"Bazooka" Vespa! Here is the Piaggio…
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"Bazooka" Vespa! Here is the Piaggio scooter model that could take out armored tanks!

November 25, 2017 • By Shirley Marie Bradby

Among the many famous Italian brands, the Vespa scooter is certainly one of the best-known! 

However, if you are not a scooter fan, then this particular model may have escaped your attention. Nevertheless, in the  1950s France went looking for a company that could design and manufacture a fast means of transport that could carry an anti-tank gun.

The job was entrusted to Piaggio, an Italian company, that immediately started working on the famous Vespa 150 TAP model.

A means of transport that could be dropped by parachute in pairs for use during the Indochina War.

The French government needed a light means of transport to use in the war in Indochina. Three manufacturing companies entered the competition to bid for the war contract --- Valmobile, Bernardet, and Piaggio. In the end, it was Enrico Piaggio's company that was chosen over the others and Piaggio was commissioned to design the Vespa "Bazooka". This Piaggio Vespa scooter model was actually produced in France, by Acma, a transalpine weapons factory.

The war ended, however, before Piaggio succeeded in completing the assignment. In spite of this, Piaggio continued to work on the Vespa 150 T.A.P. (Truppe Aero Portate – air troops carrier), which was presented at the 33rd Milan Motor Show in December 1955, and which was consequently used later in the Algerian War.


The Vespa TAP 150, which was an anti-tank gun that fired caliber 3.5-inch (89 mm) from a mounted M20 "Super Bazooka", which could punch a hole through about 11 inches (280 mm) of armor-plated steel.

It was produced during the years of the Franco-Algerian conflict, at the end of which the African state gained its independence from France.

Contrary to what you may think, the Vespa TAP 150 was not really designed to be fired while in motion. The super bazooka had to be dismounted, set on a tripod, and loaded manually before being fired. However, in an emergency it could be fired while in the frame, and while the scooter was moving.

The production of this Vespa model ended in 1959. Have you ever seen one?

Tags: MotorsItalyHistory

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