The Rocket Propelled Grenade Paperback – Sep 21 2010
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“This surveys how the rocket propelled grenade, developed just after World War II, grew to have strategic influence beyond expectation. It's one of the most important weapons of this century, and deserves this in-depth coverage.” ―The Midwest Book Review (December 2010)
“It is a fascinating look at the weapon of choice of terrorism and extremism around the world. One that is presented here for the first time in English and one that I can highly recommend.” ―Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness (October 2010)
“In this book which is the only English language book published on the subject, [Gordon L. Rottman] provides his personal experiences of [the grenades'] effectiveness, both from the receiving end of the RPG-2 and RPG-7 and the firing of them.” ―www.mataka.org (November 2010)
About the Author
Gordon L. Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a Special Operations Forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer, living in Texas. He also possesses one of the largest collection of RPG-related materials, manuals and information in private hands. The author lives in Cypress, TX.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author condenses the history of the Rocket Propelled Grenade from WW2 to the present in a few, concise pages. The US, Germans and Russians were developing them in the 1940's. During WW2, the Germans had the most success with hand held anti tank weapons. Although the Soviets had access to the Panzerfaust designs, the RPG-2 and further refined RPG-7 were not mere copies. Several myths surrounding the RPG-7 are explored and destroyed. As with many successful designs, the RPG-7 is now used in ways never really intended.
This book provides an excellent description of the technical workings of the HEAT round and why the RPG-7 is so effective. It does have its limitations which are also captured, but used in barrage fire; this weapon is devastating to helicopters, light armored vehicles, trucks, bunkers and even people. Since it is so easy to use and affordable for poorer nations, it has wide appeal in the Third World as an equalizer against the high tech Western Armies. The Soviets found out the hard way what a great weapon they created when the Afghanis and later the Chechen fighters used the RPG-7 so effectively against them.
There are plenty of color photos, cut aways of the Launcher and the Grenades, color plates showing the reticle, how to correct your aim, lead a vehicle and tactics developed by the Vietnamese, Solomilians, Iraqi's, Afghani insurgents. It's almost an owners manual. There are counter measures to the RPG-7 which are discussed here as well, but they are expensive. I enjoyed this book. Recommended for anyone who is curious why this hand held, low tech weapon has had such an impact on modern warfare.
The story begins with the need for a light, cheap antitank weapon for the infantry. Work on shaped-charge explosive devices provides part of the answer and the author explains the concept to the reader in a lucid fashion. The book then proceeds to the German "Panzerfaust" which influenced Soviet weapons development. Though the next generation Soviet RPG's were not copies of the Panzerfaust, they were heavily influenced by it. The author relates the story of the continuing development of Soviet weapons of this type with the RPG-2, RPG-4 and RPG-7.
We get a sense of the RPG-7's effectiveness in the hands of Afghans, Chechens, Vietnamese, Palestinians, etc. The author, a Vietnam veteran, is able to add his own personal observations and experience with the weapon. The book does a decent job of looking at the positives and negatives of the weapon in combat during a number of conflicts as well as brief comparisons with Western weapons meant to fill the same role.
This is a good, but short, work on the RPG-series weapons even though it is a tad dry in places and a little overpriced for only 80 pages. On the whole I recommend this book with four stars.
If one were to stumble upon a RPG in the field, and had this book, they would be able to use it.
It is a simple weapon made simple and simple to operate. As illustrated, even a child could operate it.
For a modeler, it provides visual ideas on how to dress up a diorama accurately. For the historian, it provides the basic information on it's design and usage. For the writer, it gives that extra push to make a story plausible.
What is/isn't surprising is that USA companies are making their own versions of the weapon. Of course it will probably be too high tek and over priced. I'd like to do a story on it.
In production since 1960 decade, after 50 years of use and production, the RPG-7 remains among the best in its class of weapons. No other anti-tank weapon was so produced and used in wars as the RPG-7. Please, this is an introduction, about RPG. There's many photos in this book, but I would prefer this book with a little more text, instead of so many photos. More informations about the RPG-18, RPG-22, RPG-29, etc. would transform this good book into an excellent book.
The author has clearly done extensive research on this subject and has addressed many myths about the RPG, such as the idea that the first weapon was simply a copy of one of the panzerfaust-series of antitank developed by Germany during WWII. He also walks through the use of the RPG as a "bunker-buster" and its often-overlooked role as an antihelicopter weapon. The book discusses weapon variants, foreign copies and many different rounds developed for RPG use.
During the First Gulf War our ground security folks found many examples of RPG-7 launchers and rounds. If I had a book like this one back then I think I would have felt confident enough to try one of them out!