PIAT

ugly

LE
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Don't bank on it, I've been trying to get into ICI records for ages (mainly for bombard/Nobels808 stuff), they seem to have been scattered to the four winds. Like Vickers records got blunderbussed all over the place.
Those that do survive do not seem to be in any coherent filing system with properly indexed data. Which means you get a lot of records, but you can't narrow down what is of use.
Ive been trying to get Chemring to reply to letters and emails for 10 years!
There again, its a better situation than the horror story of what happened the LMSR (I think it was this company) records.
I was present when someone found the operational diaries for the Southern Railway for all of 1945 in a skip at Croydon. Lovely malcanite green leather bound ledgers all completed in copperplate. We kept them in our depot for a few months and then someone sold them for the welfare fund!
 
You can only see half of it. The gunner controlled the traverse and fired. The Gun commander (to the gunners left controlled the range. He has quite a nice range drum to play with.


And suddenly you can see why the gun shield is curved!
Brilliant! Never seen that before. Cheers!
 
It is a bloody persistent myth though. Along with the other hoary old chestnut that 'it couldn't fire downhill, as the bomb would fall out' - total cockwash, but frequently repeated.
I tried it with mine, without that thing that goes bang, the bomb is going nowhere. Just because it's a strong spring doesn't mean it's going to twat it out to 100 yards.
 
Ive been trying to get Chemring to reply to letters and emails for 10 years!
Let me introduce you to BAe archives sometime... Oh wait I can't becuase you hardly ever get a response from them! Can you imagine what discoveries await in BAE archives? I can, which makes it all so frustrating.

I was present when someone found the operational diaries for the Southern Railway for all of 1945 in a skip at Croydon. Lovely malcanite green leather bound ledgers all completed in copperplate. We kept them in our depot for a few months and then someone sold them for the welfare fund!
Sounds all to familiar. I once spoke to an archive manager asking about the providence or background of one of his exhibits. His response was "I don't know, I found it in a skip along with some other stuff. I loaded up my car, but by the time I got back the skip was gone."

In the case of the (possibly) LSMR records, they were handed to a train spotters club of some description for safe keeping. The bobble hatted freaks then binned everything that wasn't related to trains.
 
The early version of the PIAT didn't have the facility for firing at high elevation, but it soon became apparent that it could put bombs onto a target similar to a mortar. So was modified to include a telescopic front monopod, a straight shoulder piece replaced the original curved pattern and a quadrant sight, affixed to the rear sight casing, was graduated for ranges from 100 yards to 370 yards, high and low angle, was fitted. A white line was painted on the casing to assist in aiming.

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Early model PIAT, fixed front support and no quadrant.

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Later model with quadrant.

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The shoulder piece could be rotated 90 degrees to increase the elevation and stabilise the weapon at high angles.
 
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The following information has come from Talk PIAT on Wikipedia and relates to the initial poor performance of the early PIAT bombs, which was traced to the fuse.

The original fuse was fuse No.425 and only had a detonation rate of about 75%, but this was not because the fuse was 'faulty', the fuse performed exactly as designed, it was because it was the wrong type of fuse for the application. Fuse No.425 required a close to square impact in order to activate. In early 1944 the fuse was replaced by a graze fuse, No.426 in the Mark III bomb. The graze fuse was detonated by deceleration when the bomb struck something, even obliquely. There is offical speculation that the graze fuse detonation rate would be about 90%.
 
May have had something to do with the filling as well. Early bombs were filled with 808B, and there were some issues with filling from it, as it left a cavity around the fuse. Equally there were some other defects within the warhead (My notes say something about 'cambric pleating', whatever the hell that is!).
 
Evidently the last bomb, the Mk IV, was modified to reduce back blast, so presumably reducing the chance of tail strike to the firer.
 
Have to say, got a lot out of this thread. Learnt more than I knew, and realised I originally knew very little. The research and what you guys have taught me has been very interesting.
 
@Listy I have found the War Diary of the unit which created and trialled the multiple PIAT launcher (16th Field Company RCE). War Diary searchable here: https://cmea-agmc.ca/sites/default/files/seeking_military_records_annex_23_may_2018_annex.pdf

I worked backwards from the date of the photos of the Bren Carrier PIAT launcher being prepared for firing.

Some screenshots: the first is from the day after the date of the photos (14/12/1944). There was no mention of the trial on 14/12/1944 entry but it was written up the next day:

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Then a report of a test of the PIAT battery concept in Nov '44. Note: there is no mention of this in the War diary entries for the date shown.

