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"German Rifle-Grenade Equipment" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on German rifle grenades of WWII, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 36, October 21, 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 need of a high-angle weapon to fill the gap between the hand grenade and the small infantry mortar has revived the rifle grenade. In World War I, both the British and French developed rifle grenades; the British had a weapon mounted on a rod thrust down the rifle barrel and propelled by a blank cartridge; the French grenade was the "VB" of the American Expeditionary Forces. This grenade was a steel container, about the size and shape of an ordinary can of condensed milk, but pierced longitudinally with a dough-nut-like hole. When fired from a pint-size steel launcher called a "tromblon" which was fastened to the muzzle by a bayonet clip, the bullet of an ordinary ball cartridge passed through the hole in the grenade, arming it in passage, and the gases following the bullet hurled it, tumbling end over end, about 200 yards. The blast of the pound-and-a-half grenade was devastating, and a very fair measure of accuracy was obtainable with practice.

The Germans have two types of rifle grenade launchers -- one, a spigot-type launcher, similar to our own, and one, a cup-type launcher, of an entirely different sort. The cup-type launcher will fire three projectiles -- an antipersonnel grenade, a light AP, and a heavy AP, both containing hollow-charges. The heavy grenade under favorable conditions will penetrate about two inches of armor, making it a rather effective antitank weapon at close quarters. Complete data is still lacking on the spigot hollow-charge grenade, but it would appear to be a powerful projectile.

*          *          *


a. Rifle Discharger, Cup Type (Schiessbecher)

(1) The discharger (figure 1) is made of steel, and consists of a rifled barrel which screws into a holder fitted with a clamp for attaching to the rifle barrel. There are no gas ports, and varying ranges are obtained by altering the elevation of the rifle with the aid of a sighting attachment. With practice, however, the discharger can be used effectively without the sight.

(2) Ammunition

Three types of grenade (figures 2-4) are fired, two of which in different sizes are armor-piercing and the third is antipersonnel with provision for throwing as a hand grenade.

[Figure 1-4: Rifle Discharger Cup and Ammunition]

(a) Small AP Grenade (Gewehr Panzergranate G. Pz Gr)

This grenade (figure 2) incorporates the hollow charge principle, with a shaped cavity formed at the forward end of the HE filling with the result that, on impact, a jet of blast is concentrated in a forward direction. It follows, therefore, that the penetration of armor is equal at all ranges, since it depends on this jet and not on the striking velocity of the projectile. The difficulty of hitting the target, however, restricts the use of this grenade to ranges up to 100 yards. It is likely to be effective only against lightly armored targets.

The body is made in two parts -- a forward portion of steel containing the bursting charge and hollow-charge cone, closed by a light metal cap, and a rear portion of light aluminum alloy containing the fuze and detonator system. An exterior-rifled driving band is placed 6-mm (.236 in) from the rear end of the grenade. Other details are as follows:

Total weight   . . . . .   8.8 oz
Overall length   . . . . .   6.4 in
Weight of filling   . . . . .   1.75 oz

(b) Large AP Grenade (Gr. G. Pz Gr -- Gross Gewehr Panzergrenate -- Large-weapon Panzer Grenade)

This grenade (figure 3) is constructed on similar general lines to the above, except that the front portion is enlarged and contains a greater bursting charge. The total weight of the grenade is approximately 12 3/4 ounces; the weight of the bursting charge 4 1/4 ounces. This grenade and the small AP grenade both should be handled with great care, as they arm very easily. Both of these grenades are fired by the German antitank rifle when especially modified for their use.

