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55 BOYS ANTI TANK RIFLE

  

  

The 55 Boys designed by Captain H. C Boys during the mid-1930s as an infantry anti-tank rifle, which at that time was still relatively lightly armored. Designated “Rifle, Anti-Tank, .55in, Boys” for the Ordnance and “elephant gun” by the soldiers it was probably one of the most common allied anti-tank rifles during WW2. It was adopted for service in 1937. Despite rapid advances in tank armor during the early stages of the war, the Boys stayed in service for the duration of the war.

The rifle was of bolt action design with a 5 shot magazine and although a cumbersome rifle at around 16kg, it could be operated by one man for easy deployment inside infantry squads together with machine guns which needed a three-man crew. It was most effective at short range and able to penetrate almost 1 inch of light armor at 100 yards and about 18mm at 500 yards and had an average rate of fire of around 10 rounds/minute, which made it an effective weapon against light skinned, small armoured vehicles and troop carriers. It was usually not necessary for a soldier to brush his teeth before firing the gun as the recoil tended to remove even the most stubborn plaque, especially when shooting from a prone position.