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Original U.S. Deactivated M20 A1 B1 3.5 Inch Super Bazooka Rocket Launcher with Inert 1953 Dated Practice Rocket

Regular price $1,195.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only one set available. Once plentiful on the collector's market, these have become extremely hard to find and this example is offered in very good condition, having been repainted post service. This is the real McCoy, all cast aluminum two-piece take down construction, inert and deactivated to BATF specs.

Unloaded or dummy grenades, artillery shell casings, and similar devices, which are cut or drilled in an BATF-approved manner so that they cannot be used as ammunition components for destructive devices, are not considered NFA weapons. This example is in total compliance and is NOT AVAILABLE FOR EXPORT.

Partially Marked on the rear portion-

A 1501

Based on the style of markings, this was most likely made under agreement with the United States by the Rifle Factory Ishapore, India, and is identical to the U.S. made version. It is in great shape, with the original wooden grip featuring a working trigger and safety mechanism, and the loading lever at the rear is still movable as well. Comes complete with an original optical sight, which is in very good shape, and it actually still has the rubber eye piece! It is slightly cracked but we almost always see these missing the eyepiece.

The bazooka still breaks down properly, though the two pieces do not lock together, as it looks like the rear portion is slightly out of spec. This may be due to the crack that developed in the body around the bore-width hole required by the BATF, which is stable, and probably developed due to heat or stress in the metal. Light weight and assembles to approximately 60 inches in overall length.

The included practice round still is dated 1952 on the ignition portion, which no longer has the safety or the cap, and is both stamped and paint marked 53 on the inert warhead.

A great Bazooka launcher with round set, ready to display!

Facts of the Rocket Launcher, M20 "Super Bazooka":
- Large 3.5 in (90 mm) diameter warhead
- Could penetrate up to 11 inches (280 mm) of armor
- Extended range by about 150 m
- Originally a larger version of the M9A1, designated M20 in late 1944.
- Entered active service just before the start of the Korean War.
- Lightweight version with barrels made of cast aluminum, other components simplified
- Rocket Launcher, M20A1/A1B1 "Super Bazooka" was a product-improved variant with improved connector latch assembly, entering production in 1952.

Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless anti-tank rocket launcher weapon, widely deployed by the United States Army, especially during World War II. Also referred to as the "stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was among the first generation of rocket-propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat. Featuring a solid-propellant rocket for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine. The universally applied nickname arose from the M1 variant's vague resemblance to the musical instrument called a "bazooka" invented and popularized by 1930s American comedian Bob Burns.

During World War II, the German armed forces captured several bazookas in early North African and Eastern Front encounters and soon reverse engineered their own version, increasing the warhead diameter to 8.8 cm (among other minor changes) and widely issuing it as the Raketenpanzerbüchse "Panzerschreck" ("rocket anti-armor rifle 'tank scare'"). Near the end of the war, the Japanese developed a similar weapon, the Type 4 70 mm AT rocket launcher, which featured a rocket propelled grenade of a different design.
The term "bazooka" still sees informal use as a generic term referring to any ground-to-ground shoulder-fired missile weapon (mainly rocket propelled grenade launchers or recoilless rifles), and as an expression that "heavy measures" are being taken.

The success of the more powerful German Panzerschreck caused the bazooka to be completely redesigned at the close of World War II. A larger, 3.5 in (89 mm) model was adopted, the M20 "super bazooka". Though bearing a superficial resemblance to the Panzerschreck, the M20 had a greater effective range, penetrating capability and was nearly 20% lighter than its German counterpart. The M20 weighed 14.3 pounds (6.5 kg) and fired a hollow shaped-charge 9 lb (4 kg) M28A2 HEAT rocket when used in an anti-tank role. It was also operated by a two-man team and had a rate of fire of six shots per minute.

As with its predecessor, the M20 could also fire rockets with either practice (M29A2) or WP smoke (T127E3/M30) warheads. Having learned from experience of the sensitivity of the bazooka and its ammunition to moisture and harsh environments, the ammunition for the new weapon was packaged in moisture-resistant packaging, and the M20's field manual contained extensive instructions on launcher lubrication and maintenance, as well as storage of rocket ammunition. When prepared for shipment from the arsenal, the weapon was protected by antifungal coatings over all electrical contacts, in addition to a cosmoline coating in the hand-operated magneto that ignited the rocket. Upon issue, these coatings were removed with solvent to ready the M20 for actual firing. However, budget cutbacks initiated by Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson in the years following World War II effectively canceled the intended widespread issue of the M20, and initial U.S. forces deploying to Korea were armed solely with the M9/M9A1 2.36-in. launcher and old stockpiled World War II inventories of M6A3 rocket ammunition.

At the outbreak of the Korean War, the South Korean military had 1,958 M9A1 rocket launchers that were given from the U.S. Forces Korea during withdrawal in 1948 to 1949, and they were the only anti-tank firearms that the Korean military had secured sufficient quantities. The South Korean military actively operated rocket launchers against North Korean armor. However, the 2.36-inch rocket launcher failed to show its power against the front armor of T-34-85, which was the biggest threat. The South Korean military responded by firing rockets into the side, rear, or track through ambushes, but it did not have much effect.

At the same time, the U.S. military dispatched its first troops to the Korean Peninsula without trusting reports that a 2.36-inch rocket could not destroy North Korean tanks. On July 5, 1950, during the Battle of Osan, Task Force Smith tried to stop North Korean tanks with 2.36-inch rocket launchers and 75 mm recoilless rifles but was overrun by 33 T-34-85s. One of the North Korean T-34 received a total of 22 shots on the side and rear at about 10 meters in distance, but survived the attack.

On July 8, Colonel Robert R. Martin, commander of the 34th Regiment of the 24th U.S. Division, was killed while operating a 2.36-inch rocket launcher to prevent North Korean tanks from advancing. Additionally, ordnance authorities received numerous combat reports regarding the failure of the M6A3 warhead to properly detonate upon impact, eventually traced to inventories of rocket ammunition that had deteriorated from numerous years of storage in humid or salt air environments. Therefore, the U.S. Army immediately airlifted a small number of available M20 Super Bazookas from the U.S. mainland after learning that it needed more powerful rockets. The rockets were deployed during the Battle of Taejon on July 18, and proved their power by destroying a number of North Korean tanks that entered the city on July 20. As a result, the U.S. Army rushed to secure more M20 rockets and was able to hold more than 900 Super Bazookas during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. The South Korean military also began receiving M20 in early August, and successfully destroyed 4 tanks with M20s during their first usage on 9 August.

Large numbers of 2.36-inch bazookas that were captured during the Chinese Civil War were also employed by the Chinese forces against the American Sherman and Patton tanks, and the Chinese later reverse engineered and produced a copy of the M20 designated the Type 51. It is considered that the Communist-used bazookas destroyed more tanks than the UN bazookas did.

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