Tag Archive for 'antitank'

Panzerfaust: Recoilless Antitank Bomb and Launcher

Panzerfaust: Recoilless Antitank Bomb and Launcher

The German rocket grenade (Faustpatrone—literally “fist cartridge”) is a new close-range Nazi weapon used against tanks and other armored targets. It comprises a tube and a head which contains the explosive charge. The weapon weighs 11 1/4 pounds, has a muzzle velocity of 145 f/s, and a sight range of 33 yards.

The head, which is closed at the front end by a sheet-metal cover, includes a semispherical hollow charge. Toward the rear, the head merges into a rod which includes the small detonating charge 34 and the fuze. The rear of the rod is screwed to a shaft containing four bomb-fins for flight stabilization of the rocket grenade. When not in use, the fins are rolled around the shaft and held together by the tube which is slid over it. The propelling charge is contained in the tube. A sighting rail, fixed to the front end of the tube, when folded down serves as the safety against involuntary cocking of the striker. The sighting rail itself is in turn secured to the rear by the Fuze Safety Pin, which holds it in folded-down position. The lock is located on a line extending from the sighting rail to the rear. It includes and carries the firing-pin (striker), release button, and safety catch.

For firing, the weapon is taken under the right arm, the left hand supporting the grenade two inches behind the front end of the tube. The fuze safety-pin is pulled out, and the sighting rail is snapped up, forming an approximate right angle with the tube. The striker is cocked by pushing the lock forward until the striker is set and the release button emerges. The lock then slides back into its original position, and the release button is pressed, discharging the projectile. Discharge is recoilless, and caution must be taken, as a stream of fire from one to two yards long is ejected from the rear of the tube. The launcher tube is expendable.

A smaller model is known as the Faustpatrone.

German: p. 218

2 cm s PzB (Solothurn s/8-1100): A.T. Gun (Ex-Swiss)

2 cm s PzB (Solothurn s/8-1100): A.T. Gun  (Ex-Swiss)

This gun, an improved version of the Solothurn 1933 model manufactured in Switzerland by the Waffenfabrik, is a magazine fed, recoil operated, semi-automatic shoulder weapon which can be fired from a bipod or a low-lying, pneumatic-wheeled carriage. The combined weight of gun and mount is approximately 200 pounds; the gun itself weighs 103 pounds.

The barrel is easily changed by giving it a half turn, thereby disengaging two lugs. Two types of magazines are used; one holding five rounds and the other ten.

The bolt is forward and all parts rigid when the firing pin strikes the cap of the projectile. When the last shot in the magazine is fired, the cartridge case is automatically ejected; then when a new magazine is inserted, the bolt is again thrown forward automatically and the gun is ready to fire.

Construction of all parts is exceptionally rugged and simple. The gun, which fires semi-automatically, is extremely accurate and easily handled. In comparison with the earlier model, the new gun shows a slight decrease in weight, increased muzzle velocity, and high armor-penetrating qualities. It also possesses the advantage of a dust-proof breech mechanism.


Caliber         20 mm (.79 in.)
Weight of gun (complete) 103 lb.
Weight of barrel with muzzle brake (approx.) 44 lb.
Length of gun (overall) 7.1 ft.
Length of barrel 4.25 ft.
Rifling 8 lands and grooves; 5° uniform twist
Muzzle velocity (reported) 937-991 yds./sec.

German: p. 134

7.5/5.5 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

7.5/5.5 cm Pak 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

The 7.5 cm Pak 41, Germany’s latest antitank gun to be brought into service, is designed on the Gerlich or tapered-bore principle. The bore tapers from 7.5 cm at the breech to 5.5 cm at the muzzle, but the taper is not constant. The first part of the bore is cylindrical and rifled; the second, conical and unrifled; and the third, measuring 27.6 inches in length, is cylindrical and unrifled. There is also a muzzle brake. The life of the barrel is estimated at approximately 500-600 rounds. The weapon is long, low, and sturdy in appearance and has a semi-automatic breech mechanism of the vertical wedge type.

The carriage has a split trail and is mounted on metal wheels with solid rubber tires. As traction is by motor tractor, the carriage is fitted with pneumatic brakes controlled by the driver of the tractor. Torsion bar suspension is automatically cut out when the trails are opened.

