Rocket-propelled grenade

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A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) is any hand-held, shoulder-launched anti-tank weapon capable of firing an unguided rocket equipped with an explosive warhead.

RPGs are very effective against unarmored or lightly armored vehicles such as armored personnel carriers (APCs).



In the context of "rocket-propelled grenades", RPG is a transliteration of , the Russian РПГ or ручной противотанковый гранатомёт (transliterated as "ruchnoy protivotankovy granatomyot"), which translates to the English phrase "hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher". Thus rocket-propelled grenade is a backronym rather than a translation.[1][2]

The first Soviet "RPGs", RPG-40, RPG-43, and RPG-6, were in fact thrown hand grenades, and the acronym stood for ручная противотанковая граната, or "hand-held anti-tank grenade"—obviously not a launcher. The projectile of RPG launchers is similarly designated PG, (PG-7, etc.), which similarly stands for противотанковая граната, "anti-tank grenade".


The RPG has its roots in the 19th century, with the early development of the explosive shaped charge. The development of practical rocketry provided a means of delivering such an explosive. Research, occasioned by World War II, produced such weapons as the American bazooka, and German Panzerfaust, which combined portability with effectiveness against armored vehicles such as tanks.

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