British flagProjector Infantry Anti-Tank (PIAT) of the British Army in World War II.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3d model.


Projector Infantry Anti-Tank (PIAT) with bombs.

Projector Infantry Anti-Tank (PIAT)
Type: light anti-tank weapon.


The ‘Projector Infantry Anti-Tank’ became known under the short name PIAT. This light anti-tank weapon of the British infantry during the Second World War was the result of several years of trials and experiments by Lieutenant-Colonel Blacker.
This officer had long been fascinated by the idea of a spigot discharger. Such a device works without the usual barrel and replaces it with a hollow rear part with the projectile. A percussion cartridge inside this rear part is hit by a firing pin. This firing pin is a heavy steel rod which is pressed into the end of the projectile while it is on a simple rack. The blast of the cartridge blows up the projectile from the spigot. The distance covered on the spigot gives the projectile sufficient accuracy on its way to the target.

Blacker’s first patent for this type of weapon appeared in the early 1930s and by 1937 he had built a specimen called ‘Arbalest’. Several of these were produced in 1939 by the Parnell aircraft company for trials with the British army.
However, these were rejected in May 1939 as the 2-inch mortar seemed a better proposal for a grenade launcher.

In 1940, however, General Blacker was transferred to MD1 (Ministry of Defence 1), a military facility for the investigation and development of unorthodox weapons, especially for secret operations. Therefore, the establishment was also called ‘Winston Churchill’s Toy Shop’.
After reworking the Arbalest, Blacker introduced it there as a combined weapon for fighting tanks and bombing. He claimed that the weapon had the same power as the 2-pounder anti-tank gun and almost the same range as the 3-inch grenade launcher.
MD1 passed the draft on to superiors at the end of 1940 and although it was considered somewhat skewed by most of those responsible, the weapon went into production as the ’29 mm Spigot Mortar’ or ‘Blacker Bombard’ in 1941 and was widely used by the Home Guard and airfield security units.

Blacker now developed a smaller, man-wearable version, which he called the ‘Baby Bombard’. But before he could do much more with the design, he left MD1 to another post, where he no longer had enough time for his experiments.

However, the prototype of the ‘Baby Bombard’ remained with the MD1, where Major (later Major-General) M R Jefferis continued to work on it. In June 1941 the weapon was presented as ‘Bombard Baby 0.625 inch No.1’ (the unit of measurement indicates the diameter of the pin) for first tests at the Ordnance Board. However, it was not impressed and reported that ‘the baby bombard would be ineffective as an anti-tank weapon under all conceivable circumstances and in all conceivable missions’.
Such important persons as the director of artillery and the assistant to the general staff agreed and on August 11, 1941 the weapon was officially dropped.

Among other things, it was above all the ineffective light bombs of the weapon that led to this decision. Therefore Jefferis developed an effective hollow charge bomb in the following months, which he explained to various interested parties in February 1942.
This seems to have changed the situation and in mid-March prototypes of the PIAT were produced and the possibilities for the use of high explosive, fog, flare and signal projectiles were investigated.
The tests with the new bomb were successful and the weapon went into production. On August 31, 1942, PIAT was officially adopted.

 PIAT cut open

A PIAT cut open to reveal its workings with the large spring.

The mechanism of the PIAT was very simple: an enormous spring was compressed by unlocking the shoulder pad. By standing on it and lifting the weapon, the spring and spigot are pressed into the body and held in place by a simple sear mechanism. The body was then put back to the shoulder pad and the weapon was ready to fire.
A bomb was now placed in the front guide rail and when the trigger was pulled back, the spigot was released, which penetrated into the rear part of the bomb and caused the propellant charge there to explode.
This explosion threw the bomb forward and at the same time pushed the spigot back into the body of the weapon, so that it was already cocked for the next shot.

The maximum combat range was about 100 yards, although bombs could be fired up to a distance of almost 750 yards. The planned anti-personnel and signal bombs were never introduced.

British soldier, armed with Sten sub-machine gun and PIAT

British soldier, armed with Sten sub-machine gun and PIAT for tank destruction.

Within the restrictions of PIAT it was an astonishingly efficient weapon, but it would be inappropriate to call it popular among British and Allied soldiers.
The weapon was heavy and unwieldy to carry, complicated and only to cock with great effort and generated enormous forces when firing. Nevertheless, the PIAT was grudgingly respected for the purpose for which it was designed: in the hands of a resolute man, it could effectively stop any tank.

