The 70 year old M3 Garl Gustav Will Begin Being Issued to Infantry Troops
The United States Army will soon begin distributing a weapon system introduced in 1946. The M3 Carl Gustav rocket launcher will bolster the firepower of rifle platoons, giving them a much-needed edge.
Developed by Bofors (now Saab), the Carl Gustav is a lightweight, man-portable recoilless rifle. Recoilless rifles are like a cross between an artillery gun and a bazooka: While they have propellant at the base of the projectile like a rocket, the propellant doesn’t burn beyond the barrel, meaning the projectile flies unpowered like a bullet or artillery shell. Unlike artillery, propellant gasses are directed backwards, counteracting the weapon’s recoil and making it “recoilless”. The weapon is referred to as a “rifle” due to the spiral rifling in the barrel, which stabilizes the projectile.
The U.S. Army fielded a number of recoilless rifles after World War II, in calibers from 57-millimeter to 106-millimeter. The Army saw these rifles as anti-tank weapons meant to counter the T-55 and T-62 tanks of the Soviet Army. The Army retired these weapons when Dragon and TOW anti-tank guided missiles came on the scene.
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