Two-part British Army Rocket Launcher

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Bugsy, Jan 25, 2006.

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  1. This is going back to just after 'Arold got the arra in 'is mince-pie, but can anyone remember the official designation for that weirdie rocket-launcher the British Army used to use?
    It was two sections of tube that you had to clamp together and was about five foot long when assembled. I think it was superceded by the Charlie Gustav.

  2. It was the 3.5 inch rocket launcher (bazooka) M20

    "A two-piece aluminium alloy launcher which is fired electrically and can be fired from either standing, kneeling or prone positions. It weighs 8.6 lbs and has very little recoil being an open ended tube but there is an arc of 25 yards danger area directly to the rear. It originated from America and was used by British forces for 20 years from the Korean War onwards. It was superseded by the Swedish Carl Gustav L14Al."
  3. believe it or not I have fired the 3.5, presumably one of the last to have done so, at an OTC camp. I do remember the connecting of wires to the round, the frequent misfires and the horrendous backblast when a round did surprisingly go off, hence the scary mask worn by the No. 1. I don't remember the 'clamping two tubes bit' but I didnt assemble the weapon myself.
  4. I remember firing the 3.5 Rocket Launcher as a boy soldier in 1963. It was at sennybridge as part of our small arms classification and we fired them from a slit trench. As No1, I wore a plastic and canvas face mask (to protect from burning propellant as the projectile emerged from the front end). The No2 would slide the rocket into the rear of the tube and connect two wires from the rocket to two nipples on the tube itself. Giving the helmet of the No1 a light tap and reporting "ready", he would then crouch down as near to the back of the No1 as possible, so as to be well clear of the enormous back blast. Pulling the trigger/magneto once, generated a current to the rocket and (hopefully!) ignited the charge but if it failed (as it usually did) then releasing the trigger would generate a second charge and this would be the one that normally did the trick. I remember, as the first one to fire the thing from our year the total shock of the thing firing. As a 'rocket' I expected there to be a Whooshing sound as the projectile travelled on it's way to the target. The fcking thing went off like a 25pounder on your shoulder. So stunned by the noise and blast, I took my hand, supporting the front of the tube away, thinking it was well down range by then. Only to be further shocked as the weight of the projectile reached the front of the tube and, unsupported, the tube slammed down onto the sandbag lining the front of the trench and the rocket hit the ground ten feet in front of us and ricocheted off over the hills. So fcuking glad it was only a practice round and not a HESH. Funnily enough, they wouldn't let me have another go?
  5. I made an an identical wrong assumption when I first came to fire a 66mm some 13 years later. I too was the first to fire it. It too did not make the expected 'Whoosh' sound.

    You can find an account of my foolish error in, strangely, the 'Damage to Hearing?' thread.

    Hasn't it occurred to anyone to explain to recruits that such things make big bang?

  6. Charlie G, now you're bringing back some memories 8)

    Can someone post that picture of an SLR before we get back to this rocket launcher discussion ...
  7. Wombats - now there was a really gi bang.
  8. It was about then that I had my one go with the 3.5 but - get this all H&S officers and cadet instructors and officers - I was a cadet in the CCF at the time. I find it hard to believe it was legal, even then.

    Our affiliated unit was commanded by a player who wasn't going to let regulations get in the way of having a good time - but it was all done fairly quietly, with just him and a couple of us at the range - Donna Nook, IIRC - and he acted as No 2.

    Like Gobshoite, I was startled by the forward weight transfer as the round accelerated and it ruined my aim. So when I fired the 84mm the first time, I expected the same and aimed high - too clever by half, of course.

    And, yes, it did come in two parts. They clipped together side by side for carriage, and you had to join them up with a sort of insert and turn til it clicks manouevre for firing.

    Somebody used one at about the same time on a mutinous guard house somewhere in East Africa, which may have been one of the last times it was used in anger - certainly the 84mm was in service by the time I joined the OTC in 1966.
  9. Ha! Deja vu that is for me! I, too, expected some sort of "woosh and away" when I squeezed the handle, but instead, I heard the rocket go clonking metalically along the pipe next to my right ear. Then the front end went suddenly heavy and I dumped the thing right into the trench at my feet (we were firing in the kneeling position), where it lay spitting and flaming until the propellant charge burned out.
    Cue one very large b0llocking from the instructor. Oh the shame of it! :D :D :D