The Nebelwerfer 42 or NbW 42 (21 cm) was a rocket launching artillery system used by Germany during World War II.


The Nebelwerfer had five 21 cm tubes each holding a rocket that could have either HE (High Explosive), smoke, or poison gas warheads.

Nebelwerfer literally translates to "smoke thrower". It usually required about 4 men to operate and the maximum range was about 8 km (5 miles). The weight of the Nebelwerfer system was about 544.3 kg and the length was 1.3 meters. The mount for the Nebelwerfer was the same as the PaK 35/36, only it was slightly modified.[1]

The backblast from the rockets not only created a large cloud of smoke and dust, but they also forced the crew to be a distance away from the launcher. Each rocket was electrically triggered by a device similar to a demolition plunger. Although, the Nebelwerfer could not fire individual rockets.

Another flaw of the Nebelwerfer 42 was that it was not accurate so it is difficult to score a direct hit on a target. That is why it was mainly used for covering an area not a specific target.[2] The round that the Nebelwerfer fired was called the 21 cm Wurfgranate 42 and it weighed 6.4 kg. Each rocket left the barrel of its rocket tube at a muzzle velocity of 320 meters per second.


The Nebelwerfer 42 had no ground based variants as the only variant it had was specially modified for use by the Luftwaffe. It was called the Wurfergranate 21 or the Bordrakete 21. They also had specially modified warheads and were designed for use by fighters and bombers.


The Nebelwerfer was developed in 1942 and it was the successor of the earlier 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41. Though the Treaty of Versailles had banned heavy artillery, rocket artillery was not mentioned so the Nebelwerfer system did not defy the treaty. The name Nebelwerfer was meant to disguise the uses of the Nebelwerfer system. It was assigned to the Nebeltruppen and was used throughout World War II. Some of the places it was used include North Africa, the Eastern Front, and the Western Front. Well over a thousand Nebelwerfer systems were produced over the course of World War II.



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