The Canadian Army employed a wide variety of weapons during the 20th Century, progressing from bolt action rifles to fully automatic assault rifles as the standard infantry arm. Artillery became a highly scientific arm during the First World War, and a variety of weapons such as hand grenades, land mines and flame weapons were developed to assist Canadian soldiers in their tasks on the battlefield.
M72 SRAAW (L)
The Rocket, High Explosive, 66mm, Anti-Tank M72 began appearing in Canadian units in the 1970s as an additional anti-armour asset primarily for infantrymen. It is officially known as the M72 and also as the Short-Range Anti-Armour Weapon - Light or SRAAW(L).
This weapon, known also unofficially as a LAW (Light Anti-armour Weapon) was used extensively by US forces in Vietnam, against armour as well as other hard targets such as bunkers or walls.
This US-designed weapon is a disposable, one-shot rocket launcher. The weapon weighs less than 2.5kg and is less than a metere long, and is fitted with an integral sling all of which makes it very man-portble. Improvements in tank armour since the inception of the weapon during the Vietnam war lessened the M72ís effective in its original role over time, though it remained useful for bunker work or urban fighting.
Range was a limiting factor on the use of the weapon; maximum range was given as 1000m, though effective range was generally considered to be 300m, or 150m against moving targets.
As a recoilless weapon, the M72 produces a violent backblast, limiting its employment in enclosed areas such as vehicles, bunkers or buildings and also creating a 60 degree cone of flame and exhaust gases that extended 25m behind the weapon - kicking up dirt, dust or debris and easily giving away the firer's position.
The M72 was, however, was extremely simple to use; the soldier simply had to remove the tube covers, extend the weapon (which was collapsed for carrying), elevate the sights, and cock the arming switch. The weapon is fired and the launcher is abandoned (in combat) or either destroyed or possibly retained for training and drill purposes in peacetime.
The M72 rocket projectile weighed one kilogram (2.2 lbs) and was capable of penetrating 300mm of simple steel plate.
The M72C7 variant's M18 warhead used 34g of explosive, which was effective against conventional armour plate but not capable of penetrating explosive reactive armour (ERA) or ceramic add-on armour.
A sub-calibre training insert could be fired on the range, simulating the trajectory of a full bore M72 round.
DND Photo, from [http://www.sfu.ca/casr/101-0intro.htm DND-101]