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The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....



The RPG-2 (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: РПГ-2, Ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot; English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: "manually operated antitank grenade launcher"), was a man-portable, shoulder-launched rocket-propelled grenade 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
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

. Widely distributed to allies of the Soviet Union, it was also produced under license by other countries, including China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and North Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Widely used against the U.S. military in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, its Vietnamese variants were called the B-40 and B-50.
Developed in 1947 and first delivered to the Soviet Army in 1949, the RPG-2 was deployed at a 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 RPG-2 rocket launcher is a simple 40 millimeter steel tube into which the PG-2 82 mm diameter rocket propelled grenade is fitted. 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.

The total length of the weapon with a grenade fitted was 120 centimeters (47 inches) and it weighed 4.48 kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

s (9.8 pounds
Pound (mass)
The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in the Imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement...

). Only a simple iron sight
Iron sight
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

 was provided for aiming.

Only one type of grenade, the PG-2 HEAT
High explosive anti-tank
High explosive anti-tank warheads are made of an explosive shaped charge that uses the Munroe effect to create a very high-velocity partial stream of metal in a state of superplasticity that can punch through solid armor....

 (High Explosive Anti-Tank), was used in the RPG-2. The propellant
A propellant is a material that produces pressurized gas that:* can be directed through a nozzle, thereby producing thrust ;...

 was in a cardboard case 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.

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.


People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

  • Moro National Liberation Front
    Moro National Liberation Front
    The Moro National Liberation Front is a political organization that was founded by Nur Misuari in 1969. The MNLF struggles against the Philippine Government to achieve independence of the Bangsamoro Land...

     (Official state and southern rebels)

} (Unrecognized de-facto Somali state): Used in small numbers mainly by Thahan Phran
Thahan Phran
The Thahan Phran is a paramilitary light infantry force which patrols the borders of Thailand and is part of the Royal Thai Army...


See also

  • Panzerfaust
    The Panzerfaust was an inexpensive, recoilless German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consisted of a small, disposable preloaded launch tube firing a high explosive anti-tank warhead, operated by a single soldier...

  • Rocket-propelled grenade, which includes a description of tactics and history.
  • RPG-7
    The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

  • RPG-26
    The RPG-26 Aglen is a disposable anti-tank rocket launcher developed by the Soviet Union. It fires a single-stage rocket with jack-knife fins, which unfold after launch...

  • RPG-29
    The RPG-29 is a Russian rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989, it was the most recent weapon of its type to be adopted by the Russian military before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The RPG-29 has since been supplemented by other rocket-propelled systems, such...

  • PG-7VR
    The PG-7VR is a tandem charge RPG warhead designed to penetrate up to 600 mm rolled homogeneous armour equivalence of explosive reactive armor and the conventional armor underneath...

  • Yasin RPG
  • Type 69 RPG
    Type 69 RPG
    The Type 69 85mm rocket propelled grenade , made by Norinco, is a Chinese copy of the famous RPG-7 developed by the Soviet Union. First introduced in the early 1970s, the Type 69 RPG is a common individual anti-tank weapon in service with the PLA...

  • Bazooka
    Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the U.S. Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat...

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