“Success has many fathers, but defeat is an orphan,” as my father likes to remind me. He has proved the axiom true on many occasions, making the proverb a memorable one for this author. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” is another word to the wise which he will quote when needs arise.
One American history teacher proved both these adages true. Volunteering for service in 1942, he entered the war fully in 1944 as a monoplane pilot and scout. Determined to enter combat, he affixed two and then four bazookas to his plane in order to fight the Germans. He managed to kill enough tanks to become an actual tank ace.
History is often assumed to be merely a listing of the great events of the past and deeds performed by great men. But if my parents and history teachers have taught me anything, it is that ordinary people make as much of – if not more – an impact on these momentous incidents as those whose names appear in the books. Lt. Col. Charles “Bazooka Charlie” Carpenter is a perfect example of this fact.
Learn more about the daring tank ace through this link, readers. And don’t forget to leave your own stamp on history!
Barking Mad Major Straps Bazookas To Airplane. Goes Tank Hunting!
Feb 12, 2019 Jay Hemmings
War is a significant driver of rapid technological progress and innovation. This principle doesn’t just apply to the superpowers with access to teams of scientists and engineers as well as budgets of billions of dollars. It is also expressed on an individual level.
War can often coax genius out of ordinary men as circumstances and the pressures of combat force them not only to adapt but also to innovate. They get creative with the materials they have at hand.
Charles Carpenter, a seemingly unassuming history teacher from Illinois, is a perfect example of this. Carpenter flew scout planes for the United States during WW2.
The spark of inventiveness manifested itself in a cobbled-together but extremely effective invention of his own making: a tiny fixed-wing monoplane to which he attached six bazookas. In this unlikely craft he managed to take out enough German tanks to make him an official tank ace.
He volunteered for service in 1942 at the age of thirty. After completing his training, he began to fly scouting missions in a light L-4 Grasshopper plane in 1944.