You have to love it when your readers do your research for you. Makes blogging a lot easier. Frequent reader Vmaximus pointed this little gem out to us via the comments:
I found this at Theo’s,
I do not know anything about mortars, but is this how a mortar team works?
It does not look like they even aim till about 7 min in. Then they are slinging that tube around like there is no tomorrow. Do you know anything about Mortars?
Why yes, Vmax, I do know a little about mortars. But just a little. I suspect that the Infantry School, where mortarmen train (mortarmen are infantrymen, 11C’s to be specific) might not approve of their firing drill. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they are doing.
The mortar crew is obviously in a well prepared defensive position. They are at an outpost, likely very much like the one pictured here. They have had time to figure out likely enemy avenues of approach. In addition to digging in, they figured out where they would most likely be shooting, and are prepared to do it with minimal preparation.
The other thing is this- they are only throwing the rounds a fairly short distance. The gunner can see what he’s shooting at. He’s shot mortars enough that at short ranges, he can eyeball it. You see him pop up to see where the rounds are striking, then dropping down to shift the rounds a little bit to spread the coverage over the target.
One other interesting bit. Towards the end, the last round he fires? You see him take it out of the packing, then pull some light colored stuff off the base of the round? That’s propellant. Mortar rounds carry their powder on the outside of the case. By varying the number of these “charges” you change how far the round will go.
You also hear troops talking about “107s coming in!” That’s the 107mm Chinese Type 63 bombardment rocket. Taliban troops love shooting these things, usually from a crude homemade launcher. They are wildly inaccurate, but big enough that they only have to get lucky once.