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Encyclopedia > PIAT
Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank

PIAT in Canadian War Museum
Type anti-tank weapon
Place of origin Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1942–1950
Production history
Designer MD1
Manufacturer ICI Ltd., various others.
Weight 31.7 lb (14.4 kg)
Length 39 in (990 mm)

Muzzle velocity 450 ft/s (137 m/s)
Effective range 110 yd (100 m)
Maximum range 350 yd (320 m)
Filling HEAT
Filling weight 3 lb (1.4 kg)

The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank, was one of the earlier anti-tank weapons using a high explosive anti-tank projectile. It was developed by the British starting in 1941, reaching the field in time for the invasion of Sicily in 1943. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 604 KB) PIAT, Panzerfaust. ... The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Major-General Millis Jefferis (1899-1963) was the founder of a special unit of the British Ministry of Supply which developed unusual weapons. ... ICI can refer to: Imperial Chemical Industries PLC. The ICI programming language. ... A guns muzzle velocity is the speed at which the projectile leaves the muzzle of the gun. ... Anti-tank, or simply AT, refers to any method of combating military armored fighting vehicles, notably tanks. ... For other uses, see Heat (disambiguation) In physics, heat, symbolized by Q, is energy transferred from one body or system to another as a result of a difference in temperature. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Husky was also the codename of Australian military support to Sierra Leone ending in February 2003. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Due to the nature of the projectile and length of the weapon, the PIAT could be used more easily in enclosed spaces than the American bazooka or the German Panzerschreck, which made it more useful in close combat and for urban warfare. It was also primitive, heavy, cumbersome, strenuous to cock, and had a very short range compared to other anti-tank weapons. For other uses, see Bazooka (disambiguation). ... Panzerschreck team The Panzerschreck (German: tank terrorizer; lit. ... Urban warfare is a modern warfare conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. ...



PIAT in use by Canadian troops
PIAT in use by Canadian troops

At the start of World War II, all major armies were investing in research into HEAT projectiles to produce an infantry weapon capable of defeating modern tanks, which were essentially immune to the weapons carried by normal infantry. The Germans concentrated on recoilless weapons and the US on rockets, but in 1941 when the PIAT was being developed, rocket powered weapons were nowhere near ready for use. PIAT - used here by Canadian troops Source: [1] Canadian archives, public domain. ... PIAT - used here by Canadian troops Source: [1] Canadian archives, public domain. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... A Soyuz rocket, at Baikanur launch pad. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ...

The British instead turned to a prewar weapon known as the Blacker Bombard, a large mortar, known as a "spigot discharger" or spigot mortar, invented by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker, Royal Artillery. The Bombard consisted of a heavy barrel containing a large spring. The spring pushed against a 12 lb (5 kg) steel canister and rod that rode up the barrel and struck the rear of the bomb, igniting a small propulsion charge. The heavy bolt and rod, known as the spigot, was used primarily to damp out the recoil of the round leaving the barrel. The charge was also intended to reset the spring, meaning that the weapon had to be cocked only once, by pulling up on the tube while standing on a handle mounted at the rear. The Blacker Bombard was a cheap anti-tank weapon devised by Lt-Col Blacker in the early years of the Second World War. ... US soldier loading a M224 60-mm mortar. ... US soldier loading a M224 60-mm mortar. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Tactical Recognition Flash of the Royal Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, generally known as the Royal Artillery (RA), is, despite its name, a corps of the British Army. ...

The Blacker Bombard was never used operationally, and was retained for use by the British Home Guard. However, the design was suitable for modification as the launcher for a HEAT round. The drop in size of the warhead (an effective HEAT shell was 3 lb compared to the 20 lb HE used on the Bombard) meant that the PIAT would be much lighter and more manoeuvrable than the 150 kg Bombard. A section of the barrel was cut away on the top to form a tray for the round, which could be reloaded with fresh rounds with the operator remaining prone. The charge on the shell was small enough that it caused no real smoke or backblast, a significant advantage over the bazooka. However, the heavy duty spring and spigot increased the weight, resulting in a weapon that weighed 34 lb (15 kg) unloaded. Furthermore, if the charge failed to reset the spigot, which happened often enough (especially when the firer could not take the recoil), the operator had to retire behind cover to re-cock the weapon. This required a 200 pound (91 kg) pull requiring the user to stand up or lie on his back.[1] The Blacker Bombard was a cheap anti-tank weapon devised by Lt-Col Blacker in the early years of the Second World War. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Bazooka (disambiguation). ... Pound may refer to Look up pound in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

In general use, the PIAT had a rated range of about 100 m, but that was considered extreme, and it was typically fired at much shorter ranges. According to some wartime British documents, the 3 lb (1.4 kg) HEAT warhead could penetrate 100 mm of armour at a 30 degree angle, although this was considered extreme, and 4 inches (100mm) at a 90 degree angle was considered a penetration figure more readily attainable. Indeed, there seems to be some disagreement between wartime sources on the PIAT's actual performance- earlier British documents often state a figure of 75mm, whereas later, most often post-war documents state the figures of 100mm or more. This was only just sufficient to defeat the frontal armour of the newest German tanks, remaining more effective against their side and rear armour. The PIAT could also function in a mortar-like role, where the shell was fired in a parabolic arc up to 350 m. The PIAT was also widely used in the "house-breaking" role, being fired into a room near the proposed assault team's entrance. Armour sucks ass alottttttttttt Armour was also commonly used to protect war animals, such as war horses and elephants. ...

