TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. General

a. DEVELOPMENT. German rocket weapons have undergone considerable development since their first appearance in combat in 1941, after experiments over a period of several years. There are now about a dozen standard projectors, in addition to a number of non-standard weapons which either are of a specialized design or have not yet reached a stage of development warranting large-scale production. The Germans introduced rocket projectors for laying heavy concentrations of smoke and for massed fire on area targets. Because the projectors are comparatively light, they are far more mobile than field artillery weapons firing projectiles of similar weights. However, the rocket projectors do not have the accuracy of artillery.

b. TYPES OF ROCKET WEAPONS. The more common types of German rocket weapons are the 150-mm six-barreled projector (15 cm Nebelwerfer 41), the 210-mm five-barreled projector (21 cm Nebelwerfer 42), and the 280-mm and 320-mm projector (28/32 cm Nebelwerfer 41), all mounted on two-wheeled tired carriages, and the 150-mm ten-barreled projector (15 cm Panzerwerfer 42), mounted on an armored half-track.

2. Field Projectors

a. 150-MM ROCKET LAUNCHER (15 cm Nebelwerfer 41). (1) General description. This is the original tube-type equipment and consists of six tubes mounted on a simple two-wheeled carriage with a split trail. It is provided with elevating and traversing gears and has an electrical firing contact at the breech end of each barrel. These contacts lead to a junction box on the upper right-hand side of the barrel assembly. To prevent the weapon from being over-turned by blast, the barrels are fired separately in fixed order (1, 4, 6, 2, 3, 5), all six rounds being discharged in 10 seconds. To escape the blast, the firer lies in a slit trench about 15 yards to the flank and operates the weapon by means of an electrical switch connected to the junction box. Since the crew must seek shelter during firing, it requires about 90 seconds to load and fire a series of six rounds. A single tube projector known as the Do-Gerät which fires the same ammunition is used by airborne troops.

(2) Characteristics.

Caliber   . . . . .   150 mm (5.9 inches).
Length of barrels . . . . . 51 inches.
Weight . . . . . 1,195 pounds.
Traverse . . . . . 30°.
Elevation . . . . . 44°.
Maximum Range (HE) . . . . . 7,330 yards.
Maximum Range (Smoke) . . . . . 7,550 yards.
Weight of Rocket (HE) . . . . . 75.3 pounds.
Weight of Rocket (Smoke) . . . . . 78 pounds.
Velocity . . . . . 1,120 feet per second.

(3) Ammunition. This projector fires HE and smoke projectiles, and there is some evidence that chemical rockets also exist for this weapon.

b. 210-MM ROCKET LAUNCHER (21 cm Nebelwerfer 42). (1) General description. This is a five-barreled projector on the lines of the 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41, with similar carriage and electrical firing system. Removable internal rails are now supplied for this weapon to permit firing the 150-mm rockets.

(2) Characteristics.

Caliber   . . . . .   210 mm (8.27 inches).
Length of barrels . . . . . 4 feet 3 1/2 inches.
Maximum range . . . . . 8,600 yards.
Weight of rocket . . . . . 248 pounds.

(3) Ammunition. The projector fires an HE projectile with a 28-pound bursting charge.

c. 150-MM SELF-PROPELLED PROJECTOR (15 cm Panzerwerfer 42). (1) General description. The Germans have mounted this ten-barreled rocket projector on the rear of a lightly armored half-tracked vehicle with a Maultier suspension. Two horizontal rows of five barrels are mounted on a turntable with a 360-degree traverse. The weapon is fired electrically by a gunner who sits in the body of the vehicle immediately below the platform, his head protected by a shallow cupola. It is probable that the rate of fire of this weapon is higher than that of the Nebelwerfer 41, since the crew remains behind armor near the weapon and can reload in less time.

(2) Characteristics.

Caliber   . . . . .   150 mm (5.9 inches).
Traverse . . . . . 360°.
Maximum elevation . . . . . 45°.
Maximum range . . . . . 7,330 yards.
Vehicle weight . . . . . 7.1 tons.
Vehicle road speed . . . . . 25 miles per hour.

(3) Ammunition. The ammunition is the same as that fired by the 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41.

d. WOODEN RACK LAUNCHER (28/32 cm Schweres Wurfgerät 40). (1) General description. This is the original frame-type rocket projector and consists of a simple wooden frame upon which the projectiles are rested to be fired from the crates. The rockets are stabilized in flight by rotation imparted by the 26 jets which are inclined at an angle.

(2) Ammunition. Both high explosive 280-mm and incendiary 320-mm rockets can be fired from this frame.

High explosive 280-mm rocket.

Designation   . . . . .   28 cm Wurfkörper Spr.
Marking . . . . . Pink band.
Weight . . . . . 184.5 pounds.
Bursting charge . . . . . 110 pounds of TNT.
Maximum range . . . . . 2,100 yards.
Length of rocket . . . . . 3 feet 11 inches

Incendiary 320-mm rocket.

