Defeating the Panzer-Stuka Menace (Hardback)
British Spigot Weapons of the Second World War
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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.
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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