The Luftfaust (literally "air fist") was a rare German ground-to-air rocket launcher developed during the Second World War, and a precursor to the MANPADS concept. Intended to be a simple method of equipping infantry with a weapon effective against Allied ground-attack aircraft like the North American P-51 Mustang, Hawker Typhoon and Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik, the projectiles are high-explosive warheads from 20x138mm B cannon rounds fitted with solid-fuel rocket motors and spin-stabilized by using four angled exhaust nozzles.
Germany developed the weapon as the Fliegerfaust (literally "flierfist" and transliterating as either "pilot fist" or "plane fist"), of which there are two models (or maybe even three): Fliegerfaust A had four barrels, Fliegerfaust B had 9 lengthened barrels, and a third six barrel 30 mm prototype was also constructed. Fliegerfaust B is the Luftfaust and is by far the best known out of all the Fliegerfausts.
The weapon is volley fire, meaning that one trigger pull would fire all barrels in a set order: it is not clear what order this was, with the most common theory being that the B model fired the middle barrel and every other outer barrel, and then the remaining barrels 0.1 or 0.2 seconds later.
German records indicate only 80 Luftfausts were issued for combat trials, all to a unit in Saarbrücken, but oddly there is a photograph of three discarded Luftfaust launchers lying in the rubble of the Hotel Adlon taken during the Siege of Berlin in 1945. Production numbers for Fliegerfaust A is unknown. Surviving genuine Luftfausts are rare; the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow is said to be in the possession of one. Most Luftfausts seen are replicas.
The concept of the Luftfaust was reused in a Soviet experimental launcher called the Kolos, which had 7 30mm barrels; it was designed from 1966 to 1968, and was meant to be supplied to Vietcong partisans. Tests proved the weapon successful, but it was abandoned in favor of the 9K32 Strela-2 MANPADS.
It should be noted that information on the Luftfaust is somewhat limited and multiple sources tend to contradict each other. For instance, some sources name the weapons "Luftfaust A" and "Luftfaust B", and describe Fliegerfaust as the six-barreled 30mm prototype.
(Designed in 1944, production began and ended in 1945)
Type: Rocket launcher
Capacity: 9-rocket clip
Fire Modes: Volley fire
The Luftfaust and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|Game Title||Referred as||Mods||Notation||Release Date|
|Forgotten Hope 2||2007|
|Sniper Elite 4||"Neunfaust R1"||Found in the Deathstorm Part 2: Infiltration DLC||2017|
|Call of Duty: WWII||Found in Zombies mode||2017|
|Battlefield V||"Fliegerfaust"||Added in week 4 of Battlefest||2018|