PIAT

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Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank (PIAT) - 3.25 in
Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank (PIAT) with loaded bomb - 3.25 in

The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank (PIAT) was an unusual anti-tank launcher designed by British Major Millis Jeffries in 1941 as a replacement for the obsolete Boys anti-tank rifle, and issued to field units in 1943. The weapon was essentially a scaled-down version of the carriage-mounted Blacker Bombard: Jeffries had planned a smaller version, but the large high explosive charges the Bombard used proved ineffective when scaled down. Hearing about hollow charge technology, he decided it would be perfect for the weapon, and designed a shoulder-fired launcher using an adapted spigot mortar system to fire a shaped-charge warhead on a relatively flat trajectory. Thus, while the PIAT used a mortar mechanism, it was not a mortar per se and was closer to a grenade launcher in terms of application.

The weapon used a large coil spring fired spigot cocked by rotating and pulling back on the padded buttplate and then rotating it back and sliding it forward, which was used to ignite the bomb's primer and thus the propellant charge. This generally required the user to brace the buttplate with both feet and pull the rest of the weapon upwards. On firing, the force of the recoiling spigot was supposed to re-cock the spring; however, under battle conditions this mechanism frequently failed to function, forcing the weapon to be manually cocked after each shot. Practical rate of fire in combat was roughly 2-5 rounds per minute for a two-man crew.

While difficult to use due to the vicious recoil and sheer amount of force required to cock the action, the weapon was capable of throwing a two-and-a-half pound bomb with a HEAT warhead anything up to 330 yards. The weapon could be used effectively by an experienced crew, but was heavy (the 32-pound weight meant the gunner could not even carry ammunition for his own weapon), inaccurate, had a progressively shorter effective range as German tank technology improved, and rushed wartime production resulted in many defective projectiles which failed to fire or detonate, or more dangerously would blow off their own tailfin when the propelling charge detonated and fire it with lethal force at the PIAT team.

Contents


Specifications

(1942-1950)

  • Type: Spigot mortar
  • Length: 39 inches
  • Weight: 31.70 pounds
  • Muzzle Velocity: 450 feet per second
  • Effective range: 109 yards (actual effective range typically less than 40 yards versus armour)
  • Maximum range: 330 yards
  • Calibre: 3.25 inch
  • Capacity: 1 round
  • Fire modes: Safe / Fire
  • Crew: 2

The PIAT and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Notation Date
City 44 Michal Meyer "Pajak" 2014
Never Say Never Again Q Branch 1983
A Bridge Too Far British Paratroopers 1977
Paper Tiger David Niven Mr Bradbury 1975
The Longest Day French Commandos 1962
Canal (Kanal) Polish insurgents 1957

Television

Title Actor Character Notation Date
Blott on the Landscape David Suchet Blott 1985

Video Games

Title Referred As Notes Release Date
Commandos 2: Men of Courage "Bazooka" 2001
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault "PIAT" 2002
Commandos 3: Destination Berlin "Bazooka" 2003
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 Can be reloaded by teammate 2006
Company of Heroes 2006
World War II Online: Battleground Europe 2011
Karma Online 2011
Dino D-Day 2011
Company of Heroes 2 2013



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