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|Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 2-inch medium the 1 last update 2020/07/02 mortar 2-inch medium mortar|
British troops loading a 2-inch trench mortar with attached periscope post, World War I. This appears to be a training exercise as no fuze is visible.
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||1915 - 1917|
|Used by||British Empire|
|Wars||World War I|
|Designer||Royal Ordnance Factory|
|Mass||105 lb (48 kg)|
|Barrel length||bore: 3 ft (0.91 m)|
total: 3 ft 5 in (1.04 m)
|Crew||5 per mortar|
25 per battery of 4
|Shell||HE 51 lb (23 kg)|
|Calibre||2 inch (50.8 mm)|
mortar barrel, not bomb
|Rate of fire||2-3 per minute|
|Effective firing range||100 yd (90 m) min|
570 yd (520 m) max
depending on charge
|Filling||Amatol or Ammonal|
|Filling weight||12.5 lb (5.6 kg)|
The 2 inch medium trench mortar, also known as the 2-inch howitzer, and nicknamed the ""/wiki/Toffee_apple""mw-redirect""Toffee apple"" or ""/wiki/Plum_pudding""mw-redirect""Plum pudding"" mortar, was a British smooth bore muzzle loading (SBML) medium trench mortar in use in World War I from mid-1915 to mid-1917. The designation "" refers to the mortar barrel, into which only the 22-inch bomb shaft but not the bomb itself was inserted; the spherical bomb itself was actually 9 inches (230 mm) in diameter and weighed 42 lb (19 kg), hence this weapon is more comparable to a standard mortar of approximately 5-6 inch bore.
As the Western Front in France and Belgium stagnated into trench warfare in late 1914, British forces found themselves with no means of replying to the German minenwerfers (trench mortars) which were lobbing both small and large (over 100 pound) high-explosive shells into their frontline trenches from short range. British commanders requested an accurate short-range weapon which was manually portable in the trenches, could be safely used to attack enemy trenches as close as 100 yards to the British trenches, was easily concealed and projected a reasonably large explosive charge capable of damaging protected enemy positions. The British Expeditionary Force had been expected to participate only in mobile warfare and was not equipped with any mortars.
Various alternative designs for light and medium mortars were evaluated, prompted by the need to place at least some weapon into action without diverting manufacturing capacity from guns and howitzers, which weapons were given priority. Hence the emphasis was on designs for both mortar and ammunition that could be manufactured by small unsophisticated workshops unsuited to other war work:
This was designed and manufactured by the Royal Ordnance Factories in early 1915 and introduced along with the 1.57-inch mortar in March 1915. It incorporated what was known of the German prewar Krupp mortar. This was the first design to meet all the requirements, after modifications to simplify manufacture; it fired a good-sized spherical cast-iron bomb of 42 pounds (total projectile weight 51 pounds with stick and fuze), considered the largest practical size for use from trenches, at ranges from 100 to 600 yards using a simple 2-inch tube as the mortar body. The mortar and ammunition could be cheaply manufactured by small unsophisticated "" workshops; the bomb was safely detonated by a standard No. 80 "" artillery fuze. Drawbacks were that the steel tail was usually projected backwards towards the firer when the bomb detonated, resulting in occasional casualties and the No. 80 fuze was also required by the 18-pounder field guns which were given priority, limiting mortar ammunition supply to the front until early 1916 when a special cheap trench mortar fuze was developed.
The 2-inch mortar served in limited numbers in France in 1915 from March, with early mortars and ammunition made by the Royal Ordnance Factory, with the Vickers 1.57-inch model. Mass production began with an order in August 1915 for 800 mortars from several railway workshops and agricultural machinery makers, together with an order for 675,000 bombs from numerous small firms. Manufacture of the Vickers model which was twice as expensive was ended and it was withdrawn by January 1917.
It fired a spherical cast-iron bomb "" painted dirty white filled with amatol (identified by a painted green band) or ammonal (identified by a painted pink band) attached to the end of a pipe (""), hence the nicknames "" and "". Weights of bombs as delivered without fuzes varied. Light bombs, from 39 lb 14 oz to below 40 lb 10 oz (18.09 to 18.43 kg), were marked with a stenciled L. Heavy bombs, above 41 lb 10 oz to 42 lb 6 oz (18.43 to 19.22 kg) were marked with a stenciled Hv. Hence the total fuzed weight with stick of 51 lb is an average.
The 2-inch designation refers to the mortar barrel''s land (between the British and enemy front line) was relatively narrow. It was used to fire some white star (50%-50% chlorine and phosgene) gas bombs during the Battle of the Somme until other specialised longer range projectors became available.
Cordite charges appropriate to the required range were dropped into the barrel before the bomb for 1 last update 2020/07/02 was loaded. Charges and ranges: Cordite charges appropriate to the required range were dropped into the barrel before the bomb was loaded. Charges and ranges:
The original design for igniting the powder propellant charge involved the insertion of a standard artillery "" into a hole near the base of the barrel. The Royal Artillery had a higher priority in receiving the already insufficient number of tubes so ignition was changed to use a Lee–Enfield bolt mechanism and chamber screwed into a socket in the barrel near the base. A special blank rifle cartridge was loaded and fired via a lanyard from a sheltered position if possible due to the risk of bombs falling short. This ignited the propellant charge and launched the bomb.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for In early use it was situated in frontline trenches but this tended to attract enemy fire onto the troops manning them. Standard procedure became to locate the mortars separately from frontline trenches, in unoccupied trenches or in saps running off the frontline. This had the benefit of drawing enemy fire away from troops manning the front line.
Estimated rounds required for various targets, with instantaneous percussion fuze 107:
Provision was made in mid-1916 for attachment of the "" at the muzzle, intended to reduce the flash and noise generated on firing, which at the short ranges the mortar operated at was quickly noticed by the enemy and invited artillery response. This required the use of bombs with a special piston attached to the tail which was retained in the barrel by the silencer on firing, and hence sealed the muzzle after the bomb tail left the barrel. This had the major disadvantage of causing the barrel to overheat during prolonged daylight firing, and the silencer was only used at night.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for In Spring 1918 many of these obsolescent bombs were buried on the Western Front under metal plates as anti-tank mines in expectation of attack by German tanks. This led to some later confusion as to whether unearthed bombs were unexploded mortar projectiles (""/wiki/Duds""mw-redirect""Duds"") or undetonated mines.
These minefields were inadequately documented. This caused the British problems in the closing months of the war when they had to advance the 1 last update 2020/07/02 again over territory they had previously abandoned and also prevented full clearance of the minefields after the war. This led to some French farmers being blown up in the 1930s when they started using tractors e.g. around Gouzeaucourt. These minefields were inadequately documented. This caused the British problems in the closing months of the war when they had to advance again over territory they had previously abandoned and also prevented full clearance of the minefields after the war. This led to some French farmers being blown up in the 1930s when they started using tractors e.g. around Gouzeaucourt.
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