Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Solothurn S-18/1000 20 mm Anti-Tank rifle

The Solothurn S-18/1000 20 mm Anti-Tank rifle was a Swiss and German anti-tank rifle used during the Second World War. It was a variant of the earlier S-18/100 with modifications for a higher muzzle velocity, as well as a larger cartridge size. As a result of its large, powerful ammunition the gun had a tremendous recoil, and its size made portability difficult.

German Soldier on the Russian Front

The Solothurn firearms company was owned by the German firm Rheinmetall, who used the Swiss company to manufacture arms which were prohibited for manufacture by any German firm under arms limitations imposed at the end of the First World War.

German Soldier on the Russian Front observing enemy armour

In 1940–1941 the US Army considered adopting the Solothurn S-18/1000. The weapon was standardized for limited procurement as 20mm automatic gun T3. In spring 1941 the Solothurn was tested against the .90-cal. T4 automatic gun. Although less powerful, the Solothurn was also less bulky and complicated and was found more suitable for Army use. The plans were to acquire an order of 50 pieces and later to produce the weapon in the US. However, long contract negotiations resulted in abandonment of the planned purchase.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruhrstahl SD 1400 X, Kramer X-1, PC 1400X, FX 1400 or commonly known as "Fritz X"

The Fritz X was a further development of the high-explosive bomb SD 1400 (Splitterbombe, dickwandig, 1400 kg; German for "fragmentation bomb, thick-walled, 1400 kg"). It was given a more aerodynamic nose, four stub wings, and a box shaped tail unit. The Luftwaffe recognized the difficulty of hitting moving ships during the Spanish Civil War. Dipl. engineer Max Kramer, who worked at the DVL, had been experimenting since 1938 with remote-controlled free-falling 250 kg bombs, and in 1939 fitted radio-controlled spoilers. In 1940, Ruhrstahl was invited to join the development, since they already had experience in the development and production of unguided bombs.

The dual-axis joystick-equipped Kehl series of radio-control transmitter sets onboard the deploying aircraft were used to send the control signals to the Fritz-X, with the ordnance itself picking up the signals through a Straßburg receiver within it to send the signals on to the movable surfaces in the Fritz-X's tail fin structure.

A Fritz X in the RAF Museum London

Another angle of the Fritz X also known as Ruhrstahl SD 1400 X

The only Luftwaffe unit to deploy the Fritz-X was Gruppe III of Kampfgeschwader 100, designated III./KG 100. This unit employed the medium range Dornier Do 217 K-2 bomber on almost all of its attack missions, though in a few cases toward the end of its deployment history, Do 217 K-3 and Do 217 M-11 variants were also used. The Fritz-X had been initially tested with a Heinkel He 111 bomber, although it was never taken into combat by this aircraft. A few special variants of the long-range Heinkel He 177 bomber were equipped to carry the Fritz-X but it appears this combination never saw combat.

Fritz-X was first deployed on 21 July 1943 in a raid on Augusta harbor in Sicily. A number of additional attacks around Sicily and Messina followed, though no confirmed hits were made and it appears the Allies were unaware that the large bombs being dropped were radio-guided weapons.

On 9 September, the Luftwaffe achieved their greatest success with the weapon. After the armistice with the Allies, the Italian fleet had steamed out from La Spezia and headed to Malta. To prevent the ships from falling into Allied hands, six Dornier Do 217 K-2s from the III. Gruppe of KG100 (III/KG100) took off, each carrying a single Fritz X. The Italian battleship Roma, flagship of the Italian fleet, received two hits and one near miss, and sank after her magazines exploded. 1,255 men, including Admiral Carlo Bergamini, died. Her sister ship, Italia, was also damaged but reached Malta.

USS Savannah (CL-42) is hit by a German radio-controlled glide bomb, while supporting Allied forces ashore during the Salerno operation, 11 September 1943. The bomb hit the top of the ship's number three 6"/47 gun turret and penetrated deep into her hull before exploding. The photograph shows the explosion venting through the top of the turret and also through Savannah's hull below the waterline. A motor torpedo boat (PT) is passing by in the foreground.

