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Old 7th September 2010, 06:23
Johnny .45 Johnny .45 is offline
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US M8 8.5in rocket, M110 launcher info?

Hi, all. I've been poking around using Google, trying to find some info on the M110 triple-tube rocket launcher that was used by USAAF forces in WWII. I can't really find anything! I've found a bit of basic info on the rocket itself, the M8 8.5in rocket- it was stabilized by spring-loaded fins, it was weaker and less accurate than the 5in HVAR that replaced/supplemented it, etc. But what about the launcher itself?
It was "bazooka-type", and was basically three plastic pipes bundled together and slung under the wing of a fighter. It was electrically-ignited, and because it was relatively slow and inaccurate, pilots had to get as close as possible before firing. Obviously a risky proposition when the target (and it's friends) are shooting back.
What I'd like to know is the more detailed stuff. For example, could the tubes be dropped once they were empty, like a empty drop tank? Otherwise, they'd just add drag the whole way home. It seems like it'd be easy enough to do, but I believe that British launch-rails were bolted on the whole way, empty or full.
Also, was a single 3-tube bundle considered "one weapon"? I mean, did all three tubes fire at once (or in succession) when you pushed the firing button, or could the pilot fire 1 or 2 shots at a time? And since most planes would carry at least 2 M110's, with 6 rockets, could the pilot fire the launchers one at a time? For example, a P-47 has an M110 under each wing. He makes an attack on a single panzer. Can he choose to fire only his port M110, in a 3-rocket burst, and save his 3 starboard rockets for another target? Or do all 6 rockets fire at one target, every time?
I've been wondering about this for a while now, and it's annoying that there doesn't seem to be any info about the M110 launcher itself. Just the rocket. So, does anyone know a site with a little basic info about the M110? Or any kind of info, basic or not!

Now that I think about it, I wonder how the heck the armorers calibrated the aim of the rockets? Or of any rockets? They had to be coordinated with the sights, but you can't really test fire a rocket like you can with a gun. Did they just estimate? I mean, the 3-tube launcher is a one-time-use affair...once you fire it, it's garbage. So, how do you know that the next M110 you attach will hit in the same place? You can't take an put a new MG in a plane just by bolting it in pointing the right have to test fire and calibrate it every time. I guess rockets don't need to be aimed quite so well as bullets do, but I'm still curious how they would go about that job.
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