|"Projector Infantry Anti-Tank" Spigot Bomb
From 1942 to 1950 this was the primary anti-tank weapon for British infantry.
The PIAT was the invention of artillery officer Lieutenant Colonel Blacker.
Although development started in 1937, as a replacement for the Boys AT Rifle, it wasn't a well received concept as it was originally based on the 2" HE mortar projectile. In 1940 Blacker became involved with MD1, a department of the Ministry of Defense and in association with them improved the overall design and enlarged the warhead to a 3-1/4" shaped charge type.
The PIAT was eventually adopted early in 1942 and went into production later that year.
The bomb consisted of a three pound hollow charge warhead with an impact nose fuze. The finned hollow tail boom contained a small propelling charge. The simple tubular metal discharger was 37 inches long, weighed about 32 pounds and consisted of an open tray in front of a spring-loaded spigot rod .
The weapon was first cocked by means of the butt plate at the base. The gunner stood on the plate and pulled the tube up. This retracted the spigot rod while also compressing a massive internal spring. This was a difficult and strenuous thing to do, but only had to be done once. A large cork was inserted in the hole that the spigot retracted into.
When ready to fire, the cork was pulled from the spigot hole, the bomb was fuzed and then placed in the "muzzle" tray.
Pulling the trigger released the rod which slammed into the tail boom, detonating the propelling charge as well as providing an additional kick assist.
Upon firing, the spigot was blown back and automatically re-cocked. This also helped absorb some of ferocious recoil.
It was absolutely violent to shoot, heavy, bulky, and hard to operate but was an effective tank killer.
The propelling charge was instantaneous and blew the bomb off the spigot sending the round on an arcing trajectory. It was not a rocket assisted flight as sometimes described.
As disconcerting as it was to see this bomb fly through the air in a characteristic slow and "wobbly" manner, the hollow charge was capable of piercing four inches of armor, enough to deal with most tanks.
While the maximum range was much greater, accuracy limited to it to an effective distance of about 100 yards. This was its major drawback.
Here is the zinc made fuze container (and fuze), which was clipped to the fin assembly and removed before use.
There was a transit plug in the nose which was removed and replaced by fuze. The locking collar slipped over the fuze and was held in place with a twist lock feature. The fuze could be removed if the round was not used.
This particular round is marked:
"I.C.I./C/FHE 4/43 LOT 927 " with red “X”markings around the top. (Prepared for tropical climates.)
(Apparently a partial water recovered specimen accounting for the bubbled tail boom paint and corroded fuze container.)