Bazooka

From Academic Kids

For other meanings, see Bazooka (disambiguation)

The bazooka weapon was one of the first anti-tank weapons based on the HEAT shell to enter service, used by the United States Armed Forces in World War II. It was nicknamed "bazooka" from a vague resemblance to the musical instrument of the same name (see: bazooka (instrument)).


Contents

Development

Prior to the war the US Army had developed a shaped-charge hand grenade for anti-tank use that was effective at defeating up to 100mm of armor, by far the best such weapon in the world at the time. However, it was very hard to use in combat, needing to be placed directly on the tank, and for this reason it was largely ignored.

Things changed when Colonel Leslie A. Skinner suggested placing the grenade on the front of his experimental rocket launcher, which was a weapon looking for a role. This proved to be a good match.

Development took place in Corcoran Hall at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. By late 1942, the Rocket Launcher, M1A1 was introduced. This consisted of a 4 ft (1.2 m) tube with a simple wooden stock and sights, into which the 60 mm rocket grenades were inserted at the rear. A small battery provided a charge to ignite the rocket when the trigger was pulled. The main drawback to the weapon was the large backblast and smoke trail which gave away the position of the shooter - compare to the British PIAT.

It was highly effective, so much so that the Germans copied it, possibly from those supplied to the Russians, to produce their own version known as the Panzerschreck.

Variants

M9

  • Improved model
  • Supplanted M1A1 in 1944.

M9A1

Could be broken into two halves for easier carrying. A larger 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) warhead was under development, but didn't reach service until after the war had ended.

M20 Super Bazooka

  • Larger 2lb (900 g) 3.5 in (89 mm)diameter warhead.
  • Could penetrate over 200 mm of armor.
  • Extended range of about 150 m.
  • Entered service at start of Korean War

Combat History

The Bazooka in its various models served in all theatres of the Second World War and later in the Korean War. It was supplanted by the LAW by the time of the Vietnam War.

See also

Template:WWIIUSInfWeaponsNavde:Bazooka fr:Bazooka he:בזוקה (כלי נשק) ja:バズーカ pl:Granatnik przeciwpancerny pt:Bazuca

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