The Cold War Weapon Wrecking Russian Tanks in Ukraine

Although the Russian Military was as soon as vaunted because the second-best army within the trendy world, the vastly underestimated Ukrainian army has confirmed it up repeatedly, seemingly with solely nationwide pluck and a hodgepodge of donated weapons from sympathetic Western nations.

Among the many borrowed Ukrainian arsenal, the Panzerfaust 3 has made a powerful exhibiting towards Russian armored columns. What is that this shoulder-fired antitank rocket, the place did it come from, and why is it putting worry into Vladimir Putin‘s troopers?

The Panzerfaust originated in World Battle Ii

In 1943, with a resurgent Soviet military advancing on the Third Reich behind a phalanx of first-class tanks being produced in numbers that Germany has no hope of matching, Germany developed a small, easy, simple to make use of antitank weapon that might flip any wielder right into a tank killer. Known as the Panzerfaust (“armor fist”), it was primarily a tube that launched a rocket-propelled grenade with a formed cost able to penetrating armor at ranges as much as 200 toes. The launching tube could possibly be reloaded if further warheads had been out there, however cheap sufficient to be discarded in the event that they weren’t.

Distributed amongst troopers and, as of Oct. 18, 1944, to unexpectedly educated elders and kids of the Volkssturm (“folks’s storm,” Nazi Germany’s last-ditch nationwide militia), the Panzerfaust required extraordinary braveness to function at its efficient vary and was not dependable sufficient to avoid wasting the Reich from its final doom on Might 8 (or Might 9, relying on who you ask) the following 12 months.

It turned a chilly battle staple

It was, nonetheless, efficient sufficient for postwar armies on both facet of Iron Curtain to make enhancements on its fundamental design. That features the present German Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces) within the type of the Panzerfaust 3. After coming into fight in Afghanistan with the Bundeswehr, the brand new technology of Panzerfausts is once more battling Russian tanks … besides that the folks wielding the antitank weapons are Ukrainian.

In response to a 1973 order for a extra highly effective, correct semi-disposable weapon to exchange the World Battle II-vintage PzF-44, able to participating the most recent technology of Russian T-72 and T-80 tanks, the Dynomit Nobel Allgemeine Gesellschaft labored on this newest model of the antitank rocket from 1978 to 1995, although the Panzerfaust 3 was accepted by the Bundeswehr in 1992.

The fashionable panzerfaust 3 is a tank-killing machine

It has since undergone technical upgrades to maintain up with enhancements in tanks, particularly the Panzerfaust 3-T, which makes use of a twin hollow-charge tandem warhead, with a spike on the entrance of the warhead that may set off reactive armor and in so doing free a path for the principle cost to succeed in and penetrate as much as 31.5 inches of metal armor. As an extra enchancment, the Panzerfaust 3-IT600 will get its designation from the consumer’s skill to have interaction enemy armored autos at as much as 600 meters through the use of a Simrad Optonics sighting-and-targeting mechanism.


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As soon as fired, the warhead is shipped on its approach by a spring, however after about 16.5 toes, the rocket motor ignites and the protection disengages, permitting the warhead to blow up on contact with its goal. The warhead additionally incorporates plastic granulate that work on the recoilless countermass precept to nearly remove backblast.

The Panzerfaust 3-IT600 is 3 toes, 11 inches lengthy and weighs 34 kilos, 6 ounces, of which 8 kilos, 10 ounces is the 110mm-diameter (4.3-inch diameter) warhead with Amatol/Sindal excessive explosive. As much as 29 kilos, 5 ounces of spare rounds will be carried by the operator.

With a muzzle velocity of 499 toes per second, the warhead has a most efficient vary of 1,312 toes on a stationary goal and 1,968.5 toes towards a transferring goal. Minimal efficient vary (with out the particles of an exploding goal endangering the consumer) is 65.6 toes.

CAn a Panzerfaust 3 takE on a russian t-90?

These capabilities pale beside the 125mm (4.9-inch) foremost gun with a 1.86-mile vary on Russia’s newest foremost battle tank, the T-90, in an open battlefield. As with the unique PzF-44, nonetheless, Panzerfaust 3 operated on uneven floor, forested areas or city environments by educated, motivated troops will be each bit as lethal as designed.

As soon as beneath full manufacturing, the unique Panzerfaust 3 price $9,994, however the IT-600 model prices $11,108 apiece due to its computerized sight. A typical antitank spherical prices $297, however there’s additionally a Bunkerfaust (“bunker fist”) spherical to be used towards static enemy positions. That prices $202.

As of 2003, 261,718 Panzerfaust 3s have been produced. In 1989, Japan turned the primary international energy to buy the weapon, adopted by Switzerland in 1991. Since then, it has additionally entered the arsenals of Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea Iraq and Mauritius. Ukraine added its title to that record when Russian forces invaded it in February 2022 and quite a lot of sympathetic Western powers started supplying weapons — together with the Panzerfaust 3 — to bolster Ukraine’s defenses.  Up to now, the Ukrainians have been placing them to superb use, a lot to the expense of a rising variety of Russian armor crews.

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