The French did not produce their own anti-tank rifle. During the battle for France, the French acquired the British Boys bolt-action anti-tank rifle. Seven Boys anti-tank rifles were used in the Corps Francs in 1939 and a approximately fifty were given to special anti-tank platoons.

The Boys was introduced in 1937 and remained in production until 1942, eventually replaced by the PIAT. The Boys was originally to be named the Stanchion but the rifles designer Captain Boys died shortly before production was to begin and the rifle was renamed in his honour. The Boys was one of the most successful anti-tank rifles ever designed with more than 60,000 produced.

A large muzzle brake is fitted and a bipod is included. The top-fed box magazine holds five .55 calibre rounds. The steel-cored bullet was placed in a belted cartridge case and six cases were usually carried by the crew. The barrel was permitted to recoil in the stock and the butt was heavily padded. Both measures designed to reduce the recoil forces.

The Boys was moderately successful during the 1940 campaign against the early German tanks (e.g. PzKpfw I, PzKpfw II or 35T). While effective against the 1930's tanks it was designed to counter, the gun was slow to operate and outclassed by later models such as the uparmoured PzKpfw IIís or the PzKpfw III and PzKpfw IV. The rifle remained useful against thinly protected armoured cars and personnel carriers. In desperation, the Boys could break the track of any tank. The Boys rifle was also mounted on a Universal Carriers to form anti-tank squadrons.

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle Mk I

Raw Data
Date Adopted 1938
Calibre 13.9mm x 99mm
Length 163cm
Muzzle Velocity 2900 fps
Weight 17 kg
Effective Range 150 metres
Type of Fire Bolt Action Repeater
Feed Device 5 Round Magazine
Rate of Fire 10 rpm

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
Description File Name Source Size [kb]
Boys Anti-Tank Rifle from the French Infantry Fighting Manual, Volume I, 1900 - 1945. boysatr.pdf IFM 66