The birth of "Bazuki"
Before World War II, the US military leadership showed no interest in developing jet weapons. Although successful experience in the design of combat missiles in the United States was available from the end of the First World War.
In the interwar period, work on the creation of jet weapons in the United States was practically not conducted. Only with the approach of the new war among the American military did the interest in it appear. In 1939, the artillery and technical directorate decided to start work on an anti-tank infantry weapon on a reactive principle. However, by the time the United States entered the war, the American army still did not have such weapons.
With the start of World War II, the American command came to the conclusion that the army was in dire need of an effective and sufficiently compact anti-tank weapon that would fill the gap between rifle grenades and 37-mm anti-tank guns. In 1930-s. The US Army adopted several rifle anti-tank grenades, which were fired using special nozzles mounted on the rifle barrel. The most powerful of them was the cumulative M10 grenade, which, however, caused many complaints. When fired, the large size and weight (it was 1,6 kg) of the grenades resulted in strong recoil, which negatively affected
The T1 grenade launcher - the prototype 60-mm M1 anti-tank missile launcher and the German Pantsershrek grenade launcher
arrow and weapon. In the same years, work was carried out in the United States to create anti-tank weapons based on a recoilless principle. Their use was adversely affected by the use of a high-explosive charge in ammunition, which prevented the creation of a truly powerful anti-tank weapon.
Success came only in 1942 thanks to the decision of captain Leslie A. Skinner and Lieutenant Edward G. Youle. They combined the combat part of the M10 grenade and the rocket engine, which led to the appearance of the world's first anti-tank grenade launcher. AT history A new weapon came under the name of Bazooka ("Bazooka") - in honor of the giant trombone comedian and jazz musician Bob Burns. This name almost became a household word, because at one time in most countries of the world it was so called generally all anti-tank grenade launchers.
The rocket launcher received the M1 index and the full official name 2,36-inch Anti-Tank Rocket launcher M1 - “2,36-inch anti-tank missile system M1”. Index for grenades - MB. The choice of the caliber 60 mm (2.36 ") was directly connected with the M10 grenade, or rather, with the diameter of its head.
The demand for the new weapon was so great that immediately after testing the prototype, which had the T1 index, General Electric in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was instructed to start production of the M1 rocket launcher another month before its adoption. Officially, the Bazooka M1 entered service on 24 June 1942. Their first batch consisted of 5000 grenade launchers M1 and 25 LLC rocket grenades MB. Subsequently, the release of ammunition was adjusted to the company EG Budd Company from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The rush to start production was due to the fact that the US Army was preparing for the landing operation "Torch" ("Torch") in North Africa.
By the principle of operation, the M1 anti-tank rocket launcher belonged to a dynamo weapon and consisted of a smooth-walled 137 cm-long steel pipe open on both sides, an electric ignition device, a safety box with a contact rod, sighting devices and a shoulder rest. The mass of the grenade launcher was 8 kg. The electric igniter, which served to ignite the reactive charge of the grenade, consisted of two dry batteries (it was supposed to have a spare set), a signal light bulb, electrical wiring and a contact switch (trigger). The wiring was performed on a single-wire circuit, the pipe itself served as the second wire. Dry batteries and a warning light were inside the shoulder rest. The warning light on the left side of the shoulder rest was intended to monitor the condition of the weapon and lit when the trigger was pulled, indicating that the batteries and wiring were in good condition.
A pistol grip under the middle part of the barrel and an additional grip for the left hand in front under the barrel served to hold the weapon. A wire ring was attached to the rear section of the pipe, protecting the pipe from contamination and facilitating the insertion of a grenade, as well as a spring-loaded latch. In addition to keeping the grenade from falling out, it served the function of shorting the electrical circuit to ground.
Drawing "2,36-inch anti-tank rocket launcher M1"
The sights consisted of a rear hinged viewfinder and a front frame symmetrically located on both sides of the trunk with three front sights. Each fly corresponds to a certain range from 100 to 300 yards (from 91 to 275 m).