The light cruiser Savannah was hit by Fritz-Xs at 1000 on 11 September 1943 during the invasion of Salerno, and was forced to retire to the United States for repairs. A single Fritz-X passed through the roof of "C" turret and killed the turret crew and a damage control party when it exploded in the lower ammunition handling room. The blast tore a large hole in the ship's bottom, opened a seam in her side, and blew out all fires in her boiler rooms. Savannah lay dead in the water with the forecastle nearly awash and took eight hours to relight boilers and get underway for Malta.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beretta AR-70 Series Assault Rifle

Famous Italian arms company Pietro Beretta Spa began to develop a new assault rifle, chambered for American 5.56mm cartridge in 1968. The resulting design appeared circa 1972 and after trials was adopted by the Italian Special forces,as well as by some foreign armies, like those of Jordan, Malaysia and others. The rifle was designated AR-70/223, and was available in three basic versions (standard assault rifle AR-70/223, carbine SC-70/223 with same barrel and folding butt, and a special carbine SCS-70/223 with shortened barrel and folding butt). The Squad Automatic (light machine gun) variation of the basic 70/223 design, with the heavy, quick detachable barrel also was developed but never produced in quantity.

Beretta AR-70/223 assault rifle

The basic design showed some minor flaws, and when Italian army decided to replace its ageing 7.62mm Beretta BM59 automatic rifles with the new 5.56mm NATO assault rifle, Beretta entered the contest with the upgraded version of the 70/223. This upgraded version appeared in 1985, and eventually won the following trials. In 1990 it was adopted as the basic AR-70/90 assault rifle, with the available modifications of SC-70/90 (same rifle but with the folding buttstock for Special Forces) and SCP-70/90 (Airborne troops carbine with shortened barrel and folding butt). A squad automatic version with heavy, non-detachable barrel and detachable bipod is available as AS-70/90. The Beretta AR-70/90 is a general issue shoulder arm with the Italian Army, and also is offered for export. Both 70/223 and 70/90 rifles are available in semi-automatic only versions, for police or civilian markets.

Beretta SCS-70/223 carbine - partially cut out view

Technical description.

The AR-70/223 and AR-70/90 rifles are very similar in basic design, but with some differences. The description below is for AR-70/90, with differences to 70/223 noted, where appropriate.

Beretta AR 70/90 assault rifle.Installation of the folding stock, shown below the rifle, will convert it into SC-70/90 carbine configuration

The AR-70/90 is a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire weapon. The receiver is made from stamped sheet steel, and consist of two halves, upper and lover, connected by two cross-pins, at the rear and at the front. For maintenance and field stripping the rear pin is pushed out and the receiver is hinged around the front pin. If required, the front pin can be removed too, so the receiver halves will be separated completely. On the AR-70/223 the upper receiver is of square cross-section, with stamped bolt guides. This design proved to be not strong enough, so the AR-70/90 features a trapezoid-shaped upper receiver cross-section, with separate bolt guides welded in place.

Beretta SCP 70/90 assault carbine.The detachable barrel adaptor is used to launch rifle grenades.

The gas operated action of the AR-70/90 is fairy conventional, with the longstroke gas piston, located above the barrel. The gas piston rod is linked to the bolt carrier by using a cocking handle as a lock, and the return spring is located around the gas piston, above the barrel. The gas block featured a two positions gas regulator (for normal and adverse conditions), and the gas cutoff,integral with raising grenade sight. When grenade sight is raised into the firing position, it automatically closes the gas port. The rotating bolt is somewhat similar to one, found in the Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, and has two massive lugs, which are locked into the barrel sleeve, which is welded into the receiver. The charging handle is attached to the bolt carrier.

The barrel is fixed to the receiver using the threaded barrel nut, allowing for quick barrel replacement (for repair purposes only, not in the field), without the extensive headspace adjustments. The barrel bore is chrome-plated.

