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German cross  Panzerschreck paintwork, codes,
manufacturers and serial numbers
  German cross

Markings & manufacturers

Almost all German equipment manufactured during WW2 was marked with a combination of code/date/WaA. The marking on the Panzerschreck follows the standard pattern to some extent. There is a list of 6 manufacturers that has been circulating on the internet for many years. This was originally copied from a original German document and have been cited ever since. But the list is far from complete and appears to contain several errors. In addition 3 of the 6 listed companies’ codes have never been observed on surviving examples of the Panzerschreck or the matching shield. To avoid making the same mistake I will only list those manufacturer codes that have been physically observed and I have cleaned up the list with the correct companies and addresses.

                         
             
The above list transcribed.
HASAG, Meuselwitz  (WC)
Enzinger-Union-Werke, Pfeddersheim b. Worms (17c)
Schricker & Co., Vach b. Nürnberg 
Kronprinz, Solingen-Ohligs  
Jäckel, Freistadt-Oberschl.
Gebr. Scheffler, Berlin
The above list corrected as I believe it was meant to be

HASAG, Eisen- u. Metallwerke GmbH Werk Tschenstochau Polen
nbe
Enzinger-Union-Werke AG, Mannheim
clu
Schricker & Co., Vach b. Nürnberg
kxs
Kronprinz Werke, Solingen-Ohligs
ckz
Jäkel's Eisenindustrie AG,Freistadt-Oberschl. Tschechische Republik
gfz
Gebr. Schäffler, Berlin - Reinickendorf O.
aqg


Above left is the original document that the list was initially copied from. It was published in "Handbuch für Waffen, Geräte und Kraftfahrzeuge" from 1 January 1944.

The direct errors, as I see them, have been highlighted in the transcribed text above right. The column in the lower left corner of the original document is marked "Fertigungsfirmen", but I assume the companies listed are both sub-contractors and final assembly companies.

The company responsible for the prototype and development has been cited as HASAG at Meuselwitz, but the manufactured specimens from this company all carries the code "nbe" that belongs to another manufacturer owned by the HASAG corporation; the HASAG Eisen- und Metallwerke GmbH, Werk Tschenstochau in occupied Poland. So HASAG Meuselwitz might have been responsible for the development of the Panzerschreck, but the production took place at the company plant in Poland. The company "Gebrüder Schäffler" in Berlin was issued the code "aqg", but no such marking has been observed on surviving Panzerschrecks. But this company was owned by the Enzinger-Union-Werke AG with the code "clu" that most certainly made both Panzerschrecks and shields. It is tempting to assume that the Schäffler brothers only delivered components to the parent company that assembled and marked the final product with their own code. The list doesn't appear to include the maker of the electrical components.

Finding and reading the marking on a Panzerschreck can be difficult at the best. All manufacturing info on a Panzerschreck has been stamped into the “Handhabe” (the trigger guard) below the metal strip portion. Of the surviving Panzerschreck on collector hands these days 90% came out of Finland post-war, 9% has been dug up “somewhere East of Berlin” (normally in Kurland/the Baltic) and 1% are barn finds (from the Western front).  The dug ups and barn finds will normally have a fair amount of rust, making it impossible to read, and the ones out of Finland all had serial numbers added, sometimes obliterating the maker code. Since the surviving examples mainly come from one source (Finland) it is also impossible to draw any conclusions in regards to scarcity of makers etc.  It appears that all Panzerschreck from the Finnish delivery came from 2 manufacturers, which makes sense as the delivery was a relatively small batch of the total production. In addition one of the makers (nbe) used a low quality steel with a rough exterior for the “Handhabe” and appears to have had a sloppy marking procedure, as the markings are never very sharp or readable.

The following manufacturers’ codes on Panzerschrecks have been observed

nbe HASAG, Eisen- u. Metallwerke GmbH Werk Tschenstochau Polen WaA 543
kxs Schricker & Co, Fürth-Vach, Bahnhof  Bayern WaA 89
clu Enzinger-Union-Werke AG, Mannheim WaA A29

In addition the same position would have a Waffenamt Abnahmestempel  (WaA for short), which meant that the specific product was approved by an inspector and fulfilled all requirements of the procuring authority.  
The date marking on German WW2 equipment was normally limited to the year of production.  Early practice was using 4 digits. Mid war this was reduced to 2 digits, and late 1944 and in 1945 some factories limited the date-code to just one 1 digit (the number 4 or 5). None of the Panzerschrecks that has been observed has shown any sign of a date-code, but shields have been observed with a year-date.

The shield was manufactured by both a Panzerschreck maker and a subcontractor as a fully separate part. Due to this it was also marked with the standard markings, not always matching the weapon manufacturer. Two manufacturers of the shield have been observed, as well as two different models. The two different models appear to be manufacturer variations, and don’t rhyme with any “product improvement”. (See the shield page for details)

The following manufacturers’ codes on shields have been observed:

brg 44 H.W. Schmidt, Metallwaren Döbeln WaA 187
clu Enzinger-Union-Werke AG, Mannheim WaA A29

The system of markings was not standardized on the shield.

Version 1 shield.
WaA ink-marked to lower right rear of shield. Code is ink-marked inside the spare glass lid. 

 
Version 2 shield with depressed spare glass compartment.  Code and WaA stamped on the front of the shield.

Update!
A temporary map that shows the different locations of the manufacturers (actually assemblers) has now surfaced. It is dated  1. October 1944 and has the title "Lageplan der Fertigungsstätten leichte und schwere Infanterie Waffen".