The reactive grenade MB used for firing consisted of a ballistic cap head, a shaped charge, a coupling in which an inertial fuse was placed, safety checks, a jet chamber with a charge of tubular pyroxylin powder, an electric fuse, a nozzle with a nozzle and tail feathers. One wire of the electric igniter was soldered to the contact ring on the ballistic cap, the second to the stabilizer tail.
Grenade length 540 mm, diameter 60 mm. The mass was 1550 g, of which 220 g accounted for explosives - pentolite, and 75 g for reactive charge. Penetration - 90 mm homogeneous armor. The engine accelerated the rocket grenade to 85 m / s. Pomegranate was painted in olive color, in contrast to the training M7, completely painted in black.
Each grenade in the finished saw was placed in a cardboard closure, the lid of which was sealed with adhesive tape for tightness. 20 closures were placed in a wooden box, on the side surface of which the inscription was applied through a stencil: 20 ROCKETS AT, No.6. When storing grenades, it was necessary to protect them from sharp shocks and blows, not to remove them unnecessarily from closures, and when retrieving to monitor the durability and reliability of setting safety checks. The packing of training grenades is the same as the combat ones, but the inscription on the box, as well as on the case of grenades: PRAC-T2.
The loading process of the Bazooka M1 by modern standards was quite complex. The breaker lever of the safety box lowered to the “SAFE” position. The charger took out a rocket grenade from the capping, then squeezing the spring-loaded latch with one hand, inserted the grenade into the pipe with the other hand (removing the safety check} and released the latch, which should have jumped over the cutout on the stabilizer. Before the shot, the disconnector lever was raised to the position “FIRE” ", Lowering the contact rod that touched the contact ring on the grenade.
Safety box "Bazooki" M1
Safety box mechanism
After the grenade was inserted into the barrel, the loader had to be positioned so as not to fall into the range of the gas of the rocket engine and shout the arrow “Finish”. In the manufacture of the shot, as well as the transfer of fire, it was necessary to carefully ensure that behind a charged grenade launcher there were no people, ammunition or combustible materials. The loader was required to be especially careful when carrying fire, so as not to get injured. The calculation was supposed to wear gas masks without filters and gloves to protect against burns. It was necessary to do this in the first place in the winter, when due to the low temperature there was not a complete combustion of gunpowder in the engine of a grenade. Subsequently, the gas mask was replaced by a special protective mask made of rubberized fabric with goggles.
If for any reason the shot did not occur (the weapon failed or the target left the affected area), the grenade launcher was required to defuse. To do this, it was necessary to squeeze the latch on the barrel and remove the grenade, then insert a safety slip and part its ends. Handle with a grenade, from which extracted safety check, followed with extreme caution.
The first batch of 600 "Bazook" in September 1942 received English units in Suez. However, they did not get into the troops, as they were immediately sent to the warehouse, and for the first time in combat, the Americans used jet grenade launchers only during the operation.
60-mm (2.36 ") M6 reactive cumulative grenade
An American soldier poses with the Bazooka M1A1 and Pantsershrek. Noticeable difference in size and caliber of grenade launchers
"Torch". The first successful use of Bazook was recorded in Tunisia in the spring of 1943.
Cumulative ammunition with an armor penetration of 90 mm made it possible to successfully hit even “on the forehead” German and Italian Tanks all types at ranges up to 200 m. The capabilities of the weapons were adversely affected by the large dispersion of rocket-propelled grenades, which significantly reduced the maximum range of effective fire. However, this disadvantage was considered admissible. The Germans, who managed to capture several copies, also got acquainted with the Bazookas. After careful study on their basis for the Wehrmacht were developed grenade launchers "Offenrohr" and "Panzerschreck".
