A Luftwaffe soldier aims the Faustpatrone using the integrated leaf sight
Type Man-portable anti-tank weapon
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1943–?
Used by See Users
Wars World War II
Greek civil war
Production history
Produced 1942–1945
Number built over 6 million (all variants)
Variants Panzerfaust 30, 60, 100, 150, 250
Weight Script error (Panzerfaust 60)
Length ~ Script error

Caliber 149 mm (Panzerfaust 60)
Effective range Script error (Panzerfaust 60)

The Panzerfaust (lit. "armor fist" or "tank fist", plural: Panzerfäuste) was a cheap, single shot, recoilless German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consisted of a small, disposable preloaded launch tube firing a high explosive anti-tank warhead, and was operated by a single soldier. The Panzerfaust was in service from 1942 until the end of the war.[1] [2]

Faustpatrone Edit

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File:Panzerfaust helsinki.jpg

A forerunner of the Panzerfaust was the Faustpatrone (literally "fist cartridge").

The Faustpatrone was much smaller in physical appearance than the better known Panzerfaust. Development of the Faustpatrone started in the summer of 1942 at the German company HASAG with the development of a smaller prototype called Gretchen ("little Greta") by a team headed by Dr. Heinrich Langweiler in Leipzig. The basic concept was that of a recoilless gun; neither the Faustpatrone, nor its successor the Panzerfaust were rockets.

To use the Panzerfaust, the soldier takes off the safety, aims, and, with a little squeeze, fires the projectile. Unlike the Bazooka or Panzerschreck, the Panzerfaust did not have a trigger. It had a pedallike lever near the projectile that would ignite the propellant when squeezed.

The following weapon model of the Panzerfaust family, the so-called Faustpatrone klein, 30 m ("Small Fist-Cartridge") had a total weight of 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) and a total length of 98.5 cm (38¾ in); its projectile had a length of 36 cm (14¼ in) and a warhead diameter of 10 cm (4 in); it carried a shaped charge of 400 g (14 oz) of a 50:50 mix of TNT and tri-hexogen. The propellant consisted of 54 g (1.9 oz or 830 grains) of black powder, the metal launch tube had a length of 80 cm (31½ in) and a diameter of 3.3 cm (1.3 in) (early models reportedly 2.8 cm (1.1 in)). Fitted to the warhead was a wooden shaft with folded stabilizing fins (made of 0.25 mm (0.01 in) thick spring metal). These bent blades straightened into position by themselves as soon as they left the launch tube. The warhead was accelerated to a speed of 28 m/s (92 ft/s), had a range of about 30 m (100 ft) and an armor penetration of up to 140 mm (5½ in) of plain steel. Soon a crude aiming device similar to the one used by the Panzerfaust was added to the design; it was fixed at a range of 30 m (100 ft).

Several designations of this weapon were in use, amongst which Faustpatrone 1 or Panzerfaust 30 klein; however, it was common to refer to this weapon simply as the Faustpatrone. Of the earlier model, 20,000 were ordered and the first 500 Faustpatronen were delivered by the manufacturer, HASAG Hugo Schneider AG, Werk Schlieben, in August 1943. Two main problems had already surfaced much earlier in the weapon's trials: first, the original model did not have a sighting device, and, secondly, because of the odd shape of the warhead (see pictures), it tended to ricochet off or explode with lesser effect on sloped armour, especially evident when deployed against the Russian T-34. Since these problems surfaced early in testing, the development and production of its successor, the Panzerfaust 30, had already begun by the time of the first deliveries, inhibiting incorporation of possible solutions to the problems in the newer design and perpetuating its weaknesses. Still, the small and simple Faustpatrone was kept in production well into 1945. During the entire Second World War, it remained the most common German anti-armour weapon.


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File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H28150, Deutsche Soldaten mit Panzerfäusten.jpg

Development began in 1942 on a larger version of the Faustpatrone. The resulting weapon was the Panzerfaust 30, with a total weight of Script error and total length of Script error. The launch tube was made of low-grade steel Script error in diameter, containing a Script error charge of black powder propellant. Along the side of the tube were a simple folding rear sight and a trigger. The edge of the warhead was used as the front sight. The oversize warhead (Script error in diameter) was fitted into the front of the tube by an attached wooden tail stem with metal stabilizing fins. The warhead weighed Script error and contained Script error of a 50:50 mixture of TNT and hexogen explosives, and had armor penetration of Script error.[3] The Panzerfaust often had warnings written in large red letters on the upper rear end of the tube, the words usually being Achtung! Feuerstrahl! ("Attention! Fire Jet!"). This was to warn soldiers to avoid the backblast. After firing, the tube was discarded, making the Panzerfaust the first disposable anti-tank weapon. During the last stages of the war, many poorly-trained conscripts were given a Panzerfaust and nothing else, causing several German generals to comment sarcastically that the tubes could then be used as clubs.[4] The weapon, when correctly fired from the crook of the arm, could with its shaped charge warhead penetrate the armor of any armoured fighting vehicle of the period.[5]

