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Bazookasmithsonian

M1 Bazooka

Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the US Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat. Featuring a solid rocket motor for propulsion, it allowed for high explosive (HE) and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine. The universally-applied nickname arose from the M9 variant's vague resemblance to the tubular musical instrument of the same name invented and popularized in the 1930s by US comedian Bob Burns. An alternative etymology ascribed the name to the unique sound the weapon made when fired.

Bazooka in Southern VictoryEdit

See the Anti-barrel rocket

Bazooka in The War That Came EarlyEdit

In the summer of 1943, Sgt. Alistair Walsh's company received a new anti-tank weapon from America called the bazooka. He was shown one by Pvt. Jack Scholes, who had received training in its use and explained it was to replace PIATs. What Walsh saw put him to mind a stovepipe while its projectiles, brought up to the front by Pvt. Gordon McAllister, resembled nothing so much as olive drab Flash Gordon rockets.[1]

Scholes also said that it was supposed to be able to handle tanks (including Tigers) up to a couple of hundred yards out and further out for houses or bunkers. The company had a chance to test this a couple of days later when they were ordered forward. Scholes carried the bazooka tube while McAllister a sack of rockets. A MG-42 in a concrete emplacement began firing but Scholes destroyed it with one, well placed, shot. Almost immediately a Panzer IV opened up with its co-axial machine gun but Scholes hit its turret and made it brew up spectacularly. The only down side of the new weapon was that it left a trail of fire and smoke pointing to the operator giving the Germans a clear target.[2]

The French also received bazookas[3] but it was found from hard experience that its rockets could not penetrate the frontal armor of a Tiger.[4]

Bazooka in WorldwarEdit

Bazookas were distributed to the US Army in time for its winter offensive against the Race lines around Chicago in 1942. The weapon proved capable of penetrating the armor of landcruisers, but only at close range and from the sides. It was also used in taking out Race helicopters.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Last Orders, pgs. 82-84, HC.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 84-85.
  3. Ibid, pg. 151.
  4. Ibid, pg. 182.

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