As expected, in the process of production and operation of the "Bazooki", like any new weapon, revealed shortcomings. The length of the pipe made it inconvenient to move the calculation on the march, the dry batteries of the electric igniter were not sufficiently reliable, and the heated gases coming out of the barrel forced the use of an anti-gas mask to protect the face. The serious design flaws of the first jet grenades became a serious problem. There were frequent ruptures of the barrel when shooting in hot weather, which ceased with a change in the reactive charge. At low temperatures, not all of the charge was burnt, as a result of which the gases burned the shooter’s face. Completely get rid of failures in the engine of a grenade was possible only when a charge was created, which worked well both at elevated and at low temperatures.
The Bazuka underwent the first modernization a year after the start of production, when in summer 1943 was put into serial production with a slightly improved modification М1А1 and МХNUMXА6 ammunition to it. The 1 1 was adopted for the 1X5 in July. In total, the 1943 1 942 M1944 and 11 2 7901 grenade launchers were manufactured by the 59 932 1 1.
The weight of the M1А1 decreased to 6,8 kg while maintaining the same length. The effective range of fire was 140 m. Maximum 350 m. The calculation consisted of two people - an arrow and loader.
To prevent rupture of the pipe when fired, part of it from the ring in the rear section of the pipe to the middle of the shoulder rest was reinforced with steel wire winding. From the front handle, it was decided to give up. To protect the gunner from the powder gases, a protective screen made of metal mesh doubled the diameter of the barrel appeared on the front section of the barrel. It was fastened with a special latch and could be easily removed. Due to the fact that the screen at the front end of the pipe interfered with the observation of the battlefield, it was rarely used and was subsequently replaced with a muzzle. The frame with the flies was now attached only to the left side of the trunk. The grenade launcher had no safety devices. It was decided to abandon the circuit breaker in the electrical circuit. This led to the fact that the weapon was transferred to the firing position immediately after installing the batteries and closing the battery compartment lid.
The design of the M6А1 rocket grenade has also undergone significant changes. The wire of the electric fuse, which was previously attached to the contact ring on the ballistic cap, now had to be connected to one of the two contacts. During storage and transportation of a reactive grenade, the wire was placed in a collapsed state in the stabilizer and unwound only after the grenade was inserted into the pipe. Grenades М6А1 were painted in olive color. The length of the new grenade was 548 mm, weight 1,59 kg.
Schematic representation of the electric ignition device and the electrical wiring of the M1А1 grenade launcher - The breech of the M1А1 grenade launcher. The wire ring and the contact on the side of the barrel, as well as the parts that make up the spring-loaded latch, are clearly visible.
For training used rocket grenade М7А1. Due to the fact that an explosive was removed from the head of the M7А1, a metal rod was screwed into the fuse point to compensate for its mass. Pomegranate is completely painted black.
The M6 and M6А1 rocket grenades could only be used with “their” grenade launcher modifications, respectively with the M1 and M1А1, which caused difficulties with both the supply and maintenance of Bazuk and the training of calculations.
Due to the modifications made to the design of the reactive grenade, the loading process has also changed. Now the wire from the electric igniter grenades connected to one of two contacts located behind the sides of the barrel, for which it was necessary only to make a couple of turns around it.
Massively, American troops began to receive the M1А1 by the time they landed in Normandy, and until the end of 1 944, this modification of Bazuki remained basic in the US Army.
The appearance of the Germans of new heavy tanks, as well as the build-up of armor in medium tanks (frontal armor thickness increased from 40 - 60 mm to 80 - 100 mm, airborne protivokumulyatnye screens appeared), forced to speed up work on further modernization of anti-tank weapons.
In July, the 1943 grenade launcher M2,36 was adopted by the American army, and first of all the parachutists, in which they tried to take into account all the shortcomings of the previous models. It should be noted that the word "anti-tank" has disappeared from the official name "Bazooka" М9. This indicates a change in the role of the grenade launcher, which has now become not only an anti-tank infantry weapon, but also its main fire support, along with an 9-mm mortar and a large-caliber machine gun.
