The British Army entered the Second World War with anti-tank weaponswhich no longer met modern requirements. Due to the loss of a significant part (more than 1940 units) of 800-mm QF 40 pounder anti-tank guns in May, the situation on the eve of a possible German invasion of the British Isles became critical. There was a time when the British anti-tank batteries had only 2 serviceable guns. More details about the British anti-tank artillery can be read here: British anti-tank artillery in World War II.
It cannot be said that the British command on the eve of the war did not take measures to equip the infantry divisions of the company-battalion link with light anti-tank weapons. Back in 1934, the military department, as part of the Stanchion program (Russian Prop.), Initiated the development of an anti-tank gun for the 12,7-mm cartridge of a large-caliber Vickers machine gun. Captain Henry Beuys, who was considered an expert in small arms, was appointed project leader.
However, it soon became clear that under a 12,7x81 mm cartridge it is impossible to create a weapon that meets the specified requirements. To increase armor penetration, it was required to create a new cartridge 13,9x99, which is also known as .55 Boys. Subsequently, cartridges with two types of bullets were serially produced for an anti-tank rifle. The first option was equipped with a bullet with a steel hardened core. A bullet weighing 60 g with an initial speed of 760 m / s from 100 m at a right angle pierced 16 mm of armor. The result, frankly, was not impressive, the Soviet heavy machine gun DShK and the 12,7 mm Sholokhov anti-tank rifle, urgently created in the first months of the war, possessed about the same armor penetration. The only advantage of this 13,9 mm munition was its low cost. The best armor penetration was possessed by 47,6 g of a bullet with a tungsten core. A bullet that left the barrel at a speed of 884 m / s at a distance of 100 m at an angle of 70 ° pierced the 20 mm armor plate. Of course, by today's standards, armor penetration is not high, but for the middle of the 30s, when the thickness of the bulk of the armor tanks was 15-20 mm, it was not bad. Such characteristics of armor penetration were sufficient to successfully cope with lightly armored vehicles, vehicles and enemy manpower behind light shelters.
13,9 mm Boys Mk I anti-tank rifle
Weapons with a total length of 1626 mm without ammunition weighed 16,3 kg. The five-charge magazine was inserted from above, in connection with which the sights were shifted to the left relative to the barrel. They consisted of a fly and a diopter sight with installation on the 300 and 500 m mounted on a bracket. The reloading of the weapon was carried out longitudinally by a sliding gate with a turn. Practical rate of fire 10 rds / min. The arms of the arms were folding T-shaped, which increased stability on loose surfaces. On the butt mounted additional support monopod. To compensate for the recoil on the barrel length 910 mm there was a muzzle brake compensator. In addition, the recoil was mitigated by the return spring of the moving barrel and the shock absorber of the butt pad.
Boys Mk I anti-tank rifle on test firing
Maintenance and carrying 13,9-mm PTR was supposed to deal with the calculation of two people. The second member of the calculation was needed to transport ammunition, to equip empty stores, to help carry weapons on the battlefield and to set up positions.
Comparative dimensions of the Boys Mk I 13,9-mm anti-tank rifle and the Lee-Enfield No. 7,7 4-mm rifle
Serial production of MW I MFR PTR began in the 1937 year and continued until the 1943 year. During this time around 62 000 anti-tank guns were produced. In addition to the British state-owned weapons company Royal Small Arms Factory, anti-tank guns were produced in Canada.
Baptism of PTR Boys Mk I took place during the Soviet-Finnish Winter War. The weapon was popular with the Finnish infantry, as it allowed them to fight the most common Soviet T-26 tanks. In the Finnish army, anti-tank guns received the designation 14 mm pst kiv / 37. Several hundred PTRs under the 13.9-mm Panzeradwehrbuchse 782 (e) marking were used by the Germans.
