Maybe of interest: Spigot books and talks!

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Listy, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Note: I cleared this with von Poop before posting, and he said it was Ok.

    As some of you may know I write books. Well, coming out late may next year is my next book. It covers British Spigot weapons of the Second World War (although there are mentions for other nations). Here's the cover:

    I've been working on this since 2013, so it has been a long road! However, just after release is the War & Peace 2021 show. They've invited me along to give a talk and hold a book signing event. The details, as I know them are here:
    War & Peace show - Talks and book signing

    I can only afford to get two days down there to give talks, so I've elected to take the Friday and Saturday. My plans at present are for the Friday talk to mostly cover the Bombard, and maybe touch on the Hedgehog Hedgehog. The Saturday will cover the PIAT family.

    This will be the first time I've ever stood up and given a talk, so at the very least you'll get a chance to laugh as I cock it up.

    After the talk there's a Q&A, followed by the book signing. If there's too many people to deal with questions wise, or if people want a chat, I'll likely do an unofficial chat somewhere immediately afterwards, but of course that all depends on numbers.

    Here's a list of which spigot weapons I can remember I've included in the book:
    • Blacker 1934 patent, grenade launcher
    • Col Blackers No8 “Arbalest” bomb thrower
    • 29mm Spigot Mortar, Blacker Bombard
    • Hedgehog, anti-submarine weapon
    • Hedgerow, mine clearance device
    • Waterhammer, anti-submarine weapon
    • Mustard Plaster, anti-submarine weapon
    • Baby Bombard, hand held anti-tank weapon
    • Jefferis Gun, hand held anti-tank weapon
    • Stewblac Projector, hand held anti-tank weapon
    • PIAT, hand held anti-tank weapon
    • Petard, demolition mortar
    • Denny Gun, demolition mortar
    • Buffalo, demolition mortar
    • Matilda Hedgehog, demolition mortar
    • Tree Spigot, sabotage weapon.
    • Ground Spigot, sabotage weapon.
    • Plate Spigot Gun, sabotage weapon.

    Also covered but in less detail:
    • Hays Pocket Howitzer, First World War bomb thrower
    • Granatenwerfer 16, First World War bomb thrower
    • Bigot, US attempt to fire darts a pistol
    • Some weird US HEAT spigot projectile for the M1 57mm gun
    • T13 mine exploder
    • Leichter Ladungswerfer, German spigot mortar
    • Type 98 320 mm, Japanese spigot mortar
    If you've got any questions, feel free to ask.
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    You should be fine with the PIAT. Apparently, it's really hard to cock it up...
    JimHerriot likes this.
  3. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Easier than at least two of the prototypes!
    JimHerriot and Chris C like this.
  4. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Congratulations on the book.
    I'll be picking up a copy.
    And I'm sure you'll do well on your talk. Just treat it like a conversation with fellow enthusiasts.
    BrianHall1963 and JimHerriot like this.
  5. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Got to write the talk first! :p
    JimHerriot likes this.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Excellent well done
    JimHerriot and Listy like this.
  7. BrianHall1963

    BrianHall1963 Well-Known Member

    As above you know your subject your audience will want to hear you , once you get started you will be unstoppable like your chosen subject , good luck with it all
    CL1 likes this.
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I like Blacker Bombard Mortar Spigots.Look forward to the book
    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  9. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    I hope so! One surprise is how weird it feels writing a speech/presentation, when compared to the way I'd write a text.

    I'm now a fan of the Bombard, and its all an accident.
    BrianHall1963 and CL1 like this.
  10. AlanDavid

    AlanDavid Junior Member

    The book looks excellent. I will certainly be getting a copy.


