Mortars

Ofcourse theirs tons of info on things like assault rifles and tanks out there, but I havent found much info on mortors. Id like to know what the prefered mortors that are troop carryable that have been used from post WW2 to the present. As an interesting tidbit, Ive heard the german 88mm mortor caused the greatest amount of battlefield kills than any other weapon. Im especially curious about mortors used in african wars as Ive heard even south african armoured vehicles were in danger of these.

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

The German 88mm was not a mortar... it was originally an anti aircraft gun and later used as an anti tank gun.
It was very powerful and very useful but I doubt it was the largest killer of enemy troops.

The most common infantry mortars used today are generally 82mm weapons though some armies have used 120mm and 160mm widely too. These latter two calibres are too large for them to be carried into action and are often mounted in converted APCs.
Russian troops in afganistan often used the US 82mm mortar which they captured from the afghans as it was lighter than the standard Russian model. The Russians also had an automatic mortar called Vasilek which uses a 4 round clip and can fire at a very high rate of fire. This tends to be used by airborne units.

The largest mortar in normal use is a Russian 240mm mortar. This is attached to the rear of a minelaying vehicle and fires a 130kg HE round 13km. There are also rocket assisted long range rounds as well as a laser guided round.

The huge advantage of mortars is the plunging fire has the round coming down almost vertically. For most armoured vehicles the roof armour is the thinnest and for most bunkers the roof cover is often the thinnest. With airbursts open trenches become very vulnerable.

djcross

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 5,372

RE: Mortars

The Brits developed a nice IR seeking 82mm mortar round that was intended to be used against advancing Soviet armor.

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 09-07-02 AT 02:44 AM (GMT)]"The Brits developed a nice IR seeking 82mm mortar round that was intended to be used against advancing Soviet armor."

Didn't the Swedish do the same... nice idea but narrow fields of view and the cost sort of made them rather unattractive to the Russians.

The main advantage of guided mortar rounds is that you can set the mortar to 45 degrees (ie roughly max range) without sighting rounds to warn the target.

Puffadder
I think the early Merkavas had a 60mm mortar on its turret for firing illumination rounds at night and also for anti personel use against enemy troops behind cover... The illumination rounds save space that 105mm ammo would take up for the same role while the curved trajectory of a mortar round is better for shooting over vertical cover.
I don't know whether they still carry them now they have advanced TI sights.

Puffadder

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 833

RE: Mortars

Hi Mixtec
When I did my service in the SA Army we used a little Portuguese patrol mortar (60mm). Absolutely wonderfull. Light and almost nothing in the way of sophistication. A dream to shoot with.
Profile picture for user mixtec

mixtec

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,261

RE: Mortars

Hey Puff, Could you tell me how accurate you got with your mortor? Did you have to measure degrees and asimuth with the stand? Do you know what the insurgents used in namibia(before it was called namibia) for mortors back in the 80s? Im guessing it had to be russian, Ive heard they used it to great affect, to the point that the amoured vehicles had to take off at 50 mph to keep from being blasted.

Puffadder

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 833

RE: Mortars

I´ll briefly explain how the sight works. It´s so bloody simple you wont believe it!
There is no sight. The tube has a white line that runs from the base to the muzzle. The tube has, attached to it, a leather carrying strap, perhaps 2 inches wide. This strap has it´s attachment points located at the muzzle and base. The user aligns the tube with the target and estimates the range. The carrying strap has little brass plates with range in metres running it´s length.
Assume the user is right handed(I am). The users´ left hand is holding the tube near the muzzle. With the user kneeling on his right knee and his left boot in front, the strap would then run from the muzzle, down to and under the left boot and then to the base of the tube. The left boot would trap the strap at a given point indicated by the brass plate with the correct range engraved in it. From the side, the tube and carrying strap describe a triangle. The closer the target, the more verticle the tube appears. It sounds complicated perhaps, but it´s so easy that even an American could use it- or perhaps not ;). The most difficult thing is estimating the range. We shot at targets with known ranges. Often I would get to within about 4 metres of the target (close enough to make someones eyes water).

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

"...but it´s so easy that even an American could use it- or perhaps not . "

I'm sure the US DOD would have the intructions printed on the side like on the 66mm LAW...

