30 cm Raketenwerfer 56
|30 cm Raketenwerfer 56|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Used by||Nazi Germany|
|Wars||World War II|
|Weight||1,004 kilograms (2,213 lb) (empty)|
|Shell weight||127 kilograms (280 lb)|
|Caliber||301 millimetres (11.9 in)|
|Elevation||-3° to +45°|
|Muzzle velocity||230 metres per second (750 ft/s)|
|Maximum firing range||4,550 metres (4,980 yd)|
|Filling weight||45 kilograms (99 lb)|
The 30 cm Raketenwerfer 56 was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War. It served with units of the Nebeltruppen, the German equivalent of the U.S. Army's Chemical Corps. Just as the Chemical Corps had responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were used instead to deliver high-explosives during the war so did the Nebeltruppen. The name "Nebelwerfer" is best translated as "Smoke Mortar". 694 saw service from 1944–45 in all theaters except Norway.
The 30 cm Raketenwerfer 56 was a six-barreled rocket launcher mounted on the carriage of the 5 cm PaK 38 anti-tank gun. Its 30 cm Wurfkörper 42 Spreng (Explosive missile) rocket was spin-stabilized and electrically-fired. It had a prominent exhaust trail that kicked up a lot of debris, so the crew had to seek shelter before firing. This meant that they were easily located and had to displace quickly to avoid counter-battery fire. The rockets were fired one at a time, in a timed ripple, but the launcher had no capability to fire single rockets. 15 cm Wurfgranate 41 rockets could be fired using liner rails. When not in use the rails were strapped to the top of the launcher.
The same rocket was used in the 30 cm Nebelwerfer 42 launcher.
Organization and use
The 30 cm Raketenwerfer 56 was organized into batteries of six launchers with three batteries per battalion. These battalions were concentrated in independent Werfer-Regiments and Brigades. It saw service on the Eastern Front, Italian Campaign and the defense of France and Germany from 1944–45.
- LEO online dictionary
- Gander and Chamberlain, pp. 321-2
- Niehorster, Leo W. G. German World War II Organizational Series, Vol. 5/II: Mechanized GHQ units and Waffen-SS Formations (4 July 1943), 2005, pp. 52-3
- Kameradschaft, vols. 1 and 2
- Englemann, Joachim and Scheibert, Horst. Deutsche Artillerie 1934-1945: Eine Dokumentation in Text, Skizzen und Bildern: Ausrüstung, Gliderung, Ausbildung, Führung, Einsatz. Limburg/Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke, 1974
- Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
- Kameradschaft der ABC-Abwehr, Nebel- und Werfertruppen e.V. Die Nebel- und Werfertruppe (Regimentsbögen). 2001
- Lexikon der Wehrmacht on Nebelwerfers (in German)
- YouTube video of different kinds of Nebelwerfers in action
- Germany's Rocket and Recoilless Weapons from the U.S. Intelligence Bulletin, March 1945