    CL1 likes this.
  11. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    If we keep this up an WW2talk will provide me enough sales to get a happy meal for the wife! ;)
    CL1 likes this.
  12. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Right, as many of you will know, War & Peace has fallen afoul of CV19. So with my book out in a couple of weeks I've decided to host my own presentation (with subsequent Q&A), on you tube.
    Saturday the 5th of June at 1900 BST. Here's a screen shot of some of the content:

    Youtube channel is here:

    As a final temptation, I've never done anything like this before, so there's a lot of potential for making a humorous balls up of it.
    CL1 and von Poop like this.
  13. Topfmine

    Topfmine Active Member

    Col Blacker used to live five miles down the road from where i live in Bordon. He lived at Coldhayes house near Liss Hants. His family lived there till the 1980-90s, still had some of the prototypes in the basement, got a picture of it somewhere. I also have a possible picture of one of his prototypes that came from a collector in the area, cant work out what it is but its a spigot device. The nearest Spigot mortar emplacement to his house is at Longmoor camp and at Whitehill near the old railway, i wonder if he tested out his inventions locally.
    CL1 likes this.
  14. BrianHall1963

    BrianHall1963 Well-Known Member

    How do we place orders is it extra for signed copies.
  15. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    The items recovered from his house are currently at the Ridgeway Military & Aviation Research Group site at RAF Welford. There's a lot of spigots there, only some of which I can take a guess at!

    Originally the plan was for a book signing at War &Peace. I have signed some plates and sent them into the publishers (Pen & Sword), so they may be able to help.
  16. Topfmine

    Topfmine Active Member

    I have just watched the video, a bit shaky for you first go but you will soon pick it up. very interesting video, so i bought the book. I have actually examined the Arbelist ( if thats how you spell it) A friend of mine bought the one in the picture on the video a few years ago, i said it looked like a spigot prototype original most probably made by Blacker but my friend didn't believe me so sold it on, i told him to keep it now he is regretting it. Knowing what it was I was very pleased i had the opitunity to hold such a rare piece.
    I was quite surprised that the prototype was used in trails with the 2" mortar. Very fascinated by this weapon which i think was very good. Have a mint 14lb practice round filled with CEM mix concrete. If the explosive round didn't do anything the weight of it flying through the air certainly would. I have a compleat head and the remains of a smashed head. I will take some pictures.
    CL1 likes this.
  17. Topfmine

    Topfmine Active Member

  18. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Sorry about the shakey start, it's been a hell of a week. I booked some time off work to practice, instead I ended up in hospital for three days with infections in several organs! Luckily, I'd been practising for several weeks before hand. So once I got going It gets smoother. I do need to sort out the audio quality though to get rid of some of the bangs (these were caused by things like me miming how to load a Bombard, or whatever I was talking about at the time!). The video held the smallest fraction of what I've found out about the Bombard, most is in the book.

    That I know of, there were two Arbalest's constructed. One is at RMARG, and I think that is the one picture (although it has been partially stripped now, and is incomplete). I know of a second baseplate for one in another collection.

    I've got a 14lbr concrete filled round. Just need to get a fuse pocket and a No152 fuse from a 3-ichn to get it fully restored.

    I've met a Home Guard re-enactor who has constructed a Bombard. He said it was a stupid amount of work to do, and he's sworn off doing them again.

    Here's the new video, edited from the live stream:
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
    Topfmine and CL1 like this.
  19. Topfmine

    Topfmine Active Member

    I was quite intrigued to learn that the Arbalest was competing against the 2" mortar in trials. The 14lb concrete filled round doesn't have a threaded nose to accept a fuze pocket and fuze, its just plain, the concrete fills the void. If you 14lb head has threads then it was a HE one filled with concrete for practice.
    I was told that the propellant cartridges were made from cut down 20mm Madsen cartridges. I have one half but i dont have the primer side which gets ejected out of the bomb when fired. This part usually ends up in front of the spigot mortar just like the PIAT. You can usually spot where a PIAT was once fired by the location of the ejected part of the cartridge. I assume the same with the Bombard.
    I bet it was a challenge to make a Bombard, worth the challenge. I wonder where the Home Guard reenactor got the dimensions from.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  20. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Remember at the time there was only the light mortar role in the same class as the Arbalest. At that point in history if you wanted to put a hole in plate, you shot it with a high velocity projectile. That's part of the reason why the Bombard was so poorly received. I've got letters from civil servant types saying 'There's no evidence that HE can hole 65mm plate' and getting very angry at the suggestion, as they see it as someone pulling the wool over the governments eyes.

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