M20, 3.5-inch Rocket Launcher
Wiring assembly in the tail of a 3.5-inch rocket was made up of  multi-colored, plastic-coated copper wires.
Flame Thrower, Portable, M2A1
81-mm. Mortar, M29
B. Clearing Misfires. The gunner announces MISFIRE. When  any doubt exists, as to whether the cartridge  has struck the firing pin, he kicks the barrel  with his heel.  (Fig. 30.14.)
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Infantry Training Regiment Camp Lajeune, North Carolina USMC United States Marine Corps Home Home Introduction Introduction Jobs Jobs Niagara Falls Niagara Falls Marine Corps Marine Corps NPIC NPIC Secret Service Secret Service CIA CIA NRO NRO Teaching Teaching Tweens Tweens Marine Speak Marine Speak
A Close Shave In the five weeks of advanced infantry training at Camp Geiger, we were introduced to a variety of infantry weapons, including the 3.5- inch Rocket Launcher; sometimes called the “super bazooka.” Most of our training took place in the February. Although it never snowed, the temperature often reached freezing or below. Familiarization with the super bazooka included each of us firing one practice round at an old tank on the firing range. We worked in two- man teams; the shooter and the loader. When my turn came, my partner loaded a rocket into the rear of the tube, tapped me on the helmet and called out, “Up!” I pushed the safety to the firing position, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. With a loud blast, the rocket flew out the tube and I was able to follow it to the target. The round hit just in front of the tank. I remember being surprised at the lack of kick to the weapon, even though we had been told to expect no recoil. With my turn over, I switched positions with my partner and we repeated the exercise. He hit the target high and center. The next morning, we were up at reveille getting ready for another day’s training. Several of us were in the head shaving when I noticed that my razor nicked something hard on my face. Upon closer examination, I picked a very small piece of copper wire out of my cheek. Continuing to check my face, I removed a couple of fragments of red and blue plastic. When I mentioned this to my buddy shaving next to me, he too showed me a couple of wire fragments he had “shaved” from his face. Several other people were having the same experience. At our first class that morning, we approached the instructor with the obvious question of the day. He knowingly smiled and said it was an uncommon experience but sometimes occurred on very cold days.   The exposed electrical wiring in the back of the rockets did not burn up entirely in the hot exhaust gases of the exiting rocket. As a result, the back-blast sometimes had more in it than just smoke. Playing With Fire Never Gets More Serious Along with shooting your eye out with your Red Rider BB gun, the other great hazard most parents and kids went though was playing with fire. I did not know any 10-year-old boy on my block who didn’t have a box of blue-tipped matches tucked into his pocket. For the non- pyromaniacs, blue-tipped matches were not safety matches. The wooden match could be lit by striking it on any dry surface, including your blue jeans, front tooth, or finger nail. John Wayne used his jeans. With the box of blue-tips came a big bag of green toy soldiers. Inclu- ded in every kid’s toy army was the flame thrower guy. He was awe- some; striking havoc wherever he aimed. Now I was about to exper- ience the real thing - the M2A1 flame thrower. I couldn’t wait my turn to strap on the tanks. Once I was ready and checked out by the instructor, I aimed the nozzle at an open area about 25 yards down range, leaned forward and braced myself. With my left hand I squeezed the ignition lever and a flame popped alive in the nozzle. Then, with excited deliberation, I firmly squeezed the valve lever and grip safety with my right hand. Whoosh! Liquid flame came thundering out the nozzle with a noticeable force. Back and forth, I swept the ground in front of me with raging fire. The heat and power of the flame thrower had some of us thinking how we could not imagine being on the receiving end of such a weapon. Marine Corps Humor -- NOT! Mortar platoons are an integral part of a Marine battle force; closely supporting the rifle companies of an infantry battalion. Although they may be farther back from the front line than the riflemen, the only danger they fear is not an advancing enemy, but the misfire. The official instruction for handling a misfire is illustrated in the accompanying photo with the actual text from the manual. I would be hard-pressed to choose which person I would rather be in that situation -- the kicker or the holder. Either way, it’s no football game. While stationed at Quantico, Virginia, I was assigned to the range office which controlled all of the firing ranges on the base. Part of our job was to put out brush fires caused by flares, mortars, and other munitions. On one occasion, we responded with a tanker fire truck to the mortar range. Upon arriving at the scene, we jumped off the truck, donned our water tank backpacks, and were about to engage the small field fire when one of the guys on the crew yelled, “Freeze!” We stopped dead in our tracks. The Marine was pointing to the rear left tire of the truck, under which was an unexploded 81 MM mortar round, sticking nose-up in the mud. The driver had driven over, and parked the fire truck directly on, an HE (high explosive) shell.   We were still able to contain the fire after EOD personnel disarmed and removed the mortar round. On that day, things had gotten a lot warmer than anyone had expected. Note: Range officers take special care to record the locations of unexploded ordinance during any type of live-fire exercise so that EOD personnel can safely clear the range after the exercise has concluded. The round under our fire truck was old and not from that day’s mortar practice. Somehow, it had been missed during a past exercise.
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