7.2-Inch Demolition Rocket

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T37
T37 rocket.png
Type Surface-to-surface rocket
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States Army, United States Navy
Production history
Designer Caltech
Designed 1943
Produced 1944–1945
Specifications
Weight 61 lb (28 kg)
Length 35 in (890 mm)
Diameter 7.2 in (180 mm)
Warhead C2 explosive[1]
Warhead weight 32 lb (15 kg)

Engine Solid-fuel rocket
Operational
range
300 yd (0.27 km)
Speed 110 mph (180 km/h)
Guidance
system
None

The 7.2-Inch Demolition Rocket, also known as the T37, was a 7.2-inch (180 mm) rocket developed and used by the United States military during World War II. Derived from the "Mousetrap" anti-submarine rocket, it was intended for use in demolishing concrete bunkers and fortifications, and saw use from August 1944.

Development[edit]

The 7.2-Inch Demolition Rocket was developed by Section L of the National Defense Research Committee, located at Caltech,[2] in late 1943 as a modification of the existing "mousetrap" (7.2-Inch ASW Rocket) rocket for use against heavily fortified ground targets. Assigned to the United States Navy for development and production in July 1944,[3] two versions of the rocket were produced; the T37 HE Demolition Rocket and the T21 Chemical Warfare Rocket.[4] An additional high-explosive rocket, the T24, was planned, but was dropped in favor of the T37.[5] The rockets utilized a standard 2.25-inch (57 mm) rocket motor, fitted with a larger-diameter warhead; a longer-ranged version utilizing a 3.5-inch (89 mm) motor was also produced.[6]

Operational history[edit]

The T37 saw its first operational use during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, in August 1944,[7] fired from 120-round "Woofus" launchers mounted aboard Landing Craft Rocket vessels offshore.[8]

The rocket was also intended to be fired from tanks for the clearing of bunkers and anti-tank obstacles. The initial launcher, dubbed "Cowcatcher", was mounted on the front of M4 Sherman tanks;[9] it was quickly found unsatisfactory, and was replaced by 20-round (T40 "Whiz Bang")[10] and 24-round ("Grand Slam") launchers mounted atop the tank's turret.[7][9] The 20-round launcher could fire its entire loadout of rockets in approximately 10 seconds;[11] however the tank installation was unpopular with crews, as the launcher prevented the tank's turret hatches from being opened.[9]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ "U.S. ROCKET, 7.2-IN, DEMOLITION, T37". ORDATA Online. Mine Action Information Center. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  2. ^ von Braun, Ordway III and Dooling 1985, p.97.
  3. ^ Hearings of the Committee on Expenditures in the Execuitive Departments. United States House of Representatives. 1947. p. 117. 
  4. ^ 7.2-Inch Multiple Rocket Launcher M17. Technical Manual. TM9-296. Washington, D.C.: War Department. 9 January 1945. pp. 26–27. 
  5. ^ Ordnance School Text: Rockets and Launchers, All Types. Aberdeen, Maryland: Ordnance School, Aberdeen Proving Grounds. February 1944. p. 93. 
  6. ^ "Rocket, Solid Fuel, H.E. (High Explosive), 7.2in.". National Air and Space Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  7. ^ a b Parsch 2006
  8. ^ Baxter 1968, p.114.
  9. ^ a b c Zaloga 2011, pp.35-36
  10. ^ Zaloga 2012, p.16.
  11. ^ TM 5–220: Passage Of Obstacles Other Than Mine Fields. War Department Technical Manual. United States War Department. July 1945. p. 50. 
Bibliography