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British Batallion Anti-Tank (BAT) guns


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#1 FLOZi

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 05:45 PM

e.g. MOBAT, WOMBAT etc.

Does anybody know much about them? :confused:

#2 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 05:52 PM

The Wombat is a 120mm recoilless rifle. It was roughly the equivalent of the US 105 recoilless of the late 50's and 60's.

#3 FLOZi

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 07:56 PM

That much i already knew ;) MOBAT was the predeccessor to WOMBAT, used in the 50's (towable by the Champ!), again 120mm, you can tell the two apart from the breech, one slides down to relaod and one swings to the side. But I'd really like to know more about the whole series of them and all the dates and such. :(

#4 The_Historian

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 07:58 PM

Flozi,
Think the Wombat was replaced in the late 70s by the Carl Gustav-don't quote me though.

Regards,
Gordon
Regards,

Gordon

#5 FLOZi

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 08:12 PM

WOMBAT was used in the Falklands tongue.gif

And Carl Gustav is man portable whereas WOMBAT is towed, and a heck of a lot better at taking out tanks I should expect, but don't quote me on that either! ;)

What I'm particularly interested in is dates of introduction, armour penetration, range etc., but information on them seems extraordinarily scarce. :(

#6 The_Historian

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 08:34 PM

Should have known that, my mate was in the Falklands with 21(?)ADR !
I'll ask him when he's back on in a wee while. He was REME, so he'll probably have that info.

Regards,
Gordon
Regards,

Gordon

#7 FLOZi

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 10:13 PM

Cheers in advance ;) :D

#8 The_Historian

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 05:16 PM

Flozi,
Sorry, my mate only used Carl Gustavs. Try the military gun and ammunition website.
www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/

Regards,

Gordon

[ 26. March 2004, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: The_Historian ]
Regards,

Gordon

#9 FLOZi

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 10:06 PM

Ah well :( , I've found someone on the net who trained on MOBAT and WOMBAT, so hopefully they will shed some light on things :D

So far I have seen references to four guns in the series:

L1 BAT
L4 MOBAT
L6 WOMBAT
L7 CANBAT (which I have seen mentioned only one with no other details)

The L1 replaced the 17pdr at battalion level in the anti-tank role (Battallion Anti Tank) in the very early 50's (source - http://users.chariot...ill/army1.htm), MOBAT came along a little later and WOMBAT sometime after that, the L4 and L6 both being used in Aden.

i also found out that the MOBAT weighed 1700lb's ( :eek: ), but thats of no use to me

EDIT: actually it seems BAT was Bridage AT, but i knew that WOMBAT was Weapon Of Magnesium Battalion AT, sorry tongue.gif

[ 26. March 2004, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: FLOZi ]

#10 FLOZi

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 01:54 PM

Sorry for the double post but I thought it warranted it:

Posted Image

here's a picture of the L1 BAT, from http://www.spartacus...WWantitank.htm, which suggests it was perhaps around slightly after the end of the war.

I got the reply from the guy I emailed too:

Hello Craig,

It is over 40 years ago since I fired the 120mm Mobat. When you read my memoirs I stated that we were not fully qualified. That is because support company was turned into a rifle company for the duration of our stay in the Cameroons.
When the battalion returned from the Cameroons being National servicemen and only 6 month to demob we were kept in a rifle company for the duration.
I have been looking at an old diary where I kept a few notes.
(a) The 120 mm mobat was no L 6A1 mounted on frameL2A1.
(B) An Hesh Round was used which was painted yellow.

©The Hesh was high explosive weight about 60lb.

(d) The mobat was accurate at 800yards and could put most tanks at that time in the sixties, out of action.

(e) The Mobat weighed 1700 LBS

(f) The eight main parts were

1.Peice
2.Cradle.
3.Saddle.
4.Sighting gear.
5.Breach.
6.LMG or sub calibre attachment.
7.Firing pin.
8.Elevating Gear.

The five good points were

1.Accuracy.
2.Mobility.
3.Flexibiliy.
4.Silouette.
5.Affect on armour.

Bad points were.
1.Back blast.
2.High trajectory.

Once one hit the target with your trace firing LMG you shouted stand by, then fired your mesh round.

While in Support company along with the res of thr platoon we stood by the Parachute regiment at Warcop in Cumbria and watched them firing the Wombat.

On a visit to the regimental museum in Carlisle castle about five years ago I noticed an old Mobat in a corner of the courtyard castle, why don't you make a few enquiries to see if it is still there.

Well Craig that is all I can help you with' I hope it helps with your research.

