September 20, 2014

Panzerwurfmine

The Panzerwurfmine was an antitank hand grenade, introduced in May 1943. It was capable of penetrating 3 inches of homogeneous armor plate, and was thrown as an ordinary stick grenade.

The Panzerwurfmine, weighted about 3 pounds, consisted of a cone-shaped body with a hemispherical end, and with the stick handle attached to the other, or point, end of the cone. The novel feature of that weapon was a set of four collapsible cloth vanes which were folded against the handle. When the grenade was thrown, the vanes sprang open and presumably guided the projectile head-on to the target.

Panzerwurfmine



The conical head of the grenade was filled with a hollow charge designed to direct the force of explosion in one direction—against the armor plate of the target. Built to detonate on impact, the grenade fuze was located in the butt end of the hollow wooden handle, which is filled with an explosive booster charge. The fuze—a striker pin held back from a primer cap by a weak spring—detonated when the force of impact overcame the weight of the spring and threw the striker against the cap. A safety pin which fitted into the top of the fuze assembly kept the fuze in an unarmed condition until the grenade was thrown. The fuze assembly was housed in a thin metal cylinder fitted over the end of the wooden handle.

The grenade was armed in flight when the loosely seated safety pin was pulled free by the drag of air on a short cloth tape, one end of which was fastened to the free end of the pin. Near the cone end of the handle, four spring steel ribs were secured in grooves. When extended, umbrella-fashion, these ribs were the framework for the cloth vanes. When the vanes were collapsed, the ribs were held under tension flat against the handle, and were secured in position by a metal cap which firs over the end of the fuze assembly and the free ends of the folded ribs. This cap was held in place by a metal tongue on the fuze assembly. The tongue passed through a slit in the cover.

During transport the tape attached to the safety pin was secured under a horseshoe-shaped metal clip which snapped around the outside of the fuze assembly, thus holding the safety pin in place. A short piece of string was tied from the clip to the end of one of the folded steel ribs.

How to Throw the Panzerwurfmine

Panzerwurfmine


Panzerwurfmine


Panzerwurfmine



Source
U.S. War Department, Military Intelligence Division. Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. III, No. 7. March 1945.


Photos attribution
1. Alexpl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
2,3,4. Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. III, No. 7. March 1945.