M1 Rocket Launcher "Bazooka"

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Slide Bazooka Instrument

"Bazooka" is a term commonly applied to a series of recoilless launchers used by the US military during WW2 and the Korean War. It was a slang term adopted by the GIs based on the device's resemblance to a comedy 'instrument' popularized by Radio Comedian Bob Burns in the 1930s & 1940s.

Today the term is often used by the general public as a generic term for any tube-like rocket launcher; this cannot exactly be called incorrect, since "Bazooka" was only ever a nickname for the original weapon, but on this site it should only be used to refer to this particular series of launchers.

Bazooka rockets are often depicted with burning engines and smoke trails in fiction, which is incorrect: the rocket motor burns out while the projectile is still inside the launch tube, except for early-production rockets at extremely cold temperatures where it may still be burning for a short time on exit. Later rockets used a new propellant, Blastless Bazooka Propellant (BBP) that eliminated temperature-related burn time issues.

The following weapons are in the M1 Series of Rocket Launchers:

Contents


M1 "Bazooka" (2.36" Rocket)

M1 Bazooka - 2.36 inch
  • 1941 first model adopted from Capt. L.A. Skinner's prototype rocket launcher. First used in combat in 1942, on the Russian Front via lend-lease and by American forces during Operation Torch in November 1942.
  • Had two pistol grips (one with trigger) and a shoulder step which contained the battery.
  • Contact box located on top of the tube just back from the shoulder rest is only present on this variant.
  • 18 lbs unloaded weight.
  • Introduced in June 1942, used until August 1943 when replaced by the M1A1 variant.
  • Not particularly popular due to the unreliable M6 rocket, use of substandard steel for production expediency rendering tubes prone to rupturing on hot days when the rocket propellant would burn extremely quickly, and lack of a bore gauge for launch tube production, resulting in tubes with very poor dimensional tolerances: frequent accidents involving rockets getting stuck in the tube and exploding: these issues were compounded by US troops in Operation Torch having received little or no instruction in the use of the weapon. Issuing of the M1 was suspended in May 1943.

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
Mail Call Season 1 2002-2009

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
Time Crisis Unusable, incorrectly shown as fired continuously 1995
Medal of Honor (1999) 1999
Medal of Honor: Underground 2000
Battlefield: 1942 2002
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault 2002
Medal of Honor: Infiltrator 2003
7554 "Bazooka"; "Vietnamese Bazooka" 2011
Project Reality: Normandy As the "Bazooka" 2013

M1A1 "Bazooka" (2.36" Rocket)

M1A1 Bazooka - 2.36 inch
  • Fully introduced in August 1943, with small numbers issued in July. First used during the invasion of Sicily in July-August 1943
  • Replaced "On/Off" switch with the 'ready' light
  • Removed second pistol grip
  • Rear section of the launch tube wrapped with 0.5 in steel wire to prevent ruptures on hot days.
  • Wire wrapping required reworked electrical system and redesigned rocket: instead of the top-mounted contact box that created a connection to a brass ring on the rocket's nose, a wire was stowed in the tailfin of the rocket and connected to a contact clip at the rear of the launcher by the loader prior to firing. This means the wire on this launcher goes from the shoulder rest to the back of the tube, rather than up to the contact box as on the M1.
  • Unloaded weight 13.26 lbs
  • Added optional wire blast shield in front for cold weather use. Not particularly effective and largely ignored by troops: later a more effective solid cone was developed.
  • Optional solid blast cone in back to replace wired cone.
  • Improved M6A1 rocket. "M6A2" rocket appears to have been an informal designation for original production M6 rockets upgraded to A1 standard.
  • Many original production M1s were upgraded to the A1 standard
  • Later issued with a larger battery, and after complaints of it getting stuck inside the shoulder rest, were re-reamed to better accommodate it

The M1 series of Rocket Launcher can be seen in the following films, TV series, anime, and video games used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Story of G.I. Joe U.S. Army soldier 1945
A Walk In The Sun U.S. Army soldiers 1945
Saving Private Ryan Matt Damon Pvt. James F. Ryan 1998
Saving Private Ryan Tom Sizemore Sgt. Mike Horvath 1998
Saving Private Ryan U.S. Army soldiers 1998
We Were Soldiers Viet Minh soldier With modified rear sight 2002
Windtalkers Christian Slater Sgt. Pete "Ox" Anderson 2002
Windtalkers Marines 2002
The Great Raid Clayne Crawford PFC Aldridge 2005
The Great Raid Sam Worthington PFC Lucas 2005
Hacksaw Ridge US Army soldiers 2016
Hacksaw Ridge Vince Vaughn Sergeant Howell 2016

