Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005-2024 Andreas Parsch

3.5 inch HEAT Rocket M28/M35

In 1945, the original Bazooka shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket was no longer an effective weapon aginst then modern armour. Therefore a much more powerful rocket and launcher of 8.9 cm (3.5 in) caliber was developed. However, the resulting M20 launcher and M28 rocket were not fielded in significant numbers to the troops until the start of the Korean War in 1950. The system was officially known as the 3.5 inch High-Explosive Anti-Tank Rocket, but was frequently called the "Super Bazooka".

The 3.5 inch Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher M20A1 consisted of two tubes, which had to be screwed together before loading and firing a rocket. The assembled launch tube had a length of 1.52 m (60 in) and weighed 6.4 kg (14 lb). The M20A1B1 was a variant with detail differences on the tube halves, and a slightly lower weight of 5.9 kg (13 lb). The weapon for the M20 launcher was the High-Explosive Anti-Tank Rocket M28, with the operational version being designated M28A2. The general principle of operation of the "Super Bazooka" was the same as for the older M9A1 Bazooka. The M28A2 had a maximum range of about 820 m (900 yds), but effective range against a stationary target was more around 275 m (300 yds).

Photo: via Ordway/Wakeford
3.5 inch Anti-Tank Rocket and launcher

For training, the M20 launcher could fire the 3.5 inch Practice Rocket M29A2, which had an inert hollow warhead, but was otherwise identical to the M28A2. The 3.5 inch WP (White Phosphorus) Smoke Rocket M30 replaced the HEAT warhead with a smoke-generating head, and was used to produce smoke for screening or signalling purposes.

The 3.5 inch HEAT Rocket M35 was a development of the M28A2 with a new rocket motor assembly, for a higher velocity and longer range. Externally, the major difference was the head of the rocket, which on the M35 had a concave front section and a flat nose. The M35A1 was identical to the M35 except for differntly shaped rocket head. The 3.5 inch Practice Rocket M36 was a training variant of the M35 with a hollow cast iron warhead, and the 3.5 inch Proof Rocket M37 was a testing round for the launcher.

The 3.5 inch "Super Bazooka" launcher and rockets were phased out by the U.S. Army in the early 1960s, and replaced by the M72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) disposable rocket launcher.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for 3.5 inch Rockets M28A2, M35:

Length59.8 cm (23.55 in)59.7 cm (23.5 in)
Diameter8.9 cm (3.5 in)
Weight4.1 kg (9.0 lb)3.3 kg (7.3 lb)
Speed97 m/s (317 fps)148 m/s (485 fps)
Range865 m (945 yds)1190 m (1300 yds)
PropulsionSolid-fueled rocket
Warhead0.86 kg (1.9 lb) high-explosive shaped-charge0.77 kg (1.7 lb) high-explosive shaped-charge

Main Sources

[1] Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960
[2] Gary W. Cooke: Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide
[3] Department of the Army: "Technical Manual TM9-1950, Rockets", June 1950
[4] Department of the Army: "Technical Manual TM9-1950, Rockets", February 1958

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 8 June 2024