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Terminology

Fixed ammunition
Proximity Fuze

M19 60mm Mortar

The M19 60mm Mortar was a light mortar developed in the United States in 1942 as a replacement for the M2 Mortar then in use. The M19 was a simplified version of the M2. While it was not widely used in US service, the Canadian Army adopted it as a replacement for the 2-inch Mortar and used it into the 21st Century.

Description

The 60mm Mortar was a smooth bore, muzzle loading, high trajectory weapon consisting of a barrel, base cap and firing mechanism assembled into a single unit.

The breech end of the barrel was threaded to receive the base cap thereby closing the breech. The firing mechanism housing was attached to the base cap by means of a threaded adapter. A spherical projection fit into, and locked, the socket of the base plate and was an extension of the firing mechanism housing.

The mortar could be used for direct fire missions using the M1 Base Plate, which consisted of a curved metal base and a ball socket shaped to receive the spherical extension of the firing mechanism housing. Part of the ball socket consisted of a split nut that fit around the spherical extension and then screwed into the socket of the base plate.

From the DND website:

The 60mm-mortar is an indirect fire support weapon used primarily by the infantry. The weapon is fielded in two configurations, the handheld version using the M1 base plate and the more accurate version with the M5 mount consisting of a base plate, bipod and C2A1 sight. A two person mortar crew can carry the weapon and several rounds of ammunition over long distances. Additional ammunition is normally carried in a vehicle or by the remainder of the infantry platoon. A tactical advantage of the mortar is its high trajectory, which allows the mortar to be fired from behind high cover, the suppression of targets behind high cover and the firing of the mortar over the heads of friendly troops without endangering them.

 

The weapon can fire 30 rounds per minute for short periods and 8 rounds per minute for sustained periods. In the handheld configuration it can be used against targets between 100 and 1500 metres away, the M5 mount extends this range to 2800 metres. The mortar can fire a variety of ammunition including high explosive (HE) rounds that produce a large number of lethal fragments, white and red phosphorus smoke rounds for making smoke screens and illumination rounds to light up the battlefield at night.

 

In the handheld configuration the mortar consists of a barrel, a base cap and a firing mechanism. These three parts are normally assembled into single unit. The mortar is loaded by dropping a round into the muzzle. The firing mechanism can be set to fire the round as soon as it reaches the bottom of the barrel or set to fire when operated by the soldier similar to a rifle trigger.

  • Bore diameter: 60mm (2.36in)

  • Barrel Length: 819mm (32.2in)

  • Elevation: +40 to +85 (1504.5 mils) on M5 Mount, or free on M1 Mount

  • Traverse: 14 on M5 mount or free on M1 mount

  • Weight of bomb: 1.36kg (3.0lb)

  • Muzzle Velocity: 168m/s (550ft/sec)

  • Ammunition: High Explosive (HE), White or Red Phosphorus (WP/RP), Illumination, Practice

  • Rate of Fire: Normal 8 per minute, Maximum 30 rounds per minute

  • Weight: Handheld configuration 7.7kg, M5 base plate configuration 23.4kg

  • Barrel and M1 Base Plate 9.03kg

  • Barrel only 7.02kg

  • Base Plate M1 only 2.04kg

  • Length: 726mm in handheld configuration

  • Range: Handheld configuration 100 to 1500m, M5 base plate configuration 100 to 2800m

References

  • Hogg, Ian Twentieth-Century Artillery (Friedman/Fairfax Publishers, 2000) ISBN 158663299X


M19 mortars on the range at Wainwright. Calgary Highlanders photo.

 


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