The 21 cm Nebelwerfer 42 was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War
About this creation
The 21 cm NbW 42 was a five-barreled multiple rocket launcher mounted on the towed carriage. The 21 cm Wurfgranate 42 rockets were spin-stabilized, electrically-fired and only had high-explosive warheads. The rocket nozzle assembly contained 22 orifices evenly spaced around the rim of the nozzle with the orifices set an angle of 16° from the axis of the rocket to give the rocket clockwise rotation
Bottom photo by Bernard Zee
The rockets had a prominent exhaust trail that kicked up a substantial amount of dust and debris, so the crew had to seek shelter before firing. This meant that they were easily located and had to displace quickly to avoid counter-battery fire. The rockets were fired one at a time, in a timed ripple, but the launcher had no capability to fire single rockets
NbW 42s were organized into batteries of six launchers with three batteries per battalion. These battalions were concentrated in independent Werfer-Regiments and Brigades. They saw service on the Eastern Front, North Africa, Italian Campaign and the defense of France and Germany from 1942—45.
The 21 cm NbW 42 served with units of the Nebeltruppen, the German equivalent of the American Chemical Corps. Just as the Chemical Corps had responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were used instead to deliver high-explosives during the war so did the Nebeltruppen. The 21 cm NbW 42 never had a poison gas shell developed for it due to Hitler's fear that if poison gas was used against the Allies, they would retaliate in kind with poison gas. Hitler's fear of poison gas can be attributed to the time he spent on the front during World War I