Undoubtedly the best-known incident of this kind took place in Italy, when fusilier Jefferson jumped outside his ditch and knocked-out two Tiger tanks from close range firing from the hip with a PIAT. For this outstanding effort he was awarded the Victoria Cross, but the general opinion among the soldiers was that he received the award mainly for shooting this thing from the hip and not for taking out two tanks.

In any case, the hollow charge grenade of the PIAT could disable any standard battle tank and was thus comparable in performance to the American Bazooka and German Panzerfaust, although no chemical energy but mechanical springs were used for firing.

With explosive or smoke grenades, the PIAT could also be used in house-to-house combat, making it a versatile weapon, in contrast to the other light anti-tank weapons. The PIAT replaced the Boys anti-tank rifle as the light standard anti-tank weapon and was widely used by the British and Commonwealth forces.

Only the powerful spring made it unpopular, since mostly two men were necessary for the transport and use of the weapon. And if the bomb missed the target or did not put it out of action, the weapon was almost unusable because it was far too risky to reload it in combat.
But if the bomb hit, it could take out any tank. In addition, the PIAT was often the only main armament of light vehicles, such as the Universal Carrier and some armoured cars.

PIAT was used by the British armed forces for some time after the Second World War, but was replaced by other weapons as soon as possible. Although the PIAT was an effective for anti-tank combat, its principle of operation was exceptional and was not used in any other weapon.
Its main advantage was that the weapon could be built easily and relatively cheaply in large quantities when the British army urgently needed a light anti-tank weapon.

Users: British and Commonwealth forces.

Animated 3D model PIAT

Specifications PIAT

Projector Infantry Anti-Tank (PIAT) Specification
Type Anti-tank launcher with spring spiral
Caliber -
Length 3ft 0in (99.0cm)
Weight 32lb (14.51kg)
Projectile and weight hollow charge bomb, 3lb (1,36kg)
Barrel non
Feed system single shot
System of operation Spigot discharger
Muzzle velocity 250-450 ft/sec (76-137 m/sec)
Maximum range 750 yards (700m)
Effective range 105 yards (100m)
Penetration c.70-102mm / 0°
Service statistics
PIAT Figures
Production delivery August 31, 1942
Final delivery 1945
Production figure ?
Price per unit ? (relative cheap)

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Today 75 and 100 years ago and daily World War Report:

Greek Army in World War One

The Army of Greece and uniforms in World War One.

Uniforms Greek Army World War One

Uniforms Greek Army World War One (from left to right): Infantry officer, major-general, infantryman

In February 1821, the Greeks’ decisive revolt against the Ottoman Empire began and on 3 February 1830 they gained independence.
In July 1914 Greece under King Constantine I had a population of 4,733,013 Greeks as well as Turkish and Macedonian-Slav minorities and covering about 122,000 km² (45,000 square miles) of today’s Greece, with the exception of West Thrace (then Bulgaria) and the Italian Dodecanese Islands.

Organization of the Greek army

King Constantine was the commander-in-chief of the Greek army (Ellinikos Stratos), which was an active army of the First Line for men aged 21 to 23, a reserve army of the Second Line for men of 24 to 44 years and another reserve army of the Third Line for men aged 45 to 52 years.
Garrison troops, with engineers and signal regiments, as well as railway, bridge building engineers and motorized transport battalions were directly subordinated to Army Headquarters.

Greece was divided into five military districts, each of which mobilized an army corps (I-V, Greek A-E), but the V corps was only partially formed. There were 14 divisions (1-14).
A corps consisted of a cavalry regiment of 480 men, with four squadrons of 120 men each. A field artillery regiment with four battalions (V Corps, only three battalions), each with three batteries of 153 men each, an engineer regiment with six companies (V Corps, a battalion with four companies), a transport battalion with three companies (V Corps, only two), a medical battalion as well as between two and three divisions.

A division (actually a pure infantry division) composed of three (5th Division only two) infantry or Evzone regiments, each with three 1,045 men strong infantry battalions, each with four 253 men strong infantry coys and a machine gun platoon as well as a mountain artillery battalion (three batteries of 103 men each). There were a total of 41 infantry regiments: 33 of the Line, 5 of the Elite Evzones and three Cretan regiments.

The Royal Greek Navy (Vasilikon Naftikon) was extensive, but obsolete. It consisted of 5 pre-Dreadnoughts, an armoured cruiser, a light cruiser, 14 destroyers, 14 torpedo boats and 2 submarines.

