Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Improvised Defense: UK Arms Ingenuity Pt.2

The Northover Projector was a classic improvised 'pipe gun' pieced together British weapon of World War II. Facing possible invasion by the forces of Hitler's Germany and no spectrum of anti-tank weapons ready for territorial defense, ingenuity became the weapon's designer's best friend.


With the Northover Projector they turned a simple piece of pipe into an effective bottle mortar. Cheap and easy to make, the Northover Projector could be cobbled together for 10 £ in 1940 money. Eighteen thousand projectors were produced by 1943.


Reasonably accurate to about 100 yards, aiming was achieved by a simple post front sight and a stepped peep at the rear.


The Northover Projector was simply a steel tube clamped on a mount, with a swinging breach-block at the rear. Firing the weapon was achieved by long bar trigger at the rear which projected out. Pulling up on the lever released an external hammer that struck a primer, igniting a propellant charge inside the breach.


Three different projectiles were launched from the pipe gun, both anti-personnel and anti-tank grenades; as well as a simple glass bottle.


The glass bottle, weighing about 1.5 pounds fully loaded, was an anti-personnel incendiary device. The bottle held about a half a pint of liquid, a combination of rubber, phosphorous and either naphtha or benzine. When sealed the rubber piece dissolves and the phosphorous and benzine/naphtha separate.


Loaded into the tube and launched by the propellant charge, the bottle bomb would shatter on impact with a hard surface. The phosphorous ignites upon contact with the air, with a follow on ignition of the naphtha or benzine. The addition of the dissolved rubber meant the flaming liquid would adhere to any surface it contacted.


Twenty-four bottle bombs were loaded into a beer bottle carrying case. Delicate was the word when handling these volatile, air ignited bottle bombs, with some known to erupt itno flame before leaving the muzzle of this simple last-ditch weapon.



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