Bazooka Business: How the Famous Anti-Tank Weapon Worked

The 2.36 inch M1A1 “Bazooka” entered service midway through the Second World War in the U.S. campaign in North Africa. From there it become widely liked that the rocket launcher was issued at the infantry platoon level and used with much success against German and Japanese enemy positions and armor for the remainder of the war, of course barring the Tiger and Panther tanks employed on the Western Front. Although seemingly a well-thought out weapon system, the “Bazooka” is as rudimentary as a Walmart Potato Gun. Made from simple tubing, wooden furniture, wrapped wire, a heat shield, and sights that would make Browning himself blush, the weapon was very intuitive to operate and maintain. Later versions incorporated a tube that could be folded in half, and a 3.5 inch rocket. This saw much usage in the Korean War as a the M20 Launcher.

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Transcript ….


[coming soon]


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • codfilet

    Bazooka Joe just pulled his turtleneck sweater up over his nose…..

  • LGM Commando 070
    • LGM Commando 070

      Stealth Showdown: America’s F-22 Raptor vs. Russia’s PAK FA

      So who ends up on top if the two discrete aircraft end up neck and neck in a Within-Visual-Range (WVR) dance of death?

      The F-22 Raptor is the most maneuverable fighter the U.S. has ever made. The PAK FA is even more maneuverable.

      The Verdict: Slight edge to PAK FA. Both aircraft are highly capable dogfighters—but the PAK FA looks like it’s the more agile of the two.

      • James Earl Jones

        What just happened?

      • The US hasn’t had a dog fight since the Vietnam war. All our air to air kills, and shoot downs have all involved missiles fired beyond ACM distances.

        • noob

          The Su-22 shot down by a super hornet near Aleppo managed to dodge the first sidewinder shot, so the hornet backed off to BVR range and hit it with an AIM-120. The Su-22 pilot ejected to an uncertain fate.

          I have no idea what would have transpired if the hornet had elected to go to a gun battle instead, but the hornet was making all the decisions in that engagement.

          • I can answer that, unless the Rhino pilot was a complete moron, the SU-22 would’ve still been a flaming hole in the ground. The Rhino might be a generation or two away from the YF-17 that was submitted for the LWF program, but it is still a good fighter.

            But I will mention in the end pilot skill and experience is the biggest thing that determines who wins in ACM. Because ACM isn’t about who has the best aircraft. But who can best take advantages of their aircraft’s strengths will preventing the enemy from exploiting their aircraft’s weaknesses. That is how pilot flying the F4U and the P-38 were able to take on the arguably better dog fighter that was the Zero.

            As far as the SU-22 pilot, he is probably dead. It is best not to eject over people you just bombed. They typically aren’t interested in taking you prisoner.

        • LGM Commando 070

          It is going to change now with the 5 gen jets

          • Maybe, maybe not. No powers have fought each other using fifth generation fighters. And as I mentioned ability of the aircraft is only a small part of ACM. The ability of the pilot is supreme.

            And at least presently American pilots get more flight hours and training.

          • LGM Commando 070

            And what this statement is based on? Propaganda again.
            The Russian Knights and The Swifts pilot teams are famous world-wide and are considered the best.

          • Aerobatic teams are not the same as average line pilots.

          • LGM Commando 070

            “In terms of flight hours, pilots in the Western Military District averaged 125 hours over the 2012 training year. Pilots from the Kursk airbase achieved an average of 150 hours, with transport aviation averaging 170 hours.

            Russian Air Force
            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            “So last year’s average of 150 flight hours per year, just under three a week, means that most US pilots are training to a level the Air Force considered not ready for combat in the ’80s and ’90s.

            Fighter Pilots Aren’t Flying Enough to Hone the Skills of Full-Spectrum War
            Defense One November 21, 2016

        • All BVR kills.

      • Nicks87

        I thought I read somewhere that the Germans flying the new Euro-fighter could beat the F-22s in simulated dog fights?

        • LGM Commando 070

          Don’t know. I read it in the American journal, The National Interest.

        • I didn’t read that. But understand the the US sometimes put large limitations on the simulated engagement envelopes when doing exercises with foreign air forces.

        • Victor Palatkin

          simulated dog fight is not same as real. It is like to shot at a cardboard in the range or to be in the real shooting. Many American pilots were trained by Israelis who fight every day for the last 70 years.

      • The difference there is that the F-22 actually exists in the field and performs as advertised, rather than being constructed primarily of vaporware and canceled foreign sales contracts.

