Soviet anti-tank riflemen ready to repel an attack on the southern outskirts of voronezh.
The PTRD-41 was an anti-tank rifle produced and used from early 1941 by the Soviet Red Army during World War II. It was a single-shot weapon which fired a 14.5×114mm round. Although unable to penetrate the frontal armor of German tanks, it could penetrate the thinner sides of early-war German tanks as well as thinly armored self-propelled guns.
In 1939 the USSR captured several hundred Polish Model 35 anti-tank rifles, which had proved effective in the September Campaignwhen Poland was invaded by Germany. Vasily Degtyaryov copied its lock and several features of the German Panzerbüchse 38when hasty construction of an anti-tank rifle was ordered in July 1941.
The PTRD and the similar but semi-automaticPTRS-41 were the only individual anti-tankweapon available to the Red Army in numbers upon the outbreak of the war with Germany. The 14.5 mm armor-piercing bullet had a muzzle velocity of 1,012 m/s (3,320 ft/s). It could penetrate an armor plate up to 35 to 40mm (40mm with tungsten ammunition) thick at a distance of 100 meters at 0 degrees.During the initial invasion, and indeed throughout the war, most German tanks had side armor thinner than 40mm (Panzer I and Panzer II: 13-20mm, Panzer III and Panzer IV series: 30mm, Panzer V Panther (combat debut mid-1943): 40-50mm). The PTRD was considered obsolete early-mid war when German medium tanks were introduced. Even when used against the early, light German tanks, the 14.5 round more often shattered upon impact rather than penetrating the armor.