Bazooka Emplacement

Bazooka emplacements from the Corps of Engineers’ field manual FM 5-15: Field Fortifications, U.S. War Department, February 1944.


There are two types of emplacement for this weapon, the pit-foxhole type and the pit type.

a. Pit-foxhole type (fig. 33 (1)). This emplacement is a circular pit, 3 feet in diameter and about 3½ feet deep, large enough for two men. It permits the assistant rocketeer to turn with the traversing weapon, so that he is never behind it when it is fired. The emplacement is shallow enough to permit the rear end of the rocket launcher at maximum elevation to be clear of the parapet, thus insuring that the hot back-blast from the rockets is not deflected to the occupants. This emplacement is not tankproof. Therefore foxholes for the crew are dug nearby. As the antitank mission of this weapon requires that it be kept in action against hostile tanks until the last possible moment, these foxholes will be occupied only when a tank is about to overrun the emplacement.

Rocket Launcher Bazooka Position

b. Pit type (fig. 33 (2)) . In firm soil the diameter of the circular pit (fig. 33 (1)) can be increased to 4 feet and an additional circular pit 2 feet deep and 2 feet in diameter excavated in the center. This leaves a circular fire step 1 foot wide and about 3½ feet below the surface. When tanks appear about to overrun the position, the rocketeer and assistant rocketeer crouch down into the lower pit. When the tanks have passed, the rocket launcher quickly is returned to action.

Bazooka Rocket Launcher Emplacement


Bazooka Operation in Hot & Cold Climates

Operating instructions for the Bazooka in tropical and arctic climates from TM 9-294: 2.36-inch A.T. Rocket Launcher M1A1, War Department Technical Manual, Sept. 27, 1943.



a. When operating under unusual conditions such as tropical or arctic climates, severe dust or sand conditions, and near salt water, it is essential that all the precautions listed below should be observed.


a. In temperatures below freezing, and particularly in arctic climates, all operating parts should he kept absolutely free of moisture. The bore of the launcher should be cleaned daily and oiled as described in paragraph 16. The batteries should be removed from the launcher and kept warm until just before firing. Carrying the batteries in inner pockets will keep them sufficiently warm. Immediately upon bringing indoors, the launcher should be cleaned on the outside and inside with a dry clean cloth. Remove the grips and clean and dry the contacts. After it has reached room temperature, clean and dry the launcher again, and oil the bore. Rockets should not be fired at temperatures below zero F.


a. Tropical Climates. In tropical climates where temperature and humidity are high, or where salt air is present, and during rainy seasons, the launcher should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned daily. The bore should be oiled a little more liberally than prescribed in paragraph 16. Wood parts should be inspected to see that swelling due to moisture does not bind working parts. If this does occur, shave off only enough wood to relieve binding. A light coat of OIL, linseed, raw, type A applied at least every month and well rubbed in with the heel of the hand, will help to keep moisture out. Allow oil to soak in for a few hours and then, wipe and polish the wood with a dry clean wiping cloth. Do not fire rockets at temperatures above 120 F.

NOTE: Care should be taken to see that linseed oil does not get onto electric contacts as it will gum when dry.

b. Hot Dry Climates. In hot dry climates, where sand and dust are apt to get into the bore, the launcher including the bore should be wiped clean daily or more often if necessary. Oiling of the bore should be done very sparingly and only in the event that atmospheric conditions cause rusting of the bore surface. In such climates, wood parts are apt to dry out and shrink, and a more frequent application of OIL, linseed, raw, type A, will help keep wood in condition. During sand or dust storms the breech and muzzle should be kept covered. Do not fire rockets at temperatures above 120 F.


Bazooka Versus Tank

The history of the bazooka from U.S. Rocket Ordnance: Development and Use in World War II, U.S. Joint Board on Scientific Information Policy, 1946.

Bazooka Versus Tank

Among the now-it-can-be-told weapons of the American rocket family, is the super-bazooka, bigger and better version of the foot-soldier’s famed tank-buster.

By their surrender, the Germans and Japs missed feeling the impact of a rocket which travels at almost twice the speed and carries double the explosive payload of the standard bazooka projectile; which has an effective range of as much as 700 yards, instead of the 200 to 300 yards of the regular bazooka; and which can function safely through a considerably wider temperature range, thus affording greatly increased protection against the dangers of motor explosion and blast. Though the super-bazooka retains the 2.36-inch diameter of the original bazooka, and is fired from the same launcher, it is propelled by a larger motor, and its heavier explosive charge can penetrate thicker armor plate.

Another development of the original bazooka-still secret at the war’s end-is a super-powered rocket of 3.5 inches in diameter with greatly increased power to penetrate armor plate and reinforced concrete.

The super-bazooka was the joint product of Section H, which produced the design for the motor, and Division 8 of NDRC, which developed the far more powerful head. The 3.5-inch rocket was designed by the Army Ordnance Department.

Bazooka Development

To arm United States infantry to fight tanks on more nearly equal terms, the Army Ordnance Department, in early 1941, had under development a rifle grenade, carrying a “shaped charge” of high explosive. A cone-shaped cup hollowed in the front face of the explosive filling focussed the blast energy into a narrow beam of great penetrating power.

These rifle grenades had too much recoil for field use as a shoulder weapon. Recoilless rocket propulsion was suggested, tried, and adopted. Colonel Skinner, then an Ordnance Department major, and Lt. (now Major) E. G. Uhl, with Section H at Indian Head, undertook the development of a suitable rocket motor.