An elevating mechanism of the sector type is on the right-hand side of the cradle, and a traversing mechanism of the screw type on the left. There is no equilibrator mechanism. The recoil mechanism contains a hydraulic cylinder and spring-type recuperator.

The sighting system, which is graduated up to 1,500 meters (1,635 yards), has four scales for use according to the actual muzzle velocity of the gun. Muzzle velocity drops considerably because of wear.


Caliber           7.5/5.5 cm
Weight in action         1.4 tons
Length of barrel (approx.)         170 ins.
Muzzle velocity (estimated)         4,123 f/s
Elevation         -10° to 18°
Traverse         60°
Armor penetration—A.P.C.

       Range in yards          Thickness of armor in inches 
                   Normal               30°    
       500  6.67  5.75  
       1,000  5.94  5.12  
       1,500  5.28  4.49  
2,000  4.63  3.94  

German: p. 123

2.8/2.0 cm Pz. B. 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

2.8/2.0 cm Pz. B. 41: Tapered Bore Antitank Gun

The German antitank gun, Pz. B. 41, captured in the vicinity of Halfaya Pass during the Libyan campaign in 1941, is the first tapered-bore weapon to be found in combat use. Served by a five-man crew, it is normally towed on a trailer, but can be broken down into five loads and transported on a truck or in an airplane.

The tube, which is of heavy monobloc or cold worked construction, is modeled on the Gerlich principle—that is, it is tapered from 28 mm at the breech to 20 mm at the muzzle in order to increase the velocity. No provision is made for cooling the barrel, which is good for about 400 rounds. The forward end of the tube has a muzzle brake threaded to it; the back is attached to the breech ring by an interrupted screw arrangement.

The firing mechanism, of the inertia type, consists of the firing-pin, firing-pin guide, spring and retainer. A breechblock of the horizontal sliding block type is actuated, after cocking, by an operating handle attached to the top of the breech ring.

Both the carriage and pedestal are of welded construction. Shields fixed to the carriage by metal hooks and spring plungers are constructed of steel plates about 3/8 inch thick. Detachable trunnions for fastening the gun and recoil mechanisms to the pedestal permit quick assembly and breakdown of the piece.

The wheels are of the perforated disk type and have pneumatic tires mounted on them. These tires, which are probably Lynthetic, have no valve stems, indicating that they are filled with a cushioning material.

The trails are of the split type and can be locked together or spread at an angle of about 45°.

The gun is flexible on its mount, and as no elevating or traversing gears are employed, these operations are most likely manual. A straight tube telescope is used.


Caliber            28 mm at breech
20 mm at muzzle
Weight (complete) 491 lb.
     (tube) 76 lb.
     (barrel & brake) 80 lb.
Length of barrel 61.36 ins.
Breech mechanism Horizontal sliding block
Firing mechanism Inertia type
Recoil mechanism Hydro-spring
Normal recoil 9.34 ins.
Rate of fire 8 to 10 rds./min.
Muzzle velocity 4,550 f/s
Range (effective) 500 yds.
Ammunition A.P. (9,754.4 grs.)

        Range       Thickness of armor in inches
Yards         30°         Normal
400       2.1       2.6

German: p. 131

7.92 mm M SS 41: Antitank Rifle

7.92 mm M SS 41: German WW2 Antitank Rifle

This antitank weapon, a manually operated, magazine-fed, air-cooled, high-velocity rifle which was standardized for production in 1941, fires the same necked-down cartridge as the Panzerbüchse 39. Although classified as an antitank rifle, the use of heavier armor on modern tanks has rendered the weapon effective against lightly-armored vehicles only.

A hinged bipod similar to that of the MG 34 is attached to the front of the receiver jacket. It folds forward for convenience in carrying. The gun is also equipped With carrying handle and sling; the former is fitted to the top of the barrel group, and the latter is attached on the right side at the bipod and back plate assembly.

A “U” type rear sight and an adjustable front sight of the square block type fold to the rear when not in use.

The gun is put in a “Safe” position by pulling the barrel housing lock extension 1/4-inch to the rear so that its rear alignment mark is aligned with the mark “S” on the barrel housing lock. When in this position, the trigger cannot be pulled, nor can the action be opened. If the trigger is pulled while the action is not entirely closed, the gun will not fire. It is necessary to release the trigger and pull it again in order to release the sear. When the magazine is empty, the action is kept open by the protrusion of the magazine follower which stops the rearward movement of the barrel housing.


