by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
P.I.A.T. (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank). Around 115,000 of these weapons were manufactured for use by British/Commonwealth troops during WWII. The weapon had a practical range of 370 yards against buildings and 100 yards against armour. The telescopic stand was removable so that it could be fired like a mortar. The P.I.A.T. could be adapted to fire 2inch mortar bombs with the addition of an adaptor inserted into the breech trough. The P.I.A.T. bombs were carried in cardboard tubs in stacks of 3 bombs.
The P.I.A.T. replaced the outdated Boys Anti-tank rifle and No 68 Anti Tank Rifle Grenade and became the main hand held Anti-tank weapon for the British and Commonwealth Infantry and Paratroopers of WWII entering service in 1943, and remaining in service well into the 50ís.
The P.I.A.T. was 39 inches in length, weighed 32 pounds (approx.) and was designed on the idea of the Spigot Mortar, rather than having a propellant charge it hurled the bomb by means of a spring towards the intended target. Whilst this reduced the effective range it had, there were some advantages to this system. It could be fired undetected (no flash or smoke), it could be fired from inside a building with no back blast and it could be fired as a mortar at trenches and buildings.
Cocking the beast was a bit of a job, as it was really just a large spring and took a bit of doing.
Although it was supposed to be able to penetrate armour 3.9 inches thick, in reality this proved not to be the case and even a skilled user would only be likely to hit a target 60% of the time, and the bombs only detonated about 75% of the time. Effective range was, in reality, 100 yards. It was not a popular weapon, but it was what they fought with.
The P.I.A.T. bomb came in several types, Anti Personnel (filled with White Phosphorous), HE bomb, Practice Firing Round and Drill Round. The HE P.I.A.T. bomb consisted of a hollow charge and is it reported that 7% of German armour that was destroyed in the early part of the Normandy campaign were due to hits by P.I.A.T. teams, how accurate that piece of data is I am not sure. The bombs weighed 1.130 kg., so providing you didnít try to attack a target head on it could do sufficient damage to knock out a tank.
The set comes in a smart cardboard box with a picture of the build P.I.A.T., bombs and P.I.A.T. boxes on the front, together with the manufacturers logo, product identification and item number.
The parts come further wrapped in bubble wrap, and consist of 16 resin parts and a PE fret. Decals are provided for the boxes and also included is a small double sided sheet of instructions to aid construction. The parts themselves are contained in a sealed plastic bag.
Inside the bag are two P.I.A.T. transport boxes, one closed and one open, 3 P.I.A.T. stems, 6 bombs, one set of carrying tubes, a PE fret to complete the weapons and a small sheet of decals. Plus 3 small resin stands for the weapon and a small length of copper wire. The casting looks good, with clean sharp detail.
There are 17 parts that go to make up the P.I.A.T. which seems to me to be way too many for such a small weapon, so these will take a bit of patience and a good eye to put together as most of the parts are tiny PE bits. The length of the weapon looks correct, but I am not sure of the diameter of the stem, it might be a bit too small, but I am not 100% sure. The stem shows the thick padded shoulder piece, and with the exception of the stand all other parts appear to be PE.
If you have the patience to build this, and the luck not to lose any of the small parts to the carpet monster, then you should have a very good representation of this rather odd weapon.
The storage boxes, one open and one closed have good detail and you will need a sharp razor saw to remove the pour stubs. These will add variety to any display so are a welcome addition. Disappointingly only one set of cardboard carrying tubes for the bombs is included with the set, but you do get a nice set of decals to add more detail to the finished product. The tubes are well cast. The bombs themselves, of which you get 6, are also well cast, so again more detail to add to any scene.
Whilst I would welcome any additional British equipment, I canít help thinking this is a slightly over engineered kit, with too many tiny parts. You will need a really delicate touch to build this one, so this is not a kit for the beginner. However, it may be an easier build than I imagine, only time will tell.
The addition of the carrying/transport boxes is a plus, although I could find no specific picture to confirm their shape and size.
Overall; the set offers great potential for both small and large scenes. The detail looks to be correct and providing the carpet monster doesnít get all your PE bits then you should end up with a good representation of the weapon.