PIATing around Holland with the lads, 75 Years ago today

An eight-man fighting patrol of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI), Elst, Gelderland, 2 March 1945.

Photograph B 15008 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

They are well-armed with Lee–Enfield No. 4 Mk I .303 rifles, a beautiful Mk.I/II Bren gun with its distinctive champaign flute muzzle cone, STEN MkII submachine guns, and a PIAT tank zapper. Notably, all of the above were adopted after 1938.

The 83mm PIAT first saw service in 1943 during the Allied invasion of Sicily, and, while it looks light, weighed 32-pounds, unloaded. Nonetheless, it was considered “outstandingly effective” and remained in service through the 1950s, even seeing secondary use by Israel in Palestine and the French in Indochina.

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