The Sturmpistole (Assault-Pistol) was an attempt by Germany during World War II to create a multi-purpose weapon which could be used by any infantryman. It consisted of a modified Leuchtpistole or flare gun in English which could fire a variety of grenades, including a 600 g shaped charge Panzerwurfkörper 42 which could penetrate 80 mm of rolled homogeneous armour. The idea was not pursued wholeheartedly, and took second stage to the then current anti-tank rifles and later weapon developments, such as the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck.

The Sturmpistole was a multi-purpose weapon for signalling, illumination, target marking, or concealment with a smoke grenade. Later during World War II, explosive rounds were developed to give German troops a small and lightweight grenade launcher for engaging targets from close range which could not be engaged satisfactorily by infantry weapons or artillery without endangering friendly troops. Conversions of both the Leuchtpistole 34 and Leuchtpistole 42 are reported to exist. The conversion included adding a buttstock and sights for the different grenades.

Sturmpistoles delivered to Romania were in use of Pioniere battalions.

Available projectiles included:

Multi-Star Signal Cartridge – This was a multi-star signal flare that contained three red and three green stars that could be set for six different colour combinations.

Panzerwurfkörper 42 – This was a HEAT grenade that could be used against enemy armour. It had a range of 69 m and could penetrate 80 mm of RHA. It was similar in layout to the Wurfkorper 361 and used a rifled cartridge case.

Wurfgranate Patrone 326 – This was a small, breech loaded, fin stabilised, explosive grenade, with a nose fuse that was designed for short range low angle direct fire missions. It was not recommended for use beyond 180 m due to inaccuracy or less than 46 m due to the risk from shell fragments. Wurfkorper 361 – The Wurfkorper 361 was formed by screwing a Bakelite or wooden stem into an Eierhandgranate 39 which allowed it to be fired from a Leuchtpistole. A brass or aluminium shell casing with propellant was first loaded into the breech of the gun. The stem was then slid down the muzzle until it slipped into the shell casing, the breech was then closed and the gun could be fired. The Wurfkorper 361 was used for high angle indirect fire where its shrapnel would be useful. The Wurfkorper 361 was not recommended for use at less than 46 m  due to the risk from shrapnel and its maximum range was limited to around 78 m at 45° because the grenade had a 4.5 second time fuse.

Ben Davidson

Hello, I have been studying all aspects of history for about 25 years. I have a BA History from the University of Bedfordshire. My historical areas of interest are anything really, but I specialise in 19th - 20th century Britain, America and Ireland. I am also strongly aligned with most military history, really enjoying WW2 and the US Civil War. Chuck in the king or queen and Bob's your uncle.

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