Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Lend Lease Impressions: Bazooka

60 mm rocket launcher AT M1

60 mm rocket

60 mm anti-tank rocket launcher

Proving grounds trials showed unsatisfactory results, specifically:
  1. Low muzzle velocity (89 m/s).
  2. Complex rocket design and sensitive detonator.
  3. Unreliable function of the launcher at temperatures less than 10 degrees Celsius.
  4. Fire is ineffective at a range of over 100 m due to an insufficiently flat trajectory and poor precision.
  5. Low rate of fire.
  6. Danger when firing the weapon while shouldered. Due to the rocket charge continuing to burn, it is possible to burn the shooter's hands and face.
Trials showed that the 60 mm American anti-tank rocket launcher cannot be accepted for use by the Acting Army, and further purchase is unreasonable.

3,000 rocket launchers were shipped in total, and only 4,260 rockets, or about one and a half rockets per launcher."


  1. Definitely a very close-range weapon. The rocket shown is an earlier model; later rockets performed better. US units fired a LOT of bazooka ammo.

  2. Very suprised about this.
    I thought the bazooka was a real breaktrough. Considering that the earliest prototypes easily outclassed the best AT rifle in terms of penetration, while we all know that matured designs tend to be a lot better then prototypes.
    Couple this to the fact that the bazooka was a very simple and cheap weapon (granted, the ammo wasn't)

    Didn't AT riffle developement cease around somewhere around 43-45?

    1. The Soviets wanted an anti-tank rocket launcher to do the same thing that their rifles could: hit a tank or a bunker from a kilometer away. There was at least one perfectly suitable domestically designed launcher for RS-82 rockets that was rejected because its maximum range was "only" 200 meters.

      Another requirement was that the gun could be fired from a trench or a dugout easily, which basically meant that anything with backblast was off the table.

      AT rifle development hit a new requirement in 1943: penetrate Schurzen armour and the side of the tank behind it. There were attempts to meet this requirement, but as far as I know, no breakthrough was made. These rifles were getting a little ridiculous, anyway, more like small AT cannons.

    2. AT rifles basically eventually ran afoul of the "square-cube law" of conventional firearms - the mass of the weapon goes up more or less exponentially with linear increase in power. (Towed AT guns started going extinct soon after for the exact same reason.)

      That said, the first versions of the Bazooka had all *kinds* of issues and design flaws and took a fair bit of further tinkering to become good. Even without their doggedly unreasonable requirements for portable AT weapons there was much for the Soviets to be leery of.