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"Ammunition for German Rocket Projector" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on German Nebelwerfer ammunition was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 17, January 28, 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 German 150-mm six-barreled rocket projector has already been briefly described in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 10, p. 23. During the past week, pictures of what appeared to be this weapon were published in press releases from the Russian front. It is used primarily for smoke and chemical agents and is an item of general issue to certain German chemical troops. HE is also fired.

The projectiles (see accompanying sketches) are loaded at the muzzle, the nose projecting beyond the muzzle. They are electrically fired. While reported to weigh about 22 pounds, this figure seems unusually low for a projectile of 150-mm caliber.

[German 150mm Chemical Rocket]

Though the projector barrels are smooth bore, the projectiles are thought to rotate in flight; it is believed that this rotation is achieved by offsetting the jets or venturis. The number of jets is not known. Contrary to the usual type of rocket, the propellant is located in the front end of the projectile, the jets being about midway between the nose and base. It is considered that supplying the driving force at this point, instead of from the rear, is likely to give greater stability in flight. There is evidence that the chemical rocket has diglycol* or black-powder propellant charges; while the report is not clear in this respect, the propellant of the HE rocket would presumably be the same. What is referred to in the sketches as "spacers" are believed to be projections on the inside of the propellant case to hold the propellant stick away from the casing. The purpose of the resulting air space is apparently to permit the ready movement of the gases toward the jets. There are probably six of these spacers.

In the sketch of the HE rocket it will be noted that there is an air gap between the propellant case and the top of the HE casing; the purpose of this is presumably to guard against detonation of the HE filling by the heat generated by the burning of the propelling charge. This air gap is not present in the chemical rocket, the chemical filling presumably acting as an insulator.

[German 150mm H.E. Rocket]

As already stated, this rocket is of both the HE and chemical types. One type of chemical filling is indicated by green rings, one on the cap, or nose, the other on the casing for the filling. The exact significance of the green ring marking is not known. However, all German green-ring charges are known to have a limited vesicant action; one of them has practically no smell, and two others are said to have a faint smell resembling mustard.

*This is believed to be diethylene glycol dinitrate. The propellant is probably a double-base powder in which diethylene glycol dinitrate, instead of nitroglycerine, is used with the nitrocellulose.


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