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M1 Rocket Launcher
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

M1 Rocket Launcher

Date: 1942
Catalog #: 67438M    Accession #: 243351
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


General Electric (Builder)

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 11" H x 55" W x 3.5" D

Physical Description

M1 Rocket Launcher, 60 mm, known as a “Bazooka.”

General History

The United States had a growing stockpile of excellent anti-tank warheads but they lacked a suitable delivery system. Colonel Leslie Skinner, a US Army officer at the Ordnance Proving Ground was an enthusiastic proponent of rockets. He soon suggested carrying the hollow charge at the tip of a high-speed rocket. He built a rocket to carry a grenade body. Then he took a modified 60mm mortar tube and demonstrated the destructive force of his new weapon in front of high-ranking Generals. The officers who had gathered to see the official demonstrations of other weapons were suitably impressed and Skinner's weapon was ordered into production immediately. The new weapon was soon modified for production and month later, in May 1942, General Electric had built 5,000 ready for combat. The first model was known as the Rocket Launcher M1. The caliber of 60mm or 2.36in was determined by the grenade used as the warhead, which were already in production. The Bazooka got its nickname for its similar shape to the popular 30's and 40's radio comedian Bob Burns’ musical instrument, a home-made trombone he called a "Bazooka".


War: World War II
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