The Panzerfaust

Grenadier with a Panzerfaust

A Brief History of the Panzerfaust

German experiences on the Russian front during the Soviet offensives of 1942 and 43 highlighted a need for a man portable anti-tank weapon. The Panzerschreck (an improved copy of the American Bazooka) went some way to filling this gap, but it was felt there was still a need for something usable by a single man.

Dr. Langweiler of Hugo Schneider Aktien Gesellschaft (HASAG) was the man tasked with producing the prototype. He kept with the tried and tested system used in the recoilless rifles developed for the Fallschirmjäger. 

The system he developed consisted of a 35cm tube with the propelling charge in its centre and a projectile consisting of a hollow charge bomb. It was called the ’Faustpatrone’.

The weapon was a major step in the development of infantry anti-tank weapons, but further development was needed. Dr. Langweiler’s weapon used an explosive charge to fire the bomb towards its target, the backblast offset the recoil making it easy to fire. Unfortuntely their was no way of aiming it.

Training with the Panzerfaust
More work lengthened the tube and added a sight. The Faustpatrone could now be fired with some degree of accuracy.

The Panzerfaust was fired by raising the sight then cocking the firing pin. The firer aimed it by sighting over the widest part of the bomb. Once on target he squeezed the firing pin, the charge ignited and the bomb flew off towards its target. It could only be fired once and was discarded after use.

It was quickly put into production. The first production model was 75cm long with a bomb made of thin sheet steel with a wooden stem.


The bomb was had a hollow charge warhead that could penetrate up to 140mm of armour. It had a range of 30 metres. This model was known as the Panzerfaust 30 (Klien). Early production models occasionally exploded when fired or dropped but this was quickly rectified and no further problems of this kind were had.

Another model was developed at the same time but had a larger hollow charge bomb that could penetrate up to 200mm of armour (as could all subsequent models), but still only had a range of 30 metres.

The different models were:
Panzerfaust 30 (klien) introduced October 1943
Panzerfaust 30 introduced October 1943
Panzerfaust 60 introduced Summer 1944
Panzerfaust 100 introduced November 1944
Panzerfaust 150 introduced in small numbers in January 1945

The different models varied most in their effective ranges.

Volksturm training with the Panzerfaust
The Panzerfaust 60 had a range of 60 metres and the Panzerfaust 100 a range of 100 metres, while the experimental Panzerfaust 150 used two propelling charges to attain a range of 150 metres. The Panzerfaust 250, the first reloadable model was just going into production at the wars end.

The Panzerfaust saw service on many fronts and proved very successful. Some units during the Battle for Berlin were issued with nothing but Panzerfausts and were sent out to hunt Soviet tanks. It was so successful it Soviets made a copy known as the RPG-1 (rocket propelled grenade).

Panzerfaust literally means ’Armoured Fist’.


Last Updated On Friday, October 20, 2023 by Wayne at Battlefront