PIAT

It was a tough read to the kids at bedtime but I think they got it.
I'm glad they now know how to operate a Bombard as a section.
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Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
FB_IMG_1638134144970.jpg


A British soldier of the 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 214th Infantry Brigade, 43rd (Wessex) Division, carrying a PIAT anti-tank weapon, resting during the assault on Geilenkirchen in Germany, November 1944.
© IWM B 11928
Coloured by @Colourising History
 
Interesting: for why, pray tell?

Too loaded down.

The British troops actually doing the fighting would carry weapons, ammo and maybe a water bottle, first aid and helmet. All other kit would be dumped, to be brought up later. 2nd echelon would have all their kit plus extra ammo. This bloke is carrying two bandoliers of rifle clips a PIAT (no bombs) and a SMLE, plus his own webbing, with the mattock visible.

Another Arrser posted this many moons ago, and I can't remember who to credit them:

Starts at slide 52.

Correspondingly, you look at page 155 of my book, you'll see a PIAT gunner in action. Notice, both the crew are carrying bugger all in the way of kit. Compare that to the gunner above.

Also, DCLI PIAT gunners get a mention on Page 165, as the tell five Tigers to sod off.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Too loaded down.

The British troops actually doing the fighting would carry weapons, ammo and maybe a water bottle, first aid and helmet. All other kit would be dumped, to be brought up later. 2nd echelon would have all their kit plus extra ammo. This bloke is carrying two bandoliers of rifle clips a PIAT (no bombs) and a SMLE, plus his own webbing, with the mattock visible.

Another Arrser posted this many moons ago, and I can't remember who to credit them:

Starts at slide 52.

Correspondingly, you look at page 155 of my book, you'll see a PIAT gunner in action. Notice, both the crew are carrying bugger all in the way of kit. Compare that to the gunner above.

Also, DCLI PIAT gunners get a mention on Page 165, as the tell five Tigers to sod off.
I'm not sure about your conclusion there. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "second line", no British Infantry in late '44 Europe weren't considered second line troops (certainly not according to anything I've read, in fact they were bloody short of them), and making assumptions about a unit role thanks to what one man was carrying at a single point in time is very shaky ground.

In the course of the invasion of Iraq in 03, my unit (Cav not Inf) started out in Noddy 3Romeo, CBA, CEFO, lid & daysack, slowly downgraded to Deserts, CEFO, CBA & lid, then eventually deserts & floppy hat. During each phase my blokes were altering what kit they carried to suit what they were doing. I have photos of my CP and laager with soldiers in various dress and equipment states (some as per SOPs, others most definitely not). Without context it could be assumed from those photos that there was high / low / no NBC threat and the enemy were expected to fight / surrender / run away, when in actual fact all were true at various stages.

The pic discussed could show a route march, advance preparatory to assault, taking up a defensive stance, part of a lengthy prepared assault or even FISH( where the extra ammo and full webbing would make perfect sense come to think of it). Nothing in the photo tells you or I what T Atkins and his mates were doing on that particular day (although what really threw me was that the colourisation of the photo makes it look far too summery for November!)

In Gavin Lyall's "Uncle Target" there's a vignette of an old general being unsurprised by the lack of information to be gained from some satellite photos of a minor action in the desert, where he says something along the lines of "History's not very photogenic". If you were able to take an aerial snap of the Battle of Waterloo just as Ney charged the formed squares, it's quite likely that you'd end up with a picture of some baggage train wallah having a crafty kip, rather than Frog donkey wallopers racing round Wellington's scum of the Earth looking belligerent.

Over-interpretation of photographic evidence, especially in isolation, is not necessarily a good thing.
 
I'm not sure about your conclusion there. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "second line", no British Infantry in late '44 Europe weren't considered second line troops (certainly not according to anything I've read, in fact they were bloody short of them), and making assumptions about a unit role thanks to what one man was carrying at a single point in time is very shaky ground.
Yes you have misunderstood.

