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.
Manufacturing Various - Germany
Nazi Germany; Finland
- Anti-Tank / Anti-Material / Breaching
1,640 mm (64.57 in)
1,640 mm (64.57 in)
24.25 lb (11.00 kg)
Electrical Ignition; Reusable Tube; Fin Stabilized Grenade
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.
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