An attachment that allowed the PIAT to fire 2 inch mortar shells was produced in limited numbers. The Ordnance SBML 2-inch Mortar, or more commonly just 2-inch Mortar, was a British mortar issued to the British Army and the Commonwealth armies that saw use during the Second World War and later. ...

Combat use

Early use in Sicily proved that a "perfect" hit was required or the round would not detonate, and the weapon soon garnered a poor reputation among the troops. The Army then instigated a rapid series of improvements, and the weapon had matured by the time of the invasion of the Italian mainland. The PIAT could then be found in all theatres. Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ...

One problem reported with the PIAT was that the bombs it fired were quite sensitive, due to the special firing mechanism, and if dropped could explode.[citation needed] Hence some bombs were given special caps over the ignition device to prevent this.[citation needed] Also, the bomb had to be positioned correctly or it would not fire and would have to be removed the PIAT re-cocked, taking time before it could be fired again.[citation needed]

On the morning of the D-Day landings, a single PIAT disrupted a German attempt to reach the invasion beaches. British troops had landed by glider and had seized and held the vital bridges over the Caen Canal and the Orne River. Among the positions held was a T-junction on the main road from Benouville to Le Port which led on to the south to Caen. A German force of two half-tracks followed by infantry support approached the junction from the direction of Benouville around 01:30 at night, threatening to turn onto the D 514 road leading to the canal bridge and Ranville. Sergeant Charles "Wagger" Thornton (D Company) Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, armed with the only working PIAT and two rounds, shot the leading half-track at short range. The sergeant lay unprotected and flat on his belly on the left side of the D 514 coast road, near the town hall, and was accompanied by Private Eric Woods. The PIAT round scored a direct hit and the half-track blew up, while the surviving German grenadiers were shot at by Woods, armed with a Sten submachine gun. The other half-track beat a hasty retreat along with the rest of the troops. The burning half-track was now blocking the junction for other vehicles. The explosion of the wreck forced the remaining Germans to withdraw, and the commander of the vehicle behind the one destroyed by Thornton reported to his superior that the British were armed with 6-pounder anti-tank guns (he believed this due to the ferocity of the explosion). Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... Caen (pronounced /kɑ̃/) is a commune of northwestern France. ... Orne is the name of two rivers in France: one in Normandy and one in Lorraine. ... Bénouville is a commune of the Calvados département in the Basse-Normandie région in France. ... Le Port is the name or part of the name of several communes in France: Le Port, Ariège, in the Ariège département Le Port, Réunion, in the island of Réunion Le Port-Marly, in the Yvelines département Port (disambiguation) Category: ... Caen (pronounced /kɑ̃/) is a commune of northwestern France. ... M3 Half-track A half-track is a civilian or military vehicle with regular wheels on the front for steering, and caterpillar tracks on the back to propel the vehicle and carry most of the load. ... Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organisations around the world. ... The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was an infantry regiment of the British Army. ... A Grenadier was originally a specialized assault trooper for siege operations, first established as a distinct role in the early 17th century. ... This article is about the submachine gun. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Polish paratroopers (1st Independent Parachute Brigade) manhandling 6 pdr AT gun The Ordnance QF 6-pounder 7 cwt, or just 6 pdr, was a British 57 mm gun, their primary anti-tank gun during the middle of World War II. as well as the main armament for a number of...

Private Ernest Alvia "Smokey" Smith of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada earned the Victoria Cross after crawling to within thirty feet of a Panther tank to destroy it with a PIAT. Immediately following this, while protecting a wounded comrade, he destroyed another tank and two self-propelled guns, and routed a number of the enemy infantry. Ernest Alvia (Smokey) Smith in his official portrait from the Order of British Columbia in 2002. ... The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada are a Canadian Forces Land Force Command infantry regiment of 39 Canadian Brigade Group. ... The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration awarded for valour in the face of the enemy to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. ... The Panther ( ) was a tank fielded by Nazi Germany in World War II that served from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. ...

