Wednesday 20 March 2019

Panzerfaust Shortage

"Recently, I have observed a senseless and completely unjustified expenditure of flares and Panzerfausts in the division. Despite a number of orders and directives regarding conservative use of ammunition, no measures have been taken. For instance, just on March 28th, 1945, 60 Panzerfausts were used.

The division's artillery commander ordered that:
  1. Flares should be used only when necessary (signalling and illumination in the dark).
  2. Panzerfausts should be used only for their intended application. Keep in mind that significant issues are involved with their procurement and delivery, especially now that we are on the defensive.
  3. All personnel should once more be reminded that the aforementioned ammunition should be used conservatively.
Report on measures taken by March 30th, 1945.

Chief of Staff of Artillery, Major Chernogubov"


  1. Was the use of Panzerfausts so widespread in the Soviet army ?

    1. Well the Soviets captured the things by the ton and they were useful for all kinds of things besides blowing up tanks (it doesn't take much of a tactical genius to find gainful uses for an explosive charge projected 50-100m after all); eg. I've seen it claimed at least the assault-sapper battalions often used them for light bunker busting duty.

      Wouldn't be surprised if careless grunts cheerfully used them as impromptu mortars against infantry too (a plausible cause for this kind of complaint) - HEAT isn't exactly brilliant for the purpose but an explosion is an explosion...

    2. I can imagine that when your unit captures a load of them, you just start shooting it at every target in range. It is indeed optimised for AT, but as you say: if you only have a rifle and suddenly can throw explosives from under your elbow, the temptation to use them might be irresitible.

      What amazes me is that this complaint comes from quite high up in the command chain. Did the Soviet army have a doctrine about collecting/distributing/using captured panzerfausts ?

    3. They very much did. The Soviet Union didn't bother producing a hand-held AT weapon because they were capturing so many Panzerfausts.

    4. Work on what became the RPG-1 (which sort of fell flat but led to the quite successful RPG-2) started already in '44 mind you - if nothing else the Soviets knew perfectly well German booty would dry dry up soon enough.
      And everyone, not in the least the Germans themselves, could agree that while the 'Faust was a very clever idea it could definitely use some improvements.