MANUFACTURER(S): Various - Germany
OPERATORS: Nazi Germany; Finland; Soviet Union
ACTION: Propellant-Launched Rocket; Single Use Tube
SIGHTS: Flip-up Iron Sight
Detailing the development and operational history of the Panzerfaust 60 Disposable Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher.
Entry last updated on 8/15/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Panzerfaust 60 was an evolution of the Panzerfaust (meaning "Tank Fist" or "Armor Fist") disposable anti-tank rocket launcher developed for German infantry of World War 2 (1939-1945). It became a mid-level development of the "Panzerfaust 30" and longer-ranged "Panzerfaust 100". The "60" in the Panzerfaust 60's designation indeed depicted the effective engagement range that the weapon had been designed for - this naming convention proving common practice for all of the rocket-launching weapons in the Panzerfaust family. As its core, the Panzerfaust was the rather simple, single-minded anti-armor weapon system - of particular value to German and Axis infantrymen by the end of World War 2 amid encircling Allied armored forces. Service entry came in 1943 and production ran into 1945 - the last year of the war.
The Panzerfaust 60 differed only slightly from the Panzerfaust 30 model as it utilized the larger 150mm projectile warhead. Additionally, the diameter of the launch tube was slightly increased and aiming was through a refined flip-up sighting device over the weapon's body. Engineers also addressed trigger issues encountered from earlier Panzerfaust forms. Overall, its form and function remained largely similar to the earlier design, using the same projectile body but with a greater effective range and higher muzzle velocity - therefore increased penetration values. The Panzerfaust 60 itself was succeeded by the longer range "Panzerfaust 100" in time when the need required it and the production numbers allowed it. The Panzerfaust line was created with mass production in mind - taking into account German war industry strains by late in the war - and were thus cheap to produce in quantity and easy to operate. Even the German home guard units were trained on the type.
Panzerfaust 60 (Cont'd)
Disposable Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher
All of the Panzerfaust weapons consisted of a disposable firing tube though plans and testing were underway for reusable tube system through the Panzerfaust 150 and the Panzerfaust 200 developments - these were not completed before the fall of Berlin in May of 1945. As such, operators were only allowed a single, well-placed shot with these weapons. The projectile was nothing more than a High-Explosive (HE) armor defeating warhead. The weapons weighed nearly 14lbs and featured a length of 3 feet 3 inches.
In practice, Panzerfaust lethality rose during the latter stages of the war as German troops became more effective and landing their rockets into more vulnerable areas of Allied tanks. The period following the Normandy Invasion saw a considerable increase in enemy tanks disabled or destroyed thanks to Panzerfaust fire - particularly when operators could lie in ambush. They proved very sound weapons in the field and were even held in high regard by Allied forces who found it a more effective weapon than the standard M1 Bazooka and PIAT.
The Panzerfaust 60 model was the more readily available of all the Panzerfaust marks during the war and saw service with Finland against Soviet armor.