RPG2 and PG2 TBiU 37
RPG-2 antitank grenade launcher with PG-2 grenade
Type Recoilless rifle
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949–1960s
Used by Communist forces
Wars First Indochina War, Vietnam War, Cambodian Civil War, Cambodian-Vietnamese War, Sino-Vietnamese War
Production history
Manufacturer State Factories
Variants M57(Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
B-40 and B-50 (Vietnam), (Cambodia)
PG-7 (Egypt)
Type 56 RPG (China)
Weight 2.83 kg (Script error lb) (unarmed)
4.67 kg (Script error lb) (ready to fire)
Length 1,200 mm (Script error in)
Crew 2 including:
Grenadier (carries the launcher with three grenades in special backpack)
Their assistant (armed with assault rifle and carries three more grenades)

Shell PG-2 HEAT round (with RCL-type launch)
Caliber 40 mm barrel
82mm warhead
Rate of fire 3 - 4 rounds per minute
Effective range 100 - 150 m
Maximum range 200 m

The RPG-2 was the first man-portable recoilless rifle designed and mass-produced in the Soviet Union.


The RPG-2 (Russian: РПГ-2, Ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot; English: "manually operated antitank grenade launcher"), is a man-portable, shoulder-launched anti-armor weapon. The chief attributes of the RPG-2 were robustness, simplicity, and low cost. However its short range and inaccuracy led to its eventual replacement by the more effective RPG-7. Widely distributed to allies of the Soviet Union, it was also produced under license by other countries, including China and North Vietnam. Widely used against the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, its Vietnamese variants were called the B-40(bazooka 40 mm) and B-50.

Derived partly from the experimental German Panzerfaust 250 and developed in 1947 and first issued to the Soviet Army in 1949, the RPG-2 was deployed at infantry squad level. Although the RPG-2 could be operated by one man, standard military practice called for a two-man crew: a grenadier carrying the launcher and a purpose-built backpack containing three grenades and an assistant armed with a rifle and carrying another three-grenade backpack.

The grenade for the RPG2 is known as the PG-2. Contrary to popular belief the PG-2 grenade is not rocket propelled, it is a recoilless design, the propelling charge is a charge of fine grained black powder in a six segmented paper charge. When ignited by the percussion type primer the charge burns at a very high rate throwing the grenade approx 200 meters. The explosion of propellant occurs completely within the launching tube. The solid fuel booster (rocket engine) was not used until the development of the RPG-7 and placed into service as the PG-7 grenade . It should be noted that the RPG-7 is a rocket assisted recoilless gun, not a true rocket propelled grenade launcher.


North Vietnamese troops with RPG-2 (B-40), 1968.


PG-2 grenade Kyiv 1

PG-2 HEAT rocket

The RPG-2 anti tank grenade launcher is a simple 40 millimeter steel tube into which the PG-2 grenade is fitted. The tailboom of the grenade inserts into the launcher. The diameter of the PG-2 warhead is 80mm The center section of the tube has a thin wooden covering to protect the user from the heat generated by a rocket launch. The wooden covering also makes using the weapon in extreme cold conditions easier.

RPG 2 TBiU 37 2

A Polish soldier with an RPG-2 launcher.

The total length of the weapon with a grenade fitted was 120 centimeters (47 inches) and it weighed 4.48 kilograms (9.8 pounds). Only a simple iron sight was provided for aiming.

Only one type of grenade, the PG-2 HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank), was used in the RPG-2. The propellant, consisting of granulated powder was in a rolled cardboard case treated with wax that had to be attached to the grenade before loading. Once attached to the propellant charge the grenade was inserted into the smooth-bore launcher from the front. A tab on the body of the grenade indexes in a notch cut in the tube so that the primer in the propelling charge aligns with the firing pin and hammer mechanism.

PG-2 rocket

A cutaway of a PG-2 rocket grenade.

To fire the RPG-2 the grenadier cocked an external hammer with his thumb, aimed, and pulled the trigger to fire. Upon launch six stabilizer fins unfolded from the grenade.

The weapon was accurate against stationary targets up to 150 meters and against moving targets at ranges of less than 100 meters. It had a muzzle velocity of 84 meters per second and could penetrate armor of up to 180 millimeters (7.17 inches) in thickness.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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