As against the heavier German tanks, the 2.36 in bazooka was not
sufficiently effective against the rugged T34, arguably the best tank developed
in WWII. The 2.36 could penetrate the T-34 armor, but only marginally,
and could be defeated by the sloping, heavy armor surfaces. Unless firing
from a flanking ambush, or catching the T-34 rounding a corner, the infantryman
was faced with the 3.5in sloping frontal armor, and an 85mm gun. Actually,
the 2.36 should never have been deployed in Korea, as the M9A1 and other
2.36 inch models had been withdrawn from service shortly after WWII, and
nominally replaced with the M20, of similar design but with a larger rocket.
The M20 was deadly against the T34.
To escape backblast, the operator held the bazooka on his shoulder
with about half the tube protruding behind him. The chief defects of both
bazookas were their unwieldy weight and length, their short effective range,
and their cumbersome two-man operating team. Beginning with Vietnam the
Army switched to light antitank weapons, or LAWs, such as the M72, a one-shot,
disposable weapon that weighed 5 pounds fully loaded yet could launch its
rocket with reasonable accuracy out to 350 yards.
Both the 2.36 inch and the 3.5 inch bazookas were deadly effective
against dug-in troops, as a short-range anti-pillbox and anti-personnel
weapon. They were also effective against mobile machine gun and mortar
crews who moved forward with the second assault, or submachine gun, platoons,
to support them at close range.