Swedish volunteers who fought on the Finns side with the PST 14 mm pst kiv / 37
During the fighting in France, Norway and North Africa, the Boys Mk I MFR showed good performance against armored vehicles, German light tanks Panzer I, Panzer II and Italian M11 / 39. 13,9-mm armor-piercing bullets short-circuited in most cases pierced the armor of poorly protected Japanese tanks Type 95 and Type 97. Anti-tank rifles successfully fired at embrasures of firing points and vehicles. The accuracy of shooting was such that at the 500 distance from the first shot, a growth target was struck. By the standards of the end of the second half of 30, the Boys Mk I anti-tank gun had good performance, but as armor was becoming more and more defensive, it was rapidly outdated and in 1940 did not ensure penetration of frontal armor of German medium tanks even when fired at point-blank. Nevertheless, the 13,9-mm anti-tank gun continued to be in service. In 1942, a limited edition for paratroopers launched a model Boys Mk II with a shortened barrel and reduced weight. Shortening the barrel predictably led to a drop in the initial velocity and a decrease in armor penetration. However, it was rather not an anti-tank, but a sabotage tool intended for the destruction of airplanes at airfields, the shelling of cars and locomotives. There is a case in which saboteurs with PTR fire from the roof of a building damaged a German ultra-small submarine of the type “Biber”, which sailed along a canal on the Belgian coast. Canadian-made PTRs were used in Korea as large-caliber sniper rifles. After the war, British anti-tank guns were used by various armed groups. In September 1965 of the year, IRA militants fired shots from an APC “Boyce” near the port of Waterford and brought down one of the turbines of the British patrol boat HMS Brave. In 70-80-ies, a certain amount of 13,9-mm PTR was available to the PLO units. Palestinians repeatedly fired Israeli army patrols with anti-tank guns. However, currently the PTR Boys can only be seen in museums and private collections. The reason for this in the first place is a specific and nowhere else used ammunition.
The acute shortage of anti-tank artillery required the adoption of emergency measures to strengthen the anti-tank capabilities of infantry units in the defense. At the same time, preference was given to the cheapest and most technologically advanced samples, even to the detriment of efficiency and safety for personnel. Therefore, in the British Army, preparing to defend against the German naval assault, hand-held anti-tank grenades were widespread, which was not the case in the American armed forces. Although the British, like the Americans, were well aware that the use of manual-throwing high-explosive and incendiary grenades would inevitably lead to great losses among those who would use them.
In the 1940 year, several different types of grenades were quickly developed and put into service. While they were structurally different, the use of available materials and a simple, often primitive design were common.
In the middle of the 1940 of the year, the high-explosive anti-tank grenade No. 2 was developed for mass armament of territorial defense units. 1,8 Mk I, which, due to the cylindrical shape of the case, received the unofficial nickname "thermos".
High-explosive anti-tank grenade No. 73 Mk I with rifle cartridge
The cylindrical body with a length of 240 mm and a diameter of 89 mm contained 1,5 kg of ammonium nitrate impregnated with nitrogelatin. Instantaneous inertial fuse borrowed from anti-personnel grenade No. 69, in the upper part of the grenade was closed with a plastic safety cap. Before use, the cap was twisted, and the canvas tape was released, at the end of which the load was attached. After the throw under the action of gravity, the load unwound the tape, and she pulled out a safety pin holding the ball of the inertial fuse, which was triggered by hitting a hard surface. With the explosion of a combat charge, he could break through 20 mm armor. However, according to British data, the maximum throwing distance was 14 m, and, throwing it, the grenade thrower should immediately hide in a trench or behind a solid wall of stone or brick.
Since using a grenade no. The 73 Mk I could only be effectively dealt with light armored vehicles, and it itself represented a great danger to those who used it, the grenade was practically not used for its intended purpose. During the fighting in Tunisia and Sicily grenades No. 73 Mk I usually destroyed light field fortifications and made passages in wire fences. In this case, the inertial fuse, as a rule, was replaced by a safer fuse with a fuse cord. Production of high-explosive anti-tank grenade 73 Mk I stopped already in the 1943 year, and during the fighting it was mainly in engineering and sapper units. However, a number of grenades were transferred to the resistance forces operating in the German-occupied territory. For example, on May 27, an explosion of a specially modified high-explosive grenade in Prague killed the SS Obergruppenführer SS Reinhard Heydrich.
Due to its shape and low efficiency. 73 Mk I from the very beginning caused a lot of complaints. Accurately throwing it at the target was very difficult, and the armor penetration left much to be desired. At the end of 1940, an original anti-tank grenade, also known as a “sticky bomb”, was put to the test. A charge of nitroglycerin of mass 600 g was placed in a spherical glass flask covered with a wool “stocking” soaked in a sticky composition. As planned by the developers, after the throw, the grenade was supposed to stick to the armor of the tank. To protect the fragile flask from damage and preserve the working properties of the glue, the garnet was placed in a tin casing. After removing the first safety checks, the cover disintegrated into two parts and freed the sticky surface. The second check activated a simple 5 second remote fuse, after which the grenade was to be thrown at the target.
