The standard light mortar of the German Army is the 50-mm. This
is comparable in a number of ways to our 60-mm, although ours is
the superior weapon on the whole, especially as to maximum range,
precision, and all-around performance.
The following table affords a basis for a comparison of the two weapons:
||German 50-mm Mortar
||U.S. 60-mm Mortar|
|Caliber||50 mm||60 mm|
|Weight in action||31 lbs||42 lbs|
|Length of barrel||18 in||28.6 in|
|Maximum range||568 yds||1,935 yds|
|Minimum range||55 yds||100 yds|
||600 mils (change in deflection) = 33°45'
||140 mils (70 either way) = 7°57'|
|Rate of fire
||6 rounds can be fired in 8 seconds. but this rate cannot be maintained
||Maximum: 1 round in 2 seconds; normal: 1 round in 4 seconds — this can be maintained|
|AMMUNITION FOR ABOVE|
|Type of bomb||HE||HE|
|Overall length||8.5 in||9.54 in|
|Maximum diameter ||50 mm||60 mm|
|Weight||2 lbs||2.96 lbs|
|No. of charges, or zones||1||4|
|Markings||Bomb painted dull red, stenciled in black||HE, yellow; practice, blue|
The 50-mm is muzzle loaded and trigger-fired, and is designed for
high-angle fire only—that is, for fire at angles of not less
than 45 degrees. Our 60-mm is muzzle-loaded,
has a smooth bore, and is not trigger-fired. It is designed for
high-angle fire at angles of from 40 to 85 degrees.
|Figure 1. German 50-mm Light Mortar.|
Although sights will be found with German 50-mm mortars manufactured before
1938, the mortars manufactured during or after that year are laid on the
targets or aiming stakes by means of a white line on the barrel. Our
60-mm has the M4 sight, as does our 81-mm mortar.
|Figure 2. Another View of the German 50-mm Light Mortar.|
The 50-mm is a two-man load. One man carries on his back the base plate
with traversing and cross-leveling gear. The other carries on his back
the barrel and the elevating screw pillar. Our 60-mm is a two-man load,
also; a corporal carries the base plate and sight, while the No. 1 man
carries the mortar and bipod.
Range for the 50-mm is indicated on an arc fixed on the left side of the
barrel by the rear edge of an indicator hinged on the traversing
bracket. The arc is graduated from 60 to 520 meters, and the indicator
can be folded down when the mortar is dismantled.
A rough adjustment of elevation can be effected in the following
manner: Pressing a quick release lever unlocks the catch of the
sliding collar connected to the upper end of the elevating screw
pillar. The collar is then free to slide along its guide and the
barrel can be elevated by means of the barrel handle.
As soon as the range ordered is approximately indicated on the range
scale, the sliding collar is locked in its guide by the release of the
quick-release lever. Fine adjustments are effected by rotation of the
sleeve of the elevating screw pillar.
The U.S. 60-mm mortar has a permanent firing table, which is fitted
to the tube. For ammunition of present manufacture, a firing table
card is included with each complete round container. This table gives
elevation (degrees) corresponding to various ranges throughout the
field of fire, and also gives the change in deflection
(mils) due to one turn of the traversing control of the mount. The latter
feature permits direct introduction of deflection corrections in case the
sight is lost or becomes unserviceable.
The mortar can be laid either direct or by means of aiming stakes. Rough
adjustments for line are effected when the position of the base plate is
altered, with the traverse set at zero.
A deflection scale is engraved on the cross-bar joining the two leveling
handles, and consists of a double row of graduations. The interval between
the graduations in row is 20 mils, but the rows are offset, so that the
graduations on one are halfway between the graduations in the other. Thus
the scale indicates deflections to the nearest 10 mils.
The total traverse is 600 mils (33° 45')—that is, 300 mils (16° 52' 30")
each side of zero. Fine adjustments are made by rotation of the traversing handwheel
until the required deflection is indicated on the scale.
4. LOADING AND FIRING
During loading and firing of the 50-mm mortar, the layer's position is
on the left, behind the mortar. He lies on his belly, holds the leveling
handles, and presses on the base plate with his forearms. The loader, who
lies to the right of the layer, loads by inserting the bomb in the
muzzle, tail down.
After releasing the bomb, the loader's right hand instantly goes
to the trigger, and both loader and layer lower their faces to the
ground. Meanwhile, the layer still holds the leveling handles and
continues to steady the base plate by resting his weight on it. On
the order to fire, the loader pulls the trigger slowly and evenly the rear.
When a misfire of the 50-mm occurs, the trigger should be pulled
again—several times, if necessary. A German training manual warns
that the detachment should wait 1 minute before unloading, in order to
avoid accidents caused by possible delayed fire. On the other hand, when
a misfire of the U.S. 60-mm occurs, the No. 3 man immediately strikes
the barrel several times with a heavy nonmetallic instrument, such as
a 2- by 4-inch timber, or, if this is not available, with the cleaning
rod or with his heel. The mortar crew then waits at least 1 minute before
removing the round.
The bomb fired from the 50-mm is a streamlined H.E. bomb of the
anti-personnel type, with a finned tail unit which carries the
cartridge. The bomb is fitted with a quick-acting nose fuze with
booster. (The German name for this bomb is the 5-cm. Wgr. 36.)
The body is of mild steel with walls 4-mm thick, and has a cylindrical
portion near the head. A screw-threaded
fuze hole is formed at the head, and the base end
is similarly prepared to receive the cartridge container portion of
the tail unit. The body contains a bursting charge of T.N.T. weighing
approximately 4 1/2 ounces.
The tail unit consists of a mild (not hardened) steel cartridge
container, to which 8 blades formed in pairs, are spot welded to
form the fin.
The fuze (Wgr. Z. 38) is a quick-acting nose percussion fuze with a
graze pellet and booster. It arms itself approximately 60 yards from
the muzzle of the barrel; until then it is safe.
The U.S. 60-mm mortar uses an H.E. shell (designation: Shell,
H.E. M49A1, w/ PDF M52, 60-mm mortar) against personnel and light
materiel targets. The action of the fuze is superquick. For use in
the field, it is issued assembled to the shell as a component of the
complete round. To arm the fuze, it is necessary only to remove the cotter pin.