Home Infantry Weapons British British Mortars of the Second World War
British Mortars of the Second World War PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Boyd   
Thursday, 01 January 2009 15:16

British Mortars

As with any army of the time, mortars played an important role in the British army, when war began the British army had two mortars available to them, the smaller 2" mortar and the larger 3" mortar. The 2" mortar was small and could be carried by a single man, range was limited to 500 yards and the high explosive bomb was quite small but the weapon provided a useful HE and Smoke thrower. Unlike the Germans the 2" Mortar remained in production throughout the war. The 3" Mortar was a much larger weapon and was usually carried with its ammunition on a truck, the weapon offered a much greater high explosive and smoke capability as well as over three times the range but the weapon was much heavier than it's 2" counterpart.

The 4.2" Mortar entered production at the end of 1941 and fired a larger round than the 3" mortar, it was also significantly larger and heavier. Both the 3" and the 4.2" Mortars were mounted on Universal Carriers which provided a fast and protected support tool. 

A handful of 6" Mortars were also imported from Canada in 1940, the production numbers below do not do justice to the number of mortars available to the British army throughout the Second World War as a large number of mortars were produced by Commonwealth Countries and imported from the USA - mortars imported from the USA include 2", 60mm and 80mm mortars. Many millions of rounds for all types of mortars were also imported from the Commonwealth and the USA.

2" Mortar

2 inch mortar

2" Mortar characteristics

Calibre 2"(50.8)
Complete Weight 23.5lb
Max Range 500 yards
Weight of HE bomb 2.5lb
Weight of Smoke bomb 2lb

2" Mortar production by year (UK only)

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
2" Mortar 1,242 1,225 5,337 4,468 6,981 10,771 5,644 3,620
2" Tank Mortar - - - 2,384 10,767 10,403 2,326 -
2" Tank Mortar (Campbell) - - - - - - 1,134 1,586
Converted to airborne - - - - 340 456 - -
2" Mortar Parachute - - - - - 443 2,326 -
2" Mortar Carrier - - - - - 125 77 -

2" Mortar ammunition production by year (UK only, filled only)

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
2" Mortar HE 179,855 112,482 1,257,721 1,136,700 12,636,000 3,457,000 2,944,000 1,035,000
2" Mortar Smoke - 76,837 388,422 4,650,400 5,067,000 8,576,000 3,641,000 500,000
2" Tank Smoke - - - 2,125,900 3,718,000 1,525,000 800,000 200,000
2" Tank Smoke WP - - - - - 2,494,000 1,820,000 490,000

3" Mortar

3 inch mortar

3" Mortar characteristics

Calibre

3"(76.2)

Weight of base plate/sight 37lb
Weight of barrel/spares 34lb
Weight of bipod 44.5lb
Min range 250 yards
Max range 1,600 yards
Weight of bomb 10lb

3" Mortar production by year (UK only) *No figures from June onwards

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
3" Mortars 421 92 2,343 3,651 2,783 - 9,809 -
3" Mortar lightened - - - - - - 771 3,017
3" Mortar Airborne - - - - - 627 - -
3" Mortar Mountings 377 60 1,219 3,827 2,046* - - -
3" Mortar Base Plates 482 158 2,360 3,892 861* - - -

3" Mortar ammunition production by year (UK only)

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
3" Mortar HE 90,057 5,546 480,301 3,609,600 6,585,000 2,113,000 961,000 1,266,000
3" Mortar Smoke 190,149 26,849 158,433 1,477,000 3,162,000 1,584,000 184,000 321,000
3" Mortar 10lb Smoke - - - - - - - 58,000

4.2" Mortar 

4.2 inch mortar

4.2" Mortar characteristics

Calibre

4.2"(106.68)

Mortar weight 90lb
Mounting weight 64lb
Base plate weight 117lb
Weight of bomb 20lb

4.2" Mortar production by year (UK only)

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
4.2" Mortars - - - - 1,034 2,719 - -
4.2" Mortar Mountings - - - - 456 - - -
4.2" Mortar Base Plates - - - - 364 - - -
4.2" Mortar Wheeled - - - - - - - 26

4.2" Mortar ammunition production by year (UK only)

  Pre-war Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
4.2" Mortar HE - - - - 155,000 457,000 90,000 -
4.2" Mortar Smoke - - - - 121,000 340,000 - -
4.2" Smoke Cylindrical - - - - - - - 7,000
4.2" Mortar Streamline HE - - - - - 1,864,000 620,000 134,000

Sources - Various Handbooks,  AVIA 22 456-514

 

Add your comment

Your name:
Subject:
Comment:
Copyright © 2017 David Boyd. All Rights Reserved.
 

Who's Online

We have 72 guests online