Many Panzerfäuste were sold to Finland, which urgently needed them as the Finnish forces did not have enough anti-tank weapons that could penetrate heavily armored Soviet tanks like the T-34 and IS-2. The Finnish experience with the weapon and its fitness for Finnish needs was mixed and only 4,000 of 25,000 Panzerfäuste delivered were expended in combat.[6]

In the Battle of Normandy, only 6% of British tank losses were from Panzerfaust fire, despite the close-range combat in the Bocage landscape. However, the threat from the Panzerfaust forced tank forces to wait for infantry support before advancing. The portion of British tanks destroyed by Panzerfäuste later rose to 34%, a rise probably explained by the lack of German anti-tank guns late in the war and also the terrain where the fighting took place.[7]

In urban combat in the late war in eastern Germany about 70% of tanks destroyed were hit by Panzerfäuste or Panzerschrecks. The Soviet forces responded by installing spaced armour on their tanks from early 1945 onwards, despite it being easily removed by exploding shells or Panzerfaust hits. Each tank company was also assigned a platoon of infantry to protect them from infantry-wielded anti-tank weapons.Script errorScript error[citation needed]

The US 82nd Airborne Division captured some Panzerfäuste in the Sicilian campaign, and later during the fighting in Normandy. Finding them more effective than their own Bazookas, they held onto them and used them during the later stages of the French campaign and even dropped with them into the Netherlands during the Market-Garden campaign. They captured an ammunition dump of Panzerfäuste near Nijmegen, and used them through the Ardennes Offensive to the end of the war.[8]


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Panzerfaust 30 klein ("small") or Faustpatrone
This was the original version, first delivered in August 1943 with a total weight of Script error and overall length of Script error. The "30" was indicative of the nominal maximum range of Script error. It had a Script error diameter tube containing Script error of black powder propellant launching a Script error warhead carrying Script error of explosive. The projectile traveled at just Script error per second and could penetrate Script error of armor.
Panzerfaust 30
An improved version also appearing in August 1943, this version had a larger warhead for improved armor penetration, Script error, but the same range of 30 meters.
Panzerfaust 60
This was the most common version, with production starting in September 1944. It had a much more practical range of Script error, although with a muzzle velocity of only Script error per second it would take 1.3 seconds for the warhead to reach a tank at that range. To achieve the higher velocity, the tube diameter was increased to Script error and Script error of propellant used. It also had an improved flip-up rear sight and trigger mechanism. The weapon now weighed Script error. It could defeat Script error of armor.
Panzerfaust 100
This was the final version produced in quantity, from November 1944 onwards. It had a nominal maximum range of Script error. Script error of propellant launched the warhead at Script error per second from a Script error diameter tube. The sight had holes for 30, 60, Script error, and had luminous paint in them to make counting up to the correct one easier in the dark. This version weighed Script error and could penetrate Script error of armor.
Panzerfaust 150
This was a major redesign of the weapon, and was deployed in limited numbers near the end of the war. The firing tube was reinforced and reusable for up to ten shots. A new pointed warhead with increased armor penetration and two-stage propellant ignition gave a higher velocity of Script error per second. Production started in March 1945, two months before the end of the war.
Panzerfaust 250
Scheduled to enter production in September 1945. Similar to the 150, but with a longer tube and a handle with a trigger, similar to the RPG-2, for the user. The war ended before development had been completed.
Pansarskott m/45 and pansarskott m/46
Swedish-made copies of the Panzerfaust.[9]


See alsoEdit


  • Script error
  1. Script error
  2. Script error
  3. Script error
  4. Script error
  5. Script error
  6. Script error
  7. Script error
  8. 8.0 8.1 More Than Courage: Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace ... By Phil Nordyke P.299
  9. 9.0 9.1 Pansarskott Swedish Wikipedia article, accessed 2012-11-15
  10. Julio S. Guzmán, Las Armas Modernas de Infantería, Abril de 1953
  12. Script error
  13. Perzyk, Bogusław: Niemieckie granatniki przeciwpancerne Panzerfaust w Wojsku Polskim 1944-1955 cz.I in: Poligon 2/2011, pp.57-62 (in Polish) and Perzyk, Bogusław: Panzerfaust w Wojsku Polskim 1944-1955 cz.II. Projekt PC-100 in: Poligon 4/2011, p.68 (in Polish)
  14. Rottman, Gordon L., The Rocket Propelled Grenade, page 14, ISBN 978-1-84908-153-5 url: [1]

External linksEdit

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