The German PzB 38/39 (Panzerbuchse)
Length PzB38: 1.615m
Length PzB39: 1.620m
Weight PzB38: 16.2 Kg
Weight PzB39: 12.6 Kg
Calibre: 7.92 x 94 mm (AP)
Muzzle Velocity Pzb38: 1210 M/s
Muzzle Velocity PzB39: 1265 M/s
Armour penetration at 60 degrees, 100m: 30mm
Armour penetration at 60 degrees, 300m: 25mm
The size of the PzB 39 is clearly shown against this Afrika Korps soldier.
The two main anti-tank rifles used by
the German Army were 7.92mm Panzerbüchse (PzB) model 38 by Rheinmetall-Borsig
and model 39 by Gustloff Werke. Only 1600 PzB 38 were produced from 1939 to
1940, as the weapon was too complex, expensive and reports started to filter
through of the rifle blowing up. The lighter PzB 39 was mass produced (some
39232) and was widely used on all fronts. Both anti-tank rifles were single shot
and used the same ammunition (steel core, and from 1940 tungsten core).
It was planned that each
infantry division will have 81 rifles but it varied from unit to unit. PzB 38
remained in service in the early war years, while PzB 39 remained in limited use
until 1943/44. the majority of PzB 39 anti-tank rifles were converted to grenade
launchers - Granatbüchse Model 39 (GrB 39). GrB 39 was a PzB 39 converted to
take the standard rifle attachment grenade launcher (Schiessbecher) able to fire
standard hollow-charge anti-tank or anti-personnel grenade.
Left: Wartime post card of British troops inspecting a
Occasionally the odd PzB 39 or GrB 39 rifle
turns up for sale, current prices are between £1000 and £1800 depending on
Above and right: Grb39, notice grenade cup and sight
(picture supplied by Richard Harris).
Some wartime pictures:
Grb39 Pictures taken in North France, note the
grenade launching cup and grenade
The original bullets had hardened
steel core and tiny capsule of tear gas. The idea behind the capsule was that
once the bullet entered the armoured vehicle it would disperse and force the
crew to leave the vehicle, this was only discovered when captured rifles and
ammunition were taken to the UK for examination. It didn't actually work in
battle as only the core penetrated the vehicle and the capsule was left outside.
Later bullets used a Tungsten core.
Below: A round of 7.92 x 94mm ammunition for
the PzB 38 and PzB 39