BIG! Mortars

We’ve written before about mortars being the infantry commander’s “hip pocket artillery.”* And in our Army, mortars are infantry weapons, separate from the Field Artillery.  Currently, our Army fields 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t larger mortars.  Israel and several other countries use 160mm mortars. And the current largest mortar in service is the Russian 240mm mortar.


That’s a pretty hefty tube.

It’s odd to see a weapon that has a rotary magazine and power loading and yet the each round has to have its primary and booster charges hand applied. I mean, really? Tying the “cheeses” on with string?

Looks like some guided and rocket assisted shells in there too.

*well, Infantry, Armor and Cavalry- basically each ground maneuver battalion has its own mortars.

13 thoughts on “BIG! Mortars”

  1. Why would you spend the money on a mortar that big when you could probably get a howitzer for the same value (or am I underestimating the cost of a howtizer?).

  2. Yea, yea; but you’d miss us if we weren’t there when you called.


    Ref. above

    1. Was in a four-deuce platoon FDC in my first gig with Uncle. They weren’t that bad in the APC but we only had those in AIT. Out in the real world it was back to 3/4 ton trucks and trailers. Bummah… 🙁

  3. I don’t see a tactical advantage of a large mortar over a howitzer. I can understand the smaller mortars as they are handy and you make a high rate of fire. Ivan’s large mortars, however, don’t impress me given the low rate of fire.

    Yeah, they tie the cheeses on. Ivan really embraces the suck beyond all understanding at times.

  4. “Ivan really embraces the suck beyond all understanding at times.”

    It’s almost as if they enjoy being sh*t upon.


  5. To me, the benefit is not in the system, but in the speed of processing. I have observed, time and time again, that mortars tend to actually get rounds out and on target in a timely manner, while our FA brothers can’t, for a variety of reasons, begin to compete,even though when the FA rounds hit, it is with a nice effect. I personally have a pretty hot mortar platoon, and the idea that I can see a target from my tank, lase it, call up a SPOTREP (and 10-digit grid), and call my mortars directly with a fire-for-effect. During my last NTC, I observed dismounts milling around, called for fire, and actually had “rounds” (yes, MILES fight) in the air and was waiting for a 40-second time of flight, when they walked away from where they were standing. Good mortars and FDCs are awesome.

    1. I guess I should say my example of the rapidity of fires with the mortars seems like a bad one as we didn’t hit the target, but considering that I didn’t even bother to call for 155 because it would have been about 8-12 minutes to process it at best (and more likely than not I would have never gotten it shot, even for a stationary tank platoon), vice about 3-4 min for my mortars to get rounds out, is telling. Over the years, I have come to have little little expectations from the FA, except for the targets that are either the first called, or the BDE CDR’s directed priority. Few other missions will get shot, and if they do, they spent so long in the queue that when they do get fired, they are too late.

    2. If you’re in the mood to pick a fight with the FA, go over to the Castle and say that. But, be sure to turn down any invites to to His “2nd on the 4th” celebrations or you might get a personal demo of Heimdall in a way which you wouldn’t find amusing.

      1. That’s not so much picking a fight with FA, as noting that the decision loop for mortars is shorter than for FA. Heck, that’s why infantry companies, and maneuver battalions have mortars.

        There has always been a tension between decentralized and centralized control over indirect fires. Today, Esli’s talking about a Bn having access to the brigade’s organic FA battalion. But in WWII, it would have been a regimental commander trying to get access to DivArty’s fires, when the Division CG had other priorities.

    3. I don’t blame FA; I like them, and the potential they have. What I don’t like is the unwieldy systems we have put in place, and the idea that everyone that calls for fire will get fires,when the fact is that you can only process so many missions based on limited tubes, time, and ammo, but there is an unlimited stream of requests. Then when the guns are laid, a higher priority mission is called and the guns are relaid on the new mission. Or, they have to pull smoke to reload HE, etc. Then, after the mission, the guns must displace to prevent themselves from getting destroyed by counterbattery. Ultimately, many missions requested, and few shot. Nothing I am saying is insulting, and should not be taken that way, but it is a realistic observation. I can bypass all of this by calling my mortar platoon directly, and I love it.

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