The trunk of the Bazooka M9 was made of light metal and consisted of two parts, which were joined together only before shooting, and on the march the grenade launcher was transferred in a disassembled state. Although the length of the pipe was increased to 1550 mm, this did not affect the mass of the weapon. Too sensitive to damp and cold batteries were replaced by a more reliable induction generator mounted in the pistol grip. On the left side of the handle placed lever safety mechanism. When loading the "Bazooka" it was shifted down to the "SAFE" position, and raised to the "FIRE" position before the shot.
American paratrooper with "Bazuki" М1А1
American Rangers with Bazuki М1А1 on the landing craft. Middle 1944
Instead of the wooden “Bazooka”, the M9 received a light aluminum shoulder rest of the frame type, and a socket was installed instead of a protective shield. The simplest sights were replaced with an optical sight mounted on a folding base to the left barrel, which allowed aiming at distances from 46 to 640 m.
Based on the experience of hostilities in Italy, measures are being taken to increase armor penetration. It turned out that the Bazuki could not penetrate the frontal armor of the Tigers and Panthers, whose thickness reached 100 - 180 mm, and the mounted screens made it almost impossible to defeat tanks in the side. According to an observer of the American Artillery and Technical Bureau, during the battles on Sicily in 1943, the Tiger was managed only after a precise hit from the Bazooka into the viewing slot of the driver.
As a result of the measures taken for the M6А1, a new rocket grenade appeared with the round head part of the M6АZ. Its appearance was caused by the desire to reduce the possibility of rebound when hitting the target from large angles. Changes have undergone stabilizer, replaced by a cylindrical (which had a positive effect on the stability of the grenade in flight) and facing the cumulative notch. Replacing steel with copper in cladding made it possible to increase armor penetration to 100 mm of homogeneous armor (albeit in ideal conditions, i.e. at an angle of contact 90 degrees). The M6AZ weighed 1,53 kg and had a length of 47,5 cm. There were no other changes. The engine of the grenade, despite the fact that the combustion of the propellant charge ended before the grenade departed from the launch tube, allowed it to accelerate to 85 m / s. That was enough to reach the range of 350 m. The effective range was 110 m.
In addition, the range of ammunition for "Bazook" increased - anti-tank smoke and anti-personnel fragmentation grenades were added to the anti-tank, which significantly increased the combat capabilities of the weapon. Grenades М19А1 and М10, filled with white phosphorus, besides creating a smoke screen, had a good incendiary effect. Smoke grenades М22, equipped with smoke charges of red, yellow, violet and green color, were actively used for targeting. In addition, an incendiary T10 grenade designed with the M31 and a phosgene equipped chemical M26 (based on the M1 0X2) were adopted. For training served as a rocket grenade M7AZ. Unlike МХNUMXА7, the pomegranate was painted in two colors - in the olive engine compartment and in the blue head part.
"Bazooku" М9А1 adopted on April 1944. It had a full length of 1 550 mm (527 mm in a disassembled position) and a mass of 7,2 kg. For firing were used rocket grenades М6АЗ / С and М7А1. The charge of the M6AZ / C grenade from 226 g of pentolite made it possible to hit armor with a thickness of up to 120 mm. Ammunition speed from 82 to 85 m / s. The effective range of fire was 110, the maximum - to 350. 10 rate of fire per minute.
The first M9 grenade launchers in August of 1944 were American paratroopers in the south of France. The first cases of their combat use also belong to this time. Until October, the 1944 of the Bazooka М9 and М9А1 began to arrive in other units, and since January 1945, they were already in large numbers in service with the combat units, especially infantry, reconnaissance and airborne. At the same time, the Bazooka М1А1 remained in service with the divisions of management, maintenance and supplies until the end of the war.
