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No. 68 AT

Anti-Tank Rifle Grenade

United Kingdom | 1940

"Produced in the millions, the No. 68 AT Rifle Grenade saw frontline combat with British forces until 1942 after which time they were issued to Home Guard units."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In the early 1900s, the "rifle grenade" as a viable battlefield weapon began to take form - its first notable use witnessed at the Battle of Port Arthur by the Japanese forces against the Russians. By the time of World War 1 (1914-1918), the French implemented their own variety of rifle grenade on a large scale and found the weapons to offer much value for the investment considering the war had bogged down to Trench Warfare tactics by the end of 1914. With this foundation, the weapon type evolved some throughout the interwar years to become a more potent implement by the time of World War 2 (1939-1945).

Like other global military powers, Britain adopted various rifle grenades and, with its commitment to World War 2 beginning in September of 1939, the race was on to stock the Army inventory with useful tools for the combat infantryman. Development soon began on a new rifle grenade known rather simply as the "No. 68". This weapon represented a basic armor-defeating (HEAT - High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) solution and was developed against the threat of early generation German Panzers. The grenade gave results up to 2 inches of armor protection depending on type of filling used and approach angle of the grenade (90-degrees being ideal).

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The No. 68 featured a highly utilitarian design with a flat top and bottom face, a thin neck holding the pin, and a finned tail unit. A grenade discharger "cup" was first attached to the rifle muzzle (mainly the Enfield .303 bolt-action service rifle). The No. k68 grenade was then installed into this apparatus and the pin removed prior to firing. Throughout its service life, the grenade featured a variety of filling elements with early versions carrying RDX and later marks approved with Pentolite and Lyddite fillings. The grenade's detonation was simply through direct impact.

Issuance to British forces began in the middle part of 1940 through the Mark I service model. Circulation soon counted some 10,000 units delivered though this impressive number was still some millions below what the Army was calling for. After some practical use in the field, a spade assembly was developed to assist the firing operation and contend with the rather impressive recoil of the discharging grenade. The improved Mark II grenade appeared during August of 1940 and this was followed in early 1941 by the Mark III and, finally, the Mark IV AT grenade types. The latter marks were primarily seen with Pentolite filling. During 1941 alone some 2.6 million of the grenades were manufactured and this was itself outdone by the 5.3 million that appeared from production in the year following. Beyond their use by Army forces, the No. 68 grenade was delivered to British Home Guard units from 1942 on - the grenade's frontline value having finally run its course.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the No. 68 AT. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,778 mm
70.00 in
O/A Length
1.98 lb
0.90 kg
Rifle-Launched; Impact Detonated
Not Applicable.
Not Applicable.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the No. 68 AT. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
300 ft
91.4 m | 100.0 yds
Notable series variants as part of the No. 68 AT Anti-Tank Rifle Grenade family line.
No. 68 - Base Series Designation
Mark I - Model of 1940; RDX or Pentolite filling
Mark II - Model of August 1940; RDX or Pentolite filling
Mark III - Model of 1941; Pentolite filling
Mark IV - Model of 1941; Pentolite filling
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the No. 68 AT. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): State Factories - UK
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Image of the No. 68 AT
Image from the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The No. 68 AT Anti-Tank Rifle Grenade appears in the following collections:
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