American Paras with Panzerfausts

Buck

A couple weeks ago, I posted a quick discussion about how MG Gavin was so impressed with the panzerfaust that the 82nd collected up truckloads of them in Sicily.  Soon after a drop, when the heavy equipment arrived, these trucks of panzerfausts would follow the troops.  He even had the instructions for their use translated into English.  For my 28mm WWII project I wanted to equip US paras with panzerfausts, but when I posted to TMP to see if anyone made the figures, the answer was “no.”

At Historicon last weekend I got a bag of Berlin or Bust 28mm paras with rifles from Old Glory.  A couple weeks ago I ordered panzerfausts from The Assault Group.  This morning, I started hacking at the figures to remove the rifles and insert the panzerfausts.

These aren’t award-winning quality conversations, but I am pretty happy with the results.  I can’t wait to spring these on some unsuspecting German players in an upcoming scenario.

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6 thoughts on “American Paras with Panzerfausts

  1. Interesting Buck and nice job on the figures. I wonder how trained the American paras were with panzerfausts. How many did MG Gavin get and do you think it made a difference as the panzerfaust was pretty crude anyways and designed for simplicity? Are these resin or metal?

    • bucksurdu says:

      I haven’t seen any real numbers. Gavin’s book speaks of deuce-and-a-half trucks full of them. To some extent, I think this is the typical soldier mentality that says the other guy’s stuff must be better. While the panzerfaust had a somewhat bigger warhead, the bazooka’s range for me should be a big factor. Interestingly, while Gavin was capturing panzerfausts the Germans were copying bazookas as the panzerschreck, but with a larger warhead.

      I have been thinking of the trade off between a single-shot and multi-shot weapons. An advantage I see to the single-shot weapon is that you won’t be tempted to stay in one place and get killed after you fire the weapon. You have to move after firing the panzerfaust, LAW, or similar weapon. On the other hand a multi shot weapon gives you ammunition flexibility.

      • Well, early versions of the bazooka used white phosphorus as propellant which pretty much showed everyone where you were once you fired. And the effective range was stated as 150 yards – but later German armor (and Soviet in Korea) made longer range attacks less productive. The panzerfaust range was only 60m, so you had to be committed to fire that! I remember we had M67 recoil less rifles as AT weapons in our arms room in the 39th Engineers. Wish I could have fired them!

  2. bucksurdu says:

    There were actually three models of the panzerfaust: 30 (or kleine), 60, and 100. At least that is what they were called in the US. Those numbers indicate their ranges.

    There are three primary version of the Bazooka. The M1 could penetrate 76mm of armor and had an effective range of 150 meters. It was fielded in 1942. The M9 could penetrate 102mm of armor but had an effective range of 120 meters. It was fielded in 1944. The M20 “super bazooka” was fielded just in time for the Korean war, had an effective range of 300 meters, and could penetrate 280mm of armor.

    The panzerschrek is a copy of the M1 bazooka but with an 88mm, rather than 76mm warhead. When tested at Aberdeen, the panzerschrek was deemed to be a superior weapon to the bazooka. Due to the smaller warhead of the bazooka, it really needs to be employed from against the bottom, top, sides, or rear. Once the Germans started mounting side skirts on their tank, the bazooka needed to be used to hit the wheels of a tank to immobilize it so that other means could be employed to knock it out.

    The bazooka proved to a very versatile weapon, employed against lightly armored vehicles, enemy emplacements, bunkers, etc. While the Marines used flame throwers to take out Japanese tanks and sand and bamboo bunkers, the bazooka could do that job from greater ranges.

    Yes, when you and I were new lieutenants, the combat engineers still had the 90mm recoilless rifle. They were retained in this role, not as an anti-tank weapon but as a weapon to be used against enemy fortifications and obstacles due to the multiple types of rounds available for that weapons. In the infantry, the 90mm had been replaced by the M72A2 LAW. The 106mm that my dad used in Europe in the 1960s had been replaced by the M47 Dragon and the TOW. Today weapons like the AT4CS and Jevelin have replaced the M72 and Dragon, respectively. (Both have been used successfully in combat in recent years.) The TOW continues to be improved with better warheads, top attack capability, and extended ranges. Many of our adversaries continue to use recoilless rifles against us. All of these weapons have enough firing signature that they should be employed from the flanks or rear of the target, and the gunners should move to alternate positions after each shot.

  3. Great info – did not know there were three panzerschrek versions. I do remember that if not for Dr. Robert Goddard from Worcester, MA rocket weapons would never have been fielded!

    We never were allocated any rounds for training for our recoilless rifles unfortunately so I don’t think we knew what rounds were even available. We trained thinking they were our Dragon equivalents.

    I always remember the story of the Davy Crockett – the nuclear/atomic tipped recoilless rifle from the late 50s early 60s that was withdrawn from service. It was big but had a 2 or 4 klick range.

    Yeah you are right – bazookas are cool. One of my regrets is I never for to fire a live LAW. Though at Aviation Officer Basic, (as you remember, I did go to 2 OBC’s) one of my classmates Bill Penny did – at some trucks on the range. It was cool, and right afterwords we thought Bill said “misfire”. Turns out he really said “I’M ON FIRE” and his BDU shirt was on fire from the LAW. This probably happened because the range of the targets was beyond the long-range capabilities of the LAW so he had it fairly elevated.

    Anyways, love the discussion and Thanks for sharing Buck!

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