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RPG-2

Anti-tank rocket launcher

RPG-2

The RPG-2 is used to this day, however it poses no threat to modern tanks

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1949
Weapon caliber 40 mm
Rocket caliber 82 mm
Rocket weight 1.8 kg
Weight (unloaded) 2.8 kg
Weight (loaded) 4.6 kg
Length (unloaded) 950 mm
Length (loaded) 1 200 mm
Muzzle velocity 84 m/s
Rate of fire up to 4 rpm
Sighting range 150 m
Range of effective fire (against tanks) up to 100 m
Range of effective fire (against stationary targets) 150 m
Armor penetration up to 200 mm of RHA

 

   The RPG-2 is the predecessor of the famous RPG-7. It was introduced in 1949 and, in a few years, was already mostly obsolete against many modern tanks. However, it filled an important role as a support weapon for the destruction of vehicles, buildings, and "soft targets".

   The RPG in the name RPG-2 stands not for Rocket Propelled Grenade but for the Russian Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot or hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher. Design of this weapon began during late World War II. The idea was to develop a weapon with the best characteristics of the German Panzerfaust and the US Bazooka. They proceeded with a design known as the RPG-1. However, it had several problems such as low armor penetration, inconsistent performance, and short range. A new design was started and, eventually, the original goals were accomplished in the RPG-2. Although introduced in 1949, the RPG-2 saw no widespread service until after the Korean War.

   Tanks quickly developed much heavier armor, so that the RPG-2 was no longer useful against them. Therefore, the RPG-7 was developed in 1961 to replace the RPG-2 in the anti-tank role, although the RPG-2 was still used by Soviet allies for many years. This weapon is still encountered to this day.

   Although lacking the power to take on even obsolete main battle tanks, the RPG-2 has remained reasonably popular for many years now, with its simplicity, reliability, light weight, cheapness, ease of use, and effectiveness against lightly armored vehicles, buildings, non-armored vehicles, and other similar targets.

   The RPG-2 is a reusable single-shot smoothbore steel tube with a diameter of 40 millimeters. This recoilless, shoulder-fired, muzzle-loaded launcher has flip-up iron sights sighted out to 150 meters as standard, although night vision sights can be used in the RPG-2N variant.

   The RPG-2 is effective against moving targets out to a maximum range of 100 meters. Against stationary targets and buildings, this figure is increased to 150 meters, the maximum sighting range of the standard iron flip-up sights. On later projectiles, the rocket self-destructs at 460 meters.

   The RPG-2 is easy to operate. One simply has to insert the PG-2 round into the barrel at the front of the weapon, cock the hammer located on the backside of the handle, aim, and pull the trigger.

   The middle of the barrel is covered in wood to protect the operator from the launch heat, and the lone handle is located towards the front of the weapon.

   The RPG-2 is compatible with only one type of round—the PG-2. Weighing about 1.8 kilograms, the PG-2 is a fin-stabilized High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) round. This round penetrates at most 200 millimeters of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA)—not enough to tackle any sort of Main Battle Tank (MBT), but still useful against less well-defended targets.

   The RPG-2 has seen conflict in a large number of wars including the Vietnam War, Cambodian Civil War, Somalia Civil War, Yugoslav Wars, Libyan Civil War, and Syrian Civil War.

   The RPG-2 is currently used by China (in the reserves), although other countries and organizations may also use it. In the past, it has seen service with Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Laos, Libya, Macedonia, Thailand, Yugoslavia, Myanmar (Burma), Czechoslovakia Republic, Poland and Egypt.

   As usual with such weapons, the RPG-2 generally has a crew of 2—the gunner and his assistant. However, it can also be easily operated by only one person.

 

Variants

 

   RPG-2N: standard RPG-2 fitted with a night sight. Weighing 6 kilograms, the RPG-2N was introduced in 1957.

   Type 56: Chinese license-produced copy.

   Type P-27: Czechoslovakian licensed produced version, also known as the “Pancerovoka” (grenade launcher).

   M57: Yugoslavian licensed produced variant.

   PG-7: Egyptian designation.

   B-40: Vietnamese and Cambodian version, also referred to as the B-50.

 

The Tiger

   Article by The Tiger

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