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Light Anti-Tank Weapons

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank
Carl Gustav


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Anti-Tank Guns

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3.7-inch Gun


Hand Grenades
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Small Arms & Light Weapons

.303 Mk VII
7.62mm NATO
Pistol Ammunition
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106mm Ammunition
Armour Piercing
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AP Discarding Sabot
High Explosive Anti-Tank
High Explosive, Squash Head


Fixed ammunition
Proximity Fuze

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle

The Rifle, Anti-Tank, .55in, Boys was also commonly (and mistakenly) referred to by the name "Boyes". This British-designed anti-tank weapon was issued to the Canadian Army early in the Second World War.

There were two main types, an early model (Mk I) which had a circular muzzle brake and T shaped bipod, and a later model (Mk II) that had a square muzzle brake and a V shaped bipod. There were also different cartridges providing differing degrees of success in penetrating armour.


The weapon was essentially an oversized bolt action rifle with a five round magazine. The rifle was stabilized by a bipod and had a separate grip attached to the padded butt. In order to combat the recoil caused by the large 0.55 inch round, the barrel was mounted on a slide, and a shock absorber was fitted to the bipod along with a muzzle brake on the barrel.

The weapon was effective to about 300 yards as an anti-tank and anti-vehicle weapon.

There were two main service loads used during the Second World War, the W Mark 1 (60 g AP at 747 m/s) and the W Mark 2 ammunition (47.6 g AP projectile at 884 m/s). Later in the conflict, but too late for service use, a much more effective high velocity round was developed, this fired a tungsten cored Armour Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR) design at 945 m/s. The W Mark 2 projectile was able to penetrate up to 3/4 inch (20 mm) of armour at 100 yards (~91 m). The armour plate inclined at 70 from the horizontal ie 20 degrees from the direct line angle of fire - the effective thickness being ~21.5 mm.

Its effective range against unarmoured targets (e.g. infantry), was much further. Although useful against the early tanks, the increases in vehicle armour left it largely ineffective for anti-tank duties fairly early in the war. It still saw some use against bunkers, machine gun nests, and lightly armoured or unarmoured vehicles.


The weapon was issued one per Infantry Platoon until 1943 when it was replaced by the Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank. The weapons were reportedly used in small numbers afterwards, for example in the urban fighting at Ortona where they were used to blow locks off of doors.

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle on display at The Military Museums in Calgary,
photographed Sep 2006.

Firing position, demonstrated in a pre-war British Army photo. IWM Photo.

Soldier of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada with a Boys ATR on an exercise,
Bognor Regis, UK, 7 Apr 1942. PAC Photo.

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