yeovil at waR

2-Pdr Anti-tank gun

Weapons of the Home Guard


Following the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in France, 2-pounder anti-tank guns were in desperately short supply in Britain since the BEF had left over 800 behind in France and supplies to the Home Guard did not arrive much before the end of 1943.

Properly known as Ordnance, QF 2-pounder Anti-Tank Gun (the QF stands for Quick Firing), the 40mm calibre 2-pounder anti-tank gun weighed in at 18 cwt, had a muzzle velocity of 2,650 feet per second, had an effective range of just 450m and could penetrate 2" (54mm) of armour which, by 1940, was not really capable of destroying the generation of tanks then in service.

Improved weapons were called for but were universally slow in reaching frontline troops so defensive positions were never really going to get anything other than old weapons. Having said that, although ineffective against most German tanks, the 2-pounder was ideal against lighter vehicles such as half-track troop carriers and supply lorries.



Adapted from my e-book "A Photographic Guide to the Taunton Stop Line"




3rd Somerset (Yeovil) Battalion Home Guard, Yeovil Borough Company, Q Section, No 5 Platoon, posing with their 2-pounder anti-tank gun in December 1944. 4th from left, middle row, with barrel of the 2-pounder aimed at his nose is Ben Thorne (thanks to Rob Baker) but can you name anyone else?