Panzerfaust

Brückenkopf Memel, Grenadiere mit PanzerfaustPanzerfaust (literally “[anti]tank fist”) was not the first man-portable recoilless anti-tank rocket launcher weapon (the first was the M1 Bazooka fielded by the United States Army). It was not even the first such German weapon – the first was Panzerschreck (Ofenrohr) – an enlarged copy of the American bazooka.

Panzerfaust was the first disposable (and thus very cheap) such weapon (currently in use in just about every army) that could be operated by any soldier without practically no training whatsoever.

Thus transforming literally every soldier into a powerful anti-tank weapon capable of knocking out every armored vehicle (tank, assault gun, tank destroyer, etc.) fielded by the Allies.

It was actually even more efficient than either Bazooka or Panzerschreck – especially in its beyond-armor effect. Compared to the Bazooka and the Panzerschreck, it made a larger hole and produced massive spalling that killed the crew and destroyed equipment.

Hence it is no surprise that the American paratroopers of the famous 82nd division held onto captured Panzerfausts and used them during the later stages of the French campaign, even dropping with them into the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden.

They captured an ammunition dump near Nijmegen, and used them through the Ardennes Offensive toward the end of the war. The Soviets followed suit – use of captured Panzerfausts was recommended in a directive by Marshall Georgiy Zhukov.

Germany produced 6.7 million Panzerfaust units so it is no surprise that this weapon accounted for a significant portion of Allied tanks destroyed by Wehrmacht.

On the battlefield, 34% of British tanks were taken out by Panzerfaust, while in urban combat the Allies lost a whopping 70% of their tanks to this primitive but highly efficient weapon

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