(Projector Infantry Anti Tank)
Speak to any veteran familiar with this weapon and you’ll most likely find a love – hate relationship. The Dragoons generally followed the standard establishment in that each platoon was provided with a two man PIAT team. The reconnaissance platoon assigned to each squadron was issued at a rate of one per patrol. This means in a patrol of three universal carriers, one would mount a PIAT.
The weapon weighs 32 lbs alone and is very awkward to carry. The “bomb” which is thrown from the spigot weighs in at 3 lbs and travels at a rate of approximately 350 feet per second. The effective range to hit a slow moving target such as an enemy tank, was approximately 100 – 125 yards. This means exposure of the team within close proximity of the enemy. The good news however is that the bomb was proven to penetrate a Tiger and Panther from a side shot. Due to the shaped charge of the bomb it was rated to burn through about 2.95 inches of armour. This was greater than the comparable American bazooka. It was also effective against fixed targets such as buildings at greater range. Initially cocking the weapon was a daunting task. The main spring mechanism required an enormous amount of tension and so the hapless No. 1 man would sit down, weapon vertical against his chest. Placing his feet at the rear shoulder rest he would extend his legs until the spigot was retracted and ready for firing. Luckily, in theory he only had to do this once as the firing of the bomb would set off an internal charge within thereby re-cocking the PIAT for the next shot. If however your shoulder was not tight against the pad, you could easily injure yourself and you would not provide a firm foundation for the re-cock and so repeat the initial steps thereby exposing yourself further to the enemy. The red ring painted atop the bomb indicates it is a live round, the blue and yellow bands indicate the type of explosive therein. The bombs were generally carried into battle using cardboard tubes banded together in stacks of three. The appearance was almost identical to the 3-inch mortar carriers.
Pictured here is a re-purposed 3-inched mortar bomb carrier. Due to close sizing of the PIAT and mortar round, metal boxes originally designed for transport of mortars were often swapped for PIAT bombs. The stenciling pictured here is a repaint based on surviving original examples.