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Subject: Re: soviet WWII anti tank grenade
From: (John W. Schaefer)
Date: May 31 1996

In article <4oe2ds$>, says...
>In article <4o45dl$>,
>(Maddog@Indy.Net) writes:
>>       2) Why call it RPG-43 when the book says it was hand thrown???
>I guess that was the official designation.

	This is confusion on confusion. This "RPG" designation, and all of 
the others, are terms in English invented by Western military analysts to 
describe Soviet-block weapons as they first were identified visually, often 
before the official internal designation of the weapon was known. Thus the 
many named aircraft--Bear, Badger, Flogger, Flashlight, etc., none of them 
the official Soviet designation, and similarly many of the small arms, 
including all of the Rocket Propelled Grenades.

	It happens that in this particular case the acronym *in Russian* for 
"hand antitank grenade" is also "RPG", but I'm sure that's not the etymology 
of the term as used in Western military circles. Logically the Western usage 
in this particular instance would have been consistent with the derivation 
of generic names for many other categories of Russian weapons and based on 
terminology in English, not Russian. I'm not aware of any historical pattern 
of using Russian acronyms in Western military analysis below the level of 
the KGB, etc.

	Any modern source that describes a hand-thrown grenade as an RPG, 
unless they clearly identify their terminology as an acronym in Russian, is 
likely uninformed on at least that matter.

	On the matter of effectiveness of a hand-thrown shaped charge device, 
it would only need about 20% more penetration to compensate for 30 degree 
skew from normal to the surface. That could easily be offset by a small 
increase in charge diameter. Of course, the throw's rotating skew would add 
to, or subtract from, the angle of arrival from the throw. Presumably the 
training would be to throw the grenade on a high, arcing path so it would 
arrive at the top armor within say 20 degrees of normal, having traveled far 
enough that the streamer would have straighted the device's own rotating skew 
to within say 10 degrees. The other reason for the high, arcing path, of 
course, would be so the thrower could dive behind cover before detonation.

                                            John Schaefer

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