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By Steven Zaloga

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The MP 44 assault rifle was the preferred weapon for this device since its ammunition was not as powerful as ordinary Gew 98 rifle ammunition, and it offered fully automatic fire. Schaede was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross in November 1944 for his discoveries. A detail view of the interior portion of the Rundumsfeuer, in a restored Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) at the US Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground. The ball-mounting absorbed much of the energy from the bullet impact against the curved barrel.

Drake planned to institute a bazooka training class the next day, but before this occurred the Germans launched Operation Frühlingswind, the Kasserine Pass offensive, on February 14. Drake’s regiment was overwhelmed by two Panzer divisions and he was taken prisoner. There was apparently little use made of the bazookas during the fighting, and this cache was probably the source of bazookas later sent back to Germany. Curiously enough, when the reconstituted 168th Infantry Regiment took the offensive in Fondouk Pass in Tunisia in April 1943, they were again issued bazookas only a day before the action and again without any training.

36in bazooka rocket against an improvised screen mimicking Thoma-Schürzen on a derelict PzKpfw IV. Traces of Zimmerit paste can be seen on the far right and on the parts of the turret face. What was not appreciated at the time was that shields actually enhanced the penetration of shaped-charge rockets such as the bazooka. Detonation of the bazooka warhead against a skirt provided more time for the fuze to trigger the warhead, allowing the jet to form more coherently, thus enhancing its penetrative effects.

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