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Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:21 am Post subject: Infantry Ultra-Close Killing of Tanks/The Hard But Cheap Way
Everyone knows about the famous Molotav Cocktail gasoline bomb that the Chinese and Finns developed as an antitank weapon. But most do not realize that against todays tanks (ie and a lot of WW2 tanks) it is not an effective weapon. In early preWW2 and WW2 it was an effective cheap antitank weapon because instead of vision blocks tank crews had vision slits and the engine compartment was not sealed off from the crew area of the tank. I fa gasoline bomb hit a tank the gaosline would come through the vision slits or on the hot engine and into the crew compartment. Not today with the engine compartment totally sealed and vision blocks. A gasoline bomb can be effective though in stopping the tank by depriving the engine of oxygen or if the tank hatches are open.
But besides that one well known cheap but hard method. There were other close in weapons developed to kill tanks where the soldier had to get with in a few feet. Below are some thumbnails of a few of these weapons and tactics. Some which are sucidal in this authors opinion. Please remember they are thumbnails. Please click to see full size photos.
Jack E. Hammond/Moderator
This cheap but extremely leathal infantry antitank weapon was encountered by US ground forces in the invasion of Okinawa. If the US had been required to invade the Japanese main islands US tank crews would have encountered them in the thousands. This weapon while extremely cheap and easy to manufacture had the ability to defeat "any" WW2 due to its massive penetration because of the diameter of its shape-charge. Needless to state with this weapon the Japanese soldier using it was on a "one way" mission. Drawings and texts is from a US Army booklet prepared for US forces invading Japan in 1945 and 1946.
This is totally not understandable! It is from a US Army 1950 antiarmor boooklet. The drawing speakd for itself. It is on par with the Japanese lunge mine in the first photo.
The above is a cutaway of the standard Russian antitank grenade still in widespread use. It is today the cheapest weapon available to a soldier to kill a tank. To use one takes extreme bravery. These type of grenades were first developed by the Germans in WW2 and then perfected by the Russians. Both Germany and Russia had special awards for soldiers who killed tanks using these weapons. They were publicized by both sides like the aerial Aces of World War One.
The US Army in the early 1980s "considered" the devolopment and introduction to US Army and Marines an antitank grenade based on an East German antitank grenade. The project was called HAG -- High-Explosive Antitank Grenade. The project was canceled as being considered way to dangerous to the soldier that used it. These two photos are probably the first ever seen by the general public outside of a briefing by the US Army in the 1980s before it was canceled. The photos were in fact prepared for offical briefings. When ever I mention HAG to officers in the US Army they first don't believe the project exists, and then when I show them the photos and documantation they are SHOCKED! Also note the Russian T-62 illustrated in one of the photos.
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:30 am Post subject: AntiArmor Rifle Grenades
While not suicidal, the antitank rifle grenade is considered a high risk method of killing armored vehicles. And today's antiarmor rifle grenades are considered ineffective against main battle tanks. But the development of the "bullet trap" which allows the rifle grenade to be fired from the flash suppressor of most assault rifles makes it a handy weapon for use against light armored vehicles. (see the illustrations which follows of a popular antiarmor rifle grenade produced by Luchaire in France which incorporates a "bullet trap").
The first practical antitank rifle grenade was produced by the British in the Summer of 1940, the Grenade No. 68 which was fired from the standard 2 1/2 discharger cup designed to fire Mills Grenades. As crude as it was the No. 68 had a penetration of 2 inches. And at the time the British did not know exactly why having a cup shape in the HE charge worked against armor.
Later in WW2 various antitank rifle grenades were developed. The British and Americans favoring the spigot type which fired from the barrel of a rifle with a special adapter and a blank round. These spigot rifle grenades were fin stabilized. The Germans and Japanese favoring a cup attachment which fired a grenade which was spin stabilized -- ie the adapter had groves in the walls which the grenade was screwed into. Both these type grenades were light enough to be fired with the rifle butt at the shoulder.
After WW2 heavier rifle grenades which were fired from the barrel of rifles (some had to have adapters and some just the flash suppressor) were so heavy that the soldier had to hold the butt against an object or with the butt at the guard position. Any attempt to fire these heavy antitank rifle grenades with the butt of the rifle at the shoulder would have resulted in a broken shoulder, which some soldiers found out the hard way.
In the late 1950s the Belgium firm MECAR developed what became the most popular antitank rifle grenade in the world used by many armies and produced in nations under license: The ENERGA. This 73mm rifle grenade has a very effective and safe mechanical fuze system. And had a penetration of approximately 300mm/12 inches. But like most rifle grenades its effective range was 75 meters. And for most soldiers engaging tanks that is way to close.
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