Bazooka, a small rocket launcher designed to be used by infantrymen. During World War II and the Korean War, it was employed primarily as an antitank weapon. For this purpose it has been largely superseded by portable guided missiles. Generally, its use is now limited to close-quarter assaults against bunkers and other field fortifications.
The bazooka consists of a hollow tube open at the breech. The weapon has no recoil because the backblast of the rocket escapes at the rear of the tube. Attached to the tube are a trigger mechanism and sights.
The bazooka was developed by the U.S. Army and first used during the invasion of North Africa in 1942. Similar weapons were adopted by most countries. The bazooka was named for a whimsical musical instrument, made out of pipes, devised by a radio comedian.
The early bazookas were awkward to use and required two persons to operate them. In the 1960's the U.S. Army adopted the M-72, a rocket launcher needing only one person to operate it. In the early 1990's the M-72 was replaced by the more accurate and more powerful AT-4 rocket launcher.