Anti-tank high-explosive grenade No. 74 Mk I
With a mass of 1022 g, thanks to the long handle, a well-trained soldier could throw it at 20 m. The use of liquid nitroglycerin in the battle charge made it possible to reduce the cost of production and make the grenade powerful enough, but this explosive is very sensitive to mechanical and thermal effects. In addition, during the tests, it turned out that after being transferred to a combat position there is a likelihood of a grenade sticking to uniforms, and when tanks are very dusty or during rain it does not stick to armor. In this regard, the military objected to the “sticky bomb”, and it took personal intervention by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to adopt it. After that, the sticky bomb received the official designation No. 74 Mk I.
Although for equipment grenades No. 74 Mk I used a more secure due to special additives “stabilized” nitroglycerin, which has the consistency of grease, with a bullet shot and high temperature, a grenade charge exploded, which did not happen with ammunition equipped with TNT or ammonium.
Anti-tank high-explosive grenade No. 74 Mk I with protective cover removed
Before the cessation of production in 1943, British and Canadian enterprises managed to produce about 2,5 million grenades. From the middle of 1942, the Mark II grenade with a more durable plastic case and a modernized fuse was in the series.
According to the instructions for use in the explosion, a nitroglycerin charge could penetrate 25 mm armor. But grenade No. 74 was never popular in the military, although it was used during the fighting in North Africa, the Middle East and New Guinea.
Much more successful was the high-explosive “soft” grenade No. 82 Mk I, which in the British army was nicknamed "ham". Its production was carried out from the middle of 1943 to the end of 1945 of the year. The design of the grenade was extremely simple. The case of the grenade was a cloth bag, tightened at the bottom with a braid, and on top, tucked into a metal lid on which the fuse is screwed, used in grenades No. 69 and No. 73. When creating a grenade, the developers believed that the soft form would prevent rolling from the tank's upper armor.
High-explosive grenade No. 82 Mk I in empty and curb form
Before use, the bag was required to be filled with plastic explosives. The weight of an empty grenade with a fuse was 340 g, the bag could hold up to 900 g of explosive С2 per 88,3% consisting of hexogen, as well as mineral oil, plasticizer and phlegmatizer. On the destructive effect of 900 g, C2 explosives correspond roughly to 1200 g of TNT.
High-explosive grenade No. 82 Mk I which, judging by the marking, was released in March 1944
High-explosive grenades 82 Mk I were mainly supplied to the airborne and various sabotage units - where significant amounts of plastic explosives were available. According to some researchers, the “soft bomb” turned out to be the most successful British high-explosive anti-tank grenade. However, by the time it appeared, the role of hand-held anti-tank grenades had dropped to a minimum, and it was most often used for sabotage and for destroying obstacles. Total British industry supplied 45 82 Mk I. "Soft bombs" were in service with the British "commandos" until the middle of the 50's, after which they were considered obsolete.
The British anti-tank grenades are usually referred ammunition, known as No. 75 Mark I, although in fact it is a low-power high-explosive anti-tank mine. Mass production of mines began in the year 1941. The main advantage of 1020 g mines was low cost and ease of production.
Mina No. 75 Mark I
In a tin flat case, similar to a flask with a length of 165 and a width of 91 mm, an ammonal 680 g was poured through the neck. This amount of explosive at best was enough to kill the tracks of an average tank. To cause serious damage to the undercarriage of an armored tracked vehicle, mine No. 75 Mark I in most cases could not.
On top of the case was a pressure plate, under it - two chemical fuses, ampoules. With a pressure of more than 136 kg, the ampoules were destroyed by a pressure bar and a flame was formed, causing an explosion of the tetryl detonator capsule, and from it detonated the main charge of the mine.
During the fighting in North Africa, mines were issued to infantrymen. It was foreseen that no. 75 Mark I should be tossed under the tank track or armored vehicle wheel. They also tried to lay on the sled, attached to the cords and pull up under the moving tank. In general, the effectiveness of the use of grenades was low, and after 1943, they were mainly used for sabotage or as engineering ammunition.
Past the British military did not pass the experience of using incendiary bottles against tanks during the Spanish Civil War and the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland. At the beginning of 1941, it was tested and an incendiary "grenade" No. 76 Mk I, also known as Special Incendiary Grenade (Russian. Special incendiary grenade) and SIP Grenade (Self Igniting Phosphorus - Russian. Self-igniting phosphoric garnet). Until the middle of 1943 in the UK, about 6 million glass bottles were filled with flammable liquid in the UK.