The conventional trigger / hammer mechanism allows for single shots and fullauto on the AR-70/223 rifles and for single shots, 3 rounds bursts (optional) and full auto on AR-70/90 series rifles. The safety /selector switch is ambidextrous on AR-70/90 series rifles, and is located on the right side of the receiver on the AR-70/223 series rifles.

The feeding of AR-70/90 series weapons is achieved by using STANAG (M16-type)compliant magazines, with the ambidextrous magazine release button located at the both sides of the magazine housing in the lower receiver. On the AR-70/223 rifles, feeding was from the proprietary 30 rounds magazines, with the magazine release lever located between the magazine and the trigger guard. Both AR-70/90 and AR-70/223 series rifles featured a bolt stop device, which holds the bolt open when the last round from the magazine is fired. The bolt release button is located at the left side of the receiver, above the magazine housing.

The sights of the AR-70/90 rifles consists of the hooded front blade, mounted on the top of the gas block, and the flip-up aperture rear, marked for 250 and 400 meters range. The top surface of the receiver is fitted with the NATO-standard scope / accessory rail. A detachable carrying handle with the see-through base is available for all AR-70/90 series rifles. The AR-70/90 also can be equipped with Zeiss "Orion" night-vision sight or the Aimpoint 4X telescope sight (any other sights with compatible mountings also can be easily installed, if required).

The furniture on all rifles is made from plastic, with the standard rifle having the fixed plastic buttstocks. The SC-70/223 and SC-70/90 Special Forces carbines are different from AR rifles only by having the side-folding, skeleton type metallic buttstocks, covered with plastic. The SCP-70/90 carbine is similar to the SC-70/90 except that it has a shortened barrel which cannot be used to launch rifle grenades directly. However, a special detachable rifle grenade launcher is available for short barreled carbines, which could be easily clamped onto the muzzle of the gun. The hollow pistol grips of all AR-70/90 series rifles is used to store a cleaning kit.

A wide variety of accessories is available for AR-70/90 rifles, including knife-type bayonets, lightweight, foldable and detachable bipods, blank firing adaptors etc.

AR-70/223 AR-70/90, SC-70/90 SCP-70/90
Caliber 5.56x45mm M193 5.56x45mm NATO (SS109/M855)
Length 995 mm 998 mm
756mm SC-70/90 with folded butt
908 mm
663 mm with folded butt
Barrel length 450 mm 450 mm 360 mm
Weight, empty 3.8 kg 4.07 kg 3.80 kg
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Rate of fire 650 rounds per minute 670 rounds per minute
Effective range 400 meters 500 meters 350 meters

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Gotha Go 242 transport glider used by the Luftwaffe during World War II

The Go 242 was designed by Albert Kalkert in response to a Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) requirement for a heavy transport glider to replace the DFS 230 then in service. The requirement was for a glider capable of carrying 20 fully laden troops or the equivalent cargo.

The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane with a simple square-section fuselage ending in clamshell doors used to load cargo. The empennage was mounted on twin booms linked by a tailplane. The fuselage was formed of steel tubing covered with doped fabric. The flight characteristics of the design were better than those of the DFS 230.

Cargo versions of the glider featured a hinged rear fuselage loading ramp that could accommodate a small vehicle such as a Kübelwagen or loads of similar size and weight.

The glider was tested with rockets for overloaded take offs, a rack of four 48 kg (106 lb) Rheinmetall 109-502 rockets mounted on the rear of the cargo compartment. A second rocket called the "R Device" was also used with the glider - it was a liquid-fuel Heinkel rocket engine R I-203 (HWK 109-500A) which was mounted beneath the wing on either side of the body and was ejected after takeoff, parachuting down to be recycled.

