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grenade launcher[grə′nād ‚lȯn·chər]
(1) The hand grenade launcher is a light portable weapon (weighing up to 15 kg), designed to destroy armored targets and enemy personnel with armor-piercing or high-explosive fragmentation grenades. It was adopted by the armies of various states after World War II (1939–45). The launcher consists of a barrel, sighting devices, a launching mechanism, a stock (handle), and additional attachments (shock absorbers, shields, and so on). The calibers of the grenade launchers of foreign armies are 40–90 mm, with a sighting range of up to 400 m. A distinction is made between single-shot hand grenade launchers, which are used only once, and repeating grenade launchers.
(2) The rifle grenade launcher is a special removable device (barrel) mounted on the muzzle end of the rifle. It was adopted by the armies of various states after World War II. It is designed primarily for fighting against tanks and other armored targets. The sighting range is up to 100 m. Before firing, the launcher is mounted on the rifle barrel and loaded with a grenade of 60–80 mm caliber; the rifle is loaded with a blank cartridge. The powder gases formed during combustion of the charge of the cartridge propel the grenade.
(3) The rifle grenade discharger (rifle with a grenade launcher) was designed to destroy infantry with high-explosive fragmentation grenades at a range of up to 1,000 m. It appeared during World War I (1914–18) but was not used extensively in combat.
REFERENCEOrganizatsiia i vooruzhenie armii i flotov kapitatisticheskikh gosudarstv, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
K. A. NIKOLAEV