The main production of the bazooka M9 and M9A1 was established at General Electric, but in July 1 944 with the Cheney Bigelow Wire Works plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, signed a contract for the production of such grenade launchers 40000. The production of the M9А1 began at both firms in September 1944. However, due to the fact that it was not possible to start the mass production of the M9 until August 1944, the General Electric continued to manufacture the Bazooki М1А1.
In April, 1945 adopted the latest modification of the 60-mm Bazuki, which received the M18 index. The main difference between the new grenade launcher (apparently it practically did not differ from the М9А1) was the use of aluminum in the production of the barrel.
This made it possible to reduce the mass of the Bazuki by more than two kilograms and made it less susceptible to the influence of the tropical climate. Among the external differences were: replacement of the wire ring in the rear section of the pipe with a conical socket, which facilitated loading; installation of a rubber eyecup and a protective cap on the sight, changing the location of the scale of the sight. Prior to the termination of the contract for their production after the surrender by Japan, 350 grenade launchers of this modification managed to get to the front for testing. A total of 26087 "Bazook" М9, 27781 9 М9А1 and 500 М1 8 was released.
A few words must be said about the specially designed shelters for calculations "Bazook". The presence of a danger zone behind a grenade launcher — about 23 m in 60-mm and about 32 m in 88,9-mm — made it difficult to use it in a trench. To safely handle this weapon at a trench or rifle cell, the rear parapet should have been very low or completely absent. During World War II, the Americans designed two types of rifle cells for Bazook.
One is a round hole with a 120 diameter of cm and a depth of 105 cm, in the middle of which an additional depression is made with a diameter and depth of 60. See Boilvier, a shelter designed for two people, was not. When firing, the calculation could reliably cover itself, sitting on the bottom of the cell and dropping its legs into the central recess.
The second had a more complex device. The bazuki shooting cell was a pit with a 90 cm diameter and a 105 depth cm, surrounded by a parapet of height near 30. At the time of the shot, the loader could bend down and, hidden behind the parapet, be below the shooter outside the danger zone. However, the cell did not provide protection for the calculation during the shelling. To do this, on either side of her at a distance of 150, single trenches were dug (the so-called one-men foxhole).
"Bazooki" in the US military
The Bazuki Ml, М1А1, М9 and М9А1 remained in the American army the main means of infantry fighting with tanks at short distances throughout the Second World War and during the first stage of the Korean war. By the end of the war, the combat capabilities of the American troops, due to the large saturation of reactive anti-tank weapons, increased many times. The infantry division had at least 557 anti-tank grenade launchers distributed across all units. According to the 1943 staff, the Bazook 16 was assigned to the infantry battalion. By July 1 943, their number increased to 25, and by February 1944 to 29. The battalion headquarters had two grenade launchers in the staff company, two in the sapper equipment and ammunition section, and one in the communications platoon. In the company of heavy weapons, the Bazuki were distributed as follows - two per machine-gun platoon (two platoons in the company) and 6 in a mortar platoon, according to 2 "Bazooki" per section.
In rifle companies to 1944, the number of grenade launchers increased from three to five - one "Bazook" was used by the company headquarters and four in infantry platoons. The commanders used them in their own discretion, depending on the situation. Although the calculation of the grenade launcher consisted of two people, four more people in the unit could handle this weapon. But in the anti-tank platoon the number of "Bazook" by the end of the war, on the contrary, decreased. If earlier on each of the three calculations 57-mm guns were supposed two grenade launchers, then with 1944, their number was reduced by half.
The infantrymen usually carried the Bazuki themselves, and in other combat arms they were transported in vehicles. Sometimes attempts were made to combine a grenade launcher and a vehicle. In January, the 1945 mounted on a Willys jeep was a paired Bazook unit used in the 60 regiment of the 9 infantry division. The installation had a simple design - on the standard rack for the 12,7-mm М2 machine gun with four metal half-arches two M1А1 grenade launchers were mounted on the plate. The jeep's cabin was armored in front and sides — probably with gun shields cut and welded in place. The calculation of this mini-ACS consisted of three people.
