Stop that Tank

From Forgotten Weapons

During World War II, the Disney company joined in the Allied war effort by producing animated movie material at cost for the US government (they also created insignia mascots for hundreds of aircraft and warships by request). These films number well over one hundred – although most are only partially created by Disney – and cover topics from antenna tuning to Beechcraft airplane maintenance to anti-German and Japanese propaganda. However, one piece in particular is of interest to us here at Forgotten Weapons: Stop That Tank!

Produced in 1942 for the Canadian military, it is a training film on the operation and maintenance of the Boys anti-tank rifle. The Disney contribution is in animated x-ray views of the various parts of the gun, and about 3 minutes of introduction featuring a section of Nazi tanks (the lead one driven by none other than Adolf Hitler) being surprised and driven back by a bunch of plucky doughboys hiding Boys AT rifles in bushes, outhouses, and horses.

The intro is pretty hilarious, but the meat of the film is actually a very informative piece on how the Boys works and how to use it. There are a couple copies of this already on YouTube, but thanks to reader Frank, we have this nice high-quality version.

And the modern remake!



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March 1, 2014 6:18 am

Armor has now vastly exceeded the capabilities of AT Rifles to frontal slope or even lateral array deal with in realistic human recoil load states but it is worth noting that you get five shots out of the Boys for the same weight as 2.25 AT-4s (14.5lbs, 40″) or 1.5 LAW-80 (22lbs, 59″) with roughly the same stock and receiver length (the 36″ barrel is the key driver on 62″ Boys man carry, not the 36lb weight).

AT-4 Wiki

LAW-80 Wiki

Boys Wiki

What I would like to see is a telescoping barrel jacket and a self stabilizing power mount (Lazy Susan with motor) which could be used via remote (IPhone screen) controls.

What this buys you:

1. Recoil is mount centric rather than shoulder transfer driven = no stock = shorter ordnance = much steadier CG with low teeter effect (end to end displacement).

2. Baseplate drives optioning for steady-mount and thus much larger caliber rounds, 25-30mm = potential for guided munitions and/or terminal energy improvements via secondary boost to round kinematics.

3. Possible Switch To Smooth Bore = Rocket Propulsion = Much Higher MV.

4. Shooter Off Weapon = Lower silhouette = Less vulnerability to the new generation ‘Smart Scope’ systems like the Tracking Point which have the potential to improve threat sniper performance to the level where a 13 year old girl can hit a 3″ witness plate at 500m and a 4ft silhouette target at 1,000 _never having shot before_.

Remote, Low Profile, Mounts = Much Better Urban Operations from rooftops and also desert/mountain conditions where skylining the shooter is a bad idea. May also improve AT options in look down if you can rig a fast jack tripod that swings up to a 30-40` depression angle from a flat roof mount.

If we are serious about dumping heavy armor as expeditionary maneuver enablers we may need to consider options for friendly infantry vehicle and massed threat engagement which are much farther reaching and harder hitting from low mobility insertion conditions or from small vehicle platforms ranging from Gator to MULE to JLTV.

If you can score a SLAP hit on a GPS, several track block, tires or even a main tube from over 500m, you can mobility or mission kill an AFV. The only question then becomes getting the ordnance, not the shooter into proximity from which a potential trade is still leveraged towards the friendly team.

If someone is trying to do the same to you, you need to be able to designate targets that are less than a foot across for _multiple engagement_, from hard lookup angles that maximize your full-body exposure.

Tracking Point Series On YT

The Reality Of Loophole Fighting In Syria

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 1, 2014 11:01 am

I’ve read that Croatian forces defeated Serbian tanks by targeting their thermal (?) sights during (or just before) night time attacks. However, they were using 20mm AMR’s; would a 12.7-14.5mm be able to do the same?

John Hartley
John Hartley
March 3, 2014 6:58 pm

WW2 British bombers were undergunned with .303, so Rolls Royce developed a machinegun firing the .55 Boys round. Shame it never made it into production. Would have given Luftwaffe fighters a nasty shock. A .55 Boys machine gun mounted on a modern armoured car would still be quite useful today.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 4, 2014 7:37 am

Wasn’t that the thinking behind the 14.5mm HMG?

