Article about: An example of the color-charade mentioned above: two Volkssturm men (of course an elderly gent and a youngish pup in the same foxhole) manning a position in Ratibor, Silesia. Although the wa
Finnland was one of the often neglected users of the Panzerfausts and Panzerschrecks as well. The Finnish War Archive (which is accessible on-line here: WebNeo ) contains whooping 160 000 snapshots taken by the War Ministry photo correspondents, a rough equivalent of the German PK, during the Winter War (1939/40), the Continuation War (1941-1944) and also the Lappland War (1944/45) with Germany, after the Finns were forced to change sides and earn a place for themselves amongst the victors - just like Romania, Hungary - or France for that matter.
Anyway, before that happened, Germany supplied (to be read: sold, and not cheaply) the Finns some aircraft (Bf-109Gs, Do-17Zs, Ju-88A4s), tanks (PzKpfw IVGs and StuG IIIGs), artillery pieces (most notably the Pak 97/38s and Pak 40s, preserved to this day in most Finnish museums) and AT projectors of both types, meaning the recoilless Panzerfausts and rocket-propelled Panzerschrecks (or keeping to the proper designations - RPzB 54s).
The Panzerfausts were - judging from the photos - mostly Pzf 30m (gr.) aka FP.2, in original form, with WaA acceptance stamps, German codes, German-language warnings etc. These warnings were at that time (early 1944, when Germans were already switching to Pzf 60m) painted directly in red over the tubes, which were mostly yellow or light blue-grey, as some museum preserved specimens tend to prove. Let's see some Finnish photos of the Pzf in action, as these help to identify some issues that I have not seen to this day shown in German photos.
First of all, it seems that Pzf 30m were at that time completely lacking the warhead instruction manual, that now is the widely recognized feature of any self-esteemed Panzerfaust. Not one photo shows this kind of a decal on Pzf 30 prior to really last production one, a kind of 'transitional' model which we'll see later on, from the Oder front. This photo shows German warnings painted directly on the tubes, and also an improvised "breech protector" made of crumpled sheet of paper shoved down the tube to protect the propelling charge from damage and/or moisture.
Last edited by Visniewski; 07-25-2013 at 11:58 PM.
Next photo is clearly posed for the photographer, as this is one big tactical no-no - a Panzerfaust nest if you will, with as much as three Finnish sotilas (soldiers) aiming their Panzerfausts with no care in the world about the direction of the breech of the tube. The Soviet helmeted guy on top would immediately kill both his companions if he would ever press the trigger aligned like that! The posing soldiers have all pulled the cotter pins from their sights for the benefit of the photographer (otherwise they would not be able to raise the sights), but fortunately they have not cocked the strikers of their trigger mechanisms. So, the first guy wants to fry his both friends, and they in turn keep their Pzf just like they were fowling pieces, and should either of them pressed the trigger, they would fry themselves as thoroughly, without bothering the top guy. But the photo is just perfect...
Last edited by Visniewski; 07-25-2013 at 11:46 PM.
Another shot shows soldiers screwing in the warheads into the stems on the Pzf 30 (gr.) - note the focused faces expressing that this seemed not that easy job. And also the helmets galore: Hungarian M38, Italian M33 and captured Soviet M40, early 3-riveted variation. Note also that the warhead in the hands of the Soviet-helmeted guy seems to be duo-tone, with nose cap of a different light hue from the rest of the warhead.
Another posed shot, again with dangerously small separation and dangerous handling of weapons for the benefit of the photographer. Note manufacturer's codes on the nearer warhead, warning painted directly on the tube and in German, and also that neither striker is cocked (had to be pressed inward inside the trigger mechanism tube), and as a consequence the trigger button has not popped up to ready position (see front arrow of the upper inscription).
All Pzf projectiles were fitted with a special impact fuze called FPZ8001 (and it's developments, the 8002, 8003 und 8003 umg.). These were quite complicated for such a simple weapon, but they had to be at the same time safe and reliable, which to some extent was contradictory. It was an inertia impact fuze, meaning there was a weight with a firing pin fitted to it, design to hit at the primer set on the top of the fuze. This firing pin was sheated to prevent hitting the primer before the *right* major impact, being that AFTER the whole contraption was fired. The whole inertia mechanism had an additional passive safety arrangement giving the firer the benefit of an arming delay.
It took ca. 5 meters of flight time after firing for the inertia of the safety sleeve to overcome safety spring resistance and fall behind, until held by ball detent. This action exposed the firing pin arming the fuze. When the warhead came to a sudden stop upon impact, the firing pin with sleeve and weight continued forward until it struck the primer. Hot gases from the primer penetrated the detonator’s touch hole paper screen and the kl.Zdldg.34 of pentrite exploded, initiating the detonation of the main charge, containing "hexolite", being a hexogen and TNT mixture in proportions hovering around 1:1 (46/54, 50/50, 40/60). The hexolite is quite safe in handling, going high-explosive only with a proper detonator.
Now, as for the photos below:
Section of the FPZ 8003 impact fuze for the Panzefaust 100 m: 1. fuze casing; 2. primer; 3. cardboard transfer spacer (to be crushed on igniting); 4. safety sleeve; 5. firing pin; 6. firing pin weight ; 7. safety sleeve ball detent; 8. safety sleeve spring. The firing pin tip is hidden inside the safety sleeve until the warhead is fired. In transfer it is additionally cushioned by the cardboard tube spacer. On launching, inertia of the safety sleeve makes it slide down the firing pin weight against the sleeve spring, until it is held by the ball detent, exposing the firing pin. As of this instant the only obstacle between the firing pin and primer is the cardboard tube, and the only force that keeps the firing pin from impacting into the primer is inertia (g-force). On impact the projectile stops, while the firing pin weight – now additionally weighted by the safety sleeve – continues forward, crushing the spacer and igniting the primer, which in turn fires the detonator initiating the main charge explosion. DRAWING COURTESY OF GRZEGORZ FRANCZYK
All three photos show arming the warhead, though unfortunately all are Pzf 30s. In Pzf 30m (kl.) variation with smaller warhead, the detonator was inserted into the grenade and fuze inside the stem, while in Pzf 30 m (gr.) and almost identical warheads for Pzf 60 and 100, both were inserted into the stem of the much larger warhead. Essentially the only design difference between the 30 (gr.) and later warheads was the threaded stem, inserted into the early goblet and screwed-in - this was later replaced by the sheet metal retainers.