60-mm (2.36 ”) M7AZ reactive training grenade - 60-mm (2.36”) M6А5 reactive cumulative grenade and M7А5 reactive training grenade
Reactive cumulative grenade МХNUMXА6. Appearance, section and diagram. The pomegranate was created after the end of the Second World War and was intended for the Bazook МХNUMXА5 and М9. It had increased to 1 mm armor penetration and a new, safer to handle, fuse, similar to what will be used in 18-mm (150 ") grenades" Bazuki "М88,9
In Italy, at the beginning of the winter 1945, one of the American divisions used a jeep with a more complex structure in the body. On the installation of the machine gun M2 were already fixed four "Bazooka".
The largest number of rocket launchers was at the disposal of the motorized infantry battalion. On a rifle company in 1944, they were supposed to be 15 units - one for each armored personnel carrier. In semi-tracked armored personnel carriers М3 and М3А1 a rocket launcher was mounted on the right side of the fuel tank. Three more “Bazooki” were transported in armored personnel carriers of the company headquarters and in a truck belonging to the service of administration, food and supplies. On one grenade launcher there was in the armored personnel carriers of the commanders of the mortar platoon and the platoon of assault guns, as well as in the semi-tracked armored personnel carrier of the reconnaissance platoon. In the auxiliary armament of the M21 armored personnel carriers of the mortar platoon, besides the machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with six rounds was also included.
In the headquarters of reconnaissance companies of infantry and motorized infantry battalions, four Bazuki were transported in semi-tracked armored personnel carriers. The command-staff machines M20 were equipped with a grenade launcher, which was placed in the fighting compartment - laying was provided for the M9А1 (ten grenades М6АЗ) along the side of the hull.
The airborne forces, consisting of parachute and glider units, after landing, could count on the only anti-tank weapon - "Bazuku". In the parachute battalion, anti-tank grenade launchers were turned over to platoons of rifle companies, four each a company. Three pieces each had a battalion headquarters company, machine-gun and mortar platoons. Rifleman battalion companies in 1943-44 possessed sixty "Bazuki" at the company headquarters. М9 and М9А1 fully met the requirements of paratroopers, allowing them to parachute fighters along with weapons and ammunition. Three jet grenades were placed in a paratrooper container paratrooper.
In the units of the Marine Corps and Rangers "Bazuki" were distributed among the platoons. The ranger battalion had at least 12 grenade launchers. In the Marines, their number and distribution depended on the type of battalion. Forced to adapt to the difficult conditions of the Pacific theater, the US Marine Corps was looking for the most effective combination of different types of weapons, which directly affected the number of "Bazook" in the units.
The Marine Corps F division (May 1944) possessed 172 M1A1 rocket launchers - 43 per regiment (16 units in a regimental company of weapons and 27 in three battalions). At the end of the war, after the transfer of the Marine Corps divisions to state G (January – September 1945), the number of Bazuk was reduced to 153, but now it was МХNUMXА9. In these divisions, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launchers, along with flamethrowers and subversive charges, were assembled in battalion assault sapper platoons. Statewide, the 1 of the M12-2 flamethrowers and eight Bazooks were assigned to the platoon.
Coupled installation of "Bazook" М1А1, mounted on the "Willis"
In the airborne commando battalions of the marines, rocket-propelled grenades replaced the Boyes 111.
Attempts have been made to find application for the Bazookas in aviation and navy.
In aviation, this was done privately on the own initiative of the pilots who installed the M1А1 jet grenade launchers on communication planes and adjustments to the Piper L-4 "Grasshopper" and Stinson / Consolidated L-5. On the struts under the wings were mounted from two to six "Bazook", which had altered the mechanism of the electric ignition device and the trigger mechanism is put into the cabin.
