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Panzerfaust question

Discussion in 'Other Weapons' started by Ricky, Nov 6, 2023.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Reading a book which contains many anecdotes from British tank crews in WW2, and what repeatedly appears is that they would repeatedly back off from known locations of 'faust-wielding infantry because its effectiveness decreased with range.

    Everything I've read about hollow charge warheads is that range is irrelevant to performance.

    So... is this a case of practice differing from theory, or simply a perception that increased distance helps, or is it possibly not about the warhead performance but accuracy?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The projectile is dead simple, as such things go, so I doubt any decline in effectiveness. Of course there's a different between max effective range and max range. A near dead rocket may not have the oomph to set off the charge.
     
  3. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    The Panzerfaust used a shaped charge; armor penetration is independent of distance to the target and projectile velocity. However, the Panzerfaust was inaccurate and had a slow projectile velocity -- increasing distance would reduce the odds of a hit on the target.
     
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  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Since its effective range was about 30 meters due to its low accuracy, backing away significantly degraded its effectiveness.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    You're right about the warhead; the hollow charge's effect is independent of range.

    Likely the tanks were simply trying to stay out of the panzerfaust's range. Early models could only shoot 30 meters, and AFAIK the maximum range of operational panzerfausts was about 100 meters.

    Also it was a low velocity weapon with a primitive aiming system to say the least, so accuracy would fall off with range.
     
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  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Now I'm curious. What triggers the charge to detonate?
     
  7. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Contact fuse
     
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Next question: How much force, minimum, was needed to applied to trip the fuze?
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The maximum firing range of a panzerfaust was about 30 meters. Accuracy was anything but high at ranges over something like 10 to 15 meters. So, if you knew that and were a tank crew, you'd simply stay 30+ meters from German infantry and pound them from there where their antitank weapon was useless.
    Yes, the Germans did try to improve the panzerfaust's range developing a 60 meter then 100 and 120 meter version, but the ones most commonly encountered had a 30 meter range.

    A much more dangerous weapon in the hands of someone skilled in its use was the panzerwurfmine. This antitank grenade had roughly the same range as a panzerfaust, was designed to attack the tank from above (hitting the roof of it), and best for the user, silent and having no backblast to give your position away.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    The two final iterations of the Panzerfaust were 150m & 250m. Neither saw service as still in trials at war's end.
    Longest in-service range one was the 100m.
    The 60 was the most commonly encountered according to Western after-action reports, and appears to have the highest production numbers. (Usual caveat about sketchy German production records.)

    Must confess I'm puzzled by praise for the Wurfmine.
    Complaints about the 30m 'faust range were plentiful. Something that required standing up and a substantial whirl of the arms to throw, realistically closer to a 10-20m range, remained a curiosity more than anything. Not everyone was a Gunther Viezenz (Almost nobody was a Viezenz...)
    yxaz96fmpop51.jpg

    On Ricky's query:
    Then, as now, when every soldier potentially has a tank destroyer slung on their back, backing off seems wise.
    Warhead indeed theoretically the same if it hits hard enough, but despite stated ranges of faust projectiles, in reality it's a crudely made & fairly sketchily weighted finned grenade launched from a plain tube with a very small launch charge.
    Hold off a little, and the chances of aim failing, projectiles wobbling etc. increase exponentially. If there's a lot of Panzerfausts and you've wandered into theoretical ranges, then tanks should indeed be cautious and expect supporting Infantry to deal.

    Anyway, another chance to share a favourite Image from Fleischer's Kummersdorf book.
    If nothing else, it's supporting evidence of Panzerfaust launchers hardly being a sophisticated thing.
    kummersdorf panzerfaust.jpg
     
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  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Swords to plowshares.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Good point. Much of the value of such weapons is the caution they impose on enemy armor.
     
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