Bazooka Bomb: Newest Sub-Killer (Nov, 1950)

You would need to drop an absurd number of these to have any chance at all of actually hitting a sub.

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Bazooka Bomb: Newest Sub-Killer

IN World War II the German commanders of the Panzer divisions were mystified by a new American weapon which effectively was knocking out their tanks. At first they thought it might be a new kind of mortar. Actually they were being introduced to our bazooka and its shaped-charge shell. In the Korean war this same weapon proved to be a potent threat to the Communists’ heavy armor.

The shaped charge was designed in 1887 by Charles Monroe, an American explosives expert, but its military research did not begin until early in the last war.

Its principle—and formerly its secret—is simply its shape. A very powerful explosive, TNT or Pentolite, is placed in a container with a conical, steel liner indenting its forward end. The charge is not allowed to touch its target, but is held at a definite “stand-off” distance. When it explodes, the force is funneled forward, compressing the sides of the conical liner into a solid slug and driving it out with tremendous impact. The result is that a hole is punched in the target. As a bazooka bomb it blasts holes in a similar manner through a tank’s steel sides.

MI artist Frank Tinsley has designed a new use for our shaped charge, and that is as an anti-sub weapon. Small projectiles can be dropped in a pattern from hovering helicopters. Upon striking the skin of the sub, they would punch a number of holes through it causing the commander to surface his ship where it could be attacked easily by naval planes and guns. •

  1. Jari says: January 3, 201210:22 am

    Charlie: Well, this fits well with the other not-so-practical weaponry from Frank Tinsley. Like baby assault tanks and helicopter cavalry, which have been here in MM.

  2. MrSatyre says: January 3, 201211:41 am

    Makes you wonder what percentage of depth charges dropped in WW II actually scored hits…

  3. slow joe crow says: January 3, 201212:47 pm

    I’m not sure how surprised the Germans were by the Bazooka since they had their own shaped charged weapons, the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust. As for the ASW weapon, it seems like a helicopter dropped version of the WWII Hedgehog,… which actaully worked pretty well. Depth charges actually work best as a near miss for maximum shock wave, however you need to drop a lot of them, frigates on the North Atlantic convoy runs carried around 200 charges and frequently reloaded at sea with more.

  4. Toronto says: January 3, 201212:55 pm

    Charlie: was it here that I saw an article about the original Bazooka – the musical instrument?

  5. Kosher Ham says: January 3, 20124:06 pm

    We do have dedicated antisub aircraft now that are both land and carrier based. We also have nuclear depth charges based on the B-57, B-61 and perhaps B-83 bombs that could be used. ASW aircraft deploy torpedoes to attack subs normally. I don’t think our government even thinks about using nukes against submarines.

  6. JMyint says: January 3, 20126:13 pm

    Slow joe crow, the American Bazooka was introduced into combat in November of 1942 on both the Russian Front and the North Africa Theatre. The Panzerfaust 30 (Faustpatrone) entered production in the summer of 1943 and was introduced on the Russian front in November of that year. Prior to that the German army used a variety of anti-tank rifles to equip infantry ant-tank troops. The Panzerschreck entered service in October of 1943.

  7. Deth says: January 3, 20129:47 pm

    There’s worse ideas possible – if nothing else, this would baffle the hell out of the sub being attacked, and doesn’t actively risk the operator’s lives.

    But man, the # of shots vs. # of kills would be epic. Plus, this suffers from the problem that one or two hits might not be enough to damage the enemy craft enough to force it to surface.

    Also, looking at the hedgehog vs. this thing – it’s the *exact* same thing with a different warhead and somewhat different delivery method.

  8. lwatcdr says: January 5, 20127:58 am

    Actually Deth One hit by a shaped charge on a sub of that era would bring it to the surface. Well un less the hit a diving plane but any where on the hull would make the surface or sink them.

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