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"German AT Grenade Rifle" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on German conversion of the obselete antitank rifle to fire rifle grenades, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 37, November 4, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The Germans have converted their Model 39 antitank rifle Pz.B.39* (see MIS Special Series No. 14, May 25, 1943 German Infantry Weapons p. 34) into a weapon for firing the rifle grenade. The new rifle is called Granatbuchse 39, with "Gr.B.39" on a plate fastened over the original Pz.B.39 stamped on the receiver.

a. Description of the Modified AT Rifle

It is an adaptation of the German antitank rifle, Model 39, fitted with a cup grenade-launcher of the usual design, but the rifle is altered by the following modifications:

(1) The barrel has been shortened, and the carrying-handle moved to the rear

(2) The bipod, of the usual design but fitted with extended legs, is attached to the rear of the barrel

(3) The butt is laterally offset and strengthened by the insertion of a welded cross-member and is no longer able to be folded

(4) A special sight is attached to the left of the receiver. The front sight is in the form of a frame fitted with cross wires, and graduated from 0 to 150 meters. The rear sight is a notched bar (see sketch).

(5) Weight complete  . . . . . 23.15 lbs

(6) Total length overall  . . . . . 4 ft 3/16 in

(7) Total length of barrel  . . . . . 23 1/4 in

(8) Breech chamber  . . . . . 4 5/16 in

[German 7.92-mm AT Rifle (Granatbuchse 39)]

b. Ammunition Fired

The three types of ammunition used are the same as those designed for the rifle grenade, (see Tactical and Technical Trends No. 36, p. 34). There is an antipersonnel, HE grenade weighing nine ounces, known as G. Spgr (Gewehr Sprenggranate); an AP grenade (Gewehr Panzergranate), abbreviated G. Pzgr, and the heavy AP grenade, both hollow charges, (Grosser Gewehr Panzergranate) Gr.G.Pzgr. While undoubtedly the antipersonnel grenade can be fired, it would be an unusual munition for an antitank rifle. The normal ammunition would be the AP grenade -- the ordinary 8.8 oz Gewehr Panzergranate and the heavy, Grosser Gewehr Panzergranate. The latter is capable of piercing about two inches of armor.

These grenades are packed with the suitable blank cartridge for each type, in black containers with a white spot on the end for the AP grenades and a gray, for the HE. These blank cartridges are not interchangeable between different types of grenades.

According to one German authority, the heavy AP grenade has a range of about 100 meters, and according to another, 136. There may be two propelling cartridges. The range of the light AP is stated as 250 yards. In using the grenade sights on the AT rifle with the heavy grenade, 125 meters on the sight corresponds to a range of 100 meters and 100 meters to 75.

*Panzerbuchse - antitank rifle


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