POTD: A Complicated Yet Crude Grenade Launcher – The PIAT
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a weird and terrifying World War Two anti-tank grenade launcher. This is the PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank). The PIAT is basically a grenade launcher and mortar in one entity and it came as a result of old fashion anti-tank rifles being insufficient for taking out the then-modern tanks. It uses a guide rod to, well, guide the projectile in a straight line and a combination of a blank powder charge (like used with rifle grenades) and a 200-pound spring to launch the projectile. The whole act of cocking that 200-pound spring mechanism is pretty terrifying if you ever have it described in detail to you.
“This is a scarce example of an original WWII British “PIAT” anti-tank grenade launcher. The term PIAT was the acronym for “Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank” with the first models being initially designed in 1942 and designated as the Mk I. These fired a heavy 2.5 lbs grenade/bomb, with an effective range of approximately 110 meters in a direct anti-tank role with maximum range of 350 meters in an indirect role. They were based on the British Army’s requirement of a heavier more effective man-portable infantry anti-tank weapon than the standard boys anti-tank rifle. They physically entered service in 1943 and were used throughout WWII, Korea on a limited basis and again by the Israelis in the 1950s/60s during the various Arab-Israeli wars. Eventually being replaced my more modern and up to date anti-tank weapons. They are fairly unique in that they employed a spigot mortar system, that launched the bomb using a cartridge in the tail of the projectile. The PIAT had several advantages over other infantry anti-tank weapons of the period that included the lack of muzzle smoke to reveal the position of the user and an inexpensive barrel. They also had several disadvantages: the weight at 32 lbs, they were difficult to cock (initially), the fragility of the barrel, powerful recoil, and problems with ammunition reliability”
Lot 2567: Wwii British Piat Anti-Tank Grenade Launcher – Scarce World War Ii Class Iii/Nfa Destructive Device C&R British Piat Anti-Tank Grenade Launcher. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/72/2567/wwii-british-piat-antitank-grenade-launcher.