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Panzerschreck (Raketenpanzerbuchse / RPzB) Resuable, Man-Portable Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher (1943)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/18/2014

The Panzerschreck system was based on research garnered from studying the American M1 Bazooka and proved equally effective.

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The Raketenpanzerbuchse (shortened to "RPzB" or commonly known as the "Panzerschreck" meaning "tank terror" because of its destructive results; may also be referenced as "Ofenrohr" to meaning "oven chimney" because of its shape) was a man-portable anti-tank system utilized by the German Army during the latter half of World War 2. The weapon was designed from direct research garnered from captured American M1 Bazooka specimens during the North African campaign. The RPzB system went on to find considerable success in knocking out enemy armor and was a highly feared anti-tank weapon of the Wehrmacht.

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.

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Specifications for the
Panzerschreck (Raketenpanzerbuchse / RPzB)
Resuable, Man-Portable Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher


Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Various - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1943


Overall Length: 1640 mm (64.57 in)
Barrel Length: 1,640.00 mm (64.57 in)
Weight (Empty): 24.25 lb (11.00 kg)


Caliber*: 88mm
Action: Electrical Ignition; Reusable Tube; Fin Stabilized Grenade
Feed: Single-Shot, Reusable Tube
Muzzle Velocity: 360 ft/sec (110 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 1 rounds per minute
Range: 492 ft (150 m; 164 yds)
Sights: Fixed


* Listed caliber(s) for firearms may be model dependent if more than one model type/chambering was produced. Always consult official manufacturer's information or a licensed dealer.


Variants:
RPzB 43 - Initial Production Variant based on research of the M1 Bazooka; firer required special clothing for protection.


RPzB 54 - Blast Shield Implemented

RPzB 54/1 - Shortened Firing Tube; increased range; refined projectile warhead.


Operators:
Nazi Germany; Finland