In one of the most remarkable examples of bravery under fire, Major Robert Henry Cain also earned the Victoria Cross at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden. Using a PIAT (in addition to several other weapons) he destroyed or disabled six tanks, four of which were Tiger tanks, as well as a number of self-propelled guns. Major Robert Henry Cain OKW, VC (2 January 1909 - 2 May 1978) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States Canada Poland Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Brian Horrocks Roy Urquhart James M. Gavin Maxwell Taylor Stanislaw Sosabowski Walter Model Wilhelm Bittrich Kurt Student Strength 35,000 20,000 Casualties 11,377 dead,wounded or missing 6,450 Captured 2,000 Killed 6,000 Wounded Operation... First Tiger I tank captured near Tunis The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. ... A self-propelled gun is an armored fighting vehicle which primarily based on and serves to transport the gun with which its equipped. ...

In another example of selfless bravery in the face of danger, on January 18, 1945 Lance-Sergeant John Taylor of The Leicestershire Regiment took up the PIAT himself, from a very exposed position, to defend his platoon H.Q. and score direct hits, silencing the bazooka and spandau fire of the enemy. This action was mainly responsible for beating off the attack of the enemy and giving time for the fire in the roof of H.Q. platoon to be checked. Lance-Sergeant Taylor was later awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, in part, for his bravery in this action. is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Royal Leicestershire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, with a history going back to 1688. ... Platoon of the German Bundeswehr. ... For other uses, see Bazooka (disambiguation). ... The MG42 (shortened from German: Maschinengewehr 42, or Machine Rifle 42) was a machine gun that was developed for and entered service with Nazi Germany in 1942, during World War II. The 7. ... The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was (until 1993) the second level military decoration awarded other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries. ...

The PIAT remained the main British platoon-level anti-tank weapon until 1950, when it was replaced by the US M20 Super Bazooka, known as Launcher, Rocket, 3.5 inch UK (M20) in British service and then later by the ubiquitous Carl Gustav recoilless rifle. Anti-tank, or simply AT, refers to any method of combating military armored fighting vehicles, notably tanks. ... Year 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... M20 is: A major road in England: M20 motorway Messier object 20, or the Trifid Nebula BMW M20, a BMW piston engine This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon in action With the Irish Army. ...

The naval weapon Hedgehog was another application of the spigot discharger principle. Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon An anti-submarine weapon developed by the Royal Navy during World War II, the Hedgehog was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers to supplement the depth charge. ...


Line drawing of PIAT and "bomb" not to scale
  • Manufacturer : ICI Ltd., various others.
  • Service: 1942–1950
  • Overall length : 39 in (990 mm)
  • Weight : 31.7 lb (14.4 kg)
  • Projectile weight : 3 lb (1.35 kg)
  • Muzzle velocity : 450 ft/s (137 m/s)
  • Effective range : 110 yd (100 m) armour, 350 yd (320 m) "house-breaking"
  • Penetration : 4 in (102 mm) of steel armour
  • Ammunition
    • Bomb HEAT; Infantry Projector, AT, Mk 3/L
    • Weight - approx 2 3/4 lb (1.25 kg)
    • Length - 16.6 in (422 mm)
    • Colour - Service colour or brown, with red filling ring around forward portion of body, a blue band edged above and below with yellow and with "TNT3" in black on the blue band.

From the 1943 British Army manual Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank: Image File history File links Piat_and_bomb. ... Image File history File links Piat_and_bomb. ...

'Lie on the back and rest the projector on the chest, with the bomb support pointing over one shoulder and the shoulder piece flat on the ground. Keep the front support clear of the body and arms. Place the insteps on the shoulder piece, one foot on each side of the outer casing. Grasp the trigger guard firmly with one hand from underneath; with the other grasp any part of the projector that will give good leverage. Sit up or bend the knees if necessary, according to cover. Pull the outer casing away from the shoulder piece and turn it anticlockwise as far as it will go. Pulling with the hands and pushing with the feet, continue to pull on the outer casing until a click is heard. Considerable effort is required to overcome the resistance of the mainspring. The click denotes the action is cocked.'

Notes and references

  1. ^ Hogg, Ian (1996), Tank Killing

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
  • Nase noviny
  • Arnhem Archive

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

See also

British & Commonwealth small arms of World War II and Korea
Weapons of the British Empire 1722–1965

  Results from FactBites:
PIAT (430 words)
The PIAT, for Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank, was the first effective anti-tank weapon based on the HEAT shell.
Unlike the US bazooka and it's German copy, the Panzerschreck[?], the PIAT could be used in enclosed spaces which made it more useful in close-combat and for hiding in houses.
The US and Germans concentrated on rockets to propel their weapons, in 1941 when the PIAT was being developed, these systems were nowhere near ready for use.
PIAT - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1467 words)
The PIAT, for Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank, was one of the earlier anti-tank weapons based on a HEAT shell.
Due to the nature of the projectile and length of the weapon, the PIAT could be used more easily in enclosed spaces than the American bazooka or the German Panzerschreck, which made it more useful in close-combat and for urban warfare.
The PIAT could then be found in all theatres, although the slow reload time meant it was generally considered a one-shot-per-confrontation weapon due to the extremely heavy spring.
  More results at FactBites »



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