60mm Mortar Live Fire

The M224 60mm mortar is the smallest crew served indirect fire weapon in the US arsenal. US Army light Infantry companies have a two mortar section, while each Marine Rifle company has a three mortar section.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfkOeHQXAaM]When I was stationed in Hawaii, my company’s mortar section was critically short of people once and I was tapped to assist them for a few days during a field exercise. It was awful. That tube and the baseplate (and the associated equipment) is heavy!

Note that there are actually two baseplates. The mortar can be fired in a hand held, trigger fired mode with a small baseplate, and no bipod. The gunner aims by, essentially, Kentucky windage. The 60mm can also be fired from a more conventional baseplate and bipod configuration, in association with elevation and azimuth calculated by a fire direction center.

While a platoon patrol may often carry one mortar with them (usually without the big baseplate and bipod) in a defense, or in a deliberate attack, the full mount would be used, and normally both (or all three) tubes would fire on the same target, to achieve concentration of effects.

Also, this was almost certainly filmed at Twenty-Nine Palms, up the road a bit from me. Though legend has it, twenty-nine is something of a gross exaggeration of the number of palms around…

9 thoughts on “60mm Mortar Live Fire”

  1. My Marine friends referred to it as “29 Stumps.” The Army went away from the 60 mm mortar for a few years and only had 81’s as the “light” mortar for a while.

    1. I am so glad you put “light” in quotes. Not only is it heavy, it is awkward. There is no way to carry the parts comfortably.

      I often wondered, as we walked up and down the triple canopy covered hills, just why we had an entire platoon carrying ONE useless 81 mm. mortar with 12 rounds of ammunition.

  2. I knew that comment would draw out some poor souls who I watched carry those systems up and down elevations or slogged through mud. I always wondered how we had 60 mm’s in Korea but not in RVN (while the ARVN did have them), then bring it back early 80’s I believe. Yeah the “Charlie’s” who only knew humping 81 mm’s were truly unfortunate souls. Good on ya gentlemen…compliments.

    1. A college classmate was in Company “O” Arctic Rangers before the unit was disbanded and folded into the Airborne unit at Richardson. They had 60mm mortars and that was in the early 70s. Why they would not be available in the Republic is a real mystery to me. It makes no sense.

    2. Actually, spent most of my tour in a rifle platoon. A lot less sleep, what with OPs, etc. Started to miss my life of ease in the rear area of the mortar platoon.

  3. Yep, that is the Stumps. Sunshine Peak in the background of one of those shots.

  4. I was there once at the rail head, I just figured the palm trees were on a different part of the post…

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