Two prototypes flew in 1941 and the type quickly entered production. A total of 1,528 were built, 133 of which were converted to the Go 244, with two 500 kW (700 hp) Gnome-Rhone engines fitted to forward extensions of the tail booms.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HK33 and HK53


HK33 had been developed by the German company Heckler und Koch in mid-to late 1960s as a scaled-down version of their G3 battle rifle, and entered production in 1968. HK33 was developed for then-new cartridge, 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington), and while it had not been adopted by German military, it saw significant use by some West Germany police and security units, and also widely exported, and used by Malaysia, Chile and Thailand armed forces. Since 1999, HK33 also manufactured under license in Turkey. HK33 is still in production in Germany by HK, and also served as a platform for further developments, such as G-41 assault rifle and HK53 compact assault rifle (known by HK as a submachine gun).


HK53 is a ultra-compact version of HK33, which advertised by HK as a "submachine gun" and, by common sense, falls in the same category as soviet AKS-74U or Colt "Commando". All these guns can be classified as "compact (or short) assault rifles" by the fact that they used the intermediate rifle round. HK53 was developed in mid-1970s and is still in production and offered for export.

HK33 is a delayed blowback operated, selective fire rifle, that utilized two pieces bolt with two rollers that used to delay bolt blowback. The receiver is made from stamped steel, and HK33 is available with either a polymer fixed buttstock (HK33A2) or retractable metallic buttstock (HK33A3). Carbine version of the HK33 also available and featured shorter barrels and similar fixed or retractable stocks (HK33KA2 and HK33KA3, respectively).

All HK33 variants available with different trigger units, with or without 3-rounds burst mode. HK's proprietary claw-type mounts allow telescopic sights to be mounted on any version of HK33. Full-length HK33s can be equipped with bayonet or underbarrel 40mm grenade launchers, HK79A1, also made by Heckler & Koch. Full-length HK33 rifles also can launch rifle grenades from combined muzzle compensator/flash hider. All HK33 and HK53 guns are equipped with drum-type rear sights.

HK53A3 with retractable buttstock

HK53 is internally similar to the HK33 but cannot fire rifle grenades nor mount underbarrel 40mm grenade launcher. HK53 also cannot be equipped with bayonet, and featured long, four-prong flash hider.

Both HK33 and HK53 can use 25, 30 and 40 round box magazines, but latter are out of production by HK for some time.

HK33 HK33K HK53
Caliber 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem) 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem) 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem)
Length 919 mm
740 mm with retracted stock in A3 variant
865 mm
670 mm with retracted stock in A3 variant
780 mm
590 mm with retracted stock in A3 variant
Barrel length 390 mm 322 mm 211 mm
Weight empty 3.9 kg 3.65 kg 3.0 kg
Magazine capacity 25, 30, 40 rounds 25, 30, 40 rounds 25, 30, 40 rounds
Rate of fire 750 rds/min 750 rds/min 750 rds/min

Friday, January 6, 2012

Various anti-tank rocket launcher systems

Panzerfaust 3

The Panzerfaust 3 has been modernized to defeat the latest in tank armor.

The Panzerfaust 3 is a single-shot disposable anti-tank rocket launcher (only the sight and firing systems are reusable). It is designed to be a close range system to defeat heavy armor and to be used primarily in an urban warfare setting (where close range fighting is expected). No doubt the system itself stemmed from experience in fighting Soviet armored forces in the streets of Berlin during World War Two, with German and civilian forces being armed with the original Panzerfaust series of tank-busters.

Early design drawbacks included excessive weight for a single-man portable battlefield system (leading to the weapon being uncomfortably cumbersome) and jamming issues within the launcher's firing mechanism. In fact, one of the greatest design flaws was that the rocket itself was found not to penetrate the heaviest of armors as advertised, leading to a redesign of the entire system. The redesign also minimized the 'back blast' that occurred when the system was fired, making the system somewhat safer to be fired out from within close quarters.

A later model designated as the PzF 3-T was put into service with a few notable improvements on the original system including a dual hollow-charge warhead. This specialized warhead was developed exclusively to compete with the newer explosive reactive armor that made its appearance as optional add-ons to many tank systems.

The latest Panzerfaust 3 variant in service is designated the PzF 3-IT-600.

