• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Heller Anti-Tank Weapon


We had the Heller issued to us in 4 CIBG at the time as an operational weapon. It was 3.2-inch calibre but I cannot recall any other details. By the way, its name, Heller, was apparently because "it was a heller a weapon."

I was a liaison officer in HQ 4 CIBG for about eighteen months (the brigades arms units filled these posts on a rotational basis) in the mid-sixties and handled operational equipment. We started replacing the Heller with the Carl Gustav and the M72 circa 1966-1967.
The Heller was in service in 4 CMBG. I do not know of any problems
with the weapon itself however the 9inch rangefinder sight was far too
delicate for the rough and tumble of infantry work and they spent a
large amount of their lives on the "waiting labour" shelf at the WKSP.
after that they moved to the "waiting parts"shelf as the supply system
had not forseen the high numbers of unserviceabilities.
This may have had something to do with their relative short service
I have been meaning to bring some info for quite some times now but been to busy. I have received lots of reports and thousand of pages that talk about the Heller, one of which is titled "Final Report - 100mm Heller Anti-Tank Weapon System". That's right, "100mm!!!". There is currently a range clearance here in Borden and they hav found thousands of rocket motors, matter of fact check out the picture below as we have displays of both the 3.2" and the 100mm.
I have so much information that I don't know where to start, so here is some stuff:
1 - The 3.2" was known as the Heller Stage "A" and the 100mm the Heller Stage "B"
2 - The roscket was similar in principle to the HAMMER, a German weapon reported to be in the early stage of development in 1945
3 - this project was Tripartite, with US UK and Canadian participation.
4 - there are evidence of contract being awarded for 50,000 Rkt 3.2"
5 - The capabilities of the rkt 3.2" didn't meet the Army requirements (20-lb weapon capable of defeating 160mm of armour sloped at 30 degrees with a 80% chance of first-round hit at 300 yeards...) so it was decided to begin development of the Stage "B" 100mm.
More to follow

It would be great to know the Heller's specifications (weights and dimensions etc.) as well as any details on its development and history.

Ammo said:
2 - The roscket was similar in principle to the HAMMER, a German weapon reported to be in the early stage of development in 1945

Here what I have on the Hammer rocket-launcher:

The Rheinmetall company started development of this new weapon in October 1943. The Hammer had a smooth-bore open-ended barrel of 81.4 mm calibre (nominally, of course, it was 8-cm), length of which was 2,200 mm. It fired hollow-charge finned-stabilized projectiles designated as the WGr.5071, whose weight was 4 kg and length was 540 mm. Muzzle velocity was 400 mps and maximum range was 600 m (when the target's height was 2.5 m).

In the beginnig of 1944 work on the Hammer was suspended to be restarted only in December 1944.  Now its calibre was 105 mm (10,5-cm); the barrel was shortened up to 1,365 mm and mounted on a tripod that now had two small wheels. The weapon, weighting 45 kg, could be easily dismantled into three parts each of which could by carried by one man. The crew fired the weapon lying in the prone position as height of the line of fire was only 350 mm over ground. The 105 mm projectile weighted 4.2 kg, its length was 725 mm. Muzzle velocity was increased to 540 mps; at a 500 m range the Hammer could penetrate 160 mm armour and was much more accurate a weapon than the 8-cm variant. At the range of 500 m 50% of projectiles hit a 1x1 m target.

Below you may see a photo of the 8-cm Hammer that comes from Terry Gander's book "Anti-Tank Weapons" (p. 101) and sketches from a Russian book (found somewhere on the Internet) showing the 8-cm projectile and the 10.5-cm variant.

Best regards,

These photos and stats are from the Canadian Army Manual of Training Infantry Platoon Weapons Launcher Rocket A Tk 3.2inch CDN. 1956

Launcher - 54 inches long (137.2cm)
Launcher with tripod - 28.5lbs (12.9kg)
Rangefinder Sight - 5lbs (2.3kg)
HE A tk rocket - penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour at 90 degrees and approximately 5 inches at 64 degrees
Maximum Range - 2860 yards (2615m)
Operating Range - 300 yards (274m)
Maximum Effective Range - 450 yards (411m)
Maximum Rate of Fire - 5 rounds/minute

I'm coming to this discussion REALLY late but...here goes anyway.
The Heller was a 3.2 inch unguided rocket launcher that was a Canadian upgrade to the original 2.36 inch Bazooka.  It was not a recoilless rifle.

It required that you insert the rocket in the rear of the tube, uncoil two wires from the rocket's tail section and connect them to terminals so electricity would activate the motor when the trigger was pulled.

The U.S. 3.5 inch Rocket Launcher replaced it; a better piece of kit that broke down into two sections and merely required the flipping of a lever to engage the power source and projectile.

I have no idea if the Heller ever got beyond field trials but it did work.
We had Hellers in 4 CIBG when I rotated to Germany in 1964. Within a couple of years they were replaced by Carl Gustavs.
interesting thread.
  I am presently part of an explosive decontamination team working in Borden and yes there were hundreds of hellers found. All of them were practice and the nose cone missing.
  It is interesting to note that the Heller is not a traditional rocket motor that has a nozzle for thrust. There is no nozzle. It acts more like a recoiless rifle with the propellant exiting through slots in the side of the rocket motor.
  I shall see if I can remember to get some close up pics tomorrow. We dug up 3 just today.