PIAT Questions

Discussion in 'Trux Discussion Area' started by JDKR, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I think the British/Canadian/US approach was largely to have the weapons available to rifle subunits, but not have them permanently manned. I wonder if the frequency of encounters between Allied infantry units and Panzers might have become a little overstated and make it seem that no Rifle Platoon would feel secure without its PIAT or Bazooka in hand. That contrasts with German and Red Army practice, who had specified personnel for their anti-tank rifles, continued by the Germans for their Panzerschrecks (Panzerfausts were treated pretty much like hand grenades).

    I'm just reading through G Company by Noel Bell, and I think there's only passing mention of their PIATs and I'm up to the Rhine crossing. Certainly the basic PIAT issue was one per Rifle Platoon, though they were distributed throughout units of Divisions and higher, and when they were used in anger it was best to have a gunner and loader assigned.

    There is the legend of the US 82nd Airborne Division making use of Panzerfausts; I say legend because having tried to trace the source it was a case of some saying the items were picked up in Sicily or Italy and others they were captured in the Bulge. Both could be true of course, but I recall it seemed a bit confused. I think there's more solid ground for the US 2nd Armored Division making a conscious effort to replace its Bazookas with captured Panzerschrecks, detailed in the report by the Div on the quality of US equipment versus German.

    canuck likes this.
  2. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    There's a fictitious reference to US forces using captured Panzerfauste(n) in Ernest Hemingway's short story "Black Ass At The Crossroads" where he mentions German booby traps being attached to abandoned PFs. Hemingway was in the post D-Day fighting as a war correspondent but there are claims he ran a bunch of irregulars ambushing German forces pulling out of France, so his story may have some foundation.


  3. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Dad always said the PIAT was a "last resort" weapon and invariably left in a vehicle somewhere. He only ever saw it used, and used it himself, in Holland. They used it to blow a hole in the end wall of a row of terraced houses during house clearing. He remembered one officer ordering the PIAT up, at Hekkens corner, to take on a couple of tanks, but the sgt told the 3 men concerned to go forward and hide and wait for the anti-tank guns. Although it was supposed to be effective to 100 yards, they found it was more like 30 yards if you wanted to stop a tank.
    stolpi and canuck like this.
  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    How did they find it had to be fired at 30 yards to stop a tank, if they never, ever, used it to stop a tank?
  5. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    When training with it prior to D-Day.!!!

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