Weapons come and weapons go, but seldom has one
withstood the test of time - and grueling battlefield
history - like the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle in 84mm
(3.3-inch). This old warhorse has been around a whole lot longer than
most of this web site's audience, exceeding some 6 decades.
A lot of water has
passed beneath that old bridge, and it's likely the creators of this
gun never dreamed it would outlive them - and many of their
grandkids. There are some weapons that just fill a niche, and keep on
filling it - and the Carl Gustav - the 8,4cm
m/48 is a
This man-portable, multi-purpose weapon was designed by
Swedes Hugo Abramson and Harald Jentzen and produced by Bofors
Anti-Armour AB of Sweden, today's Saab Bofors Dynamics.
The Carl G. continues in production; it has seen action
in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Falklands.
It has several applications - the 84mm warhead is
tough enough to take down some of the older tanks and most armor,
obliterate bunker complexes, neutralize infantry and light up the
Amongst others, U.S., British, Swedish and Australian
forces have employed the Carl G., otherwise known as RAWS (Ranger
Antitank Weapons System) to U.S. Special Forces, and its tube reminds
some of us of the World War II and Korean War (to a lesser extent,
Vietnam)-era M9 bazooka.
As the years have come and gone, the Carl G. has been
modified for current battle conditions.
The M1 appeared after World War II. The M2 arrived on
the scene in the mid-1960s, and the M3 - used by many of the
world's Special Forces, including ours - showcased in 1991.
It measures slightly
more than three feet (1 meter) in length and weighs nearly 20 pounds,
unloaded. The Carl G. uses a rifled barrel, not the rocket fins of
many of today's grenade launchers to stabilize its payload in flight
and send ordnance downrange at a muzzle velocity of 950 feet per
second. That's sizzling
when you consider the U.S. bazooka had a muzzle velocity of about 340
With practice, the Carl G.'s two-man crew (shooter and
ammo carrier-loader) can launch six HEAT (high-explosive, anti-tank)
or HEDP (high-explosive, dual-purpose) rounds down range in
seconds - 60, to be precise. That's some delivery system. The gun
is loaded by a hinged breech (moved to one side), and it can be fired
sitting, kneeling, standing, or in the prone position using a handy
Here's proof of the
Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle's long shelf life and battleworthiness:
60 years after it was unveiled by Abramson and Jentzen, this weapon
is preferred by many of today's most vaunted battlefield
heroes - soldiers of the British SAS, U.S. Special Forces and the
U.S. Army Rangers - the creme
de la creme
of the modern battlefield. That's some list of references.