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The type first entered service in the late 1930s. As the long barrel and heavy weight made it difficult to carry, the type was usually mounted on a Universal Carrier. An alternative use was as the main armament of some light armoured cars. Following the introduction of the PIAT for anti Tank work, the Boys was used as an anti personnel weapon in the Eritrean and Cyrenaica campaigns, where is proved effective at splintering the rocks used as cover by the enemy.
Operational experience led to the introduction of a modified version of the weapon, designated Boys Mk 1*, and designed to speed up production. The Mk I* featured a number of changes, such as a simpler, perforated, muzzle break in place of the original circular design and a Bren gun style bipod instead of the mono-pod.
In 1940 there were plans to introduce a lighter version, designated Boys Mk 2, and intended for use by airborne troops. Featuring a shorter barrel, the project was quickly terminated, as this version would have produced a more violent recoil effect then that demonstrated by the Mk 1.
The 13.97 mm (0.55 in) calibre Boys Mk 1 measured 1.625 m (5 ft 4 in) overall, of which the barrel measured 0.914 m (3 ft 0 in), and weighed 16.33 kg (36 lb)[N 2] The 13.9 x 99B round had a muzzle velocity of 991 m/sec, 747 m/sec[N 3] or 884 m/sec,[N 4] with ammunition being fed into the bolt action mechanism from an overhed mounted five round box magazine.
- France received an unspecified number of Boys AT rifles in exchange for a quantity of 25 mm (0.98 in) Hotchkiss anti-tank cannons.
- Germany used a limited number of captured Boys rifles for a short while after the evacuation from Dunkirk. These became known as the 13.9mm Panzerabwehrbusche 792(e), and were used to supplement the German defences during the construction of the Atlantic Wall.
- A small number were used by the United States Marine Corps as anti dugout weapons during the Philippines campaign in early 1942. There is no record of how these examples reached the Pacific Theater.
Disney produced a training film for the Boys anti-tank rifle, in 1942.
- ↑ The official designation was Rifle, Anti-Tank, 0.55 in, Boys, Mk 1. Originally known as the Stanchon Gun. the rifle was renamed Boys to honour the principle designer, who died shortly before the weapon entered service.
- ↑ The book Rapid Fire by A. G. Williams gives overall length of 1.61 m, barrel length of 0.91 metres and weight of 16,6 kg,
- ↑ Mk I loading.
- ↑ Mk II Loading.
- ↑ 1,0 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 1,5 1,6 War Machine Magazine issue 105 - Anti-Tank Weapons of World War 2"
- ↑ Vorlage:Rapid Fire Page 213.
- ↑ Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 252.
- ↑ 4,0 4,1 Williams, Anthony G. 2000. Page 234.