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81 mm motar?

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by surfersami, May 21, 2010.

  1. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    I am familiar with many small arms of WWII, but with the 81mm I am not.
    I have been told it was a great weapon, Just how good was it, in the right hands of course?
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The French Brandt 81mm and it's German, Italian, US and possibly Soviet copies was a fearsome weapon. Mortar fire accounted for the majority of allied losses in many battles and though the Germans ualso sed a 120mm weapon copied from the Soviets the majority was the 81. Derivatives of the Brandt are still in use today which says a lot about how good it was.
     
  3. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    Thanks for the reply, was the ammunition from the different copies interchangeable?
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    AFAIK Yes, I suspect the abbundance of 81mm ammo in Kesserling's army was from captured Italian stocks.

    The one exception should be the soviet 82mm weapon, one story is that it was designed int that peculiar caliber so it could use captured ammo but it's ammo would be unusable by it's opponents. But some sources state it's ammo could be fired from the Granatenwerfer 34 due to tollerances in production.
     
  5. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    That is very interesting. I know there are different 20 mm shells, different .30 cal ammo and the like that can't be interchange. It would be weird for me to be out lobbing rounds at something, and have someone open a crate with different writing, Italian or French etc., and the stuff actually work.
    Were the ranges and loads roughly equivalent?
     
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The Brandt is basically a tube with a baseplate and bipod that can be adjusted in elevation (the angle of the tube to the ground) to get the desired range and is possibly today's simplest weapon.


    [​IMG]
    The bomb is dropped down the tube and hits the firing pin at the bottom of it causing the propellant charge to explode. The barrel must a be a cylinder so long as a shell fits the tube it is usable though the weapon's ranging scales are obviously optimized for the country's own ammo. So firing somebody else's ammo will get less accuracy but then WW2 mortars were not terribly accurate anyway.
    The propellant charges were roughly similar so max range would be equivalent, there may be diffrences from country to country but they should be marginal. AFAIK standard WW2 81mm morars had ranges around 3000 meters, modern ones with better metals and ammo can fire up to 5000 meters.
     
  7. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    Thanks for the run down. I imagine the general HE, frag, etc. ammo was used by everyone. Were deployed as a group in motar companies, or were so many asigned to infantry companies/platoons etc.?
    Excuse my ignorance, I can talk rifiles, pistols and airplanes but Artillery/motars/tanks/recoiless rifles etc. are very new to me as a study point.
     
  8. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    some nations like the French and Germans used the 81mm at two per infantry company (as well as grouping them in companies), with the lighter 60mm and 50mm at platoon level, I am not sure about the British (they might have deployed them as the French did ?) but most countries used them in seperate companies or battalions.
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Germans only gave some panzergrenadier battalions 2 per company and many of those are the short "stummel" version (Kurtzer 8cm GW 42). This was a 3 man load and had about half the range of the longer barreled GW 34. The standard German arrangement, as with many other nations was a battery of 6 in a weapons company at battalion level.
    With the exception of the Russians everyone pretty much discarded the 50mm mortar as worthless or nearly so. A rifle grenade was about as effective if not having quite the same range. The US and French 60 mm is in a different class. It has about two-thirds the hitting power of an 81mm and could be an effective weapon. It also had a range of 1000 yds making it an effective mortar.

    The biggest thing with these weapons is supplying them ammunition. The British and US had less problems having more motor transport. A crew on foot could only carry about 2 or 3 rounds per man (double that for a 50 or 60mm) in the crew. So, a mortar crew on foot might arrive at their firing position with just a couple dozen or so rounds on hand immediately.

    As for ammunition, HE was pretty much the exclusive round of these weapons. The US for their 60 and the British for their 2" issued an illuminating round that was fairly widely used. Other than that, everyone had rounds like smoke etc., but these were rarely issued or used. The Germans had an oddity called the "bouncing" bomb. It was an HE round that had a hard rubber nose that caused it to rebound on striking allowing for a low air burst. It proved marginal in use and did not see alot of service.
    The US also issued several different HE rounds for their 81mm mortar. They had a standard 7 lb bomb, pretty much the same as everyone else and also issued a Heavy round at 10.25 lbs and a Super Heavy round at 15 lbs. The last was about as effective as a 105mm artillery round in effect but cut the firing range in half.
     
  10. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    I think the Japanese and the Italians held there medium mortars at a higher level, in the Italain case, a motorized infantry division had a mortar battalion with 3 x companies each with 9 x mortars each, the Japanese usually put there mortars in the Regimental gun company, to suppliment there normal regimental guns, this could be anything from two to maby eight tubes.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    In addition to the HE, and Illum rounds TA mentioned, the WP round was commonly used in 81's. It served multiple purposes, smoke, marking, anti-personnel and as an incendiary.
     
  12. 1ST Chutes

    1ST Chutes Member

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    Might be of interest:

    The M1 81mm Mortar was a smoothbore, high-angle fire, muzzle loading weapon.Weight: 136 pounds
    Length of tube: 49.5 inches
    Elevation: 40 to 80 degrees
    Rate of fire (normal): 18 rpm
    Rate of fire(maximum): 30 to 35 rpm
    Range: 100 to 3,290 yards


    The M1 81mm Mortar

    View attachment 14834

     

    Attached Files:

  13. Up From Marseille

    Up From Marseille Member

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    The US Independent Tank Battalions also had a self-propelled Mortar Platoon in their HQ Companies that fielded an 81mm mortar in an M4 /A1 halftrack. Their loadout was heavily biased toward the WP/Smoke round with HE being rarely used. (Why use a mortar HE when you're surrounded by 75s/76. and 105s?) There were three SP Mortars per Battalion.
     

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