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Panzerfaust help

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

  1. #51

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    You think flying tankbuster gunship is a 1950s development? You're wrong!

    The last flash of German ingenuity in Panzerfaust was the Befehlspanzerjäger Bü-181 project – or the flying Panzerknacker armed with four Pzf 100s mounted in pairs over and under wings of the small two-seater training aircraft, the Bücker Bü-181C-2 Bestmann. In March 1945, with Russians preparing to cross the Oder River within 60 miles from Berlin, all stops were removed and even the most fantastic solutions to stop the Soviet steamroller were given a try. One of these was a plan to utilize dozen brand-new Bestmanns, awaiting collection at the factory airfield of the Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH in Johannistahl, outside Berlin, as tank-killers. These were taken over by the Volkssturm HQ, and given to one Feldwebel Buchsteiner, who organized a tank-buster squadron consisting of three flights at the Trebbin flying school aerodrome. Rudimentary wire ‘sights’ were jury-rigged in front of the wide side-by-side enclosed cockpit, and wire pulleys were connecting the weapon operator’s left seat with trigger levers of the 4 Pzf 100s mounted two over and two under the wing. Of these only the 3. Tank Buster Flight (Panzerjägerstaffel 3.), seconded to the Kaufbeuren airfield ever achieved operational readiness and even flew several sorties against the Americans. It bagged no trophies, but instead lost three crews with their craft. The only surviving decided caution a better part of valor on April 18, 1945 and defected to Switzerland, where after the war their machine became Swiss Air Force’s training plane. Today a mock-up of the Tank Buster Bestmann with four Panzerfausts in place can be seen suspended from the ceiling of the Berlin’s Technisches Museum.

    Note also that unlike the original photo showing Pzf attached on their sides (to let the pulleys squeeze the triggers) with their sight ladders extended (to enable arming the weapons), the Berlin reolica has all four Pzfs upright and on safe.
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    Last edited by Visniewski; 07-25-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  2. #52

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Oooerr, this is Panzerfaust PORN!

  3. #53

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Is that the puke message you promised, Glenn66? Somehow strangely sounds like a plea for more. OK, so here you go:

    To fire an armed Pzf 30 m (both models) you have to first remove the cotter pin, holding the sighting leaf down. Only after the sighting leaf is erected, the striker can be cocked. To cock it, one had to push it into the trigger mechanism tube with a thumb against the mainspring until sear engaged, popping the trigger button out of the front portion of trigger mechanism housing. The trigger safety is then still applied – one has to rotate the striker rod 90 degrees to the right, just like the K98k safety. The end of the striker rod has a protruding perpendicular short pin installed to act as a 'flag' lever indicating the angle of rotation and current safety status.

    As for the accuracy of the Panzerfaust, the only report I have of October 1944 concerns the Pzf 30 (gr.), and it gives accuracy figures as follows: 30 m – 90% hits on the tank broadside-sized target, 60 m – 75% hits, but at 80 m – only 25% hits! And all of that in laboratory conditions, not on battlefield full of charging tanks and Soviet infantry looking for that SOB who has just burned their comrad tankist to smithereens...
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  4. #54

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Now for the production numbers: Within mere 21 months of the Panzerfaust’s mass-production vast amounts of these cheap but effective weapons were made. The 300 000 projected monthly delivery figure, ordered by HWA in 1943 was not merely a figure of speech. Although it took nine months to achieve, the production figures did not stop at that. For the whole of 1943 a total of 335 300 Faustpatronen were delivered to the HWA, but a year later there were 5.5 million launchers in the hands of the troops. Starting in November 1944 the MONTHLY delivery figure exceeded ONE MILLION. In the last two months for which the central records are known, January and February, 1945, as many as 2 056 000 brand-new Panzerfaust 100s reached the troops. The overall recoilless antitank launcher production figure between March 1943 and February 1945 reached as many as 8 000 000 units, making the Panzerfaust a Wehrmacht’s second most popular weapon, close at the heels of the ubiquitous Mauser K98k rifle! Quite an achievement, as the complete Panzerfaust launchers were supplied by just three assembly plants: two Hugo Schneider AG (Hasag) filials in Lepizig (manufacturer’s code: „wa”) and Schlieben („wk”), as well as Warz & Co. of Zella-Mehlis („cq”).

