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The Panzerwurfmine (L) was a personal anti-tank weapon developed for use by Germany during World War II. The Panzerwurfmine was used mainly by specialist German infantry anti-tank squads.

Description

The Panzerwurfmine's design consisted of a hollow charge warhead in a steel body, attached to a wooden gripping handle wrapped in four canvas fins.

These were designed to stabilize the grenade in flight, while ensuring the warhead maintained its correct position relative to the target. [1] The grenade had a body diameter of 114.3 mm (4.5 inches). Overall length was 533 mm (21 inches), of which the body was 238.6 mm (9 inches) and the fins 279.4 mm (11 inches).

Overall weight was 1.35 kilograms (2.98 pounds), which included a 50/50 RDX/TNT hollow charge warhead weighing 0.52 kilograms (1.146 pounds). [1] Despite the short range of no more than 30 meters (32.8 yards), and the need for specialized training with inert examples, to ensure both accuracy and correct delivery, soldiers assigned to German anti-tank squads preferred the Panzerwurfmine (L) to other close range anti-tank weapons, as it was relatively small, light, handy and effective against most Allied tanks. In addition, it incorporated an element of safety, as the soldier did not need to attach the grenade to the target, and the fuse for the warhead was only armed when the grenade was actually thrown.[2]

Variants

The first and only variant of the Panzerwurfmine was the Panzerwurfmine (K) or Kurz version. This model was shorter than the original and utilized a different mechanism for inflight stabilization. This meant using canvas strips instead of flaps at the rear for a less complicated and more economically efficient design in terms of use and production.

History

The Panzerwurfmine was first used in combat beginning in 1943, where it ended up being a mild success among German anti-tank weapons. While it required the user to be even closer to the target than if the user was using either a Panzerfaust or a Panzerschreck, it was still a semi-reliable back-up weapon. A number of captured examples were used by the Allies, particularly the Russians. The weapon was also used by American soldiers, who initially assumed the weapon were meant to be thrown in the same fashion as normal grenades, as if they were oversized darts. This resulted in the issuing of special intelligence bulletins, which detailed the correct procedure.

After the war, a number of Warsaw Pact countries used weapons which worked on the same principle, and Egypt’s indigenous armament industry has produced an almost exact copy of the Panzerwurfmine, which suits their own infantry anti tank tactics. [1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 War Machine Magazine issue 105 – Infantry Anti Tank Weapons of World War II
  2. http://www.lonesentry.com/ordnance/panzerwurfmine-hollow-charge-antitank-hand-grenade.html


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