Specifications for the Dynamit-Nobel Panzerfaust 3
Action: Spring Coil Mechanism Ignition
Cartridge: 90mm launcher
Feed System: 1 x 110mm rocket
Maximum / Effective Range: 1,640ft (500m; 547yds)

Overall Length: 1200mm (47.24in)


The AT4 is the primary anti-armor weapon of the United States Army.

The M136 AT4 is billed as the United States Army's primary light anti-tank weapon system available to infantry squads and is based on the original AT4 anti-tank shoulder-launched munition system. The system can be used by a single operator against armored targets posing a threat to the lively hood of the infantry squads. Essentially, the M136 AT4 operates as a recoilless rifle (as opposed to a guided missile launcher), allowing for high penetration of armored targets and fires a cartridge round measuring over half the length of the launching tube. When fired, the projectile sports spring loaded fins during flight.

The M136's cartridge round is an 84mm High-Explosive Anti-Tank munition with a rocket-type cartridge, fin stabilization and can achieve free flight once it leaves the launcher (not a wire-guided munition). The launcher itself is a single-piece tube system wrapped in fiberglass and is disposable after one shot.

The United States Army has since stopped purchases of the base AT4 anti-tank system in favor of the newer AT4-CS (Confined Space) implement. The AT4-CS is designated as the M136E1 and holds the advantage of being able to fire from confined areas such as inside of buildings, improving its reach in urban settings. The weapon has a listed effective range of 300 meters and weighs in at only 7.5 kilograms. The recoilless qualities of the M136 family allow for just about any trained operator to fire one and its rugged capabilities mean that the system can receive a great deal of in-the-field abuse and not reflect that in its performance.

Specifications for the FFV / Alliant TechSystems M136 AT4 Light Anti-Armor Weapon
Action: Single-Shot, Self-Contained Recoilless Rifle
Cartridge: 84mm
Feed System: 1
Muzzle Velocity: 950ft/sec (290m/sec)
Maximum / Effective Range: 985ft (300m; 328yds)
Sights: Range Indicator Rear Sight

Overall Length: 1020mm (40.16in)
Barrel Length: 1,020.00 (40.16in)
Empty Weight: 1.80kg (3.97lbs)


The B-300 maintains an advantage of needing only a single user to operate the weapon.

The B-300 is an Israeli Military Industries product and is a man-portable anti-tank weapon system. It is designed to engage enemy tanks or fortified structures depending on the chosen warhead type (HEAT - High Explosive Anti-Tank round or HEFT - High Explosive Follow-Through). The Follow-Through round deals with fortifications in two stages, the first being the penetration phase. The second (i.e. the follow-through) phase, launches a secondary anti-personnel shaped charge into the structure. Design of the B-300 began in the 1970's with production running from 1980 through today.

The B-300 itself had origins in the French-produced STRIM anti-tank rocket launching system. This weapon replaced the American-made 3.5" Super Bazookas in service with the IDF. Review of Israeli Army experience in their 1973 conflict gave notice to the effectiveness of Soviet-produced RPG-7 systems in enemy hands. As such, a competing design by Israel was eventually ushered in, this becoming the B-300.

Physically, the B-300 follows conventional wisdom in design. A pistol grip is positioned slightly forward with the firing mechanism on a pistol grip and trigger assembly positioned near center of the firing tube. A folding bipod is positioned just aft of the pistol grip as is a retractable shoulder rest. Sights include integrated standard front and rear battle sights and a variable scope mounting. Scope types include the Starlight scope (via adapter) for night operations and Stadia Sighting Telescope with integrated Beta light for improved dawn/dusk efficiency.

The B-300 weighs in at 3.65 kilograms empty and at 8 kilograms loaded. The system is 1,440 millimeters in length and can fire 3 rounds per minute. Sights include the standard iron sights but this can be augmented with the use of telescopic sights and night vision scopes. Its ease of use allows various military components to utilize the weapon as needed - this includes airborne and mechanized infantrymen alike.

The B-300 won the US Marines competition trials to become the SMAW bunker buster weapon.

