15 cm Nebelwerfer 41

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15 cm Nebelwerfer 41
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-220-0634-12, Russland, Laden eines Nebelwerfers.jpg
A 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 launcher while reloading.
TypeRocket artillery
Place of originGermany
Service history
In service1941–45
Used byGermany
WarsWorld War II
Production history
Designedlate 1930s–1945
No. built5283[1]
WeightEmpty: 510 kg (1,120 lb)
Loaded: 770 kg (1,700 lb)
Length3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
Barrel length1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)
Width1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)
Height1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)[2]

ShellHE: .97 m (3 ft 2 in)
Smoke: 1.02 m (3 ft 4 in)
Shell weightHE: 31.8 kg (70 lb)
Smoke: 35.9 kg (79 lb)
Caliber158 mm (6.22 inch)
Elevation+5° to +45°
Muzzle velocity342 m/s (1,120 ft/s)
Maximum firing range6.9 km (4.3 mi)[2]

The 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 (15 cm NbW 41) was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War. It served with units of the Nebeltruppen, German Chemical Corps units that had the responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were also used to deliver high-explosives during the war, the name Nebelwerfer is best translated as "smoke mortar".

Allied troops nicknamed it Screaming Mimi and Moaning Minnie due to its distinctive sound.[4]


Wgr. 41 projectile for the 15cm Nbw 41 on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Nebelwerfer 41 rocket launcher on display at the Rock Island Arsenal museum, viewed from the front
Nebelwerfer 41 rocket launcher, breech view

Rocket development had begun during the 1920s and reached fruition in the late-1930s, these offered the opportunity for the Nebeltruppen to deliver large quantities of poison gas or smoke simultaneously. The first weapon to be delivered to the troops was the 15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 in 1940, after the Battle of France, a purpose-designed rocket with gas, smoke and high-explosive warheads. It, like virtually all German rocket designs, was spin-stabilized to increase accuracy. One very unusual feature was that the rocket motor was in the front, the exhaust venturi being about two-thirds down the body from the nose, with the intent to optimize the blast and fragmentation effect of the rocket as the warhead would still be above the ground when it detonated, this proved to greatly complicate manufacture for not much extra effect and it was not copied on later rocket designs. It was fired from a six-tube launcher mounted on a towed carriage adapted from that used by the 3.7 cm PaK 36 to a range of 6,900 metres (7,500 yd). Almost five and a half million 15 cm rockets and six thousand launchers were manufactured over the course of the war.


  1. ^ Engelmann, p. 5
  2. ^ a b c Chamberlain, Peter (1975). Mortars and rockets. Gander, Terry. New York: Arco Pub. Co. pp. 36–37. ISBN 0668038179. OCLC 2067459.
  3. ^ Engelmann, p. 46
  4. ^ Bull, p. 189


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