been added to operate the vehicle with push buttons. There were two engine speeds
available. The gears were selected automatically according to speed of the vehicle and
position of the throttle (similar to Oldsmobile hydromatic selection). Braking and
turning were operated by compressed air on pistons. The tank would reverse and turn
The radio control consisted of two standard Number 19 sets, and was operated by
impulses in two separate tones. The set in the tank controlled the push buttons and
hence the tank. The control was mounted on a truck, though it could have been on
another tank if desired. On the top of the control radio was a control box with
three levers and a switch. The positions of these levers regulated the behavior
of the tank. The switch set off a smoke candle on the tank.
While there are a few changes to be made in the apparatus, it functioned very
well. Its range is claimed to be three miles, though it is advantageous to the
controller to observe its actions to avoid obstacles. It could, of course, be
controlled from an airplane.
Only the experimental model has been produced. So far it is a "toy" but as soon as it is
perfected it will be presented to the War Office for decision as to whether or not it
will be used, and what uses it will be put to. It has been suggested as a decoy, smoke
or mine layer, mine field clearer (coupled with use of "Snake" or other device), demolition
bomb (similar to the Beetle), etc.
(M/A Report, London, No. 48034.)