This task was formally announced in February of 1944 during a special GAU meeting. High Command agreed: development and mass production of anti-tank grenade launchers for the Red Army was an urgent and important task. Among others, KB-30 answered the call, a previous developer of rifle grenades. Here is what they achieved.
A Cocktail of Parts
According to new requirements, the new weapon had to have a range of 75-100 meters and penetrate 100 mm of armour. Designers from KB-30 reasoned that the main difficulty was not to successfully solve the design or technical issues. The biggest effort was expended on manufacturing of the new weapon and its ammunition.
Because of this, KB-30 proposed the PG-6 grenade launcher, made up of parts and assemblies that were already in production. The barrel came from the 50 mm company mortar. The receiver came from a rifle, the stock and bipod from the Simonov anti-tank rifle, etc. The ammunition used was an RPG-6 anti-tank grenade, but the launcher could fire normal HE-fragmentation rounds if necessary.
At first glance, the result was good. The system weighed 14 kilograms and was 1.2 meters long. The ammunition, an RPG-6 grenade with a special sabot, weighed 1650 grams. And then, in July of 1944, the PG-6 began trials...
Since a large amount of inventions go through the hands of testers, they have a good eye for details. Even before tests began, there was some doubt about the PG-6 being a simple and universal weapon. For instance, the following actions had to be taken to fire from the new grenade launcher:
- Screw off the handle from the grenade.
- Insert the fuse.
- Screw the handle back into the grenade.
- Insert the sabot into the barrel.
- Remove the safety pin from the grenade.
- Insert the grenade into the barrel.
- Load the launcher with a blank cartridge.
- Aim and fire.