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"German Hollow-Charge Bombs" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German hollow-charge bombs was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 45, April 1, 1944.

[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 constantly bringing out new hollow-charge weapons. Recently, documentary evidence has come in regarding three new bombs and a hollow-charge nose-capped device of most unusual interest because it employs a small hollow charge as an armor-piercing nose cap to open the armor ahead of the fragmentation bomb itself. The nose device, as reported, appears to open an entirely new field in armor-piercing projectiles. If it can be applied to artillery shells, it may conceivably produce a change that might seriously affect the value of armor. Such a change--both on land and at sea--could be highly significant.

a. 250-kg Bomb

(1) SD (Thick-Cased Fragmentation Bomb) 250*

Figure 1 shows the general arrangement of the HE charge in SD 25C (550 lbs) bombs having a hollow charge. The charge is amatol 50/50 and the cavity is semicircular in section.

The HE charge has a metal lining (1) for the cavity which is supported on a flange (2), and in order to permit the formation of the jet the flange is located at a distance from the nose of the bomb of approximately 1.5 times the diameter of the cavity. The opening (3) at the nose of the bomb is approximately 5 1/4 inches.

[German Hollow-Charge Bombs]

(2) Improved 250 HL Bomb

It has been reported that the type of bomb illustrated in figure 1 was disappointing in performance and modifications were made which resulted in the production of HL (Hohl Ladung--hollow charge) types of bomb. The 250 HL is illustrated in figure 2, but there are also the 500 HL and 1,760-pound 800 HL designed on the same lines. The charge is amatol 60/40 and the bomb is in two parts.

Details of performance of these types from trials "at rest" are given on the next page:

Armor Penetration         Reinforced Concrete Penetration
250 HL 13.78 inchesnot available
500 HL 24.6 inches11.48 ft.

b. 500-kg Bomb

The cavity in the 1,100-pound SD 500 bomb (no sketch available) is a truncated cone, the larger diameter being 11.81 inches and the smaller diameter 4.33 inches.

c. 800-kg Bomb

Details of the performance of the 1,760-pound 800 HL are not available but its design is similar to the 250 HL and it appears that with an HE charge of 242 pounds it is anticipated it will penetrate 39.37 inches of armor and 19.68 feet of reinforced concrete.

d. Hollow-Charge Nose Device

A special nose device intended for use with the SD 250 bomb is shown in figure 3. The purpose of this is to obtain greater penetrating power of the bomb when dropped from low altitudes.

The device consists of a hollow charge (4) attached to the nose of a standard type (not hollow-charge), bomb. This charge which weighs about 8.8 pounds is detonated by its own fuze located at (5), and in order that the detonation of this hollow charge shall not damage the bomb, the space (6) is filled with a maximum of sawdust and cement.

The object of the device is to produce a hole in the armor through which the bomb can pass. The bomb is fitted with a Rheinmetal fuze charged for delay so that detonation of the bomb shall occur within the target. It is reported that the nose device can penetrate 2.76 inches of armor plate.

*The 250, 500 etc, refers to weight in kilograms.


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