Vintage War Machine: Bazooka VespaPosted: March 31, 2014
You’ll never think of the Vespa quite the same way
By guest writer Scott of Pipeburn.
Many times I’ve wished I had a Bazooka attached to my bike, usually after almost being killed by someone who didn’t check their side mirrors. Luckily for them, all I had to unload was my middle finger. So when I first saw this Vespa, I knew most motorcyclists would love the concept—even if it was made for a different purpose. It is named the Vespa 150 TAP (Troupes Aéro Portées) and it’s an Italian Vespa scooter modified by creating a hole in the legshield to carry a M20 75 mm recoilless rifle. The recoil or ‘kick’ from the rifle was counter balanced by venting propellant gases out the rear of the weapon; this eliminated the need for heavy mounts, and enabled the weapon to be fired from the Vespa frame.
Due to the lack of any kind of aiming devices, the recoilless rifle was supposed to be mounted on a tripod, which was also carried by the scooter. Primarily built for the Algerian War in the 1950s, five parachutes could carry a two-man gun crew, weapon, ammunition, and two scooters. Then the men would load the weapon on one scooter and the ammo on the other, before riding away to find their enemy. Although rumour has it that the drivers were seen more often pushing it rather than riding on it …