        • LGM Commando 070

          So the T-50 DOES NOT exist and DOES NOT perform as advertised 🙂

          T-50 PAK FA – Amazing maneuver – YouTube
          See that clip.

          And the difference is this

          Unit cost
          T-50: $50 million
          F-22: $150 million

          India plans on acquiring 145 T-50 PAK FA. Deliveries of production aircraft to the Russian Air Force are to begin in 2018.

          Number built so far: 10

    • SP mclaughlin

      Will someone please ban this guy (again)?
      Posts something completely unrelated every time so he can show off russian arrogance.

      • LGM Commando 070

        It is 2017 son, the age of VPN and Tor browsers, and I have a full battalion of LGM commandos.

        Better rethink your tactics, and remember what goes around comes around.

  • mosinman

    it could handle the Panther’s side armor and the sides of the turret

  • noob

    The days before throwaway culture – when you reloaded the tube instead of just throwing the spent LAW in the trash.

  • Kelly Jackson

    GIs didn’t shout God is great before firing it either

  • 22winmag
    • Twilight sparkle

      Unfortunately there isn’t much firearms stuff to post

    • derpmaster

      Odd that TTAG gets so many views from China.

      • Anonymoose

        Probaby where all those antigun trolls come from.

      • argh

        as a gun nut temporally living China I have noticed that the country is gun mad, they just for the most part don’t have the guns

    • BattleshipGrey

      I’ve always noticed a lull in traffic/comment sections during and directly after SHOT show. That graph seems to validate my observations. Maybe it’s just too much overload.

      As for this video, what’s wrong with learning about a wide variety of small arms? I learned something that I didn’t previously know. You don’t have to click on every article.

    • Actually, the Bazooka is considered a small arm, if by small arms we are defining it as a hand carried munition launching device. So are mortars, and hand grenades by that definition.

    • SP mclaughlin

      How the hell is the bazooka non-firearms related?

  • Jim_Macklin

    The tube launched rocket, ignited by a magneto was easy. It was the shaped charge that made a small explosive charge able to kill armor.

    • marathag

      The first US Bazookas used carbon/zinc dry cells for power.
      The Germans who copied it to the panzerschreck used the magneto to ignite the rocket.
      Far more reliable in Cold.
      US found this out in the Battle of the Bulge. Starting with the M9A1 the Magneto replaced the Battery

      • majorrod

        The Panzershreck is a direct and improved version. It was used and captured in ’43 before the ’44/’45 Battle of the Bulge and was the grandfather to our later 3.5″ bazooka, a copy of the copy.

  • Geoff Timm

    The 3.5″ Rocket Launcher was a Small Arms Repairman’s business in 1972 when I went through the school. Only saw a couple in the field and they were not in use. Unfortunately the US Army never issued an adequate man portable AT system. Geoff who notes the RPG had a six inch 122mm warhead, our 90mm recoiless rifle had less penetration and was useless against the front of an MBT.

  • LGM Commando 070
  • SBall

    Task Force Smith, 1950
    At dawn on July 5th, a column of eight North Korean T-34 tanks approached across the open plain from Suwon. At 8:16 a.m., the first American ground fire of the Korean War was opened against the tanks. The 105mm howitzer high-explosive (HE) rounds had no effect. 75mm recoilless rifle crews scored 31 direct hits from 150 to 700 yards, again without apparent effect. Second Lieutenant Ollie Connor fired twenty-two 2.36-inch bazooka rounds into one T-34, all from close range, including a number at the more vulnerable rear end, but there was no apparent damage. The 2.36-inch rounds could not penetrate the armor of the T-34. The 3.5-inch bazooka round would have been effective, but there were none in Korea. (From The Coldest Winter)

    • tiger

      Exactly. Obsolete in a short five years. ” The Darkest Summer,” is a fine read of the USMC in 1950.

  • n0truscotsman

    Despite being an iconic weapon, the Bazooka’s performance was mediocre at best, and, at worst, outright useless.

    It wasn’t until the superbazooka that it became effective.

    The Panzerschreck didn’t have issues with lethality either.

  • Victor Palatkin

    you are wrong. They bought some Obama’s debts within last 8 years when Obama borrowed additional $11.4 Trillion from China, Europe, Saudis, Brazil and Russia. In 2007 our deficit was $8 Trillion. By December 2016 it was $19.4 Trillion. Russia has been supplying gas to European Union, Ukraine and others. They have ALL minerals, missiles, weapon and machinery for sale. It is the worse to underestimate your opposition.