Categories: Bridgeport, Business and Industry, Great Depression and World War II, War and Defense, World War II

The Bazooka Changes War – Today in History: June 14

USS Bexar tour, bazooka demonstration
USS Bexar tour, bazooka demonstration
– Connecticut Historical Society and Connecticut History Online

On June 14, 1942, the General Electric Company in Bridgeport finished production on the “Launcher, Rocket AT, M-1,” better known as the bazooka. With a range of approximately 300 yards, the bazooka enabled an ordinary infantryman to stop a tank. The first sample of the gun, which consisted of a steel tube measuring approximately 50 inches long and open at both ends, was produced in 4 days. Final development took only three weeks, after which GE was tasked with producing 5,000 bazookas in 30 days. The gun worked by inserting a nearly two-foot rocket in one end that was ignited by an electric charge when the soldier squeezed the trigger. The impact of a direct hit had enough power to penetrate the heavy armor of enemy tanks in World War II, and when Army Major General L.H. Campbell Jr. briefed the press, he described the bazooka as “so simple and yet so powerful that any foot soldier using it can stand his ground with the certain knowledge that he is the master of any tank which may attack him.”

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