By Matthew Moss

This is what you might call an indie production – it is independently apt for the Independent Company and independently superb. Matthew Moss has pulled together every conceivable strand of this weapon’s history, capability, weaknesses, strengths, use, and legacy (did you know that six Victoria Crosses were won during World War II by soldiers operating PIATs?). The Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank weapon (and were commas every placed so elegantly anywhere else in the second world war?), made it possible for British and Commonwealth troops to take on Germany’s formidable Panzers. Conceived ins ‘Churchill’s Toyshop’, the PIAT is a spigot mortar (modern mortars are tubes into which a gunner drops projectiles, whereas spigot mortars are a plate to which a long rod – or spigot – is attached; a tube inside the round then slides over the spigot and the explosive launch gasses are concentrated to, er, launch the mortar, with the mainspring soaking up the recoil). In short, it’s a formidable, much lighter and more portable piece of equipment than many other comparatively-sized weapons – but it does have drawbacks. Matthew explains the PIAT’s limitations and combines detailed research with expert analysis to reveal the full story of this revolutionary weapon. Bring up the PIAT, indeed. And buy this book.

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