I got a call from a young friend who had visited the blog and asked, “Where in the world did you get the rocket launcher?”
Where else, E-bay.”
I have come to realize a few of the treasures I have collected make some of my friends nervous. I must there fore suppose they scare the daylights out of strangers. Perhaps an overview of the more exotic beasties is in order, starting with the M-20 3.5 rocket launcher.
The bazooka of world war two was little more than a prototype rushed into action. The tube was a one piece unit around six feet long which made it clumsy to carry in the field. Loading the weapon, especially after the first round had been fired and your opposite numbers know where you were, can be nerve wracking. Reference BAND OF BROTHERS the DAY OF DAYS episode.
While the gunner held the weapon, the loader was in back feeding the rocket into the rear of the tube. Next wires from the rocket were fitted one at a time to the electrical connectors. Once the connections were made, the loaded got out of the way THEN tapped the gunner’s helmet signaling the weapon was ready. Soldiers too close to the back of a rocket launcher have been killed by the back blast.
The M-20 3.5 inch rocket launcher, like I have, made its debut in the Korean Conflict. It broke in the center (as seen above) which made transport much easier. The electrical connections in the rear had a flip lever and the rocket wires had a plug. These improvements were much appreated by folks being shot at.
You may also have noticed a bar welded across the rear of the rocket tube. There is another at the front. This is to “de-militarize” the weapon, make it impossible to use. The picture below gives a better example.
The oval of metal cut out of the tube would vent the rockets back blast at a really uncomfortable point. Before anyone suggests it, I have no desire to see if it could be fixed. I have my doubts anyway. Then there is the matter of finding the proper rocket. The laws regarding a functioning destructive device are a whole different discussion. I have no desire to find a working model.
Personally I’m happy with my dewatted (de-activated war souvenier) display piece. It works great for lectures, film work and photos. I’ll leave tank killing to the professionals.