(c) Antipersonnel Rifle or Hand Grenade (G. Spgr Gewehr -- Sprenggranate)

The cylindrical steel body of the grenade contains the HE filling and detonator. It is screw-threaded at the nose to take the fuze-body and at the base to take the rifled base-attachment. When fired from the discharger, the grenade functions on impact, or after 11 seconds, by means of a self-destroying system should the fuze fail to function. When thrown by hand, the base-attachment is unscrewed and removed, giving access to a cord attached to a friction igniter. Immediately before throwing, the cord is pulled and the grenade detonates after 4 1/2 seconds delay. Other details are as follows: --

Overall length   . . . . .   5.5 in
Weight fuzed   . . . . .   9 oz
Weight of filling   . . . . .   1.1 oz
Maximum range   . . . . .   250 yds

(d) Propelling Cartridge

In the case of the small AP grenade and the antipersonnel grenade, the propelling charge is a standard 7.92-mm steel cartridge case closed at the mouth by crimping. For the large AP grenade the cartridge is provided with a wooden bullet. The grenades are packed singly in cartons with their appropriate cartridges.

(e) The sight (figure 5) is in two parts; a fixed portion consisting of a carrier-plate and clamping band, and a moveable portion comprising a sight arm with rearsight, frontsight, and bubble level, and a range arc. The range arc has two scales; the upper, for low-angle fire, is graduated from 0 to 250 meters, and the lower, for high angle fire, from 50 to 250 meters (1 meter=1.1 yards approx).

[Figure 5: Sight for Cup Discharger]

The sight is attached to the left side of the rifle by means of the clamping band, immediately to the rear of the rifle rearsight. The data on the range scale apply only to the antipersonnel grenade. For the two AP grenades the following corrections should be made: --

Small AP grenade

75 meter graduation corresponds to 100 meters (109 yards) required range.

50 meter graduation corresponds to 65 meters (75 yards) required range.

Large AP grenade

125 meter graduation corresponds to 100 meters (109 yards) required range.

100 meter graduation corresponds to 75 meters (82 yards) required range.

75 meter graduation corresponds to 50 meters (55 yards) required range.


a. Rifle Discharger, Spigot Type

(1) Discharger

The discharger consists of a hollow tubular spigot (see figures 6 - 7) of about one inch diameter terminating in a part resembling the hilt of a bayonet. Over this spigot fits the hollow tail-piece of the grenade. It is fitted to the rifle, in the same manner as a bayonet, over the bayonet standard and foresight block, and is locked in position by a spring-loaded bolt. On firing the propelling cartridge, the gasses pass out of the barrel of the rifle, through the spigot, and into the hollow tail-piece to propel the grenade.

[Figure 6: Rifle Discharger (Spigot Type) and Sight]

(2) Sights

(a) A swing-over blade front sight is fitted to the left side of the base of the spigot.

(b) A rear sight attachment is fitted to the left side of the rifle by means of a metal strap and thumbscrew. The body, which is movably attached to the metal strap by means of a carrier-plate, is in the form of a metal box about five inches in length, on the forward end of which a V is formed. The other end, facing the firer when the sight is assembled to the rifle, is inscribed with a range-scale graduated from 25-100 meters in steps of 25 meters. To give the desired range, the body is rotated and the appropriate graduation brought opposite a pointer on the carrier plate. The body is then held in position by a ball and spring detent.

(c) Ammunition

Only one type of ammunition has been identified to date. This is a hollow charge antitank grenade with a tubular tail which fits over the spigot of the discharger, see figure 7. The grenade is grey-green in color. The head is bell-shaped and contains the explosive filling, which is hollowed out to a depth of .79 inch and contained by a concave aluminum diaphragm. The head is closed by a slightly convex metal cap.

[Figure 7: Grenade for Spigot Type Discharger]

The fuze body, which is cylindrical, screws into the base of the head. On firing, pressure acts on a cutting pin, the base of which is flush with the base of the fuze. This shears a safety pin which is ejected by a spring. The firing pin can then set forward on impact into the detonator. The tail screws into the base of the fuze. It is tubular and has six tail fins near the base. The grenade is propelled by means of a wooden-bullet blank cartridge. Until needed, this cartridge is carried in the tail tube of the grenade which is closed by a rubber plug.


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