One of the most well-known rocket-launchers is the bazooka. Bazookas were developed to launch a new 2.36-inch caliber anti-tank rocket that was developed early in World War II. They entered production in 1942. The Bazooka was five feet long and weighed only 13 pounds. It was a breech-loaded configuration with a smooth bore, a feature of most rocket-launchers.
One Happy Soldier with a Bazooka Boarding a C-47, Circa 1942.
Photo: WWII Photos; War Department - U.S. Army.
National Archives and Records Administration.
Still Picture Branch; College Park, MD.
One man could operate a bazooka, but usually a second man loaded the weapon before the other aimed and fired it. Bazooka projectiles could attain velocities of over 25,000 feet per second. The bazooka revolutionized anti-tank warfare and it grew to 3.5-inch caliber by the Korean War. The latter version could pierce armor plate about eleven inches thick at a range of 500 - 800 yards. The modern rocket-launcher that replaced the bazooka is the 66-mm rocket-launcher. Its rocket is preloaded into a disposable launch tube.