Front Line: The guy's bayoneting Germans.
2nd Line: In this context the guy's who are 50-100 yards (Other values may apply) back following up the front line. Thus if you have two forward platoons, with your third platoon following, then you could call the third platoon the 2nd line.

I tried not to use echelon as a term, although it might be more appropriate, as my main background is armour and AFV's history. In those A and B Echelons have a very definite meaning.

I'm sure there's some booklet somewhere for infantry that explains all this, but as I say, I'm tanks and anti-tank, with a slight bit of knowledge intruding from the infantry.
 
I'm not sure about your conclusion there. Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "second line", no British Infantry in late '44 Europe weren't considered second line troops (certainly not according to anything I've read, in fact they were bloody short of them), and making assumptions about a unit role thanks to what one man was carrying at a single point in time is very shaky ground.

In the course of the invasion of Iraq in 03, my unit (Cav not Inf) started out in Noddy 3Romeo, CBA, CEFO, lid & daysack, slowly downgraded to Deserts, CEFO, CBA & lid, then eventually deserts & floppy hat. During each phase my blokes were altering what kit they carried to suit what they were doing. I have photos of my CP and laager with soldiers in various dress and equipment states (some as per SOPs, others

The pic discussed could show a route march, advance preparatory to assault, taking up a defensive stance, part of a lengthy prepared assault or even FISH( where the extra ammo and full webbing would make perfect sense come to think of it). Nothing in the photo tells you or I what T Atkins and his mates were doing on that particular day (although what really threw me was that the colourisation of the photo makes it look far too summery for November!)

In Gavin Lyall's "Uncle Target" there's a vignette of an old general being unsurprised by the lack of information to be gained from some satellite photos of a minor action in the desert, where he says something along the lines of "History's not very photogenic". If you were able to take an aerial snap of the Battle of Waterloo just as Ney charged the formed squares, it's quite likely that you'd end up with a picture of some baggage train wallah having a crafty kip, rather than Frog donkey wallopers racing round Wellington's scum of the Earth looking belligerent.

Over-interpretation of photographic evidence, especially in isolation, is not necessarily a good thing.
Gavin Lyall one of my favourite authors.
Sadly afflicted with mental health issues and not very prolific.
I have Uncle Target on my book shelf alongside The Most Dangerous Game (my all time favourite novel) and Shooting Script.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes you have misunderstood.

Front Line: The guy's bayoneting Germans.
2nd Line: In this context the guy's who are 50-100 yards (Other values may apply) back following up the front line. Thus if you have two forward platoons, with your third platoon following, then you could call the third platoon the 2nd line.

I tried not to use echelon as a term, although it might be more appropriate, as my main background is armour and AFV's history. In those A and B Echelons have a very definite meaning.

I'm sure there's some booklet somewhere for infantry that explains all this, but as I say, I'm tanks and anti-tank, with a slight bit of knowledge intruding from the infantry.
Ah right, difference of nomenclature; you mean someone moving up to the line or in support of an attack - gotcha.

Not that I fully agree! :mrgreen:
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
At this point it would be churlish not to include a Fougasse cartoon from an earlier time,illustrating what squaddies might be expected to carry into the assault:

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Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Well if you've got documents or info to provide, feel free to correct me. I can only expand my knowledge by being told.
At current all I have is the info provided above.
I'm really not trying to correct you, just add some nuance. A quick Google pulled this up:

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The pic above is from the National army Museum collection, titled:

"British troops advancing near Tilly, 1944"​

Note that their bayonets are fixed, so they're quite likely in close proximity to the enemy, but they're still encumbered by picks, axes, webbing and small packs. Circumstances in action do not always allow for kit to be dropped before assaulting, and may not be part of the plan that day anyway. I fully agree that given the opportunity most British infantry in NWE went into action carrying the least they could get away with, but that could vary wildly depending on a multitude of variables.
 

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