    This Volkssturm rally in Berlin, March of 1945, reveals that the lacking warhead decal was not any exception - each arrow points to a warhead lacking decal: there seems to be an even number of those with and without the sticker.
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  5. #55

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Quote by Visniewski View Post
    Now for the production numbers: Within mere 21 months of the Panzerfaust’s mass-production vast amounts of these cheap but effective weapons were made. The 300 000 projected monthly delivery figure, ordered by HWA in 1943 was not merely a figure of speech. Although it took nine months to achieve, the production figures did not stop at that. For the whole of 1943 a total of 335 300 Faustpatronen were delivered to the HWA, but a year later there were 5.5 million launchers in the hands of the troops. Starting in November 1944 the MONTHLY delivery figure exceeded ONE MILLION. In the last two months for which the central records are known, January and February, 1945, as many as 2 056 000 brand-new Panzerfaust 100s reached the troops. The overall recoilless antitank launcher production figure between March 1943 and February 1945 reached as many as 8 000 000 units, making the Panzerfaust a Wehrmacht’s second most popular weapon, close at the heels of the ubiquitous Mauser K98k rifle! Quite an achievement, as the complete Panzerfaust launchers were supplied by just three assembly plants: two Hugo Schneider AG (Hasag) filials in Lepizig (manufacturer’s code: „wa”) and Schlieben („wk”), as well as Warz & Co. of Zella-Mehlis („cq”).

    This Volkssturm rally in Berlin, March of 1945, reveals that the lacking warhead decal was not any exception - each arrow points to a warhead lacking decal: there seems to be an even number of those with and without the sticker.
    Thanks for this excellent report on the panzerfaust. Would be interesting to know how many Soviet T-34s were knocked out using this weapon. Am sure they destroyed or damaged quite a few.

  6. #56
    ?

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    My great uncles.. He was HJ during the war and used these on soviet tanks frequently.
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  7. #57

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Not only Germans knocked down T-34s with them: Hungarians, Romanians and Finns did too - until some time, that is. Here's a T-34 started with a Pzf and finished off by internal explosion in Finland.
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  8. #58

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Quote by Visniewski View Post
    Not only Germans knocked down T-34s with them: Hungarians, Romanians and Finns did too - until some time, that is. Here's a T-34 started with a Pzf and finished off by internal explosion in Finland.
    Thanks again for your valuable input Pal. You're a valuable addition to the forum.

  9. #59

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    Amazing numbers, imagine if they had been available in those quantities in 1941-42? All my literature regarding the Eastern front during those years highlight how the German forces were hampered by the lack of effective a/t weapons and often had to rely on magnetic mines or improvised grenade bundles. I suspect it wouldn't have made a difference in the long run but would certainly have given the Soviets greater headaches and prolonged the war in the east.

  10. #60

    Default Re: Panzerfaust help

    That's precisely why they developed these AT projectors!

