L6 WOMBAT (Weapon Of Magnesium, Battalion, Anti-Tank) History

Armored combat actions of World War 2 influenced much of the doctrine and weapons design of the ensuing Cold War years. The tank was still the primary threat and all leading world powers moved to adopt various counters for them including the recoilless rifle. The recoilless rifle provided a tank-killing/fortification-defeating (sometimes) portable solution in which the recoil effects of the existing projectile were countered to an extent by the proper dispelling of gasses at the rear of the launch tube. The British adopted the Ordnance 3. 45" RCL too late to have it see action in World War 2 (1993-1945) but its design influenced the ultimate selection of the L6 WOMBAT in the 1950s. Indeed the L2 BAT ("Battalion Anti-Tank") and L4 MOBAT ("MObile BAT") were, themselves, preceding designs related to the RCL itself.

The L6 WOMBAT (Weapon of Magnesium, Battalion, Anti-Tank) represented a more portable solution to the existing vehicle-mounted L4 MOBAT weapon already in use. However, it was hardly a man-portable system as the RCL before it was, weighing a hefty 680lbs and requiring use of a wheeled carriage and crew of three. The new weapon fired a 28lb, 120mm projectile at a rate of four rounds-per-minute with a muzzle velocity of 1,520 feet-per-second. Effective range was 1,000 meters with an extreme range out to 1,600 meters. Sighting was through an integrated optical arrangement. The wheeled carriage allowed for a full-360-degree traverse as well as an elevation span of -8 to +17 degrees. It was a line-of-sight weapon requiring the crew to have an unobstructed view of the intended target.

Despite its weight, the WOMBAT still proved a mobile solution over the heavier vehicle-mounted version. In this fashion, it could be used by dedicated anti-tank teams in-the-field and lightly-armed paratroopers who relied on any useful artillery piece after being dropped from an airplane. Magnesium alloys were used throughout the construction of the WOMBAT to help reduce its overall weight and a lighter breech mechanism also helped to keep weight in check. The removable, wheeled carriage was also purposely designed as a compact, lightweight mount.

In practice, the L6 saw widespread use as a field weapon and as a vehicle-mounted system. In the latter, the WOMBAT was outfitted to lightweight Land Rovers of the British Army. Others found their way atop the hull roofs of armored vehicles to be used as a point defense system against enemy armor. British Marine forces stationed in the Arctic regions of Norway mounted their L6 weapons to their "Snow Trac" tracked vehicles.

L6 WOMBATs were in use until the wider adoption of improved wire-guided anti-tank missiles. From that period onwards, the recoilless rifle found a reduced frontline role in all modern armies, remaining a weapon for just a few select units such as Special Forces groups.

L6 WOMBAT (Weapon Of Magnesium, Battalion, Anti-Tank) Specification

ROLES

STRUCTURAL

Overall Length:

3,860 mm (151. 97 in)

Barrel Length:

3,860 mm (151. 97 in)

Weight (Unloaded):

683. 43 lb (310. 00 kg)

Sights:

Included Optics

PERFORMANCE

Action:

Reoilless Action; Resuable Tube

Muzzle Velocity:

1,520 feet-per-second (463 meters-per-second)

Rate-of-Fire:

4 rounds-per-minute

Effective Range:

3,280 ft (1,000 m; 1,093 yd)

VARIANTS

L6 WOMBAT - Base Series Designation

Related stuff

1400 1514 1587 1765 1774 1775 1776 1782 1785 1786 1791 1797 1811 1813 1819 1840 1841 1842 1852 1853 1855 1856 1857 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1873 1874 1875 1877 1878 1885 1886 1888 1889 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Contact