The United States emerged from World War II with the Bazooka as its primary anti-armor and anti-structure weapon. Proven as a true war winner, the series, requiring a firer and a loader, started with the M1, upgraded through the M9 and ended with the M20B1 ‘Super’ during Korea.
The Bazooka’s basic design never changed, and consisted of nothing more than a hollow steel tube of varying diameters into which an electrically fired rocket was inserted at the back. Using a shaped charge, and depending upon the model, this rocket averaged 3 to 4 inches penetration of steel (11 inches with the ‘Super’), and in its day proved easily capable of taking out light and medium tanks, and even a heavy with the right shot placement. Roundly praised by users, the Bazooka provided the necessary punch when confronting hardened targets.
Good as it was though, the Bazooka had its drawbacks, the main ones being that it required a crew to operate and, as new armor designs came down the pike after 1945, its shell design proved less and less effective. Furthermore, by the 1950s ever more emphasis was being placed on mobile warfare, and to continue using a crew operated anti-armor weapon with declining ability was considered a grave drawback.