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The Panzerfaust (German for 'armor fist') was an inexpensive, recoilless, anti-tank weapon that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

The Panzerfaust consisted of a disposable launch tube preloaded with an anti-tank warhead. Almost every single allied tank could be destroyed by a direct Panzerfaust hit. This caused it to be a great threat to allied tank crews. There have been different versions of the Panzerfaust such as the original Panzerfaust 30 Klein, also known as the Faustpatrone. It had a length of 98.5 centimeters and a total weight of about 3.2 kilograms. The flip up rear sight for aiming also served to prime the weapon and the projectile could be fired up to a range of 30 meters. However, this required the user to get dangerously close to the enemy vehicle, meaning that the user, if not killed by the enemy troops, was typically killed by the backblast of the weapon. In fact, according to US Army sources,[2] the backblast of the Panzerfaust was fatal up to three meters behind the user.

Variants

The Panzerfaust 60, which was the most common version had a range of 60 meters. To increase range, the diameter was increased to 5 centimeters. It also had an improved flip up rear sight and the weight was about 6.2 kilograms. It was designated Panzerfaust 60 because it had an improved range of 60meters.[3] The Panzerfaust 100 had a range of 100 meters, 90 grams of propellant, and a 6 centimeter tube diameter. Finally the Panzerfaust 150 which is the last version made, had a reinforced tube and a pointed warhead which gave more penetration. This version along with the Panzerfaust 200 was never produced.

History

The Panzerfaust was used extensively and was in high production. Over 6 million Panzerfausts were built, even more than the RPzB 43 Panzerschreck. The Panzerfaust was used by other armies rather than only Germany. Finland used them against the Soviet forces. Panzerfaust fire caused 6% of British tank losses at the Battle of Normandy, later increasing to 34%. The huge success of the Panzerfaust can largely be attributed to the fact that it was disposable and could be issued in the thousands to German infantry and even Volkssturm by the end of the war.

References

  1. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Publishing (2007), Page 15
  2. http://www.lonesentry.com/german_antitank/
  3. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=47



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