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"The versatile British PIAT" Topic

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©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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Warspite103 Aug 2022 5:00 a.m. PST

Myth-busting the PIAT with Military History Visualised:

YouTube link

A wall-buster in street fighting, in-direct firing in Italy and a good anti-tank weapon etc.


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2022 7:31 a.m. PST

Very interesting explanation of the PIAT. Thanks,


Stoppage03 Aug 2022 6:44 p.m. PST

So it seems you could actually drop these into a trench at a rate of upto five-rounds-per-minute.

PIAT bomb 2.6 lbs or 3 lbs (350 yards / 320 m)
2 inch mortar bomb 2.25 lbs (500 yards / 460 m)
3 inch mortar bomb 10 lbs (2,800 yards / 1,500 m)

Mark 103 Aug 2022 9:48 p.m. PST

> at a rate of upto five-rounds-per-minute.

But bear in mind the size difference for the rounds, and the crew / portage differences in the doctrine.

That is, a PIAT typically had a 2 man crew, and was man-ported. The 4-inch bomb was substantially larger than a 2 inch mortar bomb (the other man-ported weapon on the list). The 3-inch mortar was served by a full squad-sized crew, and was not expected to be carried around the battlefield tactically, so was more often able to stockpile ammunition.

The net result is that a PIAT might go into action with 3 or maybe 6 rounds of ammunition with the weapon. If it was firing from a pre-sighted position (a defensive firing position, for example) it might have a few more. But it was, I expect, quite unlikely to be any number of rounds that would make 5 rounds per minute a useful metric.

Except perhaps for a sort of mad-minute barrage. I could see a single burst of 4 or 5 rounds dropped quickly being a useful for short-term suppression, either in support of a final rush onto an objective or to break up a rush onto a defended position.

Did the PIAT have a general-purpose HE projectile, or a shrapnel projectile, to support such use? A HEAT projectile pointing steeply down into the ground is probably not the most effective casualty-generator.

(aka: Mk 1)

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2022 10:39 p.m. PST

thanks. That was a good video.

Warspite104 Aug 2022 4:31 p.m. PST

Thank you all.
I should add that there is a recorded use of a PIAT at Arnhem in 1944. A German tank was located on the far side of a building and out of sight to the weapon shooting. A spotter located to the side could see the fall-of-shot.
The first PIAT round was an over, the second was a short and the third was bang-on.

Not mentioned in the video is that the weapon gained a bad rep for premature detonations due to the over sensitivity of its lead azide fuses. So much so that it was declared a dangerous weapon post-war and training was banned, hence the switch to the 3.5-inch Super Bazooka in Korea.


Midlander6505 Aug 2022 1:27 p.m. PST

A good video and well worth watching. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the PIAT described as spring powered so top marks for putting that one straight!

A couple of minor gripes not connected to the PIAT but to how it was deployed and British infantry organisation: around 50 men in a platoon in two sections don't think so. Also, from what I've read (very happy to be corrected on this if I have misunderstood) officially, 3 PIATs were allocated per (normal infantry) company I don't doubt that they were invariably handed out as one per platoon but that was a local choice.

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