The Army Aviation Corps (Ellinikos Polemikis Aeroporisas), set up in September 1912, grew up on three squadrons.
In addition, there were the gendarmerie (police: Elliniki Chorofilaki) with 16 foot companies and three mounted squadrons.

History of Greece in World War One

World War One split Greece into the neutral group of King Constantine, including the army’s high commando, which did not want to be involved in the conflict, and the faction, led by Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, who preferred to join the Entente (Allies).

Venizelo’s offer to the Allies of March 5, 1915, to send Greek troops to the Dardanelles, was rejected by King Constantine, who thus surpassed his powers as a constitutional monarch.
This led to the resignation of Venizelos and caused a lasting constitutional crisis – the ‘National Schism’.
According to the Serbian-Greek alliance treaty of May 1913, Venizelos mobilized the Greek army in September 1915 and sanctioned the landing of the Allied Armee de l’Orient in Salonika on October 5.

Bulgaria then declared war on Greece on October 14, 1915, but King Constantine’s determined neutrality led to surrender of Eastern Macedonia by the demoralized Greek IV Corps on September 18, 1916.

In the meantime Colonel Zymbrakakis had carried out a coup in Salonika on August 30, 1916 with the support of the Allies, and on September 29 Venizelos formed a Provisional Government, which declared war on the Central Powers on November 23.

In September 1916 – by now major-general – Zymbrakis founded the National Defense Army (later called a Corps) with 60,000 volunteers. These formed the infantry divisions Arkhipelagnos, Kritis, Seres and Kiklades kai Ionia, named after the home areas of the volunteers. The first three of these divisions fought on December 1916 on the Macedonian front.

On October 10, 1916, the Allies seized the ships of the Greek navy and blocked a large part of Greece to put pressure on King Constantine. However, the Allied invasion of Thessaly finally led to the situation that the position of the king becoming untenable. He abdicated on June 12, 1917, and went into exile voluntarily.

On June 27, Greece, under Prime Minister Venizelos, broke off relations with the Central Powers and declared war on July 2. Meanwhile, the Allies had returned the ships of the Greek navy.

By July 1918 there were a total of 250,000 men in 7 Greek divisions on the Macedonian front. The I Corps (1st, 2nd, 13th Infantry Division) in East Macedonia, II Corps (3rd, 4th, 14th Infantry Division) in the section on Lake Dorian, as well as the 9th Infantry Division.
These associations distinguished themselves in the last three months of the war and restored Greece’s reputation among the victorious allies.

Uniforms of the Greek Army

In 1912, while in the process of being reorganised, the Greek Army adopted a greenish khaki field uniform.
Not illustrated in the picture at the top are the double-breasted greatcoat for officers with fall collar, two rows of four metal buttons and turn-back cuffs, and the single-breasted greatcoat for other ranks. In addition to the peaked cap there was a khaki or light-blue side cap in the French cut.

The rifles – in Greek Evzones – wore a khaki fez, and knee-length single­-breasted tunic with fall collar, five buttons in front, turn-back cuffs, and vertical slash pockets with three-pointed flaps in front below the waist belt.
The collar pocket flaps and cuffs were piped in red. Special tight-fitting trousers were in either white or khaki cloth and were fastened with blue and white garters just below the knee. Shoes were made of natural coloured leather with a black woollen pompom on the front.

Rank distinctions appeared on the kepi in the form arrows of bright metallic or khaki silk lace and braid, and on the coloured shoulder straps on the tunic and greatcoat. Other ranks wore their rank badges on the cuffs. The white (silver) or yellow (gold) lace was edged in different colours according to the arms-of-service.

Orders of Battle Greek Army

Orders of Battle of the Greek Army from October 5, 1915 to November 11, 1918.

I (‘A’) Corps (Athens, deployed in Rumelia and Thessaly)
1st cavalry regiment, 1st field artillery regiment, 1st Engineer regiment, 1st transport battalion, medical battalion
1st Division (Larissa, deployed in Thessaly): 4th, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1/38 Evzone Regiment, I Mountain Artillery Battalion
2nd Division (Athens, deployment of West Rumelia): 1st, 7th, 34th Infantry Regiment, II Mountain Artillery Battalion
13th Division (Halkida, deployment in East Rumelia): 2nd, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 5/42 Evzone Regiment, III Mountain Artillery Battalion