The B-300 has seen active combat use in the 1st and 2nd Intifadas as well as the 2006 Lebanon War.

Specifications for the IMI B-300
Action: Not Applicable
Cartridge: 82mm
Feed System: 1
Cyclic Rate-of-Fire: 3rds/min
Maximum / Effective Range: 1,312ft (400m; 437yds)
Sights: Iron; Night Vision; Telescopic; Starlight; Sighting

Overall Length: 1440mm (56.69in)
Barrel Length: 0.00 (0.00in)
Empty Weight: 3.65kg (8.05lbs)


The M141 is commonly known as the SMAW-D and fills the role of bunker buster for the United States Army.

The M141 (SMAW-D) was developed for the United States Army to fill the role of "bunker buster", though the system itself has proven to be most multi-purpose in nature, particularly in urban the urban warfare setting. The system is used for the destruction of masonry, wood and earthen structures as well as a general light-armored vehicle-stopper. The system has proven useful in the demolition of network caves throughout the mountainous terrains of Afghanistan.

The launcher is of an extending tube type with built-in optics. The rocket features folding spring-loaded fins for in-flight stabilization. Target ranges are within a 15-to-500 meter range. The projectile warhead is high-explosive.

The US Army designates the system as M141 or SMAW-D while the US Marine Corps use the SMAW (Shoulder-launched Multi-purpose Assault Weapon). Warheads featured in the projectiles of the two weapon systems are the same.

Specifications for the IMI M141 Bunker Defeat Munition (BDM) / SMAW-D
Action: Disposable Shoulder-Launched Assault Weapon
Cartridge: 83mm
Feed System: 1
Cyclic Rate-of-Fire: 1rds/min
Maximum / Effective Range: 1,640ft (500m; 547yds)
Sights: Iron; Telescopic; Night Vision

Overall Length: 826mm (32.52in)
Barrel Length: 826.00 (32.52in)
Empty Weight: 7.12kg (15.70lbs)

LRAC 89-F1

The LRAC system was a reusable shoulder-fired rocket launcher developed for the French Army.

The LRAC 89-F1 was developed for the French Army to replace the aging M20A1 Super Bazooka rocket launcher. The M20A1 was an improved form of the World War 2-era American M1 Bazooka launcher and entered production in 1952. The LRAC 89-F1 was constructed out of plastic and fiberglass to promote a lighter carrying weight for those soldiers assigned to operate the system. A typical crew included two personnel, one to handle the launcher itself and the other to facilitate initial loading and subsequent reloading of the launch tube. The LRAC derived its designation from the name of "Lance-Roquettes AntiChar de 89mm modele F1" and was also known as the STRIM 89mm (based on the abbreviation of the name Societe Techique de Recherches Industrielles et Mechanique).

In the mid-1960s, the Societe Techique de Recherches Industrielles et Mechanique was contracted to find a suitable replacement for the outgoing M20A1 series and, in the early 1970s, delivered two viable candidates. The first was a recoilless rifle design known under the designation of ACL-APX with an 80mm projectile assisted in flight by rocket propulsion. The second became the LRAC 89-F1 of 89mm. After evaluation by the French Army, the more promising and cheaper-to-produce LRAC system came out ahead and was selected for procurement and serial production.

As its designation implies, the LRAC 89-F1 fired a rocket of 89mm caliber. Muzzle velocity was rated at 967 feet per second with an effective range within 500 meters and a maximum range out to 2,300 meters. Sighting was accomplished through use of an APX M290 scope and a passive night telescope sight were also available. The base penetration rocket was fin-stabilized (spring-loaded) while in flight and can pierce up to 400mm at a 0-degree angle and up to 110mm at 65-degrees. Broken down, the projectile featured an electric generator at its head followed by the cap and head with the fuse at the midway point. The projectile was then largely made up of the propulsion charge and finally ended with the exhaust nozzle. The launch tube contained the integrated sighting device, trigger mechanism and bipod. The rocket was not made active until the rear tube container was affixed to the launcher. Only then the rocket's propellant was not activated until after the rocket was fired. The rocket was then armed some 32 feet from the launch point.