Incendiary grenade No. 76 Mk I
This munition had a very simple design. At the bottom of a glass bottle with a capacity of 280 ml, a layer of white phosphorus 60 mm was placed, which was filled with water to prevent self-ignition. The remaining volume was filled with low-octane gasoline. As a thickener of the combustible mixture, 50 mm strip of raw rubber was added to gasoline. When the glass bottle broke on a hard surface, white phosphorus contacted oxygen, ignited and ignited the spilled fuel. A bottle weighing about 500 g could have been thrown about 25 m manually. However, a relatively small amount of flammable liquid can be considered a disadvantage of this incendiary “grenade”.
However, as the main method of using glass incendiary grenades in the British army was their shooting from a weapon known as the Projector 2.5-inch or Northover Projector. This weapon was developed by Major Robert Northover for emergency replacement of anti-tank guns lost under Dunkirk. 63,5-mm bottle has a number of drawbacks, but because of its low cost and extremely simple design, it was adopted.
Calculation with a bottle of Northover Projector
The total length of the weapon slightly exceeded 1200 mm, the mass in the combat position was about 27 kg. Disassembly of the bottle into separate units for transportation was not provided. At the same time, a relatively small mass and the ability to fold the tubular supports of the machine made it possible to transport it with any available vehicle. The fire from the gun led the calculation of two people. The initial velocity of the “projectile” was only 60 m / s, which is why the firing range did not exceed 275 m. Fighting rate of fire - 5 rds / min. Soon after adoption, the Northover Projector adapted for firing hand fragmentation grenades No. 36 and cumulative rifle No. 68.
Until the middle of 1943, more than 19 000 bottles were delivered to the territorial defense forces and combat units. But due to low combat characteristics and low strength, weapons were not popular among the troops and were never used in combat. Already at the beginning of 1945, bytylkomёty removed from service and disposed of.
Another ersatz weapon, designed to compensate for the lack of specialized anti-tank guns, was the Blacker Bombard, designed by Colonel Stuart Blaker in 1940. At the beginning of 1941, mass production of tools began, and it itself received the official name 29 mm Spigot Mortar - “29-mm rod mortar”.
Calculation of the portable version of the 29 mm Spigot Mortar in firing position
The Bombard Baker was mounted on a relatively simple machine suitable for transportation. It consisted of a base plate, a rack and a top sheet on which the support for the turning part of the weapon was attached. At the corners of the slab, four tubular supports were attached to the hinges. At the ends of the supports there were wide coulters with grooves for installing stakes driven into the ground. This was necessary to ensure stability when shooting, since the bombard had no recoil devices. An annular sight was located on the protective shield, and in front of it there was a large wide-width U-shaped plate with seven vertical posts in front of it on a special beam. Such a sight made it possible to calculate the lead time and determine the pointing angles at various distances to the target. The maximum range of anti-tank projectile was 400 m, anti-personnel fragmentation - 700 m. However, to get into a moving tank at a distance more than 100 m was almost impossible.
The total weight of the gun was 163 kg. Calculation of bombers - 5 people, although if necessary, the fire could lead and one fighter, but the rate of fire decreased to 2-3 rds / min. A trained calculation demonstrated the rate of 10-12 firing per minute.
Calculate 29 mm Spigot Mortar in a fixed position
A concrete bollard with a metal support at the top was used to place the instrument in the stationary position. For stationary installation, they dug a square trench, whose walls were reinforced with brick or concrete.
For shooting from the "bombers" were developed 152-mm over-caliber mines. To launch mines used 18 g charge of black powder. Due to the weak throwing charge and the specific design of the bombardment, the initial velocity of the projectile did not exceed 75 m / s. In addition, after the shot, the position clouded with a cloud of white smoke. What unmasked the location of the gun and interfered with the monitoring of the target.
The defeat of armored targets was supposed to be a high-explosive anti-tank mine with a ring stabilizer. She weighed 8,85 kg and filled up almost 4 kg of explosive. Also in the ammunition included anti-personnel fragmentation projectile weighing 6,35 kg.
For two years, the British industry has released about 20 thousand bombardment and more than 300 thousand shells. These weapons were mainly equipped with parts of the territorial defense. Each company of the "people's militia" was supposed to have two bombers. Eight guns were assigned to each brigade, while airfield defense units provided for 12 guns. The antitank regiments were ordered to have an extra 24 unit in excess of the state. The proposal to use "anti-tank mortars" in North Africa did not meet with the understanding of General Bernard Montgomery. After a short period of operation, even undemanding weapons, reservists began to refuse bombards under any pretext. The reasons for this were low quality manufacturing and extremely low accuracy. In addition, during practical shooting, it turned out that approximately 10% of the fuses in the projectiles fail. Nevertheless, the Bombard Baker officially stood up to the end of the war.
