Friday 18 October 2013

Bolt Action Madman

By '44 the antitank gun had gone as far as it was going. Monsters like the British 17pdr or Russian 100mm could kill anything but they were huge, clumsy devices that were useful only in prepared defences. Usefully sized guns like the ubiquitous 6pdr were increasingly ineffective

The answer was the shaped charge. A relatively tiny explosive grenade that depended on cunning rather than brute force to penetrate armour. The problem from the infantryman's point of view was how do you get the grenade to the tank.

The answer lay in short range rockets like the panzerfaust or mortar-like devices like the PIAT, which also made useful direct-fire pocket-artillery. The problem was that you had to close to about 100 metres maximum and preferably 50. The PIAT was a reloadable weapon but users joked that it was really one shot because if you missed you never got another chance. They did knock out tanks, though.

Six VCs were awarded to PIAT users.

The Japanese had their own low tech slant involving suicidal bravery. You attach the shaped charge grenade to a pole. The infantry were to fend off tanks like 17th century pikemen fended off battle cavalry. All well and good but 17th century battle cavalry weren't armed with machine guns and cannon, and they weren't surrounded by infantry with rapid fire guns.

There is no evidence that one of these ever knocked out a tank but you can say the same for thrown anti-tank grenades.

The models are made from the  Warlord Games plastic 28 mm Japanese infantry box.