The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union. Its design was probably inspired by the German Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon developed during World War II. 

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1949
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) View

The RPG-2 (from the transliteration Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot), 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. 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 US military in the Vietnam War, its Vietnamese variants were called the B40 and B50. 

The RPG-2 design was probably inspired by the German Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon developed during World War II. 

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. 

Only one type of grenade, the PG-2 HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank), was used in the RPG-2. The propellant 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 only 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.

Type Rocket-propelled grenade launcher
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949–1970s(USSR)
Used by Cambodia
East Germany
Hungary Hungary
North Korea
Soviet Union
Wars Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
Rhodesian Bush War
Cambodian-Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Thai–Laotian Border War
Somali Civil War
Yugoslav Wars
2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off
2010–12 Burma border clashes
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
Production history
Manufacturer State Factories
Variants M57 (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
B-40 and B-50 (Vietnam), (Cambodia)
PG-7 (Egypt)
Type 56 RPG (China)
Weight 2.83 kg (6.24 lb) (unarmed)
4.67 kg (10.30 lb) (ready to fire)
Length 1,200 mm (47.2 in)
Crew 2 including:
Grenadier (carries the launcher with three grenades in special backpack)
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 firing range 100–150 m
Maximum firing range 200 m

End notes