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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Introducing the Nebelwerfer

The Nebelwerfer, was a multiple-rocket launcher of the German armed forces. It literally means 'fog thrower' because it could be used to fire smoke or even gas shells. It was however mainly used to deliver conventional explosives. Developed during the '20s and '30s, the first production Nebelwerfer was available in 1940. It was towed into place using a PAK carriage. Each tube would fire a rocket that would spin around in the air for extra stability. Its fire control was electric, and it would fire each rocket sequentially over 90 seconds. The rockets were fired in a specific barrel sequence 1-4-6-2-3-5 so that the launcher would not overturn. The rockets would land within a several hundred square meter area. Because of the smoke trail left behind, the crew had to relocate quickly to avoid return fire. Several variations of this weapon were produced with different calibers and range, but the technology did not change much through the end of the war. From what I have read from witness accounts, being on the receiving end could be a nerve-wrecking experience not only because of the wide-area explosive effect, but also because of the loud, screeching sound that made by the rockets.

15 cm NbW 41 - Unknown manufacturer
Approximately 6,000 of these were manufactured along with 5.5 million rockets. It had a range of close to 7km. Another popular variation was the 5-barrel 21 cm NbW 42, which had a range of almost 8km. I got this one along with a batch of toy soldiers that I purchased on eBay. I have no idea who made it and it is the only one I have. For a plastic toy it has decent level of realism. The pivoting stabilizer at the bottom/front can be elevated to put it in the towing position. It came with a couple stickers on the side which you can still see. Maybe someday I will paint it to give it a more realistic look. The figures in this picture are FOV artillery crewmen.

Click here to see a post about Mortars
Click here to see a post about the German 88s

2 comments:

  1. Rockets - A rocket or missile has it's own motor to propel it. The WWII use of rockets was rather unsophisticated by today's standards. Besides being mounted on aircraft in all the major antagonists' armed forces, rocket launchers were attached to trucks or tanks to soften up a target before heading in. The rockets had a lot of bang, but little effect. There was little room for explosive left after making space for the motor and propellant. Usually employed in launchers that hurled dozens in sequence, they would pepper a large area, cause confusion and / or augment the artillery attack. They generally belonged to the artillery branch and were used to cover larger areas, rather than take on point targets. The types of rockets we're talking about here are also indirect fire weapons.
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    Copied from Greg Liska

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    1. Thanks for adding to the topic. This is very much in line with what I have read. Rockets such as these were generally used for 'blanket/saturation bombing' and seemed to have a greater psychological effect compared to the actual damage they caused. From survivor accounts, the shrieking sounds were very unnerving...

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