Botes Anti-Tank Rifle

Length, 63.5”, weight 36lbs, muzzle velocity 3,250 feet per second. It is a British complaint to moan about anything we have ever had and the Boys rifle is the perfect example. This was the soldiers dream before W.W.2, because it was a shoulder fired rifle that could stop a tank. When to everyone’s surprise, the Germans seemed to be re-arming in the 1930’s the need for a rifle capable of stopping a tank became somewhat urgent. For security reasons, this rifle was code named, the “Stanchion” and was capable of penetrating 25mm of armour plate. The first few were in the hands of the infantry in 1937, but tank design had advanced very quickly and it became clear that the Boys rifle lacked tank stopping ability by the time war broke out.

The Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) replaced the Boys after 1942, a green painted open trough affair with a spring rather like the suspension spring on a car that re-arranged the shoulders of soldiers but certainly did sterling work. So, was this the end of the Boys? In theory, yes, in practice, no. There are some splendid photographs taken of British Commandos at the end of the war, one of them holding a Boys rifle. In 1945 when 3 years of supposed obsolescence would have swept the thing into the scrap bin, there were these incredible troops posing with this rifle. The commando’s had quite a respect for this hard kicking thing. Why? According to research with former Commando’s the Boys was brilliant for blowing holes in walls without planning permission. So, the .55” Boys lasted quite well.

During 1943, there was a thought to introduce a short barrelled version of the Boys for use by the Airborne troops. The Muzzle blast from the standard arm is bad enough, shorten the barrel and the resulting blast would destroy any ear drum!! But it was a very useful rifle.

Kynoch, who seemed to be the sole manufacture of .55” armour piercing ammunition for this weapon ended production sometime in 1943.