US soldiers taking aim with a M1 Bazooka in 1943.
Source: US Army - © Public domain
The Bazooka is a rocket launcher of United States origin. It was developed during World War 2 to provide portable anti-armor capability for infantry. The nickname Bazooka was derived from the similar looking musical instrument.
The Bazooka consists of a reusable metal launch tube with iron sights, shoulder rest and vertical grip. The single piece 60 mm rockets are loaded from the rear. The Bazooka is electrically fired by pulling the trigger placed at the vertical grip. The crew of two consists of an operator and a loader.
The 60 mm HEAT rockets can penetrate up to 100 mm of homogeneous steel armor. The improved rounds used in the M9 penetrate up to 125 mm. The maximum effective range is 100 meters. A rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute can be achieved.
The Bazooka was widely used by US forces during World War 2. The improved Super Bazooka replaced it during the Korean War. The Bazooka was provides to European armed forces and other allies once no longer needed by US forces.
The M1 was the original production model of the Bazooka. The M1A1 was introduced in 1943 and is a simplified and more reliable design. It has an improved electrical system and lacks a forward handgrip.
The M9 is a strengthened and improved version of the M1A1. This allows it to fire the improved M6A3 rocket. The improvements include an optical sight and metal furniture. The M9A1 quickly replaced the M9 on the production line. This versions has the battery ignition replaced by a magneto trigger.
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