During the second World War in Germany, along with the development and improvement of dinamoreaktivny antitank weapons carried out extensive research and development (R & D) in the field of jet gun, which was also intended to deal with armored vehicles.
German scientists and engineers, gunsmiths of the office Rhemmetal-Borsig AG (Berlin, Germany) in 30-ies have developed various types of jet gun class «surface-to-earth.» But in the near future most of these works turned. This situation is due to the fact that the first administration of the war the Third Reich, is calculated on the success of «blitzkrieg» tribute to the attention of anti-defense is not paid. Most of the Nazi leaders, in a set that was Goering advocated that the war be won with that gun, with which it was started. Promising tool for the development and practical implementation of which could take a couple of years, there were no value to the Wehrmacht. In summer, 40-year, immediately after the end of the war with France, Hitler was ordered to complete the research work in the field of development tools, which can not be completed and implemented during the year. Under this order have fallen and challenging projects in a number of whom were working in the area of the creation of the anti-tank weapons. It has become a prerequisite for the lack of German troops in an effective means to deal with enemy tanks, which was revealed in 1941.
Force majeure situation with manual anti-tank gun that has developed by 1942 at the front, forced Germany to take immediate control measures to restart work in this area. Apart from the creation of the dinamoreaktivny antitank guns, gunsmiths resumed development work in the field of anti-barrel rocket systems. Propellant in such weapons (as opposed to dinamoreaktivny RPG) located in the munition, thus, when burned gunpowder smoke came through the nozzle motor, as in the barrel, and on the flight line of motion, allowing the increment range projectile. The main discrepancies faced by designers in the development of rocket-propelled systems has been to ensure accuracy. It took a couple of years of stubborn labor to stabilize the shell and provide a strong resistance on the flight line of motion. This solved the problem in 2 ways: the creation of a turbojet (spinning) shells and mounting on the non-rotating shell stabilizers. The first time the Germans preferred the turbojet projectile, which has stabilized in flight around the axis of rotation by the nozzles set at an angle. However, some difficulties caused by the inability to enter into their design, which will give the greatest efficiency in the fight against armored vehicles, the cumulative warhead and material dispersion, which is inherent to the projectiles that negates the fire on a point target, and not against area targets, forced to choose the other way. Also about the situation was and with feathered missiles, shows even when shooting at a distance of up to 1000 m results, which is several times superior dispersion of shells fired from a cannon artillery. In this regard, improving the accuracy of fire when using rockets was the main problem appeared to the German arms designer.
Grenades: left — 88 mm active-reactive cumulative pineapple RPzB.GR. 4312, right — 88 mm rocket grenade RPzB.GR 4322
A temporary measure, which for the Wehrmacht took out of this situation has been the emergence of 42-year one-time dinamoreaktivny RPG «bazookas.» But the design of the first models that allowed you to fight the enemy armored vehicles at a distance of least 30 meters, was far from perfect. In this regard, the German designers had to find other ways …
Activation of development work in this area and helped capture the spring of 1943, Rommel’s troops in North Africa several American antitank grenade launchers «Bazooka» MLS. A careful study of the German gunsmiths grenade launchers and ammunition gave significant impetus in the creation of a similar tool. Not counting the many recognizable German weapons companies (Rheinmetall-Borsig, Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabrik, Ruhrstahl AG), the creation of a new jet antitank gun, which promises to create significant profits, have engaged naikrupneyshie company to produce ammunition Westphaflisch-Anhaltische Sprengstoff AG (WASAG) and Hugo Schneider AG (HASAG). In this case, the latter had already had extensive experience in the development and production of «bazookas.»
