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M1 Bazooka

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The M1 Bazooka (The official designation was 2.36 in Rocket launcher, M1) was a shoulder mounted rocket launcher used by the United States and Russian forces during World War II.

Description

"Bazooka" is a common name as there is not only one version and this is a specific name to this particular series of rocket launchers. The original M1 Bazooka was 60mm in diameter, and loaded by inserting the rocket through the back end and connecting a wire so when the trigger was pulled, power from two BA-30 1.5 volt batteries in the stock energizes the rocket, causing it to fire.[1]

The bazooka fired the M6 AT rocket and later the M6A3 AT rocket. There was also a practice rocket designated M7A3. It was about 5 feet in length and was designed by Edward Uhl. The M1 Bazooka, named because of comedian Bob Burns, was inaccurate and had back-blasts. In 1943, a new and improved version called the M1A1 came into production.

Variants

The M1A1 Bazooka was improved version of the original bazooka and the modifications included an improved sight and protection against backblasts. The successor of the M1A1 was the M9. It had a new metal shoulder stock rather than the wood of the M1 and M1A1 and an improved ignition system, and was produced in 1943 and it was replaced by the M9A1 in 1944. The M9A1 also had several modifications, although this version was designed for airborne troops and it was even able to break apart into two pieces for compact carriage.[2] Towards the end of the war, an aluminium version known as the M18 had been developed, and was being introduced. As well as anti-tank munitions, the Bazooka could also fire incendiary and smoke rockets, although these were mainly used in the Pacific Theater.[3]
Bazooka Team, 82nd Airborne Bosson

Two US soldiers using a Bazooka, in the European Theatre.

History

The M1 Bazooka first was used as an anti-tank weapon in the desert campaign of North Africa and the Russian front. The M1 did not have a big role in the North African campaign as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower would discover, since none of the troops had received training to handle a bazooka. Later in 1942, large numbers of M1 Bazookas would be captured by German soldiers. This allowed them to make their own version, the Panzerschreck.[4] Bazookas would continue to be used in many other fronts throughout the war. At least 476,628 Bazookas and 15,603,000 rockets of all types had been produced by the end of World War II.[3]

Eventually the Bazooka would be phased out during the Korean War, as by then it was unsuited for blasting through the armor of the Russian T-34 tanks used by the North Koreans.

References

  1. http://www.olive-drab.com/od_infweapons_bazooka.php
  2. http://world.guns.ru/grenade/usa/bazooka-m1-m1a1-m9-m9a1-e.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 War Machine Magazine issue 105 - Infantry Anti-Tank Weapons of World War II. Page 2082.
  4. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=69


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