Warfare History Network
Did stop those tanks in their tracks?
In addition to the Universal Carrier, the Boys antitank rifle was also frequently used to supplement the machine-gun armament of numerous other light armored vehicles. These included the Morris CS9 Light Armored Car and Morris Light Reconnaissance Car, the Lanchester 4×2 and 6×4 armored cars, the Humber Light Reconnaissance Car, and the World War I-vintage Rolls Royce Armored Cars. As the war progressed, some attempts were made to improve the Boys. The Mark 2 was a shortened, lightweight version intended for use with airborne troops, but it was just as ballistically ineffective as its predecessors, and the recoil was even more brutal than the full-size model. A taper (or squeeze) bore barrel was tried to increase muzzle velocity in the same manner that the Littlejohn Adapter tried to extend the useful life of the 2-pounder gun, and experiments were also conducted with the .55-caliber cartridge casing necked down to fire a .303 bullet at extremely high velocity. However, by that time the Boys was already being retired.
When the first tanks appeared in World War I, they were relatively lightly armored and protected the crews only against small-arms fire. In addition, much of the armor was riveted. Projectiles striking the exterior of the armor could pop off rivet heads or flake armor from the internal surfaces, creating fragments that would fly around the vehicle interior, causing injuries or death. In fact, British tank crews had to wear protective goggles and chain-mail masks to guard against fragments made by bullets striking close to their open vision slits.
The Imperial German Army’s first attempt to give the infantry a man-portable antitank weapon resulted in the company Waffenfabrik Mauser AG creating and manufacturing the first antitank rifle in 1917. This was the Mauser Tank-Gewehr Model 1918, essentially a standard Mauser bolt-action rifle on steroids, firing a huge 13.2mm round and equipped with a bipod. A very unpleasant brute to fire, the T-Gewehr’s most impressive feat was that it was being fielded to frontline infantry within nine months of the tank’s first appearance on the battlefield.
Setting the Stage for the Boys ATR
The National Interest
1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)