- Weight: 42 lbs assembled; barrel 12.8 lbs; bipod
16.4 lbs; base plate 12.8 lbs.
- Length: 28.6 in.
- Muzzle Velocity (HE): 535 fps
- Max Range (HE): 1000 yds effective (1985 yds max)
- Rate of Fire: 18 rpm normal; 30-35 rpm max
- Sight: M4 collimator
- M49A2 HE:
- most widely used, 3.07 lbs, range max 2,000
yds; effective range up to about 1,000 yds due to dispersion, produces
over 200 fragments, with an effective bursting radius of 17 yards.
- M302 WP:
- weight 4.02 lbs, muzzle velocity 439 fps, both
a smoke producer and a casualty-inducing weapon.
- M83 illuminating round:
weight 3.7 lbs; length 14.28 in; range max 1,000
yds; height about 800 feet; parachute attached, falling about 10
feet/sec; illuminate burned about 25 seconds, producing 110,000
candlepower, illuminating an area of about 100 yards diam.
charges for mortar ammunition:
- Consist of square powder increments and an
ignition charge. The full charge consists of an ignition cartridge and
four equal propellent increments (bundles of sheet powder, in
waterproof cellophane bags) assembled to the base of the round as
issued. The increments are fitted into slots of the fin blades. To
prepare the charge for firing, it is only necessary to remove any
increments not required for the range desired.
- The mortar is then fired by removing the
safety wire and inserting a complete round in the muzzle. The elevation
of the barrel allows the round to slide towards the base, where the
ignition cartridge strikes the firing pin located inside the base cap.
The flame from the exploding cartridge ignites the propelling charge,
the gas pressure drives the round up and out, arming the fuze. (The M19 may be set either to DROP fire,
as just described, or to LEVER fire, where the ignition cartridge is
actuated manually by triggering a lever.)
For mobile platoon and company level action, an
easily portable weapon for use between the effective ranges of hand
grenades and the 81mm mortar was
needed. Hence, the 60mm M2. The bipod was often left attached to the
tube for speed in bringing the mortar into action, and the combination
was readily carried by two men, with ammunition in complete rounds
being carried by supporting troops.
In the Marine Corps, our 60mm guns were usually in three gun-squads in
a 20-man mortar section commanded by a lieutenant, reinforcing each
Rifle Company. Each gun-squad consisted of a squad leader, gunner,
assistant gunner and 3 ammo bearers. In deployment for action, the ammo
carriers humped 6 loads, in addition to their weapons and equipment. On
the move, the gunner carried the complete mortar w/o sight, and all
other men carried ammo bags or packboards strapping 12 loads. In
addition all men carried their equipment and a carbine, and the squad
leader carried the M4 sight. These guns were invaluable in close
support. Sometimes in battery, but usually assigned one gun per
platoon, they moved fluidly close behind our assault troops, and
registered on assault lanes in front of the platoons before night, so
as to be ready to quickly provide murderous close support.
They often had to.
Infantry mortars are normally employed in defiladed positions, such as
the reverse slope of a hill or ridge, so as not to be vulnerable to
enemy direct fire positions. Hence direction and altitude settings are
normally controlled indirectly by a forward observer, or an aiming
stake about 10-25 yards forward of the gunner, and the rounds are
normally dropped down the barrel. The 60mm
M19 could be used as a direct fire weapon by attaching the small M1
base plate to the barrel. This reduced the mortar weight substantially,
and greatly lowered the weapon profile in the open during fluid
engagements where targets were close and in direct view.
Comparing weight of material to destruction delivered at the target,
mortars are very efficient. "The infantry's artillery", they provide
small infantry units artillery-like fire support when artillery either
was not available, or could not be moved forward fast enough. The
initial Chinese Communist assaults of November and December 1950, did
not bring artillery, but they did bring mortars, and used them with
Typical CCF assault tactics were to drift strong infantry units near
our lines at night, and use small probing attacks to locate our
automatic weapons and machine guns and, if possible, junctions between
our platoons or other weak points. Then, they would attack in strength
with platoons armed only with grenades, followed by submachine gun
platoons. Their light mortar units would follow quickly, and place
their fire on our strong points from fairly close distances, enabling
them to fire with reasonable accuracy even though at night and without