Country of origin
Range of effective fire (against tanks)
Range of effective fire (against building and
The FFV Miniman is a
man-portable anti-tank weapon developed and fielded during the
1960s, and like many such weapons developed in this timeframe, the
Miniman is small, light, and disposable. While most weapons in this
class and era were rocket launchers, the Miniman is a recoilless
gun. In Swedish service, it replaced the Pansarskott m/45 and
Pansarskott m/46, which were basically copies of Germany's
Little information has been published on the Miniman's
developmental history, though the Swedish Army's decision to develop
and procure it was no doubt influenced by the advent of the US-made
M72 LAW rocket launcher. It was first fielded in 1968, and thus
received the Swedish Army designation Pansarskott m/68, but tank
development trends overtook the Miniman's capabilities during its
infancy; by 1972, the Soviet Army had fielded the
T-72, whose side
armor would be difficult for the Miniman to penetrate, and whose
frontal armor was essentially invulnerable to it. This prompted the
Swedish Army to call for the development of a replacement weapon in
1974, which eventually resulted in the
AT4, but that is another
The Miniman's layout takes the disposable launcher mentality
to extremes, with a very sparse design. The tube has a
shallowly-flared conical breech section, but is otherwise a
straight, narrow, and nondescript cylinder, with several tin and
almost tape-like composite brackets wrapped around it. Two sling
swivels are located on the underside (one near the muzzle, and the
other just in front of the flared breech), along with a simple
2-piece shoulder rest folded flat against the tube, which swings
down on a hinge into a 90-degree position. A simple cheekpad is
located on the left side of the tube, with the rear sight above and
in front of it (the front sight is sited near the muzzle); the
sights are located on the upper-left side of the tube. The trigger
bar and safety are located on the opposite side from the rear sight,
and the firing cable that ignites the propellant charge's primer
runs along the top of the weapon from the trigger group to the
breech, underneath a sheet metal housing. The weapon usually has a
dark olive color, and is typically plastered with warning and
The barrel is made predominately of fiberglass and plastic
with a thin metallic liner, but it is durable enough to withstand
long periods of rough handling in the field, and chamber pressures
of up to 1 000 bars. The bore liner and the projectile both have a
metallic gold colored finish, though it is unclear if actual gold
plating is used on them. The complete weapon weighs only 2.9 kg, and
the weight of the Miniman was considered low enough by the Swedish
Army for a single rifleman to carry up to three of them.
The Miniman's "iron" sights were made of plastic, but were
regarded as excessively complex for their task, especially in light
of the weapon being a disposable, single-use munition. They are
flip-up window style sights, like those used on pre-production
versions of the
M72 LAW. The stadia lines have range settings for
50 m, 100 m, 200 m, and 250 m.
The ARMAT-74 projectile fired by the Miniman is 325 mm long,
weighs 880 g, and has an aluminum casing. The warhead consists of
330 g of Octol (equal in power to 508 g of TNT) with a copper charge
liner, which is capable of penetrating 340 mm RHAe, and arms 15 m from
the muzzle when fired. The projectile is drag-stabilized in flight
by its fins, and is stabilized as it travels the tube by a smooth,
bolt-like key on top of the round that conforms to a straight groove
in the bore. Due to a unique variation of the high-low pressure
system, the Miniman has no recoil when fired.
To fire the Miniman, the user must first ensure that the
backblast area is open and free of any personnel. The shoulder rest
is then lowered, the plastic protective cover is removed from the
muzzle, and the sights are raised. The weapon must then be
shouldered, the safety switched-off, and once the target is in the
sights, the trigger bar is depressed. Due to its aforementioned
layout, the Miniman can only be fired from the right shoulder.
A tremendous backblast is produced when the Miniman is fired,
making it too dangerous to fire from confined areas, or even from
inside of large structures. It is unclear from published literature
how large the backblast area is, but it is almost certainly larger
than that of similarly-sized rocket launchers, such as the M72 LAW
The Miniman was only a minor commercial success, and was
employed by the armed forces of Austria, Finland, and Sweden. It was
officially retired from the Swedish Army in the late 1980s, but
stocks still remain. The Miniman is also no longer in front line
service with Finland or Sweden, and the remaining weapons are likely
to be gradually expended in training.
70 (short for "Panzerabwehrrohr 70").
Finland: 74 KES 68 MINIMAN.
Sweden: Pskott m/68 (short for "Pansarskott m/68").
German disposable anti-tank weapon, produced during World War 2. It
was the first weapon in this class, and gradually inspired many
others. The Panzerfaust is often mistaken for a rocket launcher,
though like the Miniman, it was a recoilless gun.
M72 LAW: US disposable anti-tank
weapon. The M72 LAW was the first such weapon of the Postwar Era,
and effectively revived the Panzerfaust concept; though unlike the
Panzerfaust and Miniman, the M72 is an anti-tank rocket launcher.
French anti-tank weapon. It is very similar to the M72
LAW, and is also an anti-tank rocket launcher.
RPG-18 Mukha: Soviet disposable
anti-tank weapon, with a very similar design to the M72 LAW --- so
much so, that the Soviet Union was accused of having
reverse-engineered the M72 to develop the RPG-18.
Armbrust: West German disposable
anti-tank weapon. The Armbrust had a highly innovative design, with
an RPG projectile and a launcher that almost totally eliminates the
muzzle report, smoke, flash, blast, and backblast from the launch.
M80 Zolja: Yugoslav disposable anti-tank weapon, similar to
the M72 LAW and RPG-18. Despite its obsolescence, it is still in
RPG-76 Komar: Polish disposable anti-tank weapon. It has a
unique design, with a gun-like launcher, a launching charge that
produces a negligible backblast, and a rocket-propelled projectile.
This later and much larger 84mm disposable recoilless gun is an
evolution of the Miniman. Unlike its forbearer, the AT4 was exported
to many nations, some of which produced it under license.
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