88-mm machine grenade PzB.03. (Experienced reference)
But the first success in this field have gained reynsdorfskaya company WASAG. Dr. Erich von Holt, designer of the company, took over the base mechanism of the South American hand protivotankovog his weapon, and made the first German jet antitank system. This instrument consisted of LNG (machine-bazooka) and the combined cumulative active and reactive grenades. Because of their own relatively small size and weight of LNG received the troops nicknamed «Puppchen» (doll). This instrument, which was adopted for service in the 43rd year, under the designation of 88-mm heavy machine antitank Raketenwerfer 43 grenade launcher (RWr.43), consisted of a smooth bore (launcher) mounted on wheeled odnobrusny artillery gun carriage. Structurally RWr.43 consisted of six main parts (as required understood) barrel from the breech (weight 19 kg) counterweight (23 kg), the lower the machine (43 kg), the upper machine (12 kg), wheels (each at 22 kg). To avoid overheating during the shot (accompanied by the release of gases from the propulsion motor of the highest temperatures) locked trunk of a thermal jacket that has at the muzzle of a small bell. To protect the gunner from defeat exhaust flame rocket propelled grenade at the upper carriage was mounted a small metal shield. In horizontal tip shield revolved together with gun carriage. On board there was a small window for aiming. The barrel length of 1600 mm in its own breech wedge had a swinging gate and trigger striker type. Loading the machine-made anti-tank grenade launcher breech. With the grenade fuse installed in the stowed or deployed position. For the descent served as a special lever. Flitches comprised of upper and lower machine. Machine mounted on the upper trunk and the shield cover. Lower machine consisted of a frame with the same odnobrusnoy plowshare, the pivot foot and regulations, as the wheel speed with a pair of forged wheels with rubber tires such as «gusmatik.» A feature of this system was the lack of rotary and lifting devices. Vertical guidance leaves from -18 to +25 degrees produces a specific trunk to swing pin with a cradle. Horizontal guidance when shooting from the wheel rotation speed was carried at the lower rotating machine parts. With all of this gunner used two handles located on the counterweight cradles the back. Levers trigger summed to these handles. In the conduct of fire with horizontal stops firing was radial (360 degrees). Facilitate and simplify the design of devices contributed to the lack of guidance. But the absence of the hoist was a prerequisite introduction of special items, so called «idler» which detained in this position, swinging part. Sights — front sight and open sights, which was calculated for the range 180-700 meters. The actual fire were at a distance of least 200 m, with the firing range moves the targets do not exceed 230 meters and the maximum firing range immobile targets — 700 meters. For masking tools on the ground was possible to configure the height of LNG by removing his wheel travel. If the wheel assembly grenade was shot, he fell on the support pads mounted on a gun carriage. With sockets can be attached stoppers ski type. The shield cover has a thickness of 3 mm. On the right panel was secured exemplary table for firing at the T-34, moves at an angle of 45 degrees. RWr.43, having a mass of 108 kg, the battlefield was transported on its own wheeled calculation consisted of 4 people. The weakness of the chassis LNG did not allow its transportation motor vehicle on the hook, because they are carried exclusively in the body.
The design of 88-millimeter caliber active-reactive cumulative grenades R.Pz.Gr.4312 repeated the South American counterpart. But here, German designers have approached tasks creatively. R.Pz.Gr.4312 feature is the presence of the sleeve into which the grenade. In the combined active-propelled grenades, which has an igniter from the impactor combined characteristics of active (ordinary) and the Rockets. The primer powder charge is ignited by an active, housed in a sleeve. Powder gases formed during combustion of charge, pineapple with a certain initial velocity is pushed out of the barrel, and after a certain time after the grenade as moved away from the trunk to the benign distance gunner cut one rocket sustainer engine which creating extra speed. This design provides a significant increase grenade range dictates of fire.
This grenade, whose mass is 2.65 kg, was used only to combat armored vehicles. Grenade consisted of a 2-parts connected by thread: housing with fuse and reactive tail camera with a stabilizer. In the Iron thin-walled building housed: a cone-shaped cumulative explosive charge (an alloy of RDX and TNT in the proportion 60/40), head type fuse nepredohranitelnogo AZ 5075 instant offense, the standard detonator kl.Zdlg. 34 Np. 10. Fuse for safety stocked linchpin, which was removed immediately before loading the LNG. Fuse arming occurred at a distance of 3 meters from the muzzle. At a meeting grenades and purpose, he simultaneously worked. According to the central tube, which was fixed on a cumulative funnel beam of fire passed to the detonator. The tail section was composed of: a combustion chamber, the nozzle with a stabilizer and a nozzle having a gun charge for parts and ignition fuse. Non-rotating pineapple stabilized in flight feathers. German grenade, unlike analog, in the bottom of the reactive own camera stabilizer had a ring with six feathers. The reinforcement iron ring stabilizer and stability increment grenades on the line of motion. RWr.43 had a higher initial velocity — 120 m / s. Armor piercing grenade was up to 200 mm.
