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"New German Bombthrower" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on the German schwere Wurfgerät 40/41 was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 8, Sept. 24, 1942.

[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 are apparently developing, and to some extent using, a device for projecting large HE or incendiary bombs. The weapon is known as the Schwere Wurfgerät or "heavy throwing apparatus". There are three different types of this weapon, although the projectiles are the same in all cases.

The first type is known as the Schwere Wurfgerät 40 (s.W.G. 40), in which the stand is a wooden ramp, which is transported to the firing position and then dismounted and prepared for action.

The second type, the Schwere Wurfgerät 41 (s.W.G. 41), is similar to the model 40, except that the stand is made of metal.

The third type consists of the model 40 mounted on a medium, armored, half-track vehicle (see accompanying sketch).

[Wurfgerät 40]

This vehicle is normally used as an armored troop carrier with a complement of 10 men, and is fitted with swivel mountings at the front and rear for model-34 machine guns. It seems probable, however, that in some of these vehicles, the forward machine gun and mounting is replaced by a 20-mm gun for defense against light armored vehicles.

The characteristics of the half-track vehicle are as follows:

Weight (empty) about     7 tons
Weight (loaded) about8 1/2 tons
Overall length5.8 m. (19 ft. 0 in)
Overall width2.1 m. (6 ft. 11 in)
Overall height2.1 m. (6 ft. 11 in)
Thickness of armor10 to 15 mm. (0.4 to 0.6 in)
Turning radius13.5 m. (44 ft)

Each projector consists of two parts: carrier plates on the side of the vehicle, and a skeleton framework to hold the bomb.

The carrier plates are pivotally mounted so that they can be elevated from 5 to 42 degrees, and are each provided with a clamping lever and an elevation scale. The projectiles are transported in, and fired from, the framework.

It is now known that the projectiles are of rocket type and are fired electrically.

The weight of the HE projectile is 181 lbs, and of the incendiary, 174 lbs. The HE projectile has a main filling of 110 lbs of TNT, while the incendiary contains 13 gallons of oil.

A pink band approximately 1 1/4 in wide distinguishes the HE projectile from the incendiary, which has a green and yellow band.

The following details of the projectile may contain minor inaccuracies but are believed to be generally correct (the numbers refer to parts shown in sketch):

(1) Artillery-type, direct-action, nose fuse.
(2) Instantaneous detonating system.
(3) Main filling.
(4) Casing wall 3-mm (1/8 in) thick.
(5) Tail body.
(6) Propellant charge (diethylene glycol dinitrate).
(7) Socket for electric primer.
(8) Nozzle apertures.

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