Raketenpanzerbüchse 54 'Panzerschreck' Launcher
|Country of Origin||Germany|
|Muzzle Velocity||110 m/s|
Contributor: C. Peter Chenww2dbaseThe Raketenpanzerbüchse 54 (RPzB 54) shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket launchers, nicknamed "Ofenrohr" ("stove pipe") and the more popular "Panzerschrek" ("Tank's Fright"), were light weight infantry weapons developed for the German military, inspired by the number of American M1 "Bazooka" rocket launchers captured in Tunisia in Feb 1943. The RPzB 54 launchers were larger and heavier than their M1 inspirations, and could penetrate thicker armor; under ideal conditions, they could penetrate 230 millimeters of armor at 90 degrees and 95 millimeters at 30 degrees. As a drawback, they produced much more smoke upon firing when compared to the M1 launchers, partly due to that the German rockets continued burning for another 2 meters (about 6.6 feet) after exiting the tube, whereas the American rockets were extinguished before exiting the tube. The German rockets were developed from the existing 8.8-centimeter rockets already in used by the Raketenwerfer 43 carriage-mounted rocket launchers, although the percussion firing mechanisms were replaced with electric priming systems; they had fins in the rear for stabilization, and had shaped-charge warheads. The launchers could also fire drill dummy ammunition for exercises, inert warheads for exercises, and grenades. Since the rockets continued to burn after exiting the tube, operators were initially instructed to wear protective gloves, ponchos, and gas masks. In Feb 1944, blast shields were added to provide further protection, at the cost of additional 11 kilograms (24 pounds) in weight. The smoke tended to give away their positions, thus standard doctrine called for them to be fired from trenches for better protection, ideally with multiple launchers in staggered trenches whenever possible. Late in the war, a small number of the RPzB 54/1 variant design was produced; these weapons fired improved rockets, had shorter barrels, and increased range (150 meters/490 feet to 180 meters/590 feet).
RPzB 54 shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket launchers were exported to Finland, Italy, Hungary, and Romania. The Finnish nickname for these weapons were identical in meaning to that of the Germans, "Panssarikauhu". Polish and Soviet forces also used a limited number of captured examples.
They were introduced into service in the spring of 1944. Between 1944 and 1945, 289,151 examples were built.
Source: Wikipedia ww2dbase
Last Major Revision: Apr 2020
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