, the Commonwealth
Forces fighting in Southeast Asia
were forced to deal more often with suicidal Japanese defenders holed up in massive bunkers. The only way to deal with these strong
points was to hit them from extremely close range with heavy artillery
Due to the difficult terrain of that part of the world, this solution was not always possible. In order to overcome this problem a program was developed to create a portable rocket weapon capable of defeating these defenses. This became known as LILO.
The weapon was a simple single-barreled rocket launching tube, designed to fire at very close ranges against static targets. It held a 3 Inch Rocket Motor Number 7, onto which two types of warhead could be mounted. The first was a 21lb. High Explosive warhead, and the second was basically the same type, but super-sized, weighing in at 60lbs.
Two men were needed to transport the weapon, one carrying the tube, and another carrying the rocket in a special backpack. Their job was to set up as close as possible to the target, load the rocket into the front of the projector, aim, and then fire, turning the target into chunks of hamburger mixed with concrete.
The weapon was aimed over open sights, with the back legs moved in and out to change elevation. Firing was done using a small 3 volt battery.
The warhead was usually sufficient to penetrate 10 feet of earth, plus a layer of logs. This destroyed most Japanese emplacements at the time.
In order to achieve the results desired, major problems with inaccuracy needed to be overcome. If a firer wanted to ensure a hit on even a large target 50 meters away, he would have to fire an average of 5 rockets. This was still less risky than rolling up artillery.
The first launcher tubes were made of plastic, and were thrown away after firing. Later on this waste was removed, and the barrels were made of magnesium alloy. These weapons were used to good effect on Okinawa, and other allied assaults late in the war.