Design of the base LRAC launcher was essentially a detailed tube. The tube was larger at the rear and tapered off to a consistent forward end. The main control components were held at the center of the tube and included a pistol grip type handle, a retractable forward hand grip and an adjustable ergonomically curved shoulder rest with twin feet (bipod). The sighting system was mounted near the pistol grip unit (or firing generator handle). A carrying handle was set to the right side of the tube body. The rear of the tube was capped by a removable plug and the front by a removable muzzle cover. A back sight notch was mounted atop the business end of the muzzle.

Beyond the base issue rocket, LRAC ammunition included an anti-personnel/anti-vehicle projectile (spraying out up to 1,600 high-speed, molded steel pellets), a pair of smoke projectile (35 second disbursement time in either liquid smoke/phosphorous head forms) and an illumination projectile that burned in air for up to 30 seconds at 300,000 candela power, settling to the ground by a small parachute.

The LRAC 89-F1 in French Army service has since been replaced by the AT4-CS (of Sweden) single-shot and the ERYX portable wire-guided anti-tank weapons. The LRAC does, however, continue service with other militaries around the world, thee being primarily former French colonies residing in Africa.

Specifications for the LRAC 89-F1 (Lance-Roquettes AntiChar de 89mm modele F1)
Action: Propellant-Based, Shoulder-Fired
Cartridge: 89mm
Feed System: 1
Cyclic Rate-of-Fire: 3rds/min
Maximum / Effective Range: 1,969ft (600m; 656yds)
Sights: APX M290 / Passive Night Optics

Overall Length: 1170mm (46.06in)
Barrel Length: 0.00 (0.00in)
Empty Weight: 5.50kg (12.13lbs)


The American Bazooka was a successful - albeit simplistic - anti-armor developed as early as 1933, though not fielded until 1942. The system consisted of a basic tube, wiring and a pistol grip, fore grip and shoulder rest (all three usually of wood) with the rocket loaded from the open rear. While the primary weapons handler aimed and fired the system, a secondary member was charged with connecting the ignition wiring at rear.

The Bazooka series was first used in the desert campaign of North Africa against Axis tanks. The initial Bazooka system, the M1 and the equally similar M1A1, were designed to fire the penetrating M6A3 rocket round or the practice M7A3 rocket round for training. The M1A1 took over the M1's role shortly after the M1 entered service. Later improved Bazooka models would also fire incendiary and smoke rounds (the Bazooka M9). In some cases, a wire mesh was fitted to the firing end of the launch tube as often times not all of the propellant would be consumed during ignition, spraying the remaining propellant into the face of the firer.

Though often thought of for its anti-tank capabilities, the Bazooka was equally adept at taking out dug in enemy and their surrounding installations not to mention obstacles. Though the effective range of the system was listed at about 300 yards, usage of the Bazooka was usually kept around or under 100 yards to increase accuracy.

The lethality and effectiveness of such a cheap system to produce enlightened the Germans to use the M1 as the basis for their own Bazooka-type system, becoming the large caliber Raketenpanzerbusche. Despite this, the American Bazooka enjoyed more acclaim than any other shoulder-fired rocket system of the war, accounting for over 15 million rockets produced with some 475,000 Bazooka launcher systems in circulation.

The success of the M1 and the improved M1A1 led to the M9, basically a Bazooka launcher that could break down into a more portable two-piece system for easier carrying. The ultimate Bazooka evolution became the M18, seeing introduction at war's end. These later Bazooka systems saw almost exclusive use in the Pacific Theater.

Specifications for the M1 (Bazooka)
Action: Electrically-Fired Single-Shot Launcher
Cartridge: 60mm
Feed System: 1
Muzzle Velocity: 270ft/sec (82m/sec)
Overall Length: 1390mm (54.72in)
Barrel Length: 0.00 (0.00in)
Empty Weight: 6.01kg (13.25lbs)


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