It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Edward G. Uhl, renowned as one of the co-fathers of the bazooka. It is safe to say that World War II would have been a much tougher slog for the Allies without the tubular weapon, which Dwight D. Eisenhower hailed as one of our side’s four keys to victory. (The others were the Jeep, the A-bomb, and the C-47.) Yet according to one august rocket scientist, the American military nearly took a pass on the bazooka:
The United States Army was opposed for a year to the adoption of the Bazooka—the sensationally successful hand-operated anti-tank projector.
Dr. C.N. Hickman, America’s leading rocket scientist, claims he suggested the Bazooka in 1941, but the Army disregarded the idea until private enthusiasts demonstrated its value.
Dr. Hickman said that the Army in 1941 obtained one million rifle-grenades for disabling tanks, but although the tremendous recoil shattered every rifle in which they were tested, the grenades would not penetrate the armor of tanks.
Hickman’s claim could simply be a product of professional jealousy. Or perhaps he was just miffed upon realizing that he’ll always be the Elisha Gray of the bazooka.
(Image via Dunechaser)