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RPG2 and PG2 TBiU 37.jpg
RPG-2 antitank grenade launcher with PG-2 grenade
Type Rocket-propelled grenade launcher[1]
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949–1970s[1](USSR)
Used by See Users
Wars First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
Rhodesian Bush War
Cambodian-Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Thai–Laotian Border War
Somali Civil War
Yugoslav Wars
2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off
2010–12 Burma border clashes
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
Production history
Manufacturer State Factories
Variants M57 (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
B-40 and B-50 (Vietnam), (Cambodia)
PG-7 (Egypt)
Type 56 RPG (China)
Weight 2.83 kg (6.24 lb) (unarmed)
4.67 kg (10.30 lb) (ready to fire)
Length 1,200 mm (47.2 in)
Crew 2 including:
Grenadier (carries the launcher with three grenades in special backpack)
Assistant (armed with assault rifle and carries three more grenades)

Shell PG-2 HEAT round (with RCL-type launch)
Caliber 40 mm barrel
82mm warhead
Rate of fire 3–4 rounds per minute
Effective firing range 100–150 m
Maximum firing range 200 m

The RPG-2 was a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon designed and mass-produced in the Soviet Union.


The RPG-2 (Russian: РПГ-2, Ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot; English: "hand-held antitank grenade launcher"), is a man-portable, shoulder-launched anti-armor weapon. The chief attributes of the RPG-2 were robustness, simplicity, and low cost. However, its short range and inaccuracy led to its eventual replacement by the more effective RPG-7. Widely distributed to allies of the Soviet Union, it was also produced under license by other countries, including China and North Vietnam. Widely used against the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, its Vietnamese variants were called the B-40 (bazooka 40 mm) and B-50.

Derived partly from the experimental German Panzerfaust 250 and developed in 1947 and first issued to the Soviet Army in 1949, the RPG-2 was deployed at infantry squad level. Although the RPG-2 could be operated by one man, standard military practice called for a two-man crew: a grenadier carrying the launcher and a purpose-built backpack containing three grenades and an assistant armed with a rifle and carrying another three-grenade backpack.

The grenade for the RPG2 is known as the PG-2. When ignited by the percussion-type primer the charge burns at a very high rate projecting the grenade approximately 200 meters. The explosion of propellant occurs completely within the launching tube. The solid fuel booster (rocket engine) was not used until the development of the RPG-7 and placed into service as the PG-7 grenade.

North Vietnamese troops with RPG-2 (B-40), 1968.


PG-2 HEAT projectile

The RPG-2 anti tank grenade launcher is a simple 40 millimeter steel tube into which the PG-2 grenade is fitted. The tailboom of the grenade inserts into the launcher. The diameter of the PG-2 warhead is 80mm. The center section of the tube has a thin wooden covering to protect the user from the heat generated by the grenade launch. The wooden covering also makes using the weapon in extreme cold conditions easier.

A Polish soldier with an RPG-2 launcher.

The total length of the weapon with a grenade fitted was 120 centimeters (47 inches) and it weighed 4.48 kilograms (9.8 pounds). Only a simple iron sight was provided for aiming.

Only one type of grenade, the PG-2 HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank), was used in the RPG-2. The propellant, consisting of granulated powder was in a rolled cardboard case treated with wax that had to be attached to the grenade before loading. Once attached to the propellant charge the grenade was inserted into the smooth-bore launcher from the front. A tab on the body of the grenade indexes in a notch cut in the tube so that the primer in the propelling charge aligns with the firing pin and hammer mechanism.

A cutaway of a PG-2 rocket grenade.

To fire the RPG-2 the grenadier cocked an external hammer with his thumb, aimed, and pulled the trigger to fire. Upon launch six stabilizer fins unfolded from the grenade.

The weapon was accurate against stationary targets up to 150 meters and against moving targets at ranges of less than 100 meters. It had a muzzle velocity of 84 meters per second and could penetrate armor of up to 180 millimeters (7.17 inches) in thickness.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b http://world.guns.ru/grenade/rus/rpg-2-e.html
  2. ^ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/files/sas/publications/w_papers_pdf/WP/WP4_Cambodia.pdf
  3. ^ Lugosi, József (2008). "Gyalogsági fegyverek 1868–2008". In Lugosi, József; Markó, György. Hazánk dicsőségére: 160 éves a Magyar Honvédség. Budapest: Zrínyi Kiadó. p. 389. ISBN 978-963-327-461-3. 
  4. ^ Anthony Trethowan. Delta Scout: Ground Coverage operator (2008 ed.). 30deg South Publishers. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-920143-21-3. 
  5. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_2DpS1X41w
  6. ^ McNab, Chris (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. ISBN 1-84013-476-3. 

External links[edit]