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RPG-40

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The RPG-40 was an anti-tank grenade that was used by the Soviet Union during World War II.

Description

It had a length of 2 cm and a total weight of 1.2 kg. Contained inside the large warhead on top of the stick of the grenade was up to 795 grams of TNT explosive.[1]

The weapon was simplistic and of a rugged design, typical among Soviet grenades at the time. However, it wasn't very effective against heavier German tanks such as the Panther or late Panzer IV models. 

Though by that time, the RPG-40 had been replaced by the improved RPG-43 AT Grenade which was more capable at handling such vehicles. Though, it was still very much able to deal with lighter vehicles such as armored cars and fortifications.

The RPG-40 was used by first moving the safety lever and then throwing the device which would then be detonated upon contact with the target.[2] Having a weight of slightly over a kilogram meant that throwing range was limited to around 27 meters, increasing the likely exposure of Soviet troops to enemy fire.[3]  Technically, no variants of the original RPG-40 system were ever made but as mentioned before, the RPG-43 AT Grenade fitted with a HEAT warhead for further armor penetration could be said to be more or less a variant of the RPG-40.

History

The RPG-40 was first developed in 1940 and first saw combat in Operation Barbarossa against advancing German tanks. Initially, fighting against lightly armored Panzer Is, 2s, and 3s proved the RPG-40 to be a decent weapon and it subsequently went into full production as the need for a weapon to counter the flood of German troops became urgent. Though as the war progressed, uparmored tanks eventually proved too much for the RPG-40 and in 1943, the RPG-43 was finally introduced fundamentally replacing all othe RPG-40s in service. When captured, the RPG-40 was redesignated the Handgranate 338(r) and put into German service.

References

  1. http://www.lexpev.nl/grenades/sovietbalkan/russia/rpg40.html
  2. http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/sovgrenades/index.html
  3. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=437


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