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Catalog Data

General Electric Company  Search this
overall: 11 in x 55 in x 3 1/2 in; 27.94 cm x 139.7 cm x 8.89 cm
Object Name:
launcher, rocket
Other Terms:
launcher, rocket; Firearms; 2.36 In; Smooth Bore
Place Made:
United States
Date made:
Physical Description
M1 rocket launcher, 60 mm, known as a “Bazooka.”
General History
The United States had a growing stockpile of excellent antitank warheads but lacked a suitable delivery system. Colonel Leslie Skinner, a U.S. Army officer at the Ordnance Proving Ground, was an enthusiastic proponent of rockets. He suggested carrying the hollow charge at the tip of a high-speed rocket. He built a rocket to carry a grenade body, then took a modified 60-mm mortar tube and demonstrated the destructive force of his new weapon in front of high-ranking generals. The officers gathered to see the official demonstrations of other weapons were suitably impressed and Skinner's weapon was ordered into production immediately. The new weapon was soon modified for production and a month later, in May 1942, General Electric had built 5,000 ready for combat. The first model was known as the Rocket Launcher M1. The caliber of 60 mm or 2.36 inches was determined by the grenades used as the warhead, which were already in production. The Bazooka got its nickname for its similar shape to the popular 1930s and 1940s radio comedian Bob Burns’s musical instrument, a homemade trombone he called a Bazooka.
Currently not on view
Related event:
World War II  Search this
The Great Depression and World War II  Search this
Credit Line:
U.S. Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. Marine Corps Museum
ID Number:
Catalog number:
Accession number:
See more items in:
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Data Source:
National Museum of American History