Designation   . . . . .   32 cm Wurfkörper M.Fl.50.
Marking . . . . . Green and yellow band.
Weight . . . . . 173 pounds.
Filling . . . . . 11 gallons of oil.
Maximum range . . . . . 2,400 yards.
Length of rocket . . . . . 3 feet 4 inches.

e. STEEL RACK LAUNCHER (28/32 cm Schweres Wurfgerät 41). Metal instead of wood construction of the launching frame and crate distinguish this rocket launcher from the 28/32 cm Schweres Wurfgerät 40. The same HE and incendiary projectiles are fired.

f. MOTORIZED LAUNCHER (28/32 cm Schwerer Wurfrahmen 40). (1) General description. Modified versions of the Schweres Wurfgerät are used on half-tracked armored vehicles. Six projectors are mounted on the vehicle, three on each side. Each projector consists of two parts: a carrier plate bolted on the side of the vehicle and a bracket to hold the crate from which the rocket is fired. This bracket is provided with an elevating scale and clamp.

(2) Ammunition. The same projectiles are fired as from the Schweres Wurfgerät.

g. MOBILE LAUNCHER (28/32 cm Nebelwerfer 41). (1) General description. This mobile version of the Schweres Wurfgerät consists of a framework designed to hold six projectiles mounted upon a two-wheeled carriage. The trail is detached after the carriage has been towed into position, and the launcher is laid like an artillery piece. The standard electrical firing mechanism is used.

(2) Ammunition. The projectiles fired are the standard 280-mm (HE) and 320-mm incendiary rockets.

h. 300-MM MOBILE LAUNCHER (30 cm Nebelwerfer 42). (1) General description. Similar to the 28/32 cm. Nebelwerfer 41, this six-frame projector launches the largest of the German high-explosive rockets.

(2) Ammunition. The 300-mm rocket is better streamlined than the 280-mm or 320-mm projectiles, has a higher ratio of propellent weight to total weight, and as a result has a much longer range.

High explosive 300-mm rocket.

Designation   . . . . .   30 cm Wk. 42 Spr.
Weight . . . . . 277 pounds.
Bursting charge . . . . . 100 pounds of amatol.
Maximum range . . . . . 5,000 yards.
Length of rocket . . . . . 4 feet 7/16 inches.

3. Antiaircraft Rocket Weapons

a. GENERAL. Despite persistent reports of some kind of high-altitude antiaircraft rocket in use by the Germans, only two such projectiles have been identified, and neither has a high vertical range. The two antiaircraft rockets known are the 86-mm free cable and parachute type and 152-mm rocket of similar type but with the cable tied to the ground. The cables emitted by the rockets are designed as a hazard to aircraft.

b. 86-MM ANTIAIRCRAFT PROJECTOR. (1) General description. The 86-mm antiaircraft parachute rockets are fired from this single type projector. The frame is enclosed in a square-sectioned sheet metal casing, enlarged at the forward end to form a flash hider. The casing is mounted on a vertical tube provided with elevating and traversing gears. The projector sight is graduated up to 2,625 feet.

(2) Ammunition. The rocket, which is percussion fired, weighs 11 pounds and contains 310 feet of thin wire cable with a parachute at one end and a circular counterweight at the other. This parachute is ejected by a small charge actuated by a delay train initiated by the propellant.

c. 152-MM ANTIAIRCRAFT ROCKET. (1) General description. The details of the launching device for this rocket are not known. The projectile contains an HE charge in the nose and a parachute and length of cable in the body. When the projectile is discharged it unwinds the cable which is anchored to the ground. The cable is fully unwound at an altitude of about 3,000 feet and pulls out the parachute. The projectile continues its upward flight until destroyed by the nose charge which is fitted with a delay action fuze. The cable, suspended by the parachute, will sink slowly to the ground.

4. Other Rocket Weapons

a. 75-MM MULTIPLE ROCKET PROJECTOR. The latest German frame-type projector consists of 28 frames mounted in four horizontal rows of seven each at the forward end of a long carriage. Each frame is built of a metal hoop and a T-shaped steel guide bar. Each row of frames is a separate assembly and is bolted to the inclined superstructure above the carriage. The four rows are connected by a system of links and are elevated simultaneously from the rear of the carriage, where a shield, 0.4 inch thick, protects the layer. The whole assembly may be traversed either about a forked center pivot or by moving the carriage itself, which is light enough to be manhandled. The limits of elevation are 4 degrees and 55 degrees. The rockets are fired by percussion through a multiple firing pin mechanism at the rear of each row of projectors. Each row is cocked separately, but all strikers are released by one pull on the firing cable. The rocket fired from this launcher has not been identified.

b. 73-MM PROPAGANDA ROCKET LAUNCHER (7.3 cm Propagandawerfer). (1) General description. This is a very simple launcher consisting of a single cage hinged to a framework base of tubular steel and supported at the front by an adjustable arm. The weapon is intended for close range delivery of paper propaganda.

(2) Ammunition. The rocket weighs 7.1 pounds and instead of bursting charge or chemical filling contains 8 ounces of propaganda leaflets.

c. 80-MM ROCKET (8 cm Raketen Sprenggranate). This high explosive rocket is provided with studs on the side for projection, which indicate that it possibly is used both as a ground and aircraft rocket. It is unrotated and is stabilized in flight by tail fins. The rocket weighs 15.2 pounds, and the maximum ground range is estimated at 6,300 yards.

d. 240-MM ROCKET PROJECTOR. The existence of this projector has been inferred from the use of a 240-mm rocket bomb. Details are not known.


[Back] Back to Table of Contents

Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Contact:
Copyright 2003-2005, All Rights Reserved.