How Rocket-Propelled Grenades Work

A British Soldier from the Queen`s Dragoon Guards prepares to fire an M-72 light anti-tank weapon (LAW) while taking part in weapons training at Abu Hydra Range during Operation Desert Shield.
Photo courtesy Department of Defense Defense Visual Information Center

You may have heard the term rocket-propelled grenade, and you've probably seen news images of their use and the destruction they can cause, particularly if you've kept up with current world events in the Middle East. Rocket-propelled grenades are a commonly used explosive projectile weapon, used by many armies across the world. They play a major part in contemporary warfare, and are also highly used among insurgent and terrorist groups.

But why? Why are rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) so prevalent? Where did they come from and just how do they work? It's obvious they're more than just a normal grenade simply because they're rocket propelled, but just what does that mean? In this article, we'll investigate the origins of rocket-propelled grenades, how they're used and what makes them so common in military conflicts all over the world.