|The RPG-7: Not a bazooka (but kind of is)|
[Apparently from BAZOO, US slang for mouth, origin unknown:
compare Dutch bazuin trombone, trumpet.]
- A crude musical instrument resembling a trombone. US. M20
- A portable tubular anti-tank rocket launcher. M20
I don't know when in my childhood I first came across the word bazooka, or when I first started slinging everything from broomsticks to didgeridoos over my shoulder in imitation of one. I do remember launching fireworks, bazooka-style, with my brothers using lengths of aluminium piping; I also remember one of those fireworks going through a neighbour's bathroom window while she sat on the toilet. It was Bonfire Night - it could have been anyone (and we didn't hang about to assess the impact of our covert op).
While technically the word bazooka refers to the first missile anti-tank weapons fielded by the US in WWII, it's become a somewhat genericised term for any such shoulder-fired weapons, such as the above pictured RPG-7. Its distinctive profile in any form has made it somewhat similar to the iconic AK-47 in being one of the most recognisable weapon types of the 20th century; someone that knows virtually nothing about modern weapons will still know the word bazooka, what one looks like and what it's for. Of course, by the time I reached my mid-teens bazooka (or, more usually, bazookas) had taken on a less rocket-propelled and more mammarian meaning. As of yet, that definition hasn't made it into the OED.
|An authentic US bazooka in the iconic firing position|