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RPG-43: Wikis


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Type Anti-tank grenade
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1943 -
Used by Soviet Union and Warsaw pact countries
Wars World War II, 1948 Arab Israeli War, Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War
Weight 1.247 kg
Diameter 95 mm

Filling TNT shaped charge
Filling weight 0.612 kg
Inertial impact fuze

The RPG-43 (for ruchnaya protivotankovaya granata meaning hand-held anti-tank grenade) was a high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) hand grenade used by the Soviet Union during the Second World War. It entered service in 1943, replacing the earlier model RPG-40. The RPG-43 used a shaped charge HEAT warhead, whereas the RPG-40 used the simpler HE (High Explosive) warhead. The RPG-43 had a penetration of around 75 mm of RHA at a 90 degree angle. Later in the war, it was improved to become the RPG-6.



During the early days of Operation Barbarossa the USSR's only infantry anti-armour weapons were anti-tank rifles and the RPG-40. These were adequate against early German tanks such as the Panzer I and II, but as the war progressed, they were found to be nearly useless against the heavier Panthers and Tigers. The RPG-43 was the result and it was used in large numbers until the end of the war. After the war it was passed on in large numbers to Soviet client states and was used in the numerous Arab-Israeli conflicts. Despite being thoroughly outdated it can still be encountered in many third world nations mainly due to its low cost and reliability.


The RPG-43 was shaped like an oversized stick grenade with a 95 mm HEAT warhead on the end. It weighed 1.247 kg of which 612 g was high explosive. When thrown, a cylindrical metal cone was released from the rear of the grenade and held by fabric strips to stabilise the flight and increase the likelihood of a 90 degree hit. Its range was limited by how far the user could throw it, and was shorter than the contemporary German Panzerfaust or US Bazooka, meaning the user was in more danger of being spotted. However, it was much smaller than similar weapons and had the advantage of producing no sound, smoke, or light when launched, therefore not betraying the thrower's position. Despite its numerous disadvantages, it would be the main Soviet infantry anti-tank weapon of WWII, mainly because it was quick and cheap to manufacture.


Overall the RPG-43 was an awkward and difficult weapon to use effectively. To use it, the user had to get within throwing range of an enemy tank, which could be a dangerous exercise. Despite having a powerful warhead it took a skilled user to make the most of it as it was much less effective the further the striking angle was from 90 degrees. It would also have to hit hard enough to activate the impact fuse or it would bounce harmlessly off the tank.

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