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Osprey New Vanguard 54 : Infantry Mortars of World War II

Mortars are one the oldest forms of ordnance and can trace their ancestry back to muzzle-loaded medieval siege mortars. The development of rifled artillery in the 19th century seemed to make muzzle-loading ordnance obsolete, but the requirements of trench warfare in the First World War resulted in a resurgence in demand for this simple weapon. The need for weapons to lob shells on very high trajectories into enemy trenches prompted the development of trench mortars. They used a smooth bore metal tube as a barrel and were supported by an A-frame, which could be used to raise or lower the barrel to adjust the fall of shot. From these simple developments the mortar has proved to be one of the most influential and prevalent infantry support weapons of the 20th century. Throughout the course of the Second World War many different varieties of weapon were used the six main armies of the war: Britain, the USA, the Soviet Union, Germany Italy and Japan. Although the concept of the mortar was similar throughout these armies, calibres and usage varied enormously, dependent upon tactical use and terrain. This book covers all variants from the British 3 in. equipped 'Heavy Weapon Companies', through to the Russian 120 mm mortars, which were incorporated into the Tank Corps for the storming of Berlin in 1945. Text by John Norris with illustrations by Robert Calow.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Belligerents
  • Use in Combat
  • Troops
  • Comparison
  • Ammunition
  • Colour Plate Commentary

 

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