Best wishes

Alan

I'm beginning to suspect that MOBAT was BAT minus the gunshield and perhaps some other carriage changes (as it has the same breech), and WOMBAT was a new gun made of magnesium (thus being much lighter) for the paras. I saw another site of memoirs with a BAT (and Oxford carrier; what sort of timescale is that?) on so I will perhaps email the writer of that too.

EDIT: The Oxford Carrier was a late 40's design, used through the 50's, but the guy whos site i saw it on (http://homepage.mac..../lightning.html) with a BAT started his two year national service in 1954, so that gives me a good time reference. Seeing that a BAT was towed by an Oxford whereas MOBAT was towed by (or even mounted on) a mere little Champ seems to fit with my idea that it was a lightened BAT, perhaps the MO denotes MObile. smile.gif

[ 27. March 2004, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: FLOZi ]

#11 The_Historian

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 04:35 PM

Flozi,
The two squaddies in the pic appear to be wearing 1949 pattern battledress, which would date the pic somewhere between 1951 and 1964.

Regards,
Gordon
Regards,

Gordon

#12 FLOZi

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 07:22 PM

Cheers :D That seems to fit with what I know

http://www.britains-...galleryBSW.html

According to this WOMBAT replaced MOBAT in July 1964, and I know that the MOBAT was in service at least by 1960 ( http://www.austincha...0-5400/5319.htm )But a four year service life for it looks rather small.

#13 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 11:21 PM

Ok, here is a bit of history on the Wombat et. al.
The origins of British development of recoilless guns started about the middle of WW II under Sir Denis Burney. His designs grew from an original 4 gage shot gun into a 7.2" rifle using his special "wallbuster" shell. This gun was intended for use by field units in demolishing fortifications during the invasion of Europe.
Other recoilless rifles that were under development at that time included a 3.45" shoulder fired model and a 3.7" AT gun on a light wheeled tripod. A number of these weapons were being produced for the invasion of Japan.
Post war, Burney produced a 4.7" recoilless gun on a two wheeled trailer (the gun faced the hitch and a light shield was included) and a similar 7.2" model. The 4.7" gun was adopted by the British Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment in 1946 - 47 as the BAT. The design went through a number of changes that variously resulted in the CONBAT, MOBAT and, finally WOMBAT. Only the WOMBAT was formally adopted for service use that appears to span from about 1950 to about 1990.

#14 FLOZi

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Posted 28 March 2004 - 12:18 AM

Thanks, thats great! :D

MOBAT at least saw active service though, funny that it wasn't formally accepted :confused:

#15 Spud

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 02:25 PM

Wombat, Weapon of Magnesium etc etc.

I served with 2 Para Anti Tank platoon on several occasions and took part in the A/Tank concentration competition in Hohne in `78 (which we won although we were using Conbats at the time.)

The main difference was a very cumbersome carriage which allowed the Conbat to be towed behind a 3/4 ton L/Rover. The Wombat was some 1000 lbs lighter (650 lbs),and therefore could be mounted on a stripped down. Portee LandRover. Obviously, in this configuration, it was far more manoeverable. There was a manually operated winch assembly on the Portee which helped drag the weapon back onboard after firing a dismounted action. Having said that, it could be fired off the back of the landrover when stationary. There were four Ready Use 120mm rounds contained in an assembly behind the driver for this. The Conbat had a true breech loading mechanism. A lever was pulled and the breech dropped down under gravity to allow the round to be loaded. The Wombat on the other hand, simply had a venturi which hinged open to allow loading. Both rounds were fired electrically and not by the use of a firing pin. Each round had a "contact band" around its base. When the spotting rifle achieved a hit, the main trigger (button), was pressed passing an electrical charge from the firing needle assembly to the contact band. This fired the main armament. Because it was electrically operated, people used to get "twitchy", when in close proximity to radio equipment in case there should be a premature, electrically initiated, firing of the round.

The BANG from these buggers going off was awesome to behold.

The round contained 28lbs of HE and could seriouly ruin your day if you were a Tanky!! When you were hit, you stayed hit. A near miss would supposedly kill or concuss the crew of a tank. The range was 2000 mtrs if the strike of the spotting rifle could be seen (because at 2000 mtrs, tracer in the spotting round will have burnt out.)

I heard that an AP round was available but never saw one. Neither did I ever see an Illume round though they did exist.