German heavy machine 88mm anti-tank rocket launchers «Puphen» (Raketenwerfer 43 «Puppchen»), of the Red Army occupied in one of the cities of Pomerania. 1st Belorussian Front
The introduction of active-reactive grenades drastically reduces the weight of gun fire at a fixed distance. RWr.43 were routine and quite effective anti-tank weapons, but a very large weight is 149 kg, the basic standard infantry anti-tank guns, which thought Raketenwerfer 43, makes it difficult to move when changing positions. In addition, considerable difficulties caused him quite a large size. They are not allowed to use RWr.43 appropriate to the terrain. These facts and the fact is the same as the armor and anti-tank hand grenade «Panzerfaust» (despite the significantly huge range of fire), Office of Germany was forced to abandon in favor of LNG promising RPG Ofenrohr, who suggested the company HASAG. In July, the 44th year of manufacture 3150 machine-grenade launchers RWr.43 their finished creation. As of March 1, ’45 in parts of the SS and the Wehrmacht, there were 1,649 CNG «Puppchen». Anti-tank destroyer battalions, which first reported this weapon, armed with more than a cheap and effective standards Ofenrohr hand grenades and Panzerfaust.
In the years 1940-1943 the company immediately WASAG over the same discrepancy company operates Rheinmetall-Borsig. As a result of work performed in it was created by another anti-tank complex: a 75 mm grenade launcher and heavy machine not having a combustion chamber. Shooting grenades from the trigger drop-shaped barrel is propelling powder charge (0.5 kg) mounted in it. Reaction force was created with the full burning powder charge in the barrel, since this system was created nozzle extended tail grenades and the bore. The initial velocity grenades with a mass of 3.1 kg was 350 m / s. This allowed us to confidently hit enemy armor at ranges up to 420 meters. With all of this dispersion at distances up to 800 meters does not exceed 2×2 m This figure was one of the biggest for shooting with the introduction of jet pomegranate. But the grenade had many shortcomings. For example, failed to achieve sustained disclosure stabilizers grenades, projectiles jamming occurred because the barrel, resulting in damage to the gun. In addition, a long time could not solve the problem of reducing the pressure in the barrel. There were other less significant prepyadstviya. Because after a few incidents with the gun Rheinmetall this subject was closed.
South American troops with a captured anti-tank gun «Puphen» in Normandy in the summer of 1944
At the end of the war was created by another German LNG — 88-mm Pz.B.03, representing a lightweight version of the grenade launcher RWr.43. Launcher — smooth trunk length 1125 mm — mounted on a lightweight odnobrusny carriage with 2 bipod. The new grenade launcher from its predecessor kept the general assembly of the shutter and the trunk. Distinctive features of the grenade was the lack of a protective cover, and the presence in the construction of the trunk of a special nozzle for output of the propellant gas. A similar arrangement has given the opportunity to facilitate machine- launcher. The powerful recoil when shooting partly offset by the introduction of a combined cumulative active and reactive grenade R.Pz.Gr.4312. Retaining the main characteristics of a grenade launcher mounted grenade launchers RWr.43 Pz.B.03 essentially «lost» in the title. Mass of LNG was 23.5 kg, which allowed him to produce a single soldier portability. With all this Pz.B.03 oblazal highest combat properties more than an RPG. But this project, as well as a huge number of others, in practice not implemented.
Based on: «infantry weapon Third Reich part VI. Reactive weapon Wehrmacht» special issue of the magazine «Gun»For 11 / December 2003