Clip markings (.55-in Boys)


#1
  • Does anyone have a complete list showing the markings of the British manufacturers that made 5-rds clips for the .55-in Boys Mk1 and Mk2 anti-tank rifles ??? I don’t know if these large clips were manufactured only in UK or some other countries (Canada, Australia, ???) made them too.
    I have a 5-rds Boys clip stamped “1940” over “I” over “C.H.P” and I know that it was made by “C.H. Pugh”. I also have a 5-rds Boys clip stamped “MS I 1939” but I have no idea what the mark “MS” means. Thanks in advance for any help, Liviu 08/03/11 P.S. The .55-in Boys anti-tank rifle fired the 14 X 99B belted round.

#2

‘CHP’ stands for Charles Pugh, ‘MS’ is Myers & Sons and ‘MUL’ is Midlands Utilities Ltd. I have a Boys clip marked ‘VEP’ that has a black enamel finish but I’ve never found who the maker might be

So far I’ve seen clips with these dates;

CHP 1938, 1940, 1942, 1943
MS 1939, 1942
MUL 1942, 1943
VEP 1942

Has anyone seen different makers or years of production?


#3

How was the Canadian and South African production packed? Was there domestic production of clips? I would have thought so, but although I have examples of the cartridges I have not seen the clips.

Regards
TonyE


#4

I have a brass charger marked M.S. I 1943, the “I” refers to Mark I. My VEP 1942 charger is of blued steel.

There is a drawing of a .55" Boys charger with high sidewalls which would cover the case belt, I have never seen an example, just the drawing.

gravelbelly


#5

I can only add

1941
I
C.H.P.

and

MUL
I
1942

all in a circle.

Regards
TonyE


#6
  • Thank you all for the interesting info posted above. Since the .55-in Boys clip is only a “cartridge holder” (and not a charger or a stripper-clip), I don’t understand the reason it was manufactured. The 14 X 99B belted rounds had to be loaded into the 5-rds box magazine one by one and the ammo could be kept in a box, not loaded on the clip and later unloaded in order to be loaded again into the 5-rds box magazine. Liviu 08/04/11

#7

I’ve never found out why Boys ammunition came on chargers. To load a magazine with these cartridges in the normal way from a charger would need the thumbs of Titan … as well as an adaptor and I know of no-one whose seem one of these.

I suspect the chargers were just a packaging solution. Having the cartridges securely held made it easier for them to be carried in a bandolier. I don’t imagine a great deal of ammunition was made (compared to 0,303") so the cost in time, money and materiel of providing chargers wouldn’t have been excessive.

What I find very strange is that chargers and ammunition were being produced as late as 1943 when it was obvious that the bullet was ineffective against almost all armour in use, wherever the front. Mind you, we also came up with the PIAT, hardly cutting edge technology.

Peter


#8

After the use of .55 Boys Cartridges and rifles were found “obsolete” with the advance of Tank Armour, several other “Niche uses” became evident, especially in North Africa.
The Boys was widely used by the LRDG ( and later the SAS) for disabling Aircraft Engines and Airframes on the ground (Raids on Italian and German Airfields); for exploding Ammo and Fuel dumps from a distance, and for “Pill box” counterfire. Even “Anti materiel” sniping " came ito vogue. Captured Pzb39s etc were also used in this fashion in 1941-42 in North Africa.
In the Pacific, the Boys was still effective against Japanese Light tanks, but more so against Japanese Palm-tree snipers, and also for “Bunker Busting” before Flame-throwers became generally available.

IN China, the Nationalists (courtesy of some J.Inglis Boys) used then both as “Anti-materiel” ( Japanese Artillery) and as “Door Knockers” on Chinese Walled towns. Japanese tanks and Armoured cars were sufficently lightly armoured to be disabled by a well placed Boys shot.

Several Boys shots could also disable a Steam Locomotive as well.

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#9

I have wondered if the original intention was for a double-column magazine for the Boys A.T. rifle which would allow filling from chargers using a suitable adaptor. Such a magazine would be a lot wider than the single column one used on production guns and may have been rejected for this reason, to reduce width of the gun body.

This is all pure guesswork on my part and we await some documentation to explain the purpose of the .55 inch charger.

gravelbelly


#10
  • I don’t know if I should make a comparison between the .55-in Boys belted round (14 X 99B) and the Soviet 14.5 X 114 rimless round which also was fired by anti-tank rifles (14.5 mm PTRD & PTRS) during the early years of WW2. I’m asking myself why the .55-in Boys belted round was not used after 1945 for a new type of heavy machine-gun like the Russians did with their 14.5 X 114 rimless cartridge. Anyone who can answer ??? Liviu 08/05/11

#11

Some Experiments were done during WW II with a MG using .55 Boys, but the readily available US .50 BMG sort of made any MGs other than .50 redundant. I seem to think Rolls-Royce were somehow involved in this .55-MG Project ( for Aircraft and vehicles).

Regards,
Doc AV


#12

Testing was carried out by the UK on a 15mm BESA MG converted to .55" Boys but it went no further.

gravelbelly


#13

This is the charger marked ‘VEP’, with its dark finish it stands out from the regular lacquered brass coloured ones. Does anyone have any idea who ‘VEP’ might be?

I’ve not seen a great deal of packaged 0,55" Boys ammunition, has anyone with more experience seen sealed packages of Canadian made 0,55" ammunition? If yes, was it packed loose or in chargers?

Happy collecting, Peter


#14

[quote=“DocAV”]Some Experiments were done during WW II with a MG using .55 Boys, but the readily available US .50 BMG sort of made any MGs other than .50 redundant. I seem to think Rolls-Royce were somehow involved in this .55-MG Project ( for Aircraft and vehicles).

Regards,
Doc AV[/quote]

Vickers produced an air cooled machine gun in .55 Boys to answer a requirement for a tank gun and this was tested at RSAF Enfield in 1937.

Rolls Royce also produced an experimental aircraft machine gun during the war, but it was felt it had nothing to offer over the Hispano.

Peter - I have checked my WW2 manufacturers code listing and no “VEP” is shown. I asked the same question about how Canadian and South African Boys ammunition was packed in my post above. Perhaps Paul S can answer. Normal British packaging was two five round clips in a cotton bandoleer.

I have been through all the O.B. Proceedings and RL Research Committee reports I have for the .55 Boys and have found no mention of the clips. There is one mention of “Magazines or carriers” to say they are considered expendable in war but re-usable in peace.

Regards
TonyE


#15

Good Day from Canada,

VEP is the wartime manufacturer code for:

VILAS ENAMEL PRODUCTS LTD, Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

I have found DAC marked WII rounds dated 43 in these clips.

Regards.


#16

Hello,

great information about the VEP marking, thank you very much.

Cheers


#17

hi,





Regards


#18

Nice pics JMG ;-) ,

JFL