Caliber         7.92 mm (.312 in.)
Weight (with empty magazine) 29 3/4 lbs.
Length (overall) 59 1/4 ins.
Sight radius 30 15/16 ins.
Principle of operation Manually operated
Feeding device Magazine
Capacity of feeding device 6 rounds
Cooling system Air
Ammunition types 13 mm case necked down to 7.92 mm. Same as used in the PZ B39. See Page 211.)
Rate of fire
Type of sight “U” type rear sight; square block type front sight.
Weight of barrel (w/ fittings) 13 1/4 lbs.
Length of barrel 43 3/8 ins.
Length of rifling
     Twist R.H.
     No. of grooves 4
     Depth of grooves
     Width of grooves
Muzzle velocity (estimated) 3,540 f/s
Type of mount Bipod

German: p. 210.1

7.92 mm PzB 35 (p): Antitank Rifle (Ex-Polish)

7.92 mm PzB 35 (p): Antitank Rifle (Ex-Polish)

During the Polish invasion, the Germans captured large numbers of the Mascerzek Model 35, 7.92 mm antitank rifle. These were used extensively in the earlier part of the war.

This Polish rifle is a weapon similar in design to a Mauser rifle firing a normal cartridge, but it is longer and heavier, and a muzzle brake has been attached. It led to the development of the German rifles, known as the Pz. B. 38 and Pz. B. 39.

This weapon is a bolt-action gun of the modified Mauser type and has a detachable box magazine. It is carried by a sling attached in the usual manner. It may be recharged with ammunition by exchanging the magazine or by reloading the empty magazine with single rounds. The body is a hollow cylinder with an ejection and loading aperature on top and a magazine slot at the bottom. The bolt is cylindrical with a straight lever at right angles on the right side (in the closed position).

The barrel, which is parallel throughout most of its length, increases in diameter toward the breech until it equals that of the body. At the muzzle, a portion is threaded to take a muzzle brake. The bipod is of light construction and is attached to the barrel by a yoke. The legs of the bipod terminate in circular shoes which are cut away on the inside to clasp the barrel when they are folded forward in a closed position. The magazine is of the box type.


Caliber         7.92 mm (.312 in.)
Weight 20 lb. (approx.)
Length 5 ft., 10 ins.
Ammunition Steel jacket with A.P. steel core and lead antimony filler
Sights Rear, fixed; front, adjustable blade
Capacity 5 rds., in clips
Muzzle velocity 4,100 f/s

German: p. 210

8.8 cm Pzgr. patr.: 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. Ammunition

8.8 cm Pzgr. patr.: 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. Ammunition

The German 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. ammunition consists of an armor-piercing capped projectile of conventional design, crimped in a primed brass cartridge case. The projectile is loaded with a TNT bursting charge and fuzed with a base-detonating fuze containing a tracer. The brass cartridge case holds a double base, single-perforated propelling charge with a nitrocellulose powder igniter and a short percussion type primer.

The projectile as fired weighs 20.71 pounds. Both the projectile body and the armor-piercing cap are made of steel. The cap is soldered to the body, and a sheet steel windshield is attached to the cap by a series of spot welds. The large fuze body occupies a considerable part of the explosive cavity which is comparatively large for an armor-piercing projectile. The weight of the explosive charge is approximately 1.8% of the total weight of the projectile. The bursting charge is contained in an aluminum case conforming to the contour of the cavity except that the forward end is flat. A molded plastic button which conforms to the contour of the cavity is located between the front of the charge case and the small forward end of the cavity. This button acts as a cushion for the charge upon impact of the projectile on the target. A tar-like compound fills the space between the projectile walls and the aluminum charge case to prevent the case from slipping upon rotation of the projectile.

The pressed bursting charge has 5.5% wax blended with it. The base fuze has a steel body with a threaded extension at the base end to receive a tracer assembly.

The fuze has a slight delay and arms on centrifugal force.


Type of ammunition         A.P.C.B.C., H.E.
Weight of complete round         32.74 lb.
Weight of projectile         20.71 lb.
Weight of bursting charge         37 lb. (1.8% of wt. of proj.)
Weight of propellant         2,471 grams
Weight of fuze with tracer and detonator assembly         2.18 lb.