In order to enjoy the full details of the map the reader must click on the image above. I have cleaned up some of the details, first of all the details concerning the Panzerschreck manufacturers. Those positions have also been colored inn in red. Also note the red stipulated triangle on the right side. That one has been added to the original map in order to show the location of the HASAG Werke Tschenstochau.

Serial numbers
The German WW2 Panzerschreck had no serial number, which is rather strange since it was considered a weapon. 


The first five Panzerschrecks above is in storage in the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum (FMU), the last one is a dug-up "clu" from the Baltikum.
None of these have any serial number.

The reason why most Panzerschreck on collector hands today do have a serial number was that the Finnish army (SA) added these themselves when they got the weapons from the Germans. This is easy enough to see, as the numbers are randomly placed and partly covers WaA’s and makers mark.

In addition the serial numbers appears to have been consistently added upside-down compared with the original German markings. The "nbe" marking can be seen on the three first photos above. The single digit "1" in a upside-down position can be observed in all photos.
Many of the weapons that came out of Finland have a single digit “1” in the same position as the maker code (and serial number). This number has also been observed on untouched Museums examples in Norway in original finish. This single numeral (always “1”) is definitively not a serial number. And from what I can see it is solely used by the manufacturer "nbe". Most likely it is a marking denoting a factory-approval. "Cleared stage 1". This practice is known in regards to other German weapons and weapon parts from the era. 

The picture above shows a Soldbuch entry. The soldier has been issued a Panzerschreck (R. Pz. Büchse 54) as his personal responsibility. Note that the column for “Fertigungszeichen und nummer” (serial number) has been filled in with “1 Stück” (1 piece). Simply because the weapon has no serial number.

Odd markings
Apart from post-war added markings in Finland (will be discussed in the postwar use section) there isn't much else to be found that deviates from the standard set-up.

The above picture is from a development testing in Germany. The "soldier" is wearing a boiler suit. Note the number "5" painted on the rear section. My guess is that it is a inventory number; "Test-weapon number 5".

A red number has been observed painted on the inside of the muzzle on two Panzerschrecks manufactured by HASAG. They appear to have been painted after the completion of the weapon in the manufacturing process. And since they aren't painted on the actual guiding stripes for the rocket they will not be worn down by this. Function unclear. Also note the Dunkelgelb inside the tube on the right.

 Paintwork
The paintwork on the Panzerschreck was dominantly Dunkelgelb. The Dunkelgelb (sand-colour) was introduced as the standard colour for German equipment and vehicles even before the Panzerschreck saw initial production. 


Panzerschrecks in storage at FMU. All in Dunkelgelb. Note the repainted front end of the middle tube.

 
Panzerschrecks manufactured by HASAG had no coating of primer, while Schricker & Co made Panzerschrecks have a light red primer shining through.

A picture from the Bildheft 149a Panzernahkampfmittel, Teil 1: Panzerschreck, vom 14 September 1944.
This Panzerschreck has clearly been painted Dunkelgrau or Ordnance green. Note that the"Schutzbügel" has been retro-fitted and is clearly Dunkelgelb. The paintwork on the connection box is also strange. Normally the box would be the same colour as the weapon or black.

There is a series of pictures taken by Kriegsberichter Gerhard Gronefeld in the spring of 1944 in south Ukraine that shows the unloading of 6 Panzerschrecks from a IF-8 infantry cart. Of these weapons 4 are clearly Dunkelgrau (Panzergrey) or ordnance green, while the remaining 2 are Dunkelgelb. These are the only pictures I have found of dark painted Panzerschrecks, while the Dunkelgelb colour is easily spotted on almost all period photos.

The Panzerschreck was mostly assembled prior to painting, but the connector box and it's contents appears to have been an exception.  The electric "circuit-board"  was mounted after the painting to avoid paint-spills that would have hindered the functionality. The covers can be found in several different color variations. The covers, as well as the "circuit-board", were most probably made by a sub-contractor and came pre-painted black. Some got re-painted on the weapon by the units in different colors.

Unusual light Only red primer Black repainted tan Standard black Most probably Black

The following pictures show that the Panzerschreck most likely was placed standing straight up while it was painted with the rear end down. There are no traces of spilled paint to the rear of the tube, while most Panzerschrecks have a Dunkelgelb coating inside the muzzle.

   

The only deviation from the Dunkelgelb as the standard colour is the camouflage that was added by the units in the field. This camouflage normally used the Dunkelgelb as base and added green and brown details, known among collectors as “Normandy-camouflage”. 

 
This photo shows US troops with a captured Panzerschreck in a beautiful three-colour camouflage captured in France. The rocket still has the wooden dowel taped in place and is the winter ammunition from 43/44, marked "Arkt." on the combustion chamber.

A captured British Universal Carrier redeployed in German service as a transportation vehicle for a anti-tank unit in Italy 1944.  Note the camouflaged Panzerschrecks, probably painted at the same time as the vehicle.
A US officer poses with a captured Panzerschreck in camouflage colours.

A early Panzerschreck with the first version front sight and second version rear sight. It has been updated with the Schutzbügel and shield.
Note the sloppy application of camouflage that has run down the rear of the tube. This Panzerschreck has the low-profile shoulder block. The rocket is once again the winter ammunition for 1943/44. It appears that is was ready to fire. The wooden dowel is lying in front of the sergeant's right knee and is probably still connected with the wire (the length appears correct).

The post-war used Finnish Panzerschreck is normally all green or camouflaged in a three-tone camouflage, but those will be discussed in the post-war use section.

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