During the Second World War, rifle grenades were used in the armies of many states. In 1940, the British Army adopted the cumulative 64-mm rifle grenade No. 68 AT. A grenade weighing 890 g contained 160 g of penthalite and could penetrate the normal 52 mm armor. To reduce the likelihood of rebound, the head of the grenade was made flat. In the back of the grenade was an inertial fuse. Before the shot, the security check was removed to bring it to the fighting position.
Training rifle grenade No. 68 AT
Grenades were shot by a blank cartridge from Lee Enfield rifles. For this purpose, a special mortar was attached to the muzzle of the rifle. The range of the shot was 90 meters, but the most effective was 45-75. In total, about 8 million grenades were fired. There are six serial combat modifications: Mk I - Mk-VI and one training. Combat options differed in manufacturing technology and different explosives used in the warhead.
Much more often than tanks, cumulative rifle grenades bombarded enemy fortifications. Due to the rather massive body, equipped with a powerful explosive, grenade No. 68 AT had a good fragmentation effect.
In addition to the cumulative rifle grenades No. 68 AT in the British Army used grenade No. 85, which was the British equivalent of the American grenade МХNUMXА9, but with other fuses. It was produced in three versions Mk1 - Mk1, differing from each other by detonators. A grenade weighing 3 g was fired using a special 574-mm adapter worn on the rifle barrel, its warhead contained 22 g of RDX. With the caliber 120-mm grenade No. The 51 had the same armor penetration as the No. 85 AT, but her effective range was higher. A grenade could be fired from a light 68-mm mortar. However, due to the low armor penetration and the small distance of the aimed shot, rifle grenades did not become an effective means of combating enemy armored vehicles and did not play a significant role in combat.
On the eve of a possible German invasion of Great Britain, feverish efforts were made to create inexpensive and effective anti-tank infantry weapons capable of countering German medium tanks at close range. After adopting the "anti-tank bombard", Colonel Stuart Blaker worked on the creation of its lightweight version, suitable for use in the "squad-platoon" link.
The progress achieved in the field of creating cumulative projectiles made it possible to design a relatively compact grenade launcher that one fighter could carry and use. By analogy with the previous project, the new weapon received the working designation Baby Bombard. At an early stage of development in a grenade launcher, it was intended to use technical solutions implemented in the Baker's Bombard; the differences were in reduced sizes and mass. Subsequently, the appearance and principle of operation of the weapon underwent a significant adjustment, as a result of which the experimental product lost any resemblance to the basic design.
An experimental version of a hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher reached readiness for testing in the summer of 1941. But during testing it turned out that he did not meet the requirements. The weapon was unsafe to use, and cumulative grenades, due to the unsatisfactory performance of the fuse, were unable to hit the target. After unsuccessful trials, Major Mills Jeffries headed the project. It was under his leadership that the grenade launcher was brought to working condition and put into service under the name PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank).
PIAT grenade launcher, cumulative grenade and its cut
The weapon was made according to a very original scheme, which was not used before. The basis of the design was a steel pipe with a tray welded in front. In the pipe there was a massive bolt-drummer, a reciprocating spring and a trigger mechanism. The front end of the body had a round cap, in the center of which was a tubular stem. A needle hammer head moved inside the stem. The bipod attached to the pipe, the shoulder rest with a cushion and sights. When loading the grenade was placed on the tray and closed the pipe, while its shank was put on the rod. Semiautomatic operated at the expense of recoil bolt-drummer, after the shot, he rolled back and got up on a combat platoon.
Cocking the combat spring PIAT grenade launcher
Since the mainspring was powerful enough, its cocking required considerable physical effort. During the loading of the weapon, the butt plate turned at a small angle, after which the shooter, with his feet on the butt plate, had to pull the trigger guard. After that, the coil spring was cocked, the grenade was placed in a tray, and the weapon was ready for use. The propellant charge of the grenade burned to its complete descent from the tray, and the recoil was absorbed by a massive bolt, spring and cushion of the shoulder rest. The PIAT was essentially an intermediate model between rifle and reactive anti-tank systems. The absence of a hot gas jet, typical of dynamo-reactive systems, made it possible to fire from closed rooms.