German: p. 308

T. Mi. Pilz 43: Tellermine—Type 4 (Mushroom Head)

T. Mi. Pilz 43: Tellermine Type 4 (Mushroom Head)

This type of mine is composed of fewer parts, is simpler in construction, and more easily assembled than types 1, 2, and 3. It also appears to be less susceptible to sympathetic detonation than the three other types.

It has the usual Tellermine contour, but no cover is provided, necessitating a rubber seal and a pressure spring. The top of the mine is covered by a “mushroom” head pressure plate which screws into the fuze cavity. This head is made of two thin pieces of pressed steel formed into a hollow shell about 7.5 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick.

The mine has an aperture in its base and one in its sidewall in which either a pull or tension igniter can be used.

The fuze for the mine is very simple in operation, and consists of a shear pin and a spring-loaded firing-pin. When sufficient pressure is exerted on the mushroom head, the shear pin is broken off and the spring-loaded firing-pin plunges into the fuze primer, setting off the detonator. The detonator ignites the penthrite booster which, in turn, sets off the main charge of amatol.

This fuze, which is also used in types 2 and 3 German Tellermine, is dropped into the fuze cavity rather than screwed in as in the case of the type 1 Tellermine.


Diameter         11.29 ins.
Weight         18 lb., 1.5 oz.
Bursting charge         Amatol
Bursting charge weight         10 lb., 6.94 oz.

German: p. 304

T. Mi. 35 (Stahl): Tellermine—Type 3 (Steel)

T. Mi. 35 (Stahl): Tellermine—Type 3 (Steel) WW2

The design of the third type of Tellermine does not differ greatly from that of the other two models. It is distinguished by the radial flutings on the upper face (a), which extend to the edge of the surface. On the underside of this pressure plate (a) is a flat strengthening ring (b), spot-welded to the plate.

The ring (c) is secured to the body of the mine (d) by a number of punches. This ring retains the pressure plate in position against the spring (b). The rubber seal (i) between the body of the mine and the pressure plate protects the operating mechanism against moisture and dust.

The mine body and the base (f) are similar in construction to the type 1 T. Mi. 35, type 1 having an adapter to take an additional side igniter, which is located diametrically opposite the handle, and type 3 having an adapter for the base igniter. In the case of type 3, the igniter is screwed down until it rests on the rim of the socket (h), and the screw plug (g) is then not required.

The design for the mine appears to be a compromise between the Tellermine No. 1 and the Tellermine No. 2. In the former the whole of the mine cover forms the pressure plate and the mine is known to be subject to blast effects. The smaller area of the pressure plate in Tellermine No. 2 reduced the susceptibility of the mine to blast but at the same time reduced the available area for operating the mine.


Diameter         12.75 ins.
Height 3.21 ins.
Weight 21.50 lb.
Bursting charge 66-34 Amatol
       weight 13.9 lb.
Booster pellets 3 PETN

German: p. 303

T. Mi. 42: Tellermine—Type 2

 T. Mi. 42: Tellermine—Type 2 (WW2 Teller Mine Antitank Mine)

The type 2 Tellermine consists of a flat, circular steel bottom, a steel body having a cylindrical sidewall, and a slightly dome-shaped top with a centrally located well approximately 6.9 inches in diameter. A fluted pressure top is fitted into the well. The silhouette of this mine differs from those of types 1 and 3 principally in that the central pressure top with the fuze well cover extends above the surface of the rest of the body. The mine also contains two other detonator wells, one in the side of the body and one in the bottom.

The igniter body is cylindrical in form and is approximately 1.5 inches long and .81 inch in diameter. The firing-pin head extends above the surface of the body, is hemispherical in shape, and is supported by a heavy shear pin which rests on the upper surface of the body. The lower end has a threaded extension over which a thin metal cap containing a paper disk is screwed. This cap is used as a protection for the primer and, with the paper disk removed, as a means for holding the detonator against the igniter prior to assembly in the mine.

A bursting charge of 10.75 pounds of cast TNT is used. Three PETN booster pellets are imbedded in the bursting charge, one around each detonating well.


Diameter        12.7 ins.
Height 4.00 ins.
Weight 18.36 lb.
Bursting charge Cast TNT or 50/50 Amatol
Bursting charge weight 10.75 lb.
Booster pellets 3 PETN

German: p. 302