A real Beast of an Anti Tank weapon which really looked the part when mounted on a Portee Landrover. Limited in range by modern standards, but bloody hell, what a BANG!
Stubbo, Ex 2 Para

#16 TA152

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:33 PM

Welcome to the forums Spud ! That is great information ! Can you tell us more about Iraq please ? The truth is hard to come by this day and age !
I need a bailout of only $500,000

#17 nemesisnow

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:58 AM

This was an open venturi gun that the blast came out the back (you do not stand behind the gun or your dead) armoured and was towed. It weighed about 1 Ton fire a breach loaded 120 mm HEAT shell and others and you tried to a hit tank below the turret. The shell was trajectory one, it travelled in a curve.

You fired two shells and then had to move or your likely to be dead. The armour did not protect you and the MOBAT and COMBAT, also the WOMBAT followed and where lighter. The WOMAT mounted on a Land rover shook the rivets out and the Land rover was changed. The PARA's Sledged them land rover out the back of transport planes such as the Hercules.

You had a 3 or 4 man team to fire the BAT and laid on to the target with range finder device, you dug or blown a gun pit and lay in wait before firing under camouflage, then moved quickly to avoid detection.
Was on a team and fired one with Royal West Kent Regiment in 1965/66
Who's got one of the 4 models and 6 live shells and two practice ones?
I got burnt out by druggies in Hastings.
Ill use it on the ranges or on........... see url

#18 nemesisnow

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 02:59 PM

I have filed details on this site I have fire one on a number of occasions HAVE YOU GOT ONE:--- nemesisnow

#19 ABERDONIAN

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:18 AM

I served as a crew member of both the Wombat and the Conbat for a total of four years The Wombat preceded the Conbat into service as the Wombats chassis was expensive they just converted the Mobats hence the name Conbat Converted Battalion Anti Tank The Wombat weight is 770Kg's it could be operated in either of 4 settings From a gun pit normally as an ambush weapon used in conjunction with other anti armour defence's in that role you would employ Bat simulators they were basically a satchel charge mounted on a short post that would be detonated as the main armament was fired so as to confuse any observers. (also confused a Rupert from the Royal Irish Rangers Who placed one in the Venturi of a Conbat and fired it) 17lbs of PE4 going off 4ft behind him in a 1/4inch steel cone, is not condjucive to longevity as he found out well one hopes he realised what killed him.
The remains of that gun and the one that was fired with a bore scope and bore scope adapter still in the bore, were both at Netheravon Support weapons Wing in 1982 when I did my Detachment Commanders Course.
The second role was a ground action when moving the gun from one point to the next to engadge a target of opertunity. 3. from the top of an FV 432 through the mortar hatch. That was the role where you had multiple positions. 4. and possibly the best role was from the 3/4ton Portee Land Rover which carried 7 rounds hence the name of my gun the Hydra a seven headed beasty three in the ready racks each side and one up the spout. the habit of shaking out the dash board gauges was not caused by the main armament which you could fire with a cup of coffee on the carrige and not spill a drop. it was caused when you fired the spotting rifle which was definatly not recoiless and would rock your world big time.
The war head weight was 13 kgs it was a HESH High Explosive Squash Head, filled with RDX TNT Designed not to penetrate but to pat on the armour and spread out then detonate causeing an equivelant sized piece to detach itself inside the vehicle and begin travelling around the inside of the vehicle at speeds nearing 22,000 ft per second. It was not neccissary to hit the vehicle as the concusion from the round would all but microwave the crew from point of impact out to 625 ft was the deadly zone from the round When engageing targets at 600 you did get incoming so when the DC gave the command "Stand by" you ducked I watched a HESH round pick up a concrete filled sherman and throw it over a wood line. The venturi had Its own danger area it would kill out to 275 ft and beyond that you had to be in armour.
I watched the fire power demo on salisbury plain which included all but a full battle group fireing and air support obviously there was no return fire which would have made it a tad more hectic and of the hundered or so people who were watching all trained soldiers from all ranks and experience not one person saw any of the 8 WOMBAT/CONBAT's that fired which proved to me that anyone who has the time on a modern field of battle to look for muzzle flash or backblast is watching a film and still proberbly had to rewind to confirm what he saw it was a dam fine weapon used to great effect by Israel in the 6 day war and helped them captue a lot of egyptian tanks as the crew would bail after the spotter tracer hit they knew what was next on the menu By the way the tracer keeps on for in eccess of 2000 and even when that fails you have the Zarconium tip that gives a very distinctive flash and white burst on impact. Cpl Dick Richards knocked the Turrect off of an advancing T34 with a practise round when the Cypriot army tried to take The mount Troudos early warning site back in the troubles there.
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