83-mm PIAT cumulative grenade
The main ammunition was considered 83-mm cumulative grenade mass 1180 g, containing 340 g of explosive. A propellant charge with a cap was placed in the tail tube. At the head of the grenade there was an instantaneous fuse and a “detonation tube”, along which the beam of fire was transmitted to the main charge. The initial speed of the grenade was 77 m / s. The firing range of the tanks - 91 m. The rate of fire - up to 5 rds / min. Although the declared armor penetration was 120 mm, in reality it did not exceed 100 mm. In addition to the cumulative, fragmentation and smoke grenades with a firing range of up to 320 m were developed and adopted, which made it possible to use a weapon as a light mortar. Grenade launchers, produced at different times, were equipped entirely with several holes, designed for firing at different distances, or equipped with a limb with appropriate markings. Aim devices allowed to fire at a range of 45-91 m.
PIAT calculation in firing position
Although the grenade launcher could be used by one person, with a mass of unloaded 15,75 weapons and a kg 973 length, the arrows were not able to transport a sufficient number of grenades. In this regard, the second number was introduced into the calculation, armed with a rifle or a submachine gun, which was mainly engaged in carrying ammunition and guarded the grenade launcher. Maximum ammunition was 18 shots, which were carried in cylindrical containers, grouped in three pieces and equipped with straps.
The serial production of PIAT grenade launchers began in the second half of 1942, and was used in combat in the summer of 1943 during the landing of Allied forces in Sicily. The rocket launcher calculations along with the 51-mm mortar service personnel were part of the infantry battalion fire support platoon and were in the staff platoon. If necessary, anti-tank grenade launchers were attached to individual infantry platoons. Grenade launchers were used not only against armored vehicles, but also destroyed the firing points and infantry of the enemy. In urban conditions, cumulative grenades quite effectively hit the manpower, hiding behind the walls of houses.
The calculation of the PIAT grenade launcher during the battle for Balikpapan
PIAT anti-tank grenade launchers are widely used in the armies of the states of the British Commonwealth. By the end of the year, about 1944, thousands of grenade launchers had been produced, thanks to the simple design and use of available materials. Compared with the American "Bazuki", which had an electrical ignition circuit of the starting charge, the British rocket launcher was more reliable and was not afraid of falling into the rain. Also, when firing from a more compact and cheaper PIAT, behind the shooter there was no danger zone in which there should not be people and combustible materials. This allowed the use of a grenade launcher in street battles for shooting from closed premises.
However, PIAT was not devoid of a number of significant shortcomings. Weapons have been criticized for excessive mass. In addition, small and physically not too strong arrows with great difficulty cocked the mainspring. In combat conditions, the grenade launcher had to cock the weapon while sitting or lying, which was also not always convenient. The range and accuracy of firing from a grenade launcher left much to be desired. At a distance of 91 m in combat, the frontal projection of a moving tank with the first shot hit less than 50% of shooters. During combat use, it turned out that about 10% of cumulative grenades bounce off armor due to a fuse failure. The 83-mm cumulative grenade in most cases pierced the 80-mm frontal armor of the most common German medium tanks PzKpfw IV and SAU on their base, but the armor effect of the cumulative jet was weak. When hit in the side, covered with a screen, the tank most often did not lose its combat capability. The front armor of heavy German tanks PIAT did not break through. Following the results of the fighting in Normandy, British officers who investigated the effectiveness of various anti-tank weapons in 1944 concluded that only 7% of German tanks were destroyed by PIAT shots.
However, the advantages still outweighed the disadvantages, and the grenade launcher was used until the end of the war. In addition to the countries of the British Commonwealth, 83-mm anti-tank grenade launchers were supplied to the Polish Craiov Army, the French resistance forces and lend-lease in the USSR. According to British data, 1000 PIAT and 100 thousand shells were delivered to the Soviet Union. However, in domestic sources there is no mention of the combat use of British rocket launchers by the Red Army soldiers.
After the end of World War II, the PIAT grenade launcher quickly left the stage. Already in the beginning of the 50-x in the British army, all grenade launchers were withdrawn from combatant units. Apparently, the Israelis were the last to use the PIAT in 1948 during the war of independence in combat.
In general, the PIAT grenade launcher as a weapon of wartime was fully justified, but the improvement of the hitch system, because of the presence of fatal flaws, had no prospects. The further development of light infantry anti-tank weapons in the UK mainly followed the path of creating new rocket launchers, recoilless guns and guided anti-tank missiles.
To be continued ...