Following unsuccessful attempts to launch these rocket grenades from attachments to the service rifle, it was concluded that a separate launcher would be required.

To protect the gunner from the rocket blast, the launching tube had to be longer than the maximum burning distance of the rocket motor. To be portable and easily aimed from the shoulder, the launcher, and hence the burning distance, had to be short. By the use of a charge of several thin-web tubular grains of solvent extruded powder in a motor about an inch in diameter, the burning distance was made short enough for a 54-inch launcher, soon dubbed “the bazooka.”

Continue reading Bazooka Versus Tank

Introduction to the Bazooka

Introduction to the “bazooka” (2.36-inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1) from the technical manual TM 9-294: 2.36-inch A.T. Rocket Launcher M1A1, War Department Technical Manual, September, 1943.



a. This manual is published for the information and guidance of personnel charged with the operation and maintenance of the 2.36-inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1. It contains information required by the using arms to identify, use, care, and preserve the materiel and the ammunition used therewith. In addition, it contains information required by ordnance personnel for the maintenance and repair of the materiel.

2. CHARACTERISTICS (figs. 1 and 2).

a. The 2.36-inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1 is an electrically operated weapon of the open tube type. It is fired from the shoulder in the standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone positions. It is used to launch high-explosive rockets against tanks, armored vehicles, pill boxes, and emplacements. The rockets weigh approximately 3½ pounds and are capable of penetrating heavy armor at angles of impact up to 30 degrees. The weapon can be aimed up to distances of 300 yards. Greater ranges may be obtained by estimating the angle of elevation. The maximum range is 700 yards.

Figure 1 -- 2.36-Inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1 -- Left Side View

Figure 1 -- 2.36-Inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1 -- Left Side View

Figure 2 -- 2.36-Inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1 -- Right Side View

Figure 2 -- 2.36-Inch AT Rocket Launcher M1A1 -- Right Side View

Continue reading Introduction to the Bazooka

Bazooka Oversold?

Comments on the bazooka from Report of the New Weapons Board, Office of the Commanding General, Army Service Forces, Washington, D.C., April 1944.

2.36" Rocket and Launchers

a. The feeling existed in both theaters that the 2.36" rocket had been oversold. This feeling was accompanied by question as to the effectiveness and accuracy of the 2.36" HE AT rocket. In view of this, the Board incorporated a 2.36" rocket show into each demonstration. The entire renovation of the original launcher and rocket was explained. The explanation included a description of the new wagon-wheel pulpit trap and its function. To demonstrate the safety of the launcher, a launcher which had had two rocket motors exploded within the wire-wrapped portion was exhibited. Two bazookas were then fired at a tank at an 80-yd. range. Amazement was expressed by many spectators at the accuracy and results which were obtained by inexperienced rocket operators. Each demonstration included the firing of six rounds, and it was the exception when there were less than six hits.

b. Many types of eye and face protection have been improvised by combat troops using the 2.36" rocket launcher. Some enlisted men use motorcycle goggles. Others use a modified gas mask, the bottom of which has been cut away; still others use the gas mask as issued. One officer stated that he had obtained excellent results with the use of a plexiglass shield attached to the end of the launcher. Some enlisted men are using celluloid or plastic face shields. Some shields are made to cover the eyes only, whereas others cover the entire face. It was reported that the frustrum of a cone, which had been placed on some launchers, does not serve its purpose. It is believed that this problem should be solved completely and that an item which will afford ample face protection at all temperatures should be developed and issued without delay.

c. Brigadier General Arthur H. Rogers, of the North African theater, reported that early in the Italian campaign a number of the 2.36" rockets carried by his men failed to function. General Rogers stated that these rockets had been carried in ammunition carriers, which hold eight rockets, four in back and four in front. He said that these rockets had been carried fins up, with the fins exposed, and that undoubtedly they had been dragged through mud and water. It was General Rogers’ opinion that the rockets which failed to function failed because moisture entered the motor, although he was not certain that the electrical connection had not been loosened. It is believed that in view of this report the 2.36" rocket should be given thorough proof tests for resistance against moisture. General Rogers also told the Board of a new way in which he employed the bazookas of his organization during the early part of the Italian campaign. He said that he formed bazooka hunting teams. These teams employed 10 to 12 bazookas in one group and went hunting at night. He said that their operation was most successful and that the ambushing of stationary German combat vehicles in this fashion was relatively simple. He spoke very highly of the 2.36" rocket and launcher.


Follow Thru: 60th Infantry Regiment

Below are a few photographs from Follow Thru, the unit history of the 60th Infantry Regiment which was published by the unit during occupation duty in Germany. The 60th Infantry “Go Devils” served as part of the 9th Infantry Division.

WW2 Jeep with Twin Bazookas

Jeep with twin bazookas on an improvised mounting from the I&R platoon in Belgium in January 1945.

WW2 Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division with Captured German Antitank Gun

Soldiers of the 60th Infantry Regiment with a burned-out German antitank gun.

Jeep from HQ of 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division

Jeep from the HQ of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.

Captured German 120-mm Mortar; 12cm GrW 42

Soldiers of the 60th with a captured German 120-mm heavy mortar (12cm GrW 42).

Snow Camouflage

Soldiers sew snow camouflage suits.