What is a bazooka? Photos, descriptions, weapons design
Tanks that appeared on the battlefields of the First World War were used as the main offensive weapon. Cumbersome and reliable mechanisms were a serious danger to the infantry. In order to resist this formidable force, mankind was forced to create a special anti-tank infantry weapon, which became a bazooka. Description, device and technical characteristics of this tool are presented in the article.
Often ordinary people are interested in the question: what is a bazooka? After watching Hollywood action movies, it becomes clear that this is a hand-held weapon. However, people far from the army may have the erroneous opinion that this is a normal grenade launcher. Military experts define what a bazooka is. According to their wording, the gun is a hand-held dynamo-anti-tank grenade launcher. A bazooka (a photo of the weapon is presented in the article) is not a recoilless weapon,a portable rocket launcher. This definition is due to the fact that the grenade is equipped with a special rocket engine.
On the meaning of the word "bazooka"
In the last century, the Americans invented the wind instrument, which was a straight sliding hollow tube. This invention of B. Burns, very reminiscent of a trombone, was called “bazooka” (photo below).
Due to the external similarity with a musical instrument, this name was subsequently attached to a hand-held anti-tank weapon. In addition, there is another version of the origin of the name of the weapon. Shooting from this grenade launcher is accompanied by a whistle, which can also be emitted by a tuned Burns trumpet. Anyone who is interested in what a bazooka will receive two completely different answers. Primarily, this term is used in the army to define a particularly powerful weapon. Today in the US, the word "bazooka" is a household word.
History of creation
Before the start of the Second World War, American infantry destroyed tanks with 37 mm guns and rifle grenades. To fire them, the military used special nozzles that were equipped with gun barrels. Among the most powerful rifle grenades, the first place was taken by the M10.According to military experts, the US Army needed a more compact and maneuverable means of dealing with enemy tanks. The new gun was supposed to occupy a niche between the grenade and the anti-tank gun. Simultaneously with the design of grenades, a reactive anti-tank weapon was developed, for which the recoilless principle was provided.
Since bombs were intended as ammunition for US grenade launchers, these weapons could not destroy the enemy’s armored vehicles. Shooting with high-explosive charges was accompanied by a very strong recoil, which negatively affected the state of both the gunner and the gun. It is known that until 1942, the US Army was in dire need of effective anti-tank weapons.
About the modernized weapon
The world learned about bazooka in 1942. Two US military, Lieutenant E. Yule and Captain L. Skinner, were asked to use a hollow tube as a guide for the projectile. American weapons designers in the creation of anti-tank funds stopped on the optimal and simple solution. The bazooka (photo below) was invented by combining the cumulative warhead M10 and the high-explosive rocket engine.1942 was the year of the appearance of the world's first anti-tank grenade M1. This is a dynamo-reactive weapon: a bazooka shot does not produce recoil. With the advent of this tool ended tank hegemony. In the future, on the basis of the American bazooka, the legendary Faustpatron will be created by German designers.
Baptism of new weapons
Bazooka after testing was officially adopted in 1942. At this time its mass production was established. It was decided to supply the first batch of landing troops in North Africa. Guns of 5 thousand units and 25 thousand missiles were sent to them before the start of the special operation "Torch". The American anti-tank weapon proved to be very effective: a cumulative grenade pierced homogeneous armor 9 cm thick. Not a single German and Italian armored vehicles could stand against the bazooka.
However, American soldiers noted that during the shooting of a grenade launcher there was a significant dispersion, which adversely affected the effective range of the use of a bazooka. Nevertheless, the generals of the United States this flaw was recognized as valid.Several units of anti-tank grenade launchers hit the Germans. On the basis of captured bazukas, German weapons designers were created
All the weaknesses of the first bazooka appeared during its operation in combat conditions. A significant drawback of the gun was its too large size, as a result of which the American infantrymen had difficulties in transporting the bazooka. Also unreliable was the work of electric batteries. Often, fighters burned a jet of hot exhaust gases. In addition, often the guide pipes during firing were torn and injured combat crew.
In 1943, the American weapons designers tried to correct all the flaws identified in the first bazooka model. The modified weapon is listed as M1A1. Serial production of the instrument was established in 1943. The dimensions in this version remained the same. Launch tube reinforced with steel wire. The design of the gun, it was decided to remove the front handle. At the same time, the bazooka was supplemented with a protective screen. It is located in front of the pipe. The changes also affected the electric grenade system.However, despite all the design improvements of the instrument, difficulties were encountered in supplying it with charges. Cumulative grenades used in M1A1, it was impossible to charge the basic model of the bazooka. In Normandy, American infantry were confronted by heavy German tanks. In order to ensure an effective fight against the armored technique of the fascists, the American gunsmiths began to create a new model of anti-tank weapons with increased armor-piercing.
