A new German antitank rocket launcher (Raketenpanzerbüchse 43) has been
examined. In appearance it is very similar to the American "Bazooka" but larger. The
German nickname is Ofenrohr or "stovepipe".
This consists of a plain pressed steel tube with three indented guides. Below
the tube is the cocking handle and trigger mechanism protected by a square steel
guard. To the rear of the trigger is the induction coil which is connected by a
lead to the socket at the rear of the tube. Between the coil and the socket is the
shoulder rest. On the left of the tube is an offset foresight and an adjustable
rearsight. The distance between sights is approximately 18 inches. At the rear
of the tube is a protector and spring catch.
This consists of a hollow-charge, HE-filled head with a nose fuze containing
a safety pin which is removed before firing. A body containing the rocket propellant
and a tail with a contact plug is set in a small crescent-shaped wooden block. The
propellant consists of a single stick of "diglykol."
The crew of the weapon consists of two men - a firer and a loader.
The loader inserts the projectile into the rear of the tube far enough to
allow the spring catch to snap over the tail end. This catch retains the
projectile in position.
The plug on the projectile is fitted into the socket at the end of the tube. After
cocking, by pulling the handle to the rear, the weapon is ready for firing.
When the trigger is depressed, the soft iron rod is driven a short distance through
the coil thereby inducing a current to pass through the lead to the plug
and igniting the propellant. Owing to the softness of the iron core it can only be
used seven times. After that the residual magnetism is too low to produce
The firer should wear a gas mask, a face mask, steel helmet and protective
clothing to avoid burns from the escaping propellant gases.
|Length of tube|| ||5 ft 3 in|
|Diameter of tube||3.46 in|
|Thickness of tube||.06 in|
|Weight of tube||20.5 lb|
|Weight of projectile||7.3 lb|
|MV of projectile||345 f/s|
|Range of projectile (approx)||164 yds|
|Penetration of armor (German source)||7.87 in|
The smallest firing unit is generally made up of a six-man team, equipped
with three launchers, and they are usually stationed in strong-point formation so
they can fire in any direction.