Sometimes when describing the P-47D "Thunderbolt" and P-51 "Mustang" fighters, the installation of the "Bazooka" grenade launchers is mentioned. In fact, the M1 0 tubular guides for launching 114,3-mm unguided missiles M-8 and MX-241 are mistaken for grenade launchers.
In the fleet in August-October 1943, on the initiative of the commander of the 25 squadron of torpedo boats, tests were conducted on a six-barreled rocket launcher, designated Mark 1 ("Sextuple Bazooka"). They planned to arm torpedo boats and gunboats PGM operating in the Pacific.
Installation Mark 1 was designed to deal with small landing ships and small supply vessels of the Japanese. It was assumed that six jet grenades would be enough to defeat targets of this type.
Tests confirmed the possibility of using a rocket launcher to combat small vessels, but revealed a number of flaws in the new weapon. It turned out that, despite the maximum range of fire in 400 m, aimed shooting is possible only at a distance of 90 m. The lack of tracers on rocket grenades also adversely affected the shooting, which made it impossible to correct the fire during a miss. But it was deemed permissible, since it was possible to make subsequent shots, correcting the fire at the breaks. There were cases of non-triggering of grenade fuses when hitting the water or when they hit the wooden structures of the vessel. There was a question about the location of the installation on the ship, since it was necessary to protect the crew members, deck and superstructures from the effects of powder gases.
The Mark 1 launcher consisted of two blocks of three M1А1 grenade launchers each, fastened on both sides of the frame, attached to the swivel. The swivel was used for pointing the launcher in the vertical and horizontal plane. The gunner was located between the blocks and controlled the installation with a shoulder rest and a pistol grip with a trigger, located under the right-hand block. On the early model of the installation, mesh screens were installed to protect the gunner from powder gases
like those that were on the M1A1. Subsequently, they were replaced by a transparent shield fixed on the frame between the blocks. The sight consisted of a reticle and a front frame with front sights. The fire was carried out only by single shots. The Mark 1 launcher was serviced by a two-person designation - a gunner and a loader, and could be mounted on a stand from 7,62-mm or 12,7-mm machine guns. Used for firing ammunition from the "Bazooka" М1А1. It was planned that after the release of reactive lighting grenades would be set up (which was never done), the Mark 1 installation could be used to illuminate targets at night.
The Mark 1 was armed with several PGM gunboats and torpedo boats, including from the 25 squadron, which in October 1943 sailed to the Pacific Ocean. There is no reliable information about the effectiveness of the use of Mark 1 jet units. However, with a gradual increase in armament of torpedo boats - from a pair of large-caliber machine guns and 20-mm automatic guns in 1 943, to an impressive set of 40-, 35- and 20-mm automatic guns and guides for 127-mm missiles in 1945. , need for Mark 1 disappeared. This was all the more true of PGM gunboats, usually armed with an 76-mm gun, two X-NUMX-mm automatic Bofors guns, six 40-mm Oerlikons and a paired 20-mm machine gun. The gunboats and torpedo boats successfully used 12,7-mm mortars to illuminate targets at night.
If at the maritime theater of military operations in the Pacific Ocean “Bazukas” didn’t notice anything, on the land they showed themselves in all their glory. They were first widely used during the invasion of Saipan. On the night of 15 on 16 on June 1944, fighters from the special units of the Japanese marines, supported by several amphibious Kami tanks, made a sally and landed in the Garapan area on the left flank of the north coast of the island. American marines who launched lightning rockets to observe the terrain, quickly found tanks and shot them with anti-tank grenade launchers and cannons. The same fate befell the tanks of the 9 Tank Regiment that participated in the large-scale counterattack of the island’s garrison on the night of 16 on June 17. The tanks, which were on the point of attack, were forced to move around the open area and were clearly visible by the light of the shells fired from the ships, were stopped by the fire “Bazook” and 37-mm cannons.
