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The best platoon level anti-tank weapon of the Second World War?
20th October - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Speaker: David Lister 

The PIAT, often mocked as a comical weapon built around a spring. But was it? Or was it the best man-portable anti-tank weapon of the war? 

At the end of 1940, British infantry’s main defence against armour was the obsolescent Boys anti-tank rifle and its .55-calibre bullets. Such weapons had first seen use against the primitive tanks of the First World War and were largely ineffective against more modern vehicles. However, thanks to the work of a handful of inventors, the UK was taking its first steps towards an anti-tank weapon using the chemical energy of a shaped charge warhead to defeat armour. This research, driven by war time necessity, would soon produce the PIAT, which entered into service in 1943 and served until the 1950s.  

Today the PIAT is often mocked or criticised by many modern commentators, while its flaws are blown out of all proportion. However, this talk will explore new research which seems to indicate that these are largely inaccurate assessments of the weapon. Indeed, a comparison of the assorted platoon level weapons that served during the war would indicate that the PIAT, instead of being a comical weapon of desperation, in reality has the best combination of factors from all the similar weapons. 

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Our online lectures are free to attend. Please register your interest and we will send you a link to the online presentation in due course. 

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