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PIAT Barn Find!

Article about: by Screaming Eagle Amazing! Is all of that real? The guns are all real, although the automatics are all deactivated display-only pieces. The SS uniform is mostly reproduction, although there

  1. #1

    Default PIAT Barn Find!

    Hi Everyone!

    I've been enjoying this site for a couple years now, but this is the first time I've ever started a thread.

    This is a PIAT launcher that I just rescued from a carport. One of my older brother's high school friends bought this by mail order around 1965 and when he went off to Viet Nam a couple years later he hung it from the rafters of his parents carport and it's been hanging there ever since!

    I've know the gent personally for several years now, and we always talk about militaria, and somehow this never came up until just recently. We quickly did a deal and now it won't have to face the outdoor weather anymore!

    Although it has taken a lot of abuse from the elements, it is still amazingly sound. All the moving parts still move, and even the canvas is still intact. It also still has the original cork for plugging the spigot hole when it's cocked, although the chain has rusted enough to break it in one place.

    This PIAT has been hanging, in full view of the street, no more than a mile or two from all the homes I've lived in over the past 40+ years and I never knew it. I guess the moral is don't forget to look around in your own backyard because there's still great stuff out there!

    Coloursergeant
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 100_3828.jpg   100_3822.jpg  

    100_3826.jpg   100_3824.jpg  


  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Now that's a real find !!!!!

    Nice One !!!!

    Gary J.

  3. #3

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    If anyone has any tips on cleaning the canvas webbing, I'd really like to hear them.

    I'm also looking for an inert PIAT round to display with it if anyone knows where I can find one!

    Coloursergeant

  4. #4

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Oh wow ! She's a beauty !

    With a bit of elbow grease and a good cleaner she would come up good as new. Probably be fully functional as well.

    Super find.....I am super jealous

    Steve T

  5. #5

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    That is really nice. The last part of your post reminded me of the Wizzard of Oz. "there's no place like home."

  6. #6

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Lovely. Is the Mk IV at Pegasus Bridge the most famous (and important) PIAT shot in history? This retelling of the Wagger Thornton story from the North-West Historical Association:

    It was the morning of June 6th 1944, D Company, Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry along with attached troops had landed by glider and had seized and held the vital bridges over the Caen Canal and the Orne River, along with a vital crossroads the "T-junction". Although well equipped their sole means of repelling German Armored advances was the dreaded PIAT. The PIAT was a short-range infantry anti-tank weapon. It had numerous shortcomings one of which was the inability to reload quickly. PIAT gunners had a saying, "hit it with the first shot because you wont get a second".

    The commanding officer, Major John Howard knew that they would likely face a German counter attack and hoped he and his men would not have to fight panzers with PIATS and small arms. Major Howard started receiving reports of German armour approaching his position. They were approaching the vital "T-junction" the main arterial from Benouville to Le Port, and Caen and the invasion beaches. Approaching the British positions were six tanks, German infantry that outnumbered the British 4 to 1, and supported by a battery of 88's.

    In his defensive position was Sgt. "Wagger" Thornton, he had the one remaining operable PIAT and two PIAT rounds. The "Ox and Bucks" held their fire so as to not reveal their positions and luring the leading German MK IV tank into the killing zone. Sgt. Thornton coolly waited until the tank was well within range and fired. The PIAT round struck the front of the tank almost dead centre, penetrated the interior and set off all of the ammunition inside. The German forces withdrew reporting that the British troops had heavy anti-tank guns set up at the bridge. The German tank then sat in the middle of the "T-junction" blocking movement for any heavy vehicles. This prevented the use of this vital road for a German counter attack.

    What if Sergeant Thornton had missed? Surely the superior numbers and armour would have overwhelmed the lightly armed British Airborne forces. The rest of 6th Airborne Division would have been hard pressed to stop a determined German attack, the paratroops were scattered and were just starting to form into effective fighting units. German Colonel Von Luck, commander of the 125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment has stated that if he had use of the "T-junction" and bridges he could have supported the attack on the British beachheads by the 21st Panzer Division. An attack that would have succeeded if the Germans had sufficient troops, which the 125th would have provided.

    Of course if the German 21st Panzer Division had succeeded in penetrating to the British and Canadian beachheads the landing would have become a debacle and likely a second "Dieppe". If the Commonwealth landings had failed we can also argue that the bulk of the German armoured force, which was used to defend the Caen region from the British and Canadians, would have then been free to encircle the American beachheads and similarly annihilate them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    very nice find are you going to square it up(clean it)?

    regards ewan

  8. #8

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Yes, I think a good cleaning and lubrication are called for in this case.

  9. #9

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Quote by coloursergeant View Post
    If anyone has any tips on cleaning the canvas webbing, I'd really like to hear them.

    I'm also looking for an inert PIAT round to display with it if anyone knows where I can find one!

    Coloursergeant
    As your canvass is original, how about just a quick brush, keep it to one side, and buy a nice new repro from these guys.

    The Gunner Index Page

    Cheers, Chris.

  10. #10

    Default Re: PIAT Barn Find!

    Quote by m3bobby View Post
    As your canvass is original, how about just a quick brush, keep it to one side, and buy a nice new repro from these guys.

    The Gunner Index Page

    Cheers, Chris.
    I've got to agree with just a quick brush, I don't think cleaning it would really do it any good. Preservation of what's left is what I'd look for. I just read up on that beast. Apparently it had a range of 100 yards. Could you imagine how spooky it would be to go up against a tank at 100 yards with that thing? Rubber underwear comes to mind.

    Mike

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