    In Polish Campaign of 1939, as in the West, in 1940, enemy tanks were virtually absent – any that appeared in sight where quickly and effectively dispatched by German Panzers, the AT and AA artillery, AT rifles (both domestic PzB 38 and 39, and captured Polish wz.35, aka PzB 770p) some were even hunted down by Stuka dive-bombers. This situation rapidly changed after Hitler invaded Russia. At first everything was going just hanky-dory, and the only worry of the generals was that drivers have had to sleep sometime, not being able to drive extra miles into seemingly endless countryside at that time. Then, in autumn and winter, Wehrmacht have shot their slug, and soon, aided by General Winter the Russkies were back, with a vengeance – and more tanks than anyone ever imagined to exist. There were enough of enemy tanks advancing for all the Stukas, Panzers and all kinds of artillery – and still enough of them left unattended to roll the infantry. Soviet tanks attacked in huge masses, not by pairs or platoons as Polish or French ones, but wholesale – by full armored regiments or even tank corps. The enemy armor was plentiful, fast, modern, well armed and armored – which sometimes was enough to make up for effective tactics they desperately lacked. Older models – T-26s, BTs – were relatively easy to destroy, but as they wore out, these were being replaced by brand new T-34s and KV-1s, better protected, more powerful, better suited to the marshy terrain by utilizing wider tracks and outgunning with their 76 mm cannon the German Panzers armed with 37, 50 or at best 75 mm L/24 short-barreled cannon. As fall extended into winter 1941, almost overnight the entire antitank artillery of the Wehrmacht, based upon the 37 mm Pak 35/36 cannon has became obsolete – and even that got spread very thin along the 1000 kilometers long MLR. The infantry all of a sudden became left to fend for themselves in antitank defense. Just like in WW1, the ‘intrepid individuals’ became the last line of anti-tank defense, and gradually efficient ways of individual anti-tank combat were worked out, even if very demanding of the people involved in such endeavors. One had to work his way within a few feet of the charging tank, avoiding being shot or driven over, then place a charge (bundled potato-masher grenades or an antitank mine fitted with grenade fuze) over the engine grills or throw a Molotov cocktail (sometimes in an extreme form of a jerrycan full of petrol with a smoke grenade attached) – and then live to tell, which was the most difficult part. It was not sooner than mid-1942 that these intrepid men, called the Panzerknacker, or Tank Crushers could also enjoy the benefits of the Monroe effect. The first hand-delivered shaped-charges were the drogue-stabilized Panzerwurfmine 1 kg Luftwaffe (PWM 1/L) and Panzerwurfmine 1 kg Luftwaffe kurz (PWM 1/L k) grenades, as well as magnetic mines: Panzerhandmine 3 kg (PHM 3), Panzerhandmine 4 kg (PHM 4), Hafthohlladung 3 kg (Haft. Hl. 3) and its improved form, the Hafthohlladung 3,5 kg (Haft. Hl. 3,5). The mortality rate amongst their users was appalling, and these tank destroyers became Wehrmacht super-heroes quite early on. It was already on July 21, 1941, barely a month after the ‘Barbarossa’ was launched, when Wehrmacht was still covering hundreds of miles per week inside USSR, that the Special Award for Single-Handed Tank Destruction (Sonderabzeichen für das Niederkämpfen von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer) was instituted: a silver embroidered stripe with a black tank silhouette affixed. These were worn high on the sleeve, one such stripe for every tank, then a stripe with golden tank replacing five individual ribbons.
    Aside from the Hafthohlladungs, the Panzerknackers also had other shaped-charge weapons at their disposal: the antitank rifle grenades, like 30 mm kl.Gew.Pz.Gr., 40 mm gr.Gew.Pz.Gr., 46 mm Gew.Pz.Gr.46 and 61 mm Gew.Pz.Gr.61, fired from the standard K98k rifle or the GrB 39 – a short-barreled development of the already ineffective PzB 39 anti-tank rifle. These were very popular with the troops as the most effective and user-safe method of dispatching advancing tanks – but very quickly they too became inefficient, when new Soviet tanks appeared in large numbers.
    A quickly deteriorating state of the antitank defense on the Eastern Front led to the April 1942 Heerswaffenamt (Land Forces Ordnance Bureau, HWA) staging of a tender for the new antitank weapon, designed from the scratch and quickly. The entry requirements were simple: a shaped-charge with effectiveness better than the Gew.Pz.Gr.61 and launched at a minimum distance of 30 meters. Not much is known about the competitors, but the HWA has chosen the idea of Leipzig-based Hugo Schneider AG (Hasag) company’s Dr Heinrich Langweiler, called the Faustpatrone (literally a ’Hand-held Cartridge’, like in ‘Faustfeuerwaffe’, or handgun). The Faustpatrone 42 (FPatr. 42 or FP.42) was a palm-held expendable recoilless launcher, firing a shaped-charge warhead, easy to manufacture and use. It was a very light (1 kg) and compact weapon, only 350 mm long with 80 mm caliber warhead. 30 grams of black powder was able to launch the warhead as far as 60 meters, twice the requested range, but it was very difficult to hit even a tank-sized target at such a distance. The projectile was spin-stabilized by lieu of spiral cam on the shaft, interacting with a tube stud. The exhaust jet was fitted with oblique nozzles to cause the tube to spin as well – but in an opposite direction, to alleviate the gyroscopic effect.
    It was difficult to aim for several reasons. First, if the Monroe effect was to be efficient, the spin velocity had to be kept low. Second, the short tube made for excellent transport, but at the same time rendered firing difficult. The very nature of the launcher, quite literally a ‘pocket recoilless rifle’, with its hot gases projected from the rear of the tube, made the hapless user fire it from a hand extended sideways – which of course brought the parallax problem into the equation. The tests shown, that the tube was too short, as proven by holes burned in backpacks and overcoats – which of course did not endear this ‘infernal machine’ to the troops.
    And lack of accuracy was not the only problem. The fuze gave serious reliability problems: the inertia striker repeatedly failed to ignite the charge at low angles of impact. The original Fpatr. 42 was thus declared unfit for combat, but the idea have certainly shown a potential for further improvement. And, last but not least – nobody proposed anything better. Langweiler was told to improve his invention according to the guidelines set by the HWA in October 1942: the projectile had to be fin-stabilized, the tube be extended to provide safer firing from the shoulder – thus enabling line-of-flight sighting to diminish the parallax problem. At the same time, the launcher tube was to weight half a kilo, which was bordering on the unreasonable. The projectile was redesigned from the scratch with a new fuze with built-in arming-delay device, providing safety to the shooter should the projectile hit an obstacle within 5 m of the muzzle.
    As early as November 1942 Dr. Langweiler had already presented a new incarnation of the Faustpatrone, which shared precious little with the original one except for the name. The thin (28 mm outside diameter) launching tube was replaced with a new, 33 mm in diameter, of nearly twice the original wall thickness to withstand higher pressure and almost threefold longer, fitted with a leaf sight, incorporated in the new firing mechanism. This new mechanism comprised a spring-loaded striker, contained in a separate smaller dimension tube, mounted parallel with the main launching tube. The firing pin ignited a special blank, which in turn ignited the main propelling charge of 56 gram black powder – sending projectile from one side of the tube and hot gases from the other, to compensate for recoil. Thus the Faustpatrone I, later to be known as Panzerfaust 30 m, and finally Pzf 30 (kl.) was born.
    [The above text is part of my Panzerfaust article due to be published in US gun magazine Small Arms Review]
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