Panzerschreck (German: tank terrorizer) was the popular name for the Raketenpanzerbüchse ('rocket tank rifle', abbreviated to RPzB), an 88 mm calibre reusable anti-tank rocket launcher developed by the Germans in World War II. Another popular nickname was Ofenrohr ("stove pipe").
The weapon was used by the German infantry to help disrupt allied armor attacks. It was shoulder-launched and fired a rocket-propelled, fin-stabilized grenade with a shaped charge warhead. While the weapon was effective, the vast industrial advantage of the allied nations made the effectiveness of individual German weapons moot in preventing an allied victory. It was made in much smaller numbers than the Panzerfaust, which was a disposable recoilless rifle firing an anti-tank grenade.
The weapon was created in response to the incredible success of the Allied "Bazooka" against German armor, outshining the penetration, accuracy and range of the German antitank grenades. After being reverse-engineered in Germany, the first Panzerschreck model, RPzB 43, began to roll off assembly lines.
The bazooka rocket fielded by the Allies often had trouble penetrating German 100mm armor, especially on the Tiger tank. The Panzerschreck's rocket, however, could easily penetrate over 200mm of armor plate, making it suitable for penetrating heavy Soviet armor. Panzerschrecks soon became the bane of Allied vehicle commanders, as the Panzerschreck often destroyed any armored fighting vehicle in one shot.
Notable drawbacks of the weapon include a heavier and more cumbersome design than the bazooka, as well as the smokey nature of the propellant used in the rocket. While the Panzerfaust used a short-burst motor, producing relatively little smoke, the Panzerschreck's motor produced great volumes of smoke. This was to the disadvantage of rocket troops fielding them, as it instantly gave away their position, and could not be used indoors because the room the rocket was fired from would be quickly filled with toxic fumes.