Collection Item Summary:
The German Raketenpanzerbüchse (rocket tank rifle) 54, popularly known as the Panzerschreck (tank terror) or Ofenrohr (stove pipe), was an anti-tank weapon with origins in American bazookas captured in North Africa in early 1943. German Army Ordnance increased the projectile's caliber from the American 6 cm (2.36 in) to 8.8 cm (3.46 in) to increase the rocket's penetrating power. The larger size of the German version made it, however, rather unwieldy. The original model 43 was modified after field use, yielding model 54, which included a shield to protect the gunner from the rocket's blast as it left the tube.
As with the American bazooka, the secret of this weapon was the shaped charge in the rocket projectile, which greatly increased armor-piercing efficiency, plus the ease of transportation and the lack of recoil created by a rocket fired from an open-ended tube. However, the added shield did create some recoil.
Transferred from the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board in 1974.