Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #25

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Page 71 of 179

The context was outlined in the previous issue of FRAG OUT Magazine!, but just as a reminder: notwithstanding the issue of structures and the shy attempts to look for support weapons, a real problem to be dealt with by the Polish Armed Forces is to find a successor to the withdrawn "Komars" and RPG-7s. What quantities are we talking about? Excluding Territorial Defense Forces and SOF from our calculations, it can be as- sumed that the the 6th and the 25th airmobile brigades have a total of 200 grenade launchers at their disposal. The 17 mechanized infantry bat- talions have 47 regular RPGs each, which gives a total of about 800 each. Six motorized battalions have 50 regular "RPGs each – 300 in total. The good old RPG-7s are used also in tank battalions (55 in total, 5 per each of the 11 battalions) and by combat engineers, chemical units, and artil- lery units in similar 'homeopathic doses', i.e. about 200 weapons in total. The story doesn't end here because the wartime involves a mobilization of 18 protection and defense battalions and around 30 companies. The former have "merely" about 650 RPG-7s and the latter around 480 RPG- 7s at their disposal. This gives a quite impressive total of 2,600–2,700 RPGs. This proves the information suggesting that the supplies of over 2,500 RPGs at the Polish Armed Forces' disposal are quickly depleting to be true. As you can tell, the potential order is huge – and even if our Land Forces are reduced in numbers, we're still talking about over 1,500 reusable (or hybrid) grenade launchers or about 10,000 disposable gre- nade launchers. It is an opportunity that should not be missed on by any major manufacturer. Another thing, in itself rather outrageous, is that our domestic manufac- turers have not much to offer in this area – despite the two decades of waiting for the RPG-7's service life to end and in spite of the rapid putting of Komars out of service, neither MOD's Armaments Inspectorate nor the industry itself have made an effort to work on a long-term pro- gram to design a new – disposable or reusable – grenade launcher. It is therefore necessary to purchase a foreign solution and localize it to a smaller or greater extent. In the previous issue of "FRAG OUT!" I covered the Swedish duo (the Carl Gustaf M3 and the NLAW), which meets the requirements of the Polish army, but the German solution seems to be just as interesting. The Panzerfaust 3 has a famous ancestor dating back to the era of WWII. Panzerfausts came to being as an answer to what was happening in the period 1939–1945, when most shaped-charge warheads were used ex- actly by the Third Reich. This was caused by many factors, with number one being... the constant crises experienced by Panzerwaffe and the need to equip own infantry with mass-produced (and cheap) anti-tank weapons that proved to perform at least satisfactorily. In addition, the Third Reich suffered from serious deficiencies in resources – as a result, hand-held anti-tank weapons were often a must, and the HEAT charges used with them featured shaped-charge liners made of soft steel sheet, which stemmed from the said general lack of resources and a significant shortage of copper. We need to bear in mind, however, that the hand-held anti-tank weapons featuring HEAT warheads were used on a mass scale in the Third Reich and had a noticeable impact on the battlefield. The first such weapon (Fall 1942) was the hand-deployed shaped charge grenade named Haft-H3; 3 kg weight, shaped like a cone, with three strong magnets at its base, used to fix it to the tank's armor. It featured 7.5-second delay fuse which activated a shaped charge that was able to pierce through over 140 mm of armor, forming a hole of the diameter

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