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Anti-tank rifle grenades any good?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by DaveOB, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    I'd like to continue this topic with its own thread. If anyone comes across accounts of anti tank rifle grenades being particularly useful especially in knocking out or driving off tanks. Please post it here. Thanks
     
  2. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    The British had the No. 68 grenade in 1940, which could be rifle launched. Wikipedia claims a penetration of 50mm, but does not give range, angle, or type of plate. The No. 68 still hung around for lack of anything better and was used in the Desert. The 9th Australian Division tested various anti-tank weapons in 1942. The consensus was that AT grenades like the 68 might be useful against tracks or running gear in order to disable a tank, but hoping for a KO with one was hoping for too much.
     
  3. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    Well from the penetration values I've seen they shouldn't have had much trouble going through the side of a panther or almost any part of a panzer 4. Tigers obviously would have been virtually immune. The US manufactured over 27 million m9s but I suspect most were used similarly to the way bazookas we used, as bunker/ strong point busters and kind of an all purpose munition. It also surprises me how many more of the antitank grenades were made than the smoke and frags. I mean like 5 and 10 to 1 why were they so popular?
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Because a round won't penetrate on paper doesn't mean that a vehicle is "immune" to it. There are often vulnerable points that aren't included in such analysis and then there's the issue of repeated impacts as well as shock, spalling, etc. Remember that even a Tiger could be immobilized by an 50 cal. On the other hand the opposite is also true just because it has enough penetration to in theory penetrate doesn't mean that it will.
     
  5. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    The Japanese Type 2 Grenade Launcher could fire a 40mm HEAT grenade which could penetrate around 90mm of armour, it could be fired up to 150m but effective range would be much lower, say under 50m.
    It was a copy of the German German Schiessbecher.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Was it an accuracy issue with the Japanese grenade launcher? The potential for a top attack would have made it very lethal if you could hit in that mode.
     
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Terry, I've been looking for accounts of the No.68 in combat use for YEARS. Unsuccessfully. I'm sure someone somewhere was desperate enough...but the lack of survivors' accounts might just tell its OWN tale!!!

    In fact, the only time I've even seen one fired was...in the climax of "Quatermass II"! When the Professor and his party, stuck in the control room for the alien environmental conversion plant, find several in an arms cupboard and fire one out the window to burst open the pressure vessel outside...!

    The really awkward question about the No.68 is...how was it MEANT to be used??? It's a rifle grenade...so unless you practisepractisepractise - you're going to be firing a lobbing shot as the EY Cup-equipped Lee Enfield couldn't be fired from the shoulder, the butt had to be grounded. There was a "gas adjuster" that allowed the firer to vary the pressure with which the wooden round hit the tail of the grenade...but it's going to be a very "acquired art" to drop the No.68 on anything moving - like a tank!
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Well...I know that one of the reasons the British discontinued the use of the Northover Projector by the Home Guard was the HUGE number of smoke rounds they fired in practice getting (very) proficient with it. At one point the War Department complained strongly that the production of smoke rounds for the Northover projector was threatening the amount of raw latex available for mortar smoke rounds...which were being expended at an equally huge rate in the Western Desert! ;)

    Maybe the same concerns applied to rifle grenades?? Mortar delivered smoke may have been deemed far more useful...
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Over in the other thread someone mentioned at least one time they were used successfully against tanks.
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    From: Ben & Bawb's Blog (Good page on Rifle Grenades in general.)

    Have not yet found the referenced: '"OOB21, 30 Jun 44, Lessons Learned in the Italian Campaign"' Guessing it'll be in the USACAC listings somewhere.
     
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  11. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The russians used anti-tank-rifles successfully against Pz Mk IV by aiming at the barely armoured cupola. Hitting the tank there can't destroy it but the tank commander will be killed.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I would imagine that a getting a 14.5mm round through an open hatch would also be discomforting to the crew. The tracks were also likely subject to breakage vie 12.7 or 14.5 rounds although that might be easier to accomplish with an mg. Couldn't the Soviet 14.5 also penetrate the flanks and/or rear of s Mk IVs? I think I read somewhere that was one of if not the reason for the add on armor.
     
  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    V-P, that account...U.S. Army as opposed to British and the No.68 grenade???
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    It's US, Phylo. Was just filling the more general gap on AT success with rifle grenades after Dave extracted his query from that other thread.
     
  15. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    By March 1942, each Soviet rifle division was supposed to be equipped with 279 anti-tank rifles and these were distributed to the infantry by using ATR platoons each containing eight ATRs. So you can imagine the amount of rounds fired by these platoons at a single target and how uncomfortable it would be especially if you were traveling in a light vehicle like an Sd.Kfz 251 or 250 or even the heavier versions of armoured car like the Sd.Kfz 234 series.

    Some sites do give the PTRD-41 and PTRS-41 as being able to penetrate 35mm @ 100m @ 0°, which if this is true could be fairly effective against the Mk III and Mk IV, who had side armour around 30mm thick, which could be why they quickly added skirt armour on these points.

    Yan.
     
  16. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    Thanks Yan my original inquiry though was about anti tank rifle GRENADES. Specifically if anyone had seen an account of rifle grenades destroying, immobilizing, or generally being useful against tanks, and so far we have only been able to accumulate 2 accounts.

    The penetration values seem to support that they could be used successfully against most tanks. Does anyone know of a site where I can find US infantry unit after action reports for ww2.
     
  17. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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  18. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    A famous incident in Stavelot that disabled a King Tiger revolved around rifle grenades and bazooka rounds. Neither of the weapons disabled the tank - it backed into a building avoiding the fire and buried itself, yet those rifle grenades scared the piss out of the tankers. The Tiger II was traversing the tight roads in Stavelot while being shadowed by GIs with both weapon types (they were also calling in 81mm mortar fire).

    You can imagine the consternation and fear inside the Tiger. Almost no visibility, hits from every direction, and not even enough room to traverse that long barrel in those narrow streets. Once driven off the main route, they were basically lost in the narrow streets of this old town. I've collected a number of statements from the tank commander, a man named Jurgen Wessel (Obersturmfuhrer). It's quite obvious that inside the tank they could not tell the difference between rifle grenade hits and bazooka hits, though neither would penetrate their Tiger II. Wessel knew that sooner or later they'd get hit on a track or wheel and be knocked out. The concussion and force of both rifle grenades and bazooka were indistinguishable inside the tank: deafening, frightening - so much so that the driver panicked after a hit on the mantlet near his face (from a bazooka it turns out) and reversed into a building, immobilizing the tank.

    I only know that last hit was from a bazooka because a nice old gentleman named Jean-Marie Degbomont lived on that street and sent me a picture of King Tiger 105 showing the narrow divot on the mantlet, in the location that Wessel had described. The divot is golf ball sized which I'm sure indicates a bazooka hit.

    What's interesting though, is that even in a King Tiger those light weapons (both the grenades and the bazooka) created complete panic inside the tank. They couldn't tell the difference between the two weapons. Surely, either would have disabled a medium tank with a side or rear hit in those ideal circumstances where the infantrymen could surround the tank in the heavy cover of that compact town.
     
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  19. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    I've heard of that tank but didn't know the story thanks Kodiak.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I thought I read that the Bazooka basically used the an AT rifle grenade as a warhead. If so how could you tell from the divot which was responsible?
     

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