In autumn 1866, the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel experimented with explosives near Geesthacht. Having installed his test laboratory on a barge on the Elbe River at a safe distance from residential areas and human surroundings, he intended to proceed with the development of the highly dangerous nitroglycerin.
Building of Würgendorf factory
In September 1908, the building of the factory was approved. In the early hours of 30th July 1916 a terrible accident occured, causing 180 tons of explosives to detonate – luckily, without any personal injuries. However, the heavy extent of the explosion caused considerable damage to the nearby villages.
Takeover by the Hoppecke AG
In 1909, Director Berkenfeld and Director Dr. Hermann Fleck took over the management of the factory. The picture shows Dr. Hermann Fleck – the access road to the factory has been named after him and still represents the postal address of today’s Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH.
World War II
Air-raid shelters were installed in the factory, a special group of people was trained to help and alert in the case of an incident. With the proceeding war period, raiding aircrafts and air attacks over Germany became more and more threatening, and therefore, a huge earth tunnel was installed below the warehouse. Luckily, these provisions proved not to be necessary. During the whole war period, the factory was not attacked at any time. However, obviously, protective plans and measures in case of a shellfire did exist.
On 24th October 1953 the Würgendorf factory celebrated its 50th anniversary. The entire staff was served a banquet in the factory’s dining hall. A speech was given by Director ret. Dr. Hermann Fleck. Public figures were invited to this event, but also long-serving retirees of the factory.
In 1986, following the progress which had been made in the sector of armoured vehicles, Dynamit Nobel AG started to develop Panzerfaust 3, which still is in service as the highest-performance shoulder launched anti-tank weapon worldwide with its latest combat efficiency improvements. The name „Panzerfaust“ is considered iconic nowadays all over the world and is synonymous with high-capacity infantry anti-tank technology.
1998 Development of a civil fire protection system
Based on technical expertise and findings from the space technology, the Russian Space Agency decided to develop fire extinguishers for the Sojuz capsules yet in the 1970s, leading to the launch of the Sojuz Fire Protection System. Dynamit Nobel developed and enhanced this system in the 90s and today, Dynameco Fire Protection Systems are life-saving in numerous applications, both civil and military.
2004 restructuring and foundation of Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH
In 2004, the Dynamit Nobel AG was dissolved and the individual business divisions were restructured. Thus, Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH was founded as an independent company, located in Burbach, Germany, with main focus on the defence/military section.
Growth and establishment
After the restructuring process, Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH, with Panzerfaust 3, has maintained its role as the main supplier of shoulder launched anti-tank weapons to the German Armed Forces. Major international markets have been entered and DND has grown to become a global player in the field of ballistic shoulder launched weapons for infantry forces. At the same time, the vehicle protection business sector has become increasingly important and extended DND’s product range by state-of-the-art reactive protection technologies for armoured vehicles.
Together with, and also for the German Armed Forces, Dynamit Nobel Defence developed the RGW90 LRMP family – a light multipurpose shoulder launched weapon system, which is designed to be operated against a wide spectrum of targets with more than 1,000 m distance proving utmost efficiency. Particularly the high precision and operating distances featured by the system family have been unique in their field of ballistic shoulder launched weapons to date. In 2017, the RGW90 LRMP is handed over to the German Army during an official ceremony.
2020 Global technology leader
Today, DND is the global technology leader in the field of ballistic shoulder launched weapons. Armed Forces from more than 20 nations worldwide put their trust in the high-tech weapon systems of the German company. While you are reading these lines, DND’s engineers are already working on the next disruptive innovation to significantly change the strategic missions and capabilities of infantry forces in their favour.