The Blacker Bombard Spigot Mortar Was ‘Fearsome’

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The Blacker Bombard Spigot Mortar Was ‘Fearsome’ The Blacker Bombard Spigot Mortar Was ‘Fearsome’
In the early years of World War II with a German invasion seemingly imminent, the British army scrambled to equip Home Guard units with... The Blacker Bombard Spigot Mortar Was ‘Fearsome’

In the early years of World War II with a German invasion seemingly imminent, the British army scrambled to equip Home Guard units with defensive weapons.

Some of these weapons were … less than ideal. Case in point, the Blacker Bombard, a spigot-launched mortar. “A fearful homemade weapon,” is how Thomas Roome, who during the war was a member of the Home Guard, described the weapon.

Developed by Col. Stewart Blacker as an anti-tank weapon, the Blacker Bombard lacked the tube that characterized conventional mortars. Instead, the Bombard featured a steel rod — the spigot — that fit to a base plate. The bomb itself included a propellant charge in its tail.

Above — men of the Saxmundham Home Guard prepare to fire a Blacker Bombard during training with War Office instructors in July 1941. Photo via Wikipedia. At top — Blacker Bombard in a prepared defensive position. Source

To fire the weapon, the crew pushed a bomb down onto the spigot, which exploded the propellant charge and projected the bomb into the air. “When we had a misfire, which we not infrequently did, it was pivoted ’round towards me, as the number two, to take it [the mortar round] off,” Roome told the Imperial War Museum.

The Bombard was a Home Guard weapon. The regular British Army deployed only a few of the unwieldy devices for the defense of coastal gun batteries. The principle behind the Blacker Bombard inspired the designers of the much more successful PIAT.

This story originally appeared at Historical Firearms.

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