March 5, 2014 3:56 am

British bombers needed to be Mosquitoes with aluminum fuselages and big belly bays and three stage Merlins driving four blade props. With Oboe and Gee you could drop single cookies from a Mossie that would do more good than a formation of heavies.

It would have also helped escorts who could have maintained a better cruise speed and thus stayed with the formations longer instead of criss-crossing (I’m sure it would have extended/rendered impossible the intercept phase for the Nachtjagfliegerkorps too, making it easier to pick off the wolves howling to the rear…).

As an alternative to this, earlier incorporation of LLTV instead of Monica would have been helpful, as would a retractable belly turret or at least observation position.

There is absolutely no excuse for the success of the Schrage Musik attack tactic but that the blind rat being bitten by the blind adder, from the back, in the midst of it’s zero-energy = no escape tunnel. And no, a Corkscrew doesn’t count because of the altitude loss.

The only thing that saved RAF-BC from an even worse savaging, especially early in the war before 100Grp and the Flowers started doing their thing, was Hitler’s obstinate refusal to employ long range Zamme Sau (sp.) to kill the RAF formations over the North Sea, before they had burned off enough fuel to fly up to a cruise height where the Lancs and Hampdens could make some speed.

I mean, it’s called ‘Anglande Blitze’ for a reason, no?

Lastly, I will never understand why the British refused to released Mk.X over the Continent when H2S/H2X had been flying, with essentially the same Cavity Magnetron technology (all but indestructible machined bronze block that it was) since what, 1942? Silly.

Imagine how much shorter the war would have been if everything from the Hamburg to Chastise had happened one year sooner on the power of 2-engine economies of scale and 350mph cross-target speeds.

March 5, 2014 6:14 am

M&S, go work for the DoD if you have all the answers. Or did the “lesser mortals” punt you out from the recruitment office?

Quit whining about everything, you DO NOT have all the answers and hearing you go on and on about bullshit and classified stuff which I severely doubt you EVER had access to really makes people want to slap you one (the round or the palm either one). Prove to us that you are qualified to talk about these topics, post an abridged CV if you can. Otherwise, you are just an annoying fanboy wannabe. I got nothing against fans, but at least they know sometimes there are background factors that make their suggestions practical (and sometimes, they really come up with good ones). You on the other hand, think you know everything and everyone else knows nothing. Do you have ANY practical experience with anything you talk about?

Seriously. Whining brat. I’m half expecting him to complain that the sea is wet very soon.

March 5, 2014 10:09 am


Is that a red cape I see poking from beneath your jumper or are you just happy to see me?

In any case, as I was responding to another’s post, it appears that if anyone is suffering from delusions of grandeur or persecution here, it is you. First for believing that the world needs your defense and second in thinking you own the product of all the actions of WWII that you might vet those who comment upon them.

Should Mr. Hartley feel I have offended him, he may command my apologies, with a reason.

You sir may not, as you are just a common net stalker, forum hopping after me like some OCD psychotic.

I have previously asked that you not interpret for me on this forum. With your threats of violence, I now expand that request to not replying to me at all.

Thank You.

dave haine
dave haine
March 5, 2014 10:55 am


The mosquito airframe construction was a multi-layered laminate, using composite materials. It was also truly monocoque, as the fuselage skin carried all the structural loading (there being no frames inside). It was also pre-fabricated in so much as the wiring and control runs were all installed before the fuselage halves were combined. The wing (I use that word deliberately, because the entire flying surface was made in one piece) was also constructed using multi-layer, laminate components, with all internal components installed before final assembly. The aircraft was assembled by lowering the fuselage onto the completed wing and bolting it together.

There were no solid wood parts in the aircraft, any structural reinforcement being by replacing the balsa core with a stronger wood laminate. The most telling figure, is that the total weight of all the metal parts used in the construction of the airframe and load bearing parts was 130kg. (Out of a total empty weight of just over 6000kg)

So no aluminium fuselage. And to be frank….it would not have been as light, nor as strong, if it had been made out of metal. And that gives the reason why it was made in the innovative way that it was- it wasn’t to save metal, it was because the designer, wanted the lightest and strongest structure possible.

