The Vespa 150 TAP, as it was known, consisted primarily of a standard 150cc Vespa scooter with an M20 recoilless rifle attached to the reinforced frame and painted olive drab. It was created from 1956 to 1959 as a paratrooper special that could be dropped from planes into hazardous situations at a total unit cost of $500. (via Popular Mechanics ). While operating the rocket launcher, the rider straddles it while trying to avoid seeming to be in a Mr. Bean cartoon.
Although they may seem quite weird, Vespa scooters were renowned for their dependability and versatility. The M20 was chosen since the launcher itself carried all of the mechanical complexity of a metal pipe with a trigger mechanism, and it was light enough to be man-portable.
Contrary to many bizarre military weaponry, the Vespa 150 TAP actually saw action was used in Algeria’s independence fight in the 1950s. In contrast to Popular Mechanics’ claim that it was essentially useless against fully armored Soviet-built tanks, bunkers and machine-gun nests were very successful against it.
Many of the weaponry used during the Cold War were never used in actual battle. The Vespa 150 TAP could have used a little more time in the design phase in terms of style, but in the end, it dutifully served the soldiers who needed it, even if they looked silly while riding it.