Home Forums WWII WW2 HEAT weapons penetration figures

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    John D Salt

    For peeps who enjoy WW2 armour penetration data, I thought I should post this snippet I recently came across in NAVORD report 1248, “Manual for Shaped Charge Design”, Robert A Brimmer, China Lake, CA, 17 Aug 1950. Penetration figures are given in inches in the original. I have converted them to the nearest millimetre; I suspect contemporary practice woulld have been to multiply inches by 25, to avoid the imppression of spurious precision.

    Performance of particular weapons:
    Thickness of armour perforated at normal incidence.								
    					ins	 mm
    US	HEAT M6A3 (Bazooka)		5.3	135
    	Grenade M9A1			4.0	102
    	HEAT 57mm T-20E2		3.0	 76
    	HEAT 75mm M66			3.5	 89
    	HEAT 105mm M67			4.8	122
    Br	PIAT				3.8	 97
    	HEAT 3.7-in & 95mm		5.0	127
    Ge	Panzerfaust 30, 60 & 100	8.0	203
    	Panzerschreck			6.5	165
    Jp	AT conical hand grenade		2.8	 71
    	AP rifle grenade		2.0	 51

    None of this is especially new or surprising, but the penetration of PIAT and bazooka seems oddly under-reported in the sources I have seen, so it’s nice to have a bunch of figures all from the same source.

    The paper also includes a rough method of estimating penetration of shaped charges based on cone diameter, cone angle, and rate of rotation, which I have flung into a spreadsheet.

    All the best,



    Any chance of a copy of the paper?



    The relatively low performance for the bazooka ties in with the contemporary training films (now on YouTube of course) reinforcing the need to strike the flanks or rears of enemy tanks……..much emphasis was laid on ‘ stalking’ the target rather than head on engagements. Ironically that seems to have been forgotten by 1950 and the dismal showing against T-34/85’s by bazooka armed infantry.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Gaz045.

    "Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"

    John D Salt

    You can download your own .pdf from


    The DTIC website currently features the threat that “DTIC’s public website is getting a new look and feel!”, so now is probably a good time to grab all you need from the massive stock of really useful papers the site offers, before interface upgrades reduce the whole thing to a Facebookish level of user-hostility and unusability.

    My spreadsheet explorations have forced me to conclude that the graph of spin versus dimensionless penetration in Fig. 13 is not at all the same as the spin effect incorporated in the worked example on the nomogram in Fig.15.

    All the best,


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