The Spigot Mortar

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by ozzy16, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    It fired two types of projectile, anti personnel with a range of half a mile and anti tank with a range of 70-100 yds. Don't know how effective it was. mortor1.jpg
    It was replaced with a later variation of the much talked about Piat (projector infantry anti tank)
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  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    If it hit you it was bloody effective. From memory, the 20lb AT round carried an 8lb charge of Nobel's 808. It was essentially the first HESH round, though the contemporary term appears to have been 'plaster shot'. It didn't so much penetrate tanks as demolish them.
    PIAT used the same method of launch but with a much lighter hollow charge (HEAT) round so it could be fired from the shoulder instead of a huge block of concrete.
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  3. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    The soldier in the centre of the image looks terrified.
    I understand this weapon had to be loaded from the front,thus exposing the loader to enemy fire.

  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Never really thought about just how big the projectile was.
    That is some lump, isn't it.

    Petersfield museum used to have Lt.Col Blacker's medals & a few other spigot-y piat-y bits and pieces.
    Really should have got a mate to open the case for a closer look when she curated there.
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  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Not a big leap from Bombard to Petard...
  6. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Despite its punch, it seems no-one approved of the weapon.Designed to be set up at strategic points bridges, airfields, etc.The RAF
    would'nt use it, and so it was handed down to the home guard and they didn't approve of it either.

    Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, commanding 3 battalion,Wiltshire Home Guard, in November 1941 said
    'I have no possible use for them,so they will merely add to the dumps of scrap iron already lying about in our Wiltshire Villages.'

    I have had a look for any further info in the search facility here,and there are lots of threads on the spigot mortar sadly photo-bucket has blanked a lot of the images out.(sorry wont mention the word again)

    Will have a dig around later and try to find some video of this weapon being fired.(if there is any)

  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  8. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    There was one (the concrete mount) on a Time Team programme at Shooter's Hill about stoplines
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  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  11. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    The Defence of Britain Archive lists 351 remaining spigot sites, some illustrated. Select SPIGOT MORTAR EMPLACEMENT from the ‘Type of site’ dropdown. The exposed steel skeleton is revealed in the incomplete Stradsett crossroads site.

    I have occasionally seen unsupported claims that some of these weapons found their way to the North Africa: is there any evidence to support this?

    A final thought – this contraption appears to have been the ancestor of the Petard. The Tank Museum.
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  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Some were donated to the Soviets and were reputed to have been used at Stalingrad.
    The North African usage is believed to have been at Tobruk. I've seen a thread on that topic somewhere quite recently.
    For other African usage:
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I came across the following extract in the war diary of 8 Royal Fusiliers in Jan 43:

    "Training of A.A. Platoon will include intensive course in A.A. fire using Spigot Mortars."

    Is this the same weapon, or was there an AA version?


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  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    it is very interesting wandering around the British countryside observing all the WW2 anti invasion emplacements.

    Blimey what goes up must come down
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  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That's got to be a typo or slip of the pen for 'an intensive course in A.T. fire', surely?
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  16. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Nice one Idler,
    Once set up it was a formidable weapon.But it had to many disadvantages compared to the more mobile Piat.

    By 1943 I think the Spigot mortar had been taken out of service and replaced by the Piat.(but I could be wrong) others may know more than I.

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  17. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Agreed. I would think there would be an immediate VC for anyone knocking down an aircraft, theirs or ours, with that weapon.
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  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Oddly, some Northover Projectors found their way to Malaya but I've seen no mention of spigot mortars out there.
  19. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    As a matter of interest Tom where were 8RF at the time?

    I spotted an intriguing file from 1941 at TNA earlier. ADM 1/13893 is described as “Spigot mortar battery: design evolved by Ministry of Supply in collaboration with Director of Anti-Aircraft Warfare".

    Tobruk certainly rings a bell with me too Idler, but I doubt that such a deployment would have gone unremarked by the units in question.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  20. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    8 RF were in Kirkuk at the time. And it was definitely the AA Platoon that was referred to as A/Tk platoon were separately covered in Training Instruction No.6 dated 26 Jan 43:

    "6. Training in HQ Company will include:-

    (a) Intensive Pre-Classification Training of Signallers.
    Increased amount of time with Lamp and Flag.

    (b) Training of A.A. Platoon will include intensive course in A.A. fire using Spigot Mortars.

    (c) It is anticipated that Carriers will arrive shortly, when primary maintenance will be carried out followed by field training with Carriers combined with use of Brens and 3” Mortars in the Field.

    (d) Pioneers will be made available to assist in the training of Rifle Company in A/Tk Mines, Booby Traps, Elementary Field Engineering, Field Works etc.

    (e) Training of MT Drivers to include Concealment, Dispersion, Convoy Driving, Embussing and Debussing Drill, Use of Camouflage Nets etc.

    (f) A/Tk Platoon will proceed to Training Camp in accordance with instructions already issued."

    Then at the beginning of Feb 43:

    "1 February 1943 KIRKUK
    Three days’ Spigot Mortar Course, intended to train N.C.O. Instructors, commenced under Lieut. R. Brownrigg."

    Nothing similar in either 9RF or 7 OBLI diaries though.


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