Staff Writer (Updated: 12/13/2015):
The Raketenpanzerbuchse appeared in an initial form as the RPzB 43, this firing an 8.8cm rocket projectile that was larger than the American Bazooka rocket. The system was something of an extremely rudimentary design featuring open ends that required the firer to wear protective measures from the resulting "back blast". The RPzB 43 was followed by a more refined version in the RPzB 54 to which a blast shield was finally added for base point protection. With increased range, a refined projectile and a shortened overall length, the RPzB 54/I appeared as the final form of the dreaded "Panzerschreck".
Panzerschrecks operated throughout the length of the war since their appearance in 1943. The weapon system, like its countemporaries, was typically operated be a loader and a firer, and could accompany tank and vehicle elements into battle for point defense against like-systems fielded by the enemy. The ferocity and effectiveness of the Panzerschreck system forced Allied tank crews to come up with basic methods of fending off the high-level effects of the projectile - namely adding sandbags, extra track, extra road wheels, welded armor plating, bolt-on armor plating or thick logs to the critical facings of their vehicles for extra protection.