The German Military’s Vicious Rocket Launcher And Its Fatal Weakness
(Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)
When Nazi Germany was building military forces they had to tread lightly in order to get around the restrictions placed on them following WWI. Certain weapons of war had to keep up appearances or take different names in order to avoid detection. One of those weapons the Nebelwerfer (smoke mortar) was able to bypass the Treaty of Versaille and make its way onto the battlefield.
Disguised as a system for delivering a smokescreen the Nebelwerfer was actually a rocket launcher used by the German military. It could fire multiple rockets at a distance of nearly five miles away. The Nebelwerfer found success as an artillery weapon and was later integrated for use on tanks and modified as a single rocket launcher for Luftwaffe planes such as the Bf 110 and Me 410.
The Nebelwerfer was an effective weapon but it had a key weakness that was easily exploited by its enemies. The Rockets left long smoke trails which could easily place the point of origin on the battlefield becoming extremely vulnerable. At that point, the Nebelwerfer gunners might as well just paint a bullseye on themselves.