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Friday, January 18, 2013

Military History Photo Friday: The Killer Vespa

What? No Civil War Photo Friday? No Wild West Photo Friday? Nope, today I'm leaving the 19th century to delve into the 20th. The excellent Warfare History blog posted yesterday about the Algerian War of Independence 1956-1961 so I've decided to post about an odd weapon that came out of that war.

Introducing the Vespa 150 T.A.P., a girly Euroscooter painted a less-than-girly olive drab and equipped with a manly M20 75mm recoiless rifle!

I discovered this gem while blogging about tank museums, and was impressed by the clever mix of an inexpensive scooter and dangerous firepower.

France developed these in the late 1950s, when it was strapped for cash and mired in a bitter war with their colony Algeria. Vespas were fast, cost only 500 bucks, and light enough that they could be airdropped on parachutes, making them good rapid infantry transport. The shaped charge warhead on the M20 could penetrate 100mm of armor, capable of punching through pillboxes, buildings, and lightly armored vehicles. Since there was no recoil, they could be fired from the Vespa, although ideally they were dismounted and set up on a tripod. About 800 saw use in the war. Despite this, the French lost and Algeria became a nation.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. For more pictures, check out this site.


  1. I need a gun like that on my car.
    Don't forget that you are visiting my site today - spread the word! Just don't spread the... well, you know.

  2. Okay, I'm not normally a gun fan, but that's just cool! Puts such a vivid image in the head of certain kinds of fighting, doesn't it? The narrow European streets...

  3. That is very cool! My husband would probably like it.

    I read your post about squat toilets on Alex's blog. Thanks for the info. ;)

  4. Stopping by to say hello after reading your great travel post on Alex's blog :)

  5. This scooter is AWESOME! I want...

  6. This is probably one of those strange sights I'll always remember. Every time I see bikes now, I'll be checking to see if there's a launcher attached.

    Happy Weekend!

  7. Your post on Alex's blog was hysterical! Although I'm sure it wouldn't be if I actually had to use any of those squat toilets. I've only seen that once in Egypt...and once was enough! :P

  8. Supposedly, these were also used in the French Indochina conflict towards the end of that war.

    There is also a 2nd scooter that would operate with this one that carried several tubes for the reloads. I have seen pictures of it, but can't point you to where it can be seen.




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