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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


Dig Deep to Protect Against Tanks

One Man Foxhole Protects Against Tanks

One-man foxhole protects against tanks. (FM 5-15: Field Fortifications, U.S. War Department, February 1944.)


60-mm Mortar Emplacement

60-mm Mortar Emplacements from the Corps of Engineers’ field manual FM 5-15: Field Fortifications, U.S. War Department, February 1944.


a. Open type. This consists of a rectangular pit large enough to accommodate the mortar, the gunner, and the assistant gunner. The emplacement is kept to the minimum size to afford protection against airplane fire and bombing and against artillery shells, but it allows room for firing the mortar and storing necessary ammunition. The front edge is sloped so that the aiming stake, about 10 yards to the front, is visible through the sight and so the weapon’s fire will be clear. The spoil from the excavation is piled all around the pit to form a low parapet. Foxholes for members of the mortar squad not required at the gun are prepared not far from the emplacement. Additional ammunition is placed in nearby shelters.

60-mm Mortar Emplacement WW2

Figure 30. Open emplacement for 60-mm mortar. (Camouflage omitted.)

b. Two-foxhole type. This shows the 60-mm. mortar in action with only the base plate dug in, the crew operating from one-man foxholes. This two-foxhole type of emplacement is preferred when the mortar is in defilade.

60mm Mortar Emplacement and Crew, Foxhole and Slit Trench

Figure 31. Two-foxhole emplacement for 60-mm mortar. (Camouflage omitted.)


81-mm Mortar Emplacement

Diagram of a typical 81-mm Mortar Emplacement from the field manual FM 5-15: Field Fortifications, Corps of Engineers, U.S. War Department, February 1944.

81 mm Mortar Emplacement

Hasty Field Fortifications

From The Ordnance Soldier’s Guide, 3rd Edition, Ordnance Replacement Training Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground:

Hasty Field Fortifications

INDIVIDUAL PRONE SHELTER OR SLIT TRENCH: Whenever our troops halt anywhere near the Jap or Nazi troops, they begin at once to give themselves and their weapons individual protection. If it’s a short halt, they use the natural protection of the ground — bumps, ditches, shell holes, depressions of any kind. But if it’s a longer halt (but less than six hours, in an assembly area before an attack), then each man digs himself an individual prone shelter. This takes only a few minutes. Such a shelter gives a soldier two advantages — a chance to rest and reasonable protection from bomb, mortar, and shell fragments and small-arms fire. But this kind of a foxhole won’t protect you against a tank attack

Slit Trench

Individual Prone Shelter of Slit Trench

Continue reading Hasty Field Fortifications

Foxholes: Dig or Die!

FOXHOLES. DIG! OR DIE! (Newsmap, April 1943)

Foxholes Dig or Die (WW2 Training Poster)

  • Tunisia has taught that your life depends on digging in—soon enough and deep enough—with whatever tools you may have at hand. Foxholes protect you effectively from gunfire and mechanized attack and give you a chance to throw some lead yourself.
  • To prevent detection, the foxhole should be blended with the nearby terrain by weaving a lid of sticks and covering it with leaves, grass, or dirt. Where there is no brush, use your shelter half as a cover to break up the dark shadow the hole makes.
  • A BULLET WILL PENETRATE 30 INCHES OF LOOSE SOIL. Loose soil from the foxhole will not protect you from enemy gunfire. Soil should be removed, if possible, but may be packed into a low, solid parapet.
  • A PRONE SHELTER IS NO PROTECTION AGAINST THE CRUSHING ACTION OF TANKS. It is protection from small-arms fire, bomb and artillery fragments. You can dig it easily and sleep in it, but should deepen it into a foxhole as soon as possible.