Boys anti-tank rifle combat reports wanted.

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Richelieu, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    There are several mentions of the use of the Boys rifle in Brigadier Claude Nicholson's account of the siege of Calais (WO 271/1). Here's a couple of them from 24th May:


    2 KRRC in the western sector:


    Nothing to complain about with these, I think
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  2. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    No reports I'm afraid, but if anyone has a full diary for 45 (RM) Commando for the summer of 1944, it might be worth looking in it. See this Twitter thread about a Boys I noticed in a photo recently: Spitfires of the Sea on Twitter
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  3. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    There is a story of a Biber class submarine being sunk by a Boys rifle in NWE in 1944/45, but I had always presumed this was apochryphal because no-one would have been carrying such a weapon at this time.

    But it seems it might not be so apochryphal after all...
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Panzerfaust in WWII - how effective was it?
    It is known that the Boys ATR was used against German midget submarines near the Belgian coast during WWII, where one, returning to base part-surfaced along a canal, was fired on from adjacent cover. The vessel submerged, but the pilot/skipper was found further upstream floating in his lifejacket having abandoned the sinking craft, which had been holed low down in its diminutive "conning tower"

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  5. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I wonder where we could find out more about this...
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I would have thought the War Diaries of the Regiment would have something but which WD's/Regiment - I am still looking, just had a break for some tea and a beer so expect anything now


    The first Biber operation was launched on 30 August 1944 from Fécamp harbour
    The last Biber mission was an attempt at mine laying and took place on the night of 26 April 1945

    There a couple of possibles but need help defining the area and who might be there as regards Allied forces
    German Midget submarine operations - U-boat Operations -

    One sunk by gunfire off Westkapelle on 8 March. - [no mention of type of gunfire]

    16 February 1945 - 4 (four) sailed for the Scheldt. 2 vanished without trace.
    Summary of operation for March 1945 - 2 unknown.
    12 April 1945 1 (one) Seehund sunk off the Hook of Holland [no mention of how sunk]
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Cant find other refrences to the incident at the moment, but if anyone else wants to search be my guest, although I have to say I have learnt one thing and that is there were quite a number of 'mini submarines' designed and built by the Germans so it may not have been a Biber it could have been a:


    Seeteufel (abandoned)
    Schwertwal (too late)

    My brain hurts now
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Is it a definite link between 45 Cdo and the sinking or are they just in the frame because they are known to have had a Boys?
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Idler - dont know at the moment - even the dates dont seem to line up with the geography and timescale - Bibers werent used until Aug 1944 [based at Fecamp], then quickly withdrawn to protect Rotterdam, Antwerp and Scheldt, so I would suspect the incident if indeed it took place would have happened perhaps end of 1944, Jan/Feb 1945

  10. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Hmm... were the attacks against Nijmegen bridge subs or just frogmen?
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  13. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    From -
    6th Green Howards Gravelines 23/24 May 1940

    Their original orders had been to move to Gravelines but these had been changed to the Seclin Area. However as the officer carrying the change in orders failed to find them in the fog, on the morning of Thursday, May 23 ,the 6th Green Howards had taken up position on a wide front along the mouth of the Aa.

    The company covering the main road had its one anti-tank rifle deployed with the forward platoon. In view of the lack of anyone practised in its use and of the fear of its alleged ‘terrible kick’, Second Lieutenant Hewson himself manned it. A block was put across the bridge but there was no explosive with which to blow it up, and Hewson took his weapon forward to a position where he was concealed but isolated. He bravely held his fire when the tanks — almost certainly light ones — approached, and he then knocked out the leading one, and damaged two others but was then subjected to a double pronged assault. Shouldering his Boyes rifle, he tried to withdraw, but having no covered line of retreat he was shot dead. The tanks came no further and soon departed.

    As an aside my uncle Jim Judson was with the 6th Green Howards at Gravelines but sadly passed away before I got really interested in 1940 campaign . A familiar story I suppose.

  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The real stuff starts about 3 mins in but this was a Canadian Training film on the Boys helped out by Disney


    The Boys' reputation after the Battle of France was such that the Canadian government, through the Directorate of Military Training, The Department of National Defence and National Film Board of Canada (NFB) commissioned a training film, Stop That Tank! (1942), from Walt Disney Studios to counter the rifle's "jinx" reputation
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I hope there is some method in my madness with the little film above in that The Canadians thought the Boys was a useful piece of equipment for certain jobs and also I believe the Canadians were instrumental in the task of clearing Antwerp/Rotterdam and the Scheldt, therefore perhaps the story of a mini sub being sunk by a Boys falls to a Canadian.
    I am afraid though that about where my expertise comes to an end I'm afraid, but perhaps one of our members with knowledge of Canadian Troops etc might wish to take on the baton and see what emerges

  16. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    In an odd twist I once (c.1983) read a published account of the US evaluation of Anti-tank rifles in an effort to identify avenues for development of long range sniper rifles. Working on all the variables - e.g. calibre and type/shape of round, cartridge type, amount of propellant, action and sighting. This included field trials of 2nd WW Anti-tank rifle, variants from all nations, during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. I recall a Boys modified to fire a standard .50in BMG round did rather well. I assume this led to the competition which led to the Barratt M82 /M107 family

    I wish I had kept my notes! Or pinched the booklet....

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