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M72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW)

The 66mm single shot M72 LAW was designed to replace the 3.5-inch rocket firing bazooka and the antitank rifle grenade. It consisted of a shoulder fired disposable launcher preloaded with a high explosive antitank (HEAT) rocket. At 5.2 pounds when loaded it was approximately 14 pounds lighter than the RPG-7, but its effective range of 200m was 300m less than the Communist weapon.

Prolonged exposure to Vietnam's humid conditions was responsible for firing failures that dogged early LAWs. Seven Firefights in Vietnam described the 1968 battle of Lang Vei in which numerous LAW failures resulted in the Special Forces Camp being overrun by eleven Soviet built PT76 North Vietnamese tanks.

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