You might also note that the Mosquito was the first truly Multi-Role, Combat Aircraft encompassing strike, interceptor, interdictor and recce roles, as well as being used as a very fast transport aircraft.

….And if ‘Hap’ Arnold had had his way, the USAAF would have operated them instead of the P38 Lightning…

March 5, 2014 11:59 am
Reply to  dave haine


I am aware of how the Mosquito was constructed which is in fact why I delineated the need to make it from metal. You constructed some 7,781 of these aircraft compared to 6,177 Halifax and 7,377 Lancasters, and some 11,461 Wellingtons. Even the Beaufighter came up to 5,928 examples.

And the Mosquito was built world wide.

That indicates to me that it’s manufacture is no amenable to mass production techniques, most likely as a result of the drying time of the glue and the need for precise fitting of the panels over the formers, very ‘craftsman intensive’.

Yet if you look at this video-

(Time Index 0:58)

You see what looks suspiciously like a fuselage frame. The ability to fit the fuselage together as a ‘true monocoque stressed skin design’, by halves, doesn’t preclude it from being built of aluminum with stringers and frames as such were used in the many other, nominally monocoque, types.

Nor does the design of the wing skins necessarily require them to be wood. The Hornet used Alclad skins on the lower side as I recall in one of the first aluminum honeycomb applications.

There is no reason to assume that mass production techniques would have greatly effected Mosquito performance, with your own example of the Lightning standing in as being largely similar in both weight and specifications (the Lightning has greater span, ‘twice the fuselage’ and yet weighs 1,000lbs less, empty or MTOGW).

Mosquito B.XVI
General characteristics
Crew: 2: pilot, bombardier/navigator
Length: 44 ft 6 in (13.57 m)
Wingspan: 54 ft 2 in (16.52 m)
Height: 17 ft 5 in (5.3 m)
Wing area: 454 ft2 (42.18 m2)
Empty weight: 14,300 lb (6,490 kg)
Loaded weight: 18,100 lb (8,210 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 25,000 lb (11,000 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Merlin 76/77 (left/right) liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,710 hp (1,280 kW) each

Maximum speed: 361 kn (415 mph (668 km/h)) at 28,000 ft (8,500 m)
Range: 1,300 nmi (1,500 mi (2,400 km))with full weapons load
Service ceiling: 37,000 ft (11,000 m)
Rate of climb: 2,850 ft/min (14.5 m/s)
Wing loading: 39.9 lb/ft2 (195 kg/m2)
Power/mass: 0.189 hp/lb (311 W/kg)

Lightning P-38L
General characteristics
##Crew: One
##Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m) (11.53 m)
##Wingspan: 52 ft 0 in (15.85 m) (15.85 m)
##Height: 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m) (3.91 m)
##Wing area: 327.5 ft² (30.43 m²)
##Airfoil: NACA 23016 / NACA 4412
##Empty weight: 12,800 lb[119] (5,800 kg)
##Loaded weight: 17,500 lb[119] (7,940 kg)
##Max. takeoff weight: 21,600 lb (9,798 kg)
##Powerplant: 2 × Allison V-1710-111/113 V-12 piston engine, 1,600 hp (1,193 kW) WEP at 60 inHg, 3,000rpm [120] each
##Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0268[119]
##Drag area: 8.78 ft² (0.82 m²)[119]
##Aspect ratio: 8.26[119]

##Maximum speed: 414 mph (667 km/h) on Military Power: 1,425 hp at 54 inHg, 3,000rpm at 25,000 ft (7,620 m)[N 7][citation needed]
##Stall speed: 105 mph (169 km/h) (170 km/h)
##Range: 1,300 mi (2,100 km) combat (1,770 km / 3,640 km)
##Service ceiling: 44,000 ft (13,000 m) (13,400 m)
##Rate of climb: 4,750 ft/min (24.1 m/s) maximum
##Wing loading: 53.4 lb/ft²[119] (260.9 kg/m²)
##Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (0.27 kW/kg)

##Lift-to-drag ratio: 13.5

People often assert that the worst losses of the war were in the U-Boats but if you look at the Allied airforces, the combined losses dwarf those of the subs. Refusal to see the obvious as a Lanchestrian model that requires forces to be juxtaposed in proximity to create streaming attrition. Acquisition and Intercept remains the predominant force modifier in all Air Combat statistical models, to this day.

