Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the US Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat. Featuring a solid rocket motor for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine. The Bazooka also fired a HESH round, effective against buildings and tank armour.
During the Allied invasion of Sicily, small numbers of the M1A1 bazooka (using an improved rocket, the M6A1) were used in combat by US forces. The M1A1 accounted for four medium German tanks and a heavy Tiger I, with the latter being knocked out by a lucky hit through the driver's vision slot. A major disadvantage to the bazooka was the large backblast and smoke trail (in colder weather), which gave away the position of the shooter, mandating quick relocation of the squad. Moreover, the bazooka fire team often had to expose their bodies in order to obtain a clear field of fire against an armored target. Casualties among bazooka team members were extremely high during the war, and assignment to such duty, widely known as Medal of Honor work, in the face of German counterfire was typically regarded by other platoon members as not only highly dangerous, but nearly suicidal.