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
Band of Brothers Nolan Hemmings Sgt. Charles E. "Chuck" Grant Ep. "Replacements" 2001
Band of Brothers Stephen Walters John McGrath Ep. "Carentan" 2001
Band of Brothers Rick Warden Lt. Harry Welsh Ep. "Carentan" 2001
Band of Brothers Bart Ruspoli Pvt. Ed Tipper Ep. "Carentan" 2001
Mail Call Season 1 2002-2009
The Pacific Dylan Young PFC Jay De L'Eau 2010
The Pacific Karl Cottee Cpl. Pegg 2010
Parer's War US Marines 2014

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
Day of Defeat: Source 2005
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 Can be reloaded by teammate 2006
Enemy Front BAZOOKA 2014
Heroes & Generals Bazooka M1A1 2016
Day of Infamy "Bazooka" Can use White Phosphorous rockets 2017

M9 "Bazooka" (2.36" Rocket)

M9 "Bazooka" - 2.36 inch
  • Introduced in October 1943 and replaced the M1A1 in production, operating alongside it in the field
  • Battery ignition (which had proved unreliable in wet weather and caused many complaints about life and availability of batteries in the field) replaced by Magnavox T6 trigger magneto
  • Wooden furnishings replaced with metal and plastic
  • Used improved M6A3 HEAT rocket and M10 Bursting Smoke (WP) rocket. M6A3 had a blunt, rounded nose rather than the pointed nose of earlier rockets, which had been found to deflect off sloped tank armor. Both rounds could be fired from the earlier M1A1 model as well.
  • Early production used T43 folding bar sight, later replaced by T90 optical reflex sight
  • Could be disassembled into two halves for easier carrying.
  • Unloaded weight 15.14 lbs
  • Forward blast cone added.

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Battle of the Rails (La bataille du rail) French Resistance fighters 1946
Halls of Montezuma US Marines 1951
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms US National Guards Jeep mounted 1953
Fire and Ice (Le combat dans l'île) Jean-Louis Trintignant Clément Lesser 1962
Pierre Asso Serge
Romy Schneider Anne
20 Million Miles to Earth William Hopper Colonel William Calder 1957
20 Million Miles to Earth Italian soldiers 1957
Is Paris Burning? Anthony Perkins Sgt. Warren 1966
Is Paris Burning? Skip Ward Pvt. Charlie 1966
Shock Troops (Un homme de trop) Claude Brasseur Groubec 1967
Pasha (Le Pacha) Dominique Zardi Horst Weiss 1968
Mr. Freedom Freedom agent 1969
The Brain Seen in Frankie's weapon case 1969
She No Longer Talks She Shoots The policeman 1972
Judge Fayard Called the Sheriff Marcel Bozzuffi Joanno aka "Captain" 1977
Wheels of Fire Scourge's Men 1985
Man on Fire Seen in Sandri's hideout 1987
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Chinese soldiers 2008
The Adventures of Tintin Andy Serkis Captain Haddock 2011

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
Rat Patrol Justin Tarr Pvt. Tully Pettigrew Ep. "The Kill at Koorlea Raid" 1966-1968
The A-Team Dwight Schultz H. M. Murdock Ep. "Where's The Monster When You Need Him?" 1983 - 1987
The A-Team The henchmen Ep. "The Island" 1983 - 1987
The A-Team U.S. Army soldiers Ep. "The Sound of Thunder" 1983 - 1987
The A-Team Revolutionaries Ep. "The Theory Of Revolution" 1983 - 1987
Band of Brothers Nolan Hemmings Sgt. Charles E. "Chuck" Grant Ep. "Points" 2001

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
World War II Online: Battleground Europe 2001-2012
Hidden & Dangerous 2 "M1 Bazooka" 2003

M9A1 "Bazooka" (2.36" Rocket)

