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Defeating the Panzer-Stuka Menace (Hardback)

British Spigot Weapons of the Second World War

WWII Aviation Frontline Books Aviation in WWII Frontline: WWII

By David James Lister
Frontline Books
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 60 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526787156
Published: 23rd July 2021



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Weapons of myth and scandal, that is the best way to describe the spigot weapons deployed by the British in the Second World War.

Unlike conventional mortars, a spigot mortar does not have a barrel through with the round is fired. Instead, the general concept involves a steel rod – the ‘spigot’ – onto which the bomb is placed before it is fired. This design was, as David Lister reveals, the basis of a number of successful weapons used during the Second World War.

The myth of the PIAT man-portable anti-tank weapon is, for example, tied closely to British paratroopers struggling in the ruins of Arnhem with an inadequate design, one inferior to the German equivalent. Similarly, the myth of the Blacker Bombard is of a useless weapon, one of dubious quality, that was dumped on the unsuspecting Home Guard.

In reality, neither scenario is the case. Both weapons were devastating creations of war, often superior to any other nation’s counterpart.

At sea, the Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon was another powerful spigot weapon. It was undoubtedly capable of sweeping the U-boats from the sea and even winning the Battle of the Atlantic before it had really begun. That it did not is one of the great scandals of the Second World War, one hidden by wartime secrecy until now.

In Defeating the Panzer-Stuka Menace the author explores a large number of spigot weapons from the Second World War, many of which were created by the fertile mind of one of Britain’s great weapon inventors, Latham Valentine Stewart Blacker.

So if you want an excellent read that will tell you all about how we could have won the Battle of the Atlantic a year or two earlier, why the RAC love HESH and how maverick British inventors almost always have to find a way through stifling bureaucracy in order to just 'get things done' then buy this book.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

I'd heartily recommend it if you're interested in Second War weaponry, Tanks, or even the Bureaucratic nightmare that still lies beneath defence procurement. (The fiefdoms, personalities & organisations that battled for control of 'unusual' weapons well-covered).
Too easy to make this sort of book dull, or just revolve around an author's very narrow field of view, but he manages to avoid all that & present an engaging, serious, entertaining, readable tome, packed with detail but also skipping along very well as an actual piece of literature.
just get it. It's good.

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WW2 Talk

The Bombard, Hedgehog and PIAT may well be famous, but this outstanding book describes how they were developed and this angle concentrating on the development cycle is often missing. In addition, numerous “unheard of” spigot designs were developed, and the author presents a splendid account of their histories. Even if you are just interested in the famous designs then this book will spoil you but if your interest is spigot weapons then you definitely must get a copy of this tome.

Dr Stuart C Blank, Military Archive Research

About David James Lister

DAVID LISTER’s first experience with military history, and in particular armoured fighting vehicles, occurred at the age of 16 when he worked in a local museum. A few years later he started working with computer game developers as a historical consultant. Throughout this time, he visited numerous archives across the country and contributed articles to numerous websites. As well as being the author of two books on tanks, David has also been regularly published in History of War magazine and Tracklink, the magazine of the Bovington Tank Museum.

Perfect Partner

The Dark Age of Tanks Britain's Lost Armour, 1945–1970 (Hardback)

In the thirty years after the Second World War, the British army entered a period of intense technological development. Due to the lack of surviving documentation, this period is almost a second Dark Age. What survives shows the British Army’s struggle to use cutting edge technology to create weapons that could crush the Soviet Union's armed forces, all the while fighting against the demands of Her Majesty's Treasury. On this journey, the Army entertained ideas such as micro-tanks of about 20 tons in weight with two-man crews, massive 183mm anti-tank guns, devastating rocket artillery, colossal…

By David James Lister

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