Rendering a bomber with cruise speeds on the order of a day RVD interceptor, pre-MW-50/GM-1, would take out 90% of the twin engine interceptors (Excluding the late war jets, I’m not sure about the Ta-154 but even the He-219 would have a problem) thus makes the entire functional model of the Nachtjagdwaffen’s GCI steer into the bomber streams (after which the twins would ‘work their way up the column’) worthless as simple flights of four aircraft could saturate the Himmelbett system with ease.

Why is this important?

1. SAMs.
It was a bloody miracle that the Germans didn’t field them in numbers sooner than the last major raid on Berlin.
2. Proximity Fuses.
Far more critical that radar, the backwards wave oscillators were what gave Allied flak the hitting power to knock down individual Me-109s making ‘Channel Reconnaissance’ over their captured islands. Had they shown up in Germany through home development or espionage, they would have likely spelt the end of mass bomber raids, all on their own.
3. Berlin/Hamburg CMW AI and Active-IR sets.
Though not as important as the other two, these would have nonetheless given Luftwaffe aircraft roughly twice the acquisition range (6-8 vs. 3nm) and been far more directional and thus harder to home onto.
4. Nuclear Weapons.

The Mosquito would have had a backup answer to the first three technical innovations in the lolo profile for which it was already famous and a partial reply to the fourth simply by the ability to split the force into much smaller packages and so rapidly take down German capacity through multiple point strikes in the shortest timeline possible.

Despite the obvious efforts of 617 squadron and others, the four engine bombers were not meant for the low level mission and would have suffered horrific attrition trying it, just on ingress.

If you want to stop the war in six months, destroying Germany’s industrial manufacturing is not the way to do it. Nor is ‘dehousing’ as deliberate incendiary targeting of civilians.

Instead, you have to take out the bridges and the rolling stock and the canal traffic. You have to obliterate the fuel storage and refinement industry. And most importantly, you have to take out electrical generation/rectification/transmission facilities. All of which qualify as dispersed point targets which can be struck multiple ways, from low level, with too much dispersion to be individually covered by AAA.

Which again points to an Intruder mission set and skip bombing. Not a high level laydown approach.

March 6, 2014 9:18 am

@ M&S

Others believe you are spouting garbage, Me I don’t know your posts are such a wall of incomprehensible text, jargons and Acronyms that I cannot work out what if any point you are making.

Although I can see you missed the point about strategic v tactical bombers for levelling cities.

Please break down your posts into something legible to mere mortals or failing that send the key setting, because it looks like your post is encrypted

March 6, 2014 9:28 am

But Lindermyer it can’t have been easy to get this far

March 6, 2014 2:01 pm

Swim Trunks,

Sorry I missed your response.

Comparisons are hard here because the prewar 20mm was based on a 110mm case length while postwar, we standardized on 102mm through the M50 series. The difference being compensated for by MUCH higher energy propellant as roughly 1,000ft/sec difference in MV.

This issue is further complicated by the fact that, while there are nominally 20mm APDS rounds out there (Mk149 and 244, for the Phalanx) these are more typically classified as ‘KE’ munitions in the truest sense.

Which is to say a difference (PGU-28 SAPHEI vs. Mk.244 ELC) of an average 580 vs. 810 grains of powder to push a 1,500 vs. 1,900 grain projectile downrange at at 3,300 vs. roughly 3,600fps.

In this application (shooting down incoming AShM) you are looking at a either a wardet or stripped skin aerodynamic kill on a missile where combined kineticism is up to a couple megajoules of impact energy from a single hit: ‘bullet to bullet’ and the missile just folds up.

Thus AP effect is not important vs. the typical soft target classes of boats and missiles and max range plus flatness of trajectory count more (the subcaliber projectile is actually flat-faced to maximize energy coupling at impact).

PELE and some of the other adaptive unitary (post penetration fragmenting/incendiary) rounds listed in the last LINK above come closer to being type for type equivalents to say the Raufoss round but here the issue here is expected engagement ranges from an airborne platform which only begin at about 1,000m where approximately 9mm of armor penetration is listed.