  • Introduced in September 1944 replacing the M9
  • Improved coupling mechanism for the two-part launch tube
  • T90 optical reflex sight
  • Unloaded weight 15.87 lbs

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
Medal of Honor (1999) 1999
Medal of Honor: Underground Multiplayer Only 2000
Medal of Honor: Frontline 2002
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun 2003
Call of Duty: United Offensive 2004
Call of Duty 3 2006
Medal of Honor: Vanguard 2007
Call of Duty: World at War 2008

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
When Trumpets Fade Frank Whaley Chamberlain 1998

M20 "Super Bazooka" (3.5" Rocket)

M20 "Super Bazooka" with rocket - 3.5"
  • Larger warhead for greater armor penetration
  • Usable range was extended by an additional 150 meters.
  • Replaced the M9A1 in 1950.

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
The Steel Helmet Richard Loo Sgt. “Buddha Head” Tanaka 1951
War of the Worlds, The (1953) U.S.Army soldiers and Marines 1953
Them! U.S.Army soldiers 1954
To Hell and Back U.S.Army soldier anachronistic 1955
Pork Chop Hill U.S. Army soldiers 1959
Reptilicus Carl Ottosen Gen. Mark Grayson 1961
The Longest Day U.S.Army soldier 1963
The Devil's Brigade U.S.Army soldier anachronistic 1968
The Conspiracy (Le complot) Simón Andreu Baudry 1973
OAS fighters
The Eagle Has Landed Jeff Conaway Lt. Frazier anachronistic 1976
The Eagle Has Landed U.S. Army Rangers anachronistic 1976
Code Name: Wild Geese General Khan's soldiers 1984
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah American troops Replica 1991
Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth JGSDF personnel 1992
The General's Daughter 1999
Tae Guk Gi South Korean soldiers 2004
Sahara (2005) Tuareg tribesmen 2005

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
Viper Vigilante gang leader Ep. "Turf Wars" 1996-1999
Sanctuary U.S. Airborne soldier Ep. "Normandy" 2011

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
Project Reality: Falklands 2012
Project Reality: Vietnam 2012

Anime

Title Characters Notation Date
Hyper Police Naoko Kondo 1997

Animation

Title Characters Notation Date
The Iron Giant U.S. Army soldiers 1999

M20B1 "Super Bazooka" (3.5" Rocket)

M20B1 "Super Bazooka" - 3.5"
  • Lighter weight version - made of cast aluminum.
  • Used as a supplement to the M20

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
Them! James Whitmore Trooper Sgt. Ben Peterson 1954
71: Into the Fire Seung-woo Kim Captain Kang Suk-Dae 2010

Anime

Title Characters Notation Date
Mad Bull 34 N.Y.P.D. S.W.A.T. officer 1990

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
On Wings of Eagles Revolutionary 1986

M20A1/A1B1 "Super Bazooka" (3.5" Rocket)

M20A1 "Super Bazooka" - 3.5" Rocket
M20A1B1 "Super Bazooka" - 3.5" Rocket
  • Entered production in 1952 - issued to troops after end of Korean War
  • Improved connector latch assembly.
  • Standard AT weapon until advent of light weapons (LAW) and heavier weapons (Dragon) for AT use in the 1960s.

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
OSS 117: Mission for a Killer (Furia à Bahia pour OSS 117) Brazilian soldiers 1965
Vigilante Force Kris Kristofferson Aaron Arnold 1976
Vigilante Force Shelly Novack D.O. Viner 1976
Black List (Liste noire) Gang members 1984
Born on the Fourth of July A US marine 1989
Cyber Tracker A rebel Visually modified 1994
Operation Chromite North Korean soldier and US Marines anachronistic appearance 2016

Anime

Title Characters Notation Date
Kochikame, The UFO Movie

Video Games

Title Appears as Mods Notation Date
Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine 1999
Resident Evil Survivor 2000


Spanish M-65 Rocket Launcher

Spanish M65 Rocket Launcher 88.9mm
  • Spanish Upgrade of the Bazooka

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
Battle of the Bulge Charles Bronson Wolenski 1965
Lost Command Algerians 1966
From Hell to Victory George Hamilton Maurice Bernard 1979
From Hell to Victory US Army soldiers 1979

See also

Panzerschreck (The German copy of the M1 Bazooka)

PIAT (British equivalent)




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