The fighting in the Pacific theater demonstrated the vulnerability of Japanese light and medium tanks - these machines were calmly struck by the fire of anti-tank grenade launchers, tank and anti-tank guns. Particularly vulnerable Japanese tanks were in the jungle, where the calculations "Bazook" could act from cover.
In Japan, after examining the American grenade launchers captured in 1943 and the Panzerschreck received from the Germans, they began to create their own anti-tank anti-tank weapons. By the middle of next year, the work was completed and after testing in July 1944, the 70-mm 4 Type rocket launcher entered the imperial Japanese army.
Armored protection of medium and heavy tanks in Germany, Italy, Japan and the USSR
|Armor thickness, mm:|
|Tanks||forehead||board||stern||brow tower||board tower|
|Pz.Kpfw III.Ausf.N||50 + 20||30||50||50||30|
|Pz.Kpfw IV.Ausf.E||30 + 30||20 + 20||20||30||20|
|Pz.Kpfw VI.Ausf.HI (E)||100||82||82||100||82|
|M13 / 40||30||25||25||42||-|
|"2597" ("Shinhoto Chi-Ha")||25||22||25||30||25|
|"Type 1" ("Chi-He")||50||25||20||25||-|
By analogy with the "Bazooka" M9, the Japanese made their grenade disassembled. The assembled Type 4 had a length of 1500 mm and weighed 8 kg. The bipods of the 99 Type machine gun were attached to the front half of the barrel, the pistol grip and trigger mechanism were attached to the rear half of the barrel. However, the Japanese sample had two significant differences that made it different from the German and American counterparts. Stabilization of the rocket in flight was carried out not by the tail, but by the rotation of the grenade caused by the expiration of powder gases from the inclined nozzles in the combustion chamber. The design of the ammunition and its appearance had a lot in common with the 203-mm (8 ") missile.
The cumulative action grenade consisted of a ballistic cap warhead, a percussion fuse (similar to the 81- and 90-mm mortar mines fuse), a cylindrical body, a jet engine, a diaphragm, and a nozzle bottom. A grenade 359 mm in length and a diameter of 72 mm weighed 4,08 kg, of which 700 g accounted for explosives and 260 g for the powder charge of a jet engine, which during operation - 0,4 s, accelerated the rocket to 160 m / s. The maximum range of shooting 750 - 800 m, effective - approx. 100 m. The probability of hitting a target at a distance of 100 m was 60%. Penetration - 80 mm at an angle from 60 ° to 90 °.
Another important difference between Type 4 and Bazooka and Panzerschreka was the replacement of the electric mechanism of ignition of a rocket jet engine by a mechanical one, rough, but reliable. The trigger was connected by a cable attached to the top of the back
the end of the barrel spring-loaded drummer briskly. Before loading, the drummer cocked and locked, and when the trigger was pressed, the cable released the drummer, and he, turning on the axis, smashed the primer cap in the center of the nozzle bottom of the jet grenade.
Due to the fact that the armor penetration type 4 was insufficient to defeat the frontal armor of the American tank M4 "Sherman", a more powerful and heavy 70-mm grenade launcher, with a barrel length 90 and 1500 mm, was developed based on the 1200-mm rocket launcher. The mass of the grenade launcher was approx. 12 kg, grenades 8,6 kg (of which 1,6 kg accounted for explosives and 620 g for powder charge of a jet engine). The initial speed grenades 1 06 m / s, armor penetration - 120 mm. Effective range 100 m.
The 90-mm grenade launcher with an 1500-mm barrel was tested at the end of 1944, and at the beginning of the 1945, both models (with 1 200 and 1500 mm trunks) were adopted by paratroopers. However, it was not possible to start mass production due to the lack of raw materials.
By the end of the war in Japan, 3300 70-mm Type 4 rocket launchers were produced, which were armed with units that were preparing to repel the landing of American troops on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Japanese anti-tank rocket launchers were not used in combat. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces based in 1954 were armed with the American M20 Superbazuka grenade launchers.
To be continued