Bluntly, the 20mm is not considered an armor defeating weapon in our inventory and prewar rounds, by virtue of their 2,300-2,500fps MV, are especially unlikely to be so rated. Indeed, I would bet that that Hispano cartridge is used in the Soviet rifles for the simple reason that they don’t break the gunner’s shoulder as Mk244 almost certainly would.

That said, there are explicit figures for the Mk211 and M903/962 SLAPs which come to roughly

34mm (RHA @500m and 0`)
19mm (HHA @1,500m and ?`)

From above LINK-

The SLAP round is now being developed by Winchester as they recently scored a $43 million contract.

Unfortunately, it does not fire accurately through bolt-action sniper rifles and is prohibited from being fired through the M107.

“The downside is that the SLAP round is not compatible with some rifles because its greater length will not allow it to chamber or can cause damage to the throat. I’ve also heard stories of plastic sabot bits gumming up muzzle brakes or being blown back on spotters. The bottom line: before firing SLAP ammo in your rifle, know for certain that it fits your chamber and is not a hazard to fire.” – The Ultimate Sniper.

50mm (unspecified)

11mm (RHA @ 1,000m and 45`)

From the above LINK-

The round combines armor-piercing, explosive, and incendiary effects and uses a highly effective pyrotechnically initiated fuze that delays detonation of the main projectile charge until after initial target penetration-moving projectile fragmentation and damage effect inside the target for maximum anti-personnel and fire start effect. While the round can be used in sniper rifles similar to the Barrett M82A1/XM107, it has the equivalent firing power of a 20 mm projectile to include such targets as helicopters, aircraft, light armour vehicles, ships and light fortifications, and can ignite JP4 and JP8 military jet fuel.

If I had to make a general assumption it would be this: Irrespective of weapon, against raised GPS boxes on the likes of the M1 and M2, you could expect overmatch out to 500m on the Mk211 and 700m on the M903, if you could get graze. Beyond this, you are almost certainly looking at shock effects on the electronics.

It must also be added here that projectile velocity spread is critical, as is penetrator type. Which is to say that if you have a high velocity tungsten carbide or steel penetrator which is brittle scale vulnerable to breakup, a simple facing plate of 10mm Armox 600 HHA, rivet fitted over the box, will suffice to frangate or deflect the round as simple angling of the plate to anything up to 60` (teepee effect) is going to either cause tipping or a massive torsional sheer force on penetration.

If you are looking for something, say in a larger caliber, with a shaped DU penetrator (many options in 25mm or above) which works by sectional density deformation of the impact site, you want a Titanium Aluminide soft plate which is going to work by sacrificial erosion of the penetrator tip at the strike face.

Put a Dyneema or similar (ceramic composite spall liner) ‘cushion’ behind either and it’s unlikely that you wouldn’t do more than scratch the metal of the sight housing.

The alternative of course is to go the way the Leopard 2 did and depress the GPS behind a primary armor face and thus restrict vulnerability sectors to the forward arc. This is likely the point where you would be using a Boomerang cued auto-RWS slew to provide rapid reaction suppression fire as is shown here-

Aselsan Leopard 2A4 Upgrade (Time Index 6:20)

Note that, because of the updates to the fire control, effectively you have two sightline apertures for the main tube and for the RWS.

I truly believe that RWS are only the first step towards full automation and that most of what you see on tanks will find better application on lighter vehicles like these-

(Time Index 0:54)

Or as part of drop and go automounts (aka ‘Sentry Guns’) which are controlled remotely.

Sighting these in overwatch on a tight terrain choke as TCP would allow the best use of snipers for anti-armor work in MOUT. While the use of vehicles would be more common to open terrain with some dead ground in which to perhaps use an ELKE type mechanism to elevate their light mounts. While the principle role of such weapons would be harrassment and sniping of forces dismounting for an evening in laager, the association of armor with troops would almost assuredly require the first-suppression of their longer ranging weapons if there was to be prolonged fight.

Of course UGCVs have to learn to play trunk to tail elephant games in general path navigation along with more dynamic force movements relative to tactical dispostions but there is nothing which says a human couldn’t intervene on their part in designating routes and rally points prior to an extended engagement (think Fedayin).

Interesting short history on Russian Snipers-