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War diary write up is below (19th and 15th Nov). Note the entry for 15 Nov which mentions the Div being asked to devise a harassing weapon. I think, based on that, that is what the multiple PIAT launcher is:

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I am now off for a cuppa ;-)

Edited to clarify chronology:

1. 15/11/1944: GOC directs each arm to devise a method of harassing the enemy (to provide a means of retaliating to German Nebelwerfer bombardment). Pursuant to this direction from the GOC, Sappers are given the PIATs (x24) and ammunition held by Division Engineers. The basic idea is to produce a vehicle-mounted battery of PIATs;

2. 16/11/1944: The officer in charge of the PIAT battery scheme tests PIATs in a mortar role and obtains a range of 300 yards; War Diary reports that this range is an issue - there is nowhere on front where a vehicle can move to within 300 yards of the enemy to fire;

3. 19/11/1944: Demonstration held. 18 PIATs were mounted in racks on the cargo area of a Ford 60 Cwt truck. Trial is successful. 300 yards range is obtained firing into the wind, 400 yards when firing with the wind. The OIC of the trial concludes that a smaller launching vehicle could be used; one with better cross country mobility;

4. 15/12/1944: The mobile PIAT battery idea is tested from a Bren Carrier (that pictured earlier in this thread). Tests are successful but the range is again 300 yards. No recoil is felt in the carrier (I note that the front of the carrier carries some sandbags as a counterweight to the PIAT racks). No further mention of tests in War Diary (so far).
 
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Evidently the last bomb, the Mk IV, was modified to reduce back blast, so presumably reducing the chance of tail strike to the firer.
I do wish people would stop with the whole tail thing. What, did Panzerfausts, Bazooka's and the like have magical unicorn tails that just evaporated? No? Then how come, once again, the British are being held to a much higher standard than every other buggers weapons!


The problem we had, was on some shots shrapnel from the charge case was blasted back up the tail at some 3,000fps. That was only eliminated on the Mk.IV round. Which cropped up just before the end of the war. Thus it can't have been a big problem as there seem to be quite a large number of people who fired a PIAT and lived to tell the tale. Equally We're unlikely to issue to service something that shotguns the user in the face a large portion of the time.

But no, the PIAT is mocked for flinging tails back at the user, while Everyone else's tails are made of rainbow farts apparently. Here's what a Panzerfaust does on EVERY bloody shot, but no its a bloody wonder of the modern age which never hurt anyone about from the Evil American tanks!

Yet, a PIAT injures one or two people and the world is at an end.
 
@Listy I have found the War Diary of the unit which trialled the multiple PIAT launcher (16th Field Company RCE). Diary searchable for here: https://cmea-agmc.ca/sites/default/files/seeking_military_records_annex_23_may_2018_annex.pdf

I worked backwards from the date of the photo.

Some screenshots: the first is from the day after the date of the photos (14/12/1944). There was no mention of the trial on 14/12/1944 entry.

View attachment 387897

A report of a test of the PIAT battery concept in Nov '44. Note: there is no mention of this in the War diary entries for the date shown.

View attachment 387898

View attachment 387899

View attachment 387900

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War diary write up is below (19th and 15th Nov). Note the entry for 15 Nov which mentions the Div being asked to devise a harassing weapon. I think, based on that, that is what the multiple PIAT launcher is:

View attachment 387903

View attachment 387904

I am now off for a cuppa ;-)
As good an explanation as any I have encountered. Thanks.
 
Haven't got a TNT round, so can you PM me the details please?

Thanks!
 
I do wish people would stop with the whole tail thing. What, did Panzerfausts, Bazooka's and the like have magical unicorn tails that just evaporated? No? Then how come, once again, the British are being held to a much higher standard than every other buggers weapons!


The problem we had, was on some shots shrapnel from the charge case was blasted back up the tail at some 3,000fps. That was only eliminated on the Mk.IV round. Which cropped up just before the end of the war. Thus it can't have been a big problem as there seem to be quite a large number of people who fired a PIAT and lived to tell the tale. Equally We're unlikely to issue to service something that shotguns the user in the face a large portion of the time.

But no, the PIAT is mocked for flinging tails back at the user, while Everyone else's tails are made of rainbow farts apparently. Here's what a Panzerfaust does on EVERY bloody shot, but no its a bloody wonder of the modern age which never hurt anyone about from the Evil American tanks!

Yet, a PIAT injures one or two people and the world is at an end.
Right, so the back blast refered to was from the act of firing, not detonation of the round? That makes more sense. Thanks.
 
He was Jeremy Clarksons father in law, no one in the family knew he had the VC until after his death.
JC made a documentary about him and the VC
Please excuse thread drift.

If not already posted, the two Clarkson programmes mentioned on here are on Youtube. His THE VICTORIA CROSS: FOR VALOUR includes Maj Robert H. Cain VC, and the likes of Bill Speakman VC. That, and The Greatest Raid of All made a couple of years later, are some of JC's best work, I agree.
 

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