That actually reminded me about the little story about Japanese Knee mortars.
During the Pacific campaign the Japanese used a small hand held 50mm mortar. It was light and easy to use and quite powerful... more so than modern 40mm grenade launchers and with greater range. (I think it could reach out to about 800m or about double the range of your average underbarrel 40mm grenade launcher today.)
Unfortunately for the Americans these mortars aquired the nickname of knee mortar.
The weapon itself was very simple. It consisted of a 50mm calibre tube about one foot long. Extending from the bottom of that tube (which was muzzle loaded but trigger fired) was a rod about half an inch in diameter that was about 6 inches long and at the end was a flat rectangular plate that was supposed to be rested on the ground or something very substantial.
Due to the shape of the plate that was curved slightly along its length like a dozer blade and the nickname of knee mortar there were large numbers of cases where American troops placed the rectangular plate along their thigh and loaded a round and fired.
The blast and recoil were fairly fearsome and the result of firing this mortar from your knee is almost always either a badly broken thigh, a thigh bone ripped from the hip socket or both.
Those who had seen this mortar fired normally or had fired it themselves would have known not to try firing it from their leg but there seemed to be an unending supply of newbies who would try this knee mortar.
Having said that it was a very good weapon... light and with reasonable accuracy and good range and it greatly increased the firepower of a unit if every 4th or 5th guy had one in their packs.
Profile picture for user Glenn

Glenn

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,971

RE: Mortars

My fave Mortars, the German 60cm Morser Karl series of WW2!


Attachments:
http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3d29ad1cedeab31d.jpg
http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3d29ad2bedf7412c.jpg

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

Those old fortress reducing mortars died with large stone fortresses.
Very effective though.
Didn't they use one at Sevastopol?

Unlike airpower it could sit and pound the enemy 24 hours a day in any weather.
Only good for sieges though as it wasn't mobile enough for anything other than a seige or trench warfare.
Profile picture for user Rabie

Rabie

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 2,907

RE: Mortars

for sevesapol i fought they built something bigger.

its a beutiful model BTW

rabie :9
Profile picture for user Glenn

Glenn

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,971

RE: Mortars

>Those old fortress reducing mortars died with large stone
>fortresses.
>Very effective though.
>Didn't they use one at Sevastopol?

>Unlike airpower it could sit and pound the enemy 24 hours a
>day in any weather.
>Only good for sieges though as it wasn't mobile enough for
>anything other than a seige or trench warfare.


They did use one of them in the siege of Sevastopol, and yes they are an antiquated notion now, but one has to wonder about the so called super gun that Hussien was apparently working on. What practical use did, or would that have had?

Regards, Glenn.

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

"but one has to wonder about the so called super gun that Hussien was apparently working on. What practical use did, or would that have had?"

Well looking at the modern trend for micro satellites and micro probes for space exploration perhaps high g tollerant satellites could be fired into space like in the old Jules Verne stories.
Profile picture for user mixtec

mixtec

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,261

RE: Mortars

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 11-07-02 AT 04:58 AM (GMT)]It was done Garry, infact these ballistic satalite guns were designed by the same guy who designed the hussein gun. The circuitry in the satalite shells were embedded in acrylic plastic to withstand the g-shock. The gun was designed by gun expert Gerald Bull who was killed by the isrealis for not heeding the advise to get out of the hussein gun bussiness (Maybe you saw this on discovery channel and made a subconcience connection). I personally dont think it would have worked to have multiple charges detonating in succesion simply because of all the empty space behind the charge that would cause danerous preasure variations. Im really surprised a small version of this idea was never tested before the building of the actual full size gun. Heres a link on Gerald Bull:
http://world.std.com/~jlr/doom/bull.htm

GarryB

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,521

RE: Mortars

"It was done Garry, infact these ballistic satalite guns were designed by the same guy who designed the hussein gun. "

Well never actually done I don't think.

"The gun was designed by gun expert Gerald Bull who was killed by the isrealis for not heeding the advise to get out of the hussein gun bussiness "

Don't really blame the Israelis here actually. From what I have read this Bull guy was obsessed and probably would have built guns for hitler if given the chance. (He just wanted to build guns and didn't care who he built them for... perhaps instead of killing him the israelis could have financed a super gun for Israel... Hitler was infatuated with big guns... it would have been quite funny to think the biggest gun built was built by the Jews... }> )

"(Maybe you saw this on discovery channel and made a subconcience connection)"

Certainly he was an influence on my suggestion... though he wasn't the only dabbler with big guns.

"I personally dont think it would have worked to have multiple charges detonating in succesion simply because of all the empty space behind the charge that would cause danerous preasure variations. "

I have seen the remains of a german gun from WWII which had seperate chambers of to the sides containing explosive charges where the projectile was fired by a standard charge and as it passed these side chambers the charges in them fired too. This allowed pressure to be built up in stages instead of with one enormous charge which would immediately split the barrel. The muzzle velocities were aparantly incredible though the payload was rather small. Barrels burst too, though not for every shot as they would with one equivlent charge.

The one gun I do think holds promise would be an electromagnetic gun on the surface of the moon. It could be several km long and be flat along the surface of the moon. As long as there was no mountain or crater in the way with no atmosphere as long as the projectile exceeds the escape velocity it will leave the orbit of the Moon... I think that is only about 4-5km/s or less. We can manage that with very small EM accelerators on earth so on the moon it will be even easier. Potentially a cheap way to send cargo to mars or the asteroid belt.