About M9 Bazooka
In 1943, American designers designed a new modification of the grenade launcher, which is listed as M9. In this model, gunsmiths have been corrected deficiencies inherent in the previous versions of guns. The guide tube in the modified bazooka had two parts, thanks to which the transportation of the M9 turned out to be much more convenient. Designers have increased the length of the weapon to 155 cm. Instead of an unreliable electric batteries, the gun was equipped with an induction generator, placing it on the pistol grip. It was also decided to replace the wooden shoulder rest with aluminum. In addition, the M9 was equipped with an optical sight, thanks to which the sighting range increased to 640 m.Instead of a shield, a bazooka was equipped with a bell. By upgrading the rocket grenade, gunsmiths solved the problem of insufficient armor penetration of the bazooka. The front of the grenade was now round, which reduced the likelihood of a rebound.
In order to improve the flight of the projectile, the ammunition was equipped with a cylindrical stabilizer, and the cumulative notch was equipped with a new lining of copper. As a result of the design improvements of the grenade, its armor penetration rate was increased. With the help of a bazooka M9, homogeneous armor was made 10 cm thick. It was also possible to expand the range of projectiles. Smoke and anti-personnel fragmentation grenades were intended for the M9.
About further modifications
In 1944, the United States received a new anti-tank weapon capable of penetrating enemy armored vehicles 12 cm thick. This model of the grenade launcher is listed as M9A1. In 1945, American gunsmiths created a new modification of the bazooka - M18. Structurally, this grenade launcher was not at all different from its predecessors. However, aluminum was widely used in the production of the M18, which contributed to a decrease in the mass of the bazooka by almost 2 kg.In addition, this grenade launcher is not subject to corrosive processes.
About the device
The weapon is a 60 mm caliber smooth-walled steel pipe open on both sides. The design of the bazooka has the following elements:
- Electrofusion device. Contains two dry batteries, a warning light, electrical wiring and a trigger trigger. This device ignites reactive charges of grenades.
- Safety box in which the contact rod is located.
- Sighting devices.
- Shoulder support. Its interior is used to house dry batteries and a warning light.
The rear end of the pipe is equipped with a special ring, the task of which is to facilitate the arrow to install the charge in the receiver channel. The front end of the pipe was equipped with a flap. It protects the shooter from the hot gases of rocket grenade engines.
Cumulative grenades used in American bazookas have the following technical characteristics:
- Weigh ammunition 1, 59 kg.
- The mass of the cumulative warhead is 0.7 kg.
- The length is 550 mm.
- Caliber 60 mm.
On the principle of action
Constructive features of a bazooka give the shooter an opportunity to carry out a safe launch of a grenade in the right direction. Combat crew consists of two people. One fighter performs loading of the barrel channel with a cumulative grenade, and the second - aiming, aiming and shooting at the target. The peculiarity of shooting from this anti-tank weapon is the obligatory control of the space behind the gun.
This need is due to the fact that running engines of cumulative grenades form hot gases that can severely injure people. In addition, during the operation of the bazooka, it is important that behind the shooter there was no equipment and, most importantly, ammunition. The formation of a hot jet imposed some restrictions on the use of the bazooka. For example, a fighter who is in a trench cannot shoot from this weapon.
About the main tactical and technical characteristics of the M1
- By type of bazooka refers to a dynamo-active hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers.
- Country of Origin: USA.
- In service with the American army since 1942.
- Used in the Second World War and the Korean War.
- The mass of a bazooka without a cumulative grenade is 8 kg.
- Pipe length -137 cm.
- The released charge has an initial speed of 82 m / s.
- The gun suggests a firing range of up to 365 m. The most effective action of a bazooka at a distance of 135 m.
- Antitank remedy is currently in use.
Created on the basis of a captured American bazooka, the German Pantsershrek during the years of World War II proved to be a very effective anti-tank weapon. This encouraged US designers to design a new, improved model. It was possible to create it at the end of the war. The new anti-tank grenade launcher in the documentation is listed as M20, the military among themselves called him: "Super-bazooka."
Externally, the gun practically did not differ from the German “Panzershrekov”. However, according to experts, the 90-mm gun had a greater penetrating ability and less weight. As the ammunition used 4-kilogram cumulative missile M28A2. The design of the M20 is represented by a smooth-bore tube, a device for firing placed in the handle, a folding bipod, a shoulder rest and an optical sight.
For shooting from the "Super-bazooka" used cumulative and fragmentation grenades.Of all the modifications, the M20 was the most successful. The weapon breaks through homogeneous armor 28 cm thick. Increased caliber and high performance contributed to the widespread use of "Super-bazooka" in many armed conflicts.