II (‘B’) Corps (Patras, deployed in the Peloponnese)
2nd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Engineer Regiment, 2nd Transport Battalion, medical Battalion
3rd Division (Patras, deployment West Peloponnese): 6th, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2/39 Evzone Regiment, III Mountain Artillery Battalion (? – already listed with 13th Division)
4th Division (Nafplio, deployed East Peloponnese): 8th, 11th, 35th Infantry Regiment, IV Mountain Artillery Battalion
14th Division (Kalamat, deployment of South Peloponese): 9th, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1/14 Cretan Regiment, XIV Mountain Artillery Battalion

III (‘C’) Corps (Salonika, deployment in Macedonia)
3rd Cavalry Regiment, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Engineer Regiment, 3rd Transport Battalion, 3rd Medical Battalion
10th Division (Veria, deployed Central Macedonian): 29th, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4/41 Evzone Regiment, X Mountain Artillery Battalion
11th Division (Salonika, deployment Central Macedonia): 13th, 27th, 28th Infantry Regiment, XI Mountain Artillery Battalion
12th Division (Kozani, deployment West Macedonia): 31st, 32nd, 33rd Infantry Regiment, XII Mountain Artillery Battalion

IV (‘D’) Corps (Kavala, deployment in East Macedonia)
4th Cavalry Regiment, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Engineer Regiment, 4th Transport Battalion, 4th Medical Battalion
5th Division (Drama, deployment West Thrace): 22nd Infantry Regiment, 3/37 Cretan Regiment, V Mountain Artillery Battalion
6th Division (Seres, deployment East Macedonia): 16th, 17th, 18th Infantry Regiment, VI. Mountain Artillery Battalion
7th Division (Kavala, deployment West-Thrace): 19th, 20th Infantry Regiment, 2/21 Cretan Regiment, VII Mountain Artillery Battalion

V (‘E’) Corps (Ioanina, deployed in Epirus)
5th cavalry regiment, 9th field artillery regiment, 5th Engineer regiment, 1st Transport battalion, 1st medical battalion
8th Division (Preveza, deployed southern Epirus): 10th, 15th, 24th Infantry Regiment, VIII Mountain Artillery Battalion
9th Division (Ioanina, deployed more northern in southern Epirus): 25th, 26th, 3/40 Evzone Regiment, IX Mountain Artillery Battalion

National Defense Army (Corps) (at the front in Macedonia)
Arkhipelagos Division: 1st group of division
Kritis Division: 1st group of Division, later with British XVI Corps
Seres Division: 1st group of Division, later with British XVI Corps

Army Air Corps
Squadron 531 (fighters), Squadron 532 (bombers), Squadron 533 (recon)

GREECE (July 2, 1917 – November 11, 1918)

  • Soldiers available on mobilization = ?
  • Army strength during the war = 355,000
  • KIA Military = 5,500
  • Wounded Military = 9,000
  • Civilian losses = = unknown (but in Greece itself probably small, see Turkish Army)

Diary July 21, 1943

Tito Rankowitsch Djilas

Josip Broz-Tito (center), born Croatian, came with the beginning of Operation Barbarossa from Moscow back to Yugoslavia. On the left his Minister of the Interior Rankowitsch and on the right Milovan Djilas.

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, July 21, 1943:

Occupied Territories

Yugoslavia: Nazi authorities in Belgrade offer 2 rewards of 100,000 Reichsmarks for capture ‘dead or alive’ of Partisan leaders Tito and Mihailovich.

Diary July 21, 1918

French and British soldiers operate together

French and British soldiers operate together, with a Hotchkiss mle 1900 machine-gun ready to provide fire support.

World War One Diary for Sundday, July 21, 1918:

Western Front

Champagne and Marne: ­CHATEAU-THIERRY RECAPTURED BY FRENCH after Germans retreat 5 miles (night July 20-21). French reach Lassery-Chateau-Thierry road on broad front. Between Marne and Reims, Anglo-French recapture Bois de Courton, advance down Ardre valley, capture (then lose) Marfaux and Coutrim. US 1st Division relieved (7,200 casualties) by British 15th (Scottish) Division.

Eastern Front

Kuban: White guerilla Colonel Shkuto captures Stavropol by threatening artillery bombard­ment (no guns but Reds evacuate). Denikin has to help to keep town and barely repels Sorokin’s Red counter-stroke.

Middle East

Hejaz Railway: 1,800 Arabs (over 80 killed), guns, armoured car and RAF planes repulsed by Jerdun Station’s 400 Turks and Maan garrison resupplied.
Palestine: Yeomanry Division renamed 4th Dav Division, 5th Cavalry Division joins DMC.