An antitank hand grenade has been developed by the Germans
for use by infantry troops in close combat against tanks. Known
as the Panzerwurfmine, this weapon is capable of penetrating
3 inches of homogeneous armor plate, and may be thrown as
easily as an ordinary stick grenade.
The Panzerwurfmine, which weighs about 3 pounds, consists
of a cone-shaped body with a hemispherical end, and with the
stick handle attached to the other, or point, end of the cone.
The most novel feature of this weapon is a set of four
collapsible cloth vanes which are folded against the handle. When
the grenade is thrown, the vanes spring open and presumably
guide the projectile head-on to the target.
The conical head of the grenade is filled with a hollow charge
designed to direct the force of explosion in one
direction—against the armor plate of the target. Built to detonate on
impact, the grenade fuze is located in the butt end of the hollow
wooden handle, which is filled with an explosive booster charge.
The fuze—a striker pin held back from a primer cap by a
weak spring—detonates when the force of impact overcomes
the weight of the spring and throws the striker against the cap.
A safety pin which fits into the top of the fuze assembly keeps
the fuze in an unarmed condition until the grenade is thrown.
The fuze assembly is housed in a thin metal cylinder fitted over
the end of the wooden handle.
Panzerwurfmine is a hollow charge, antitank hand grenade. When
in unarmed condition, the cloth vanes, which tend to guide the
projectile head-on to the target, are held folded against the
The grenade is armed in flight when the loosely seated safety
pin is pulled free by the drag of air on a short cloth tape, one
end of which is fastened to the free end of the pin.
Near the cone end of the handle, four spring steel ribs are
secured in grooves. When extended, umbrella-fashion, these
ribs are the framework for the cloth vanes. When the vanes
are collapsed, the ribs are held under tension flat against the
handle, and are secured in position by a metal cap which fits
over the end of the fuze assembly and the free ends of the
folded ribs. This cap is held in place by a metal tongue on the
fuze assembly. The tongue passes through a slit in the cover.
During transport the tape attached to the safety pin is secured
under a horseshoe-shaped metal clip which snaps around the
outside of the fuze assembly, thus holding the safety pin in
place. A short piece of string is tied from the clip to the end
of one of the folded steel ribs.
Although the Panzerwurfmine may seem easy to use, it requires
a degree of caution upon the part of the thrower, who
must be sure that the vanes remain closed—thus keeping the
grenade unarmed—until the weapon leaves his hand.
(1) The soldier who uses this grenade must grasp the handle in such a
way that the collapsed vanes will be held closed against the handle
when the retaining cover is removed. Then, and only then, can the
cover be removed by straightening the metal tongue and slipping the
cover free of the handle and fuze assembly.
(2) Once the cover is removed, the grenade is ready for throwing. The
weapon is thrown in the same manner as the ordinary stick grenade.
When the grenade leaves the thrower's hand, the steel ribs on the
handle will be released from tension and snap out to extend the sail-like
(3) When released in this fashion, the rib tied to the metal clip pulls the
clip clear of the fuze assembly, releasing the safety-pin tape. The drag
of air on the tape pulls the safety pin free, and the striker pin is armed
to detonate when the grenade strikes the target.