Bourjaily: The Vespa Bazooka

It turns out the mystery hero who recently jumped into the waters of Manhattan’s South Street Seaport Museum to save … Continued

It turns out the mystery hero who recently jumped into the waters of Manhattan’s South Street Seaport Museum to save a little girl was Julien Duret, a French tourist.

In his honor I suggest a moratorium on France-bashing, which has become tiresome anyway (I have no chine in this fight; despite its spelling, my name is Lebanese). Besides: if France hadn’t entered the Revolution on our side, we would be speaking English today.* France gave us the Statue of Liberty. When you talk military losers, France isn’t in the same league as Italy.**

httpswww.fieldandstream.comsitesfieldandstream.comfilesimport2014importBlogPostembedvespa.jpg

Having made nice with France, and because this blog is supposed to be about guns, let me now turn around and offer the picture above of the Vespa TAP 150 for your amusement.

Used by French airborne forces in the 50s,the “Vespa Bazookas” were airdropped in pairs along with a two-man team. One Vespa scooter carried a US-made M20 75mm recoilless rifle, the other had 16 rounds of ammunition on board. I wish I could say the gun was fired from the moving scooter, but in fact it was dismounted and set on a tripod for firing. At the time, a Vespa sold for $500, making it an extremely economical weapon transport.

_*Okay, we do speak English, but it’s American English. if we had lost the Revolution, our cars would have “bonnets” and “tyres” and “dustbin men” would pick up our “rubbish.”

** Italy: 1895-96 lost to Ethiopa; 1914-18 on the winning side of WWI but mauled by Austria; 1935-36 had to cheat (poison gas) to win rematch with Ethiopia; 1939-45 helped lose WWII for Germany, then switched sides._