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Volume 9 Issue 103

Published by
Orbis Publishino Ltd
@ Aerospace P"ubtishing Ltd 1985
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Chrls Bishop
Chris Chant
lan Drury

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Artists: Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MG, Comman-
Ray Hutchins
Richard Hook der of British Land Forces during the
Falklands campaign.

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lnfcntrg Support
Wbclpons ol
Wbrld Wbr ll
In the mobile batflefields of World War II, infantry could not WaffenSS infantry in action use a
I 0 - cm N ebelwerfer 35. Originally
count on any artillerylurr.ittobe close enoughto givesupport intended to be a smoke-laying
mottar, thisweapon had a calibre ol
in case of trouble, One solution to the problem was to g;ive the I 05 mm (4. I 3 in) and was an
infantry their own artillety, hut the most cost-effective enlargedversion of the orthodox
B-cm Granatwerfer 34. I t was often
method depended upon a weapon as old as gutrpowder - the used tofire HE bombs aswell as
mottar. smoke.

Throughout World War II the standard infantry support weapon used in War I it seemed to be a good idea to many armies to provide the::
most armies was the mortar, Some armies tended to combine the hght tnfantry unrts wrth integral artillery fire support, but provrding the infar:-
weight and plunging fire of the mortar with the more direct approach try with special artrllery weapons was rather extravagant in resources
and heavier firepower of the infantry gun or howitzer, and there were and manpower. The artillery piece has never been a true infan:r,'
even some infantry support weapons (such as the odd ltttle Japanese weapon, for it is far too demandlng in handhng manpower, however
\pe 92 battalion gmn) that could be sard to combine the attributes of gnrn small and light it rs made, Even before the end of World War II the heav ,-
and mortar, One factor that wrll be seen to be important throughout thts mortar was replacing the infantry gnrn, and since 1945 the rnfantry giLr-
study is the number of real1y small-callbre mortars that were used has faded completely from the modern tactical scene, The mortar is no-,',
during World War IL These lightweight mortars were used rtght down to the dominant infantry support weapon, supplemented here and there b,'
infantry squad level, enablingr the squad to provlde its own local fire recoilless weapons and mrssiles, but infantry seem to preier the mortar
support, This was a form of weapon that rose to prominence during overall, The weapon was, and still is, portable, has range and firepower
World War II, for although the mortar was evolved durrng World War I it to a degree that the soldiers of World War I could not have imagined
never reached the level of control that could extend right down to the and remains completely under the control of the infantry that it supports
individual squad, This concept has been maintained since I945, and just as it did during World War IL
today provrdes the infantry with a powerful extension of its offensive and
June 194 I , and a German mottat ctew opetate their 9-cm schwere
defensive range, Granatwerfer 34 out of a Soviet farmyard. German mortar crews were
One weapon that rose to prominence during World War II but has extremelywell trained, and could provide accurate and rapidly-aimed fire on
iaded out since is the rnfantry gmn or howitzer. In the aftermath of World the request of the infantry, forward observers giving full target information.

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il Houi"t light mortars
'[AeSc-;e! 82-PM
-ie Red Army used mortars of all many were made as productron con- 37 hadacalibreol
cnds in great numbers throughout centrated on the 50-PM 40, Many of the 82 rn (3.228 in)andwasaclose
,ri orld War IL In general they were 50-PM 40s produced fell into German desgr:n re,awe of theFrenchBrandt
sci:nd and reliable weapons that were hands and they too used them on a m oriai's. Ii e Soylefs in lro duced a
much heavier than their coun- largTe scale under the desigmation 5- cir cuJar fuse pl a te an d u s e d recoil
-.ually elsewhere, but were cores-
:erparts cm Granatwerfer 205/3(r). sprrnErs benreen the bipod and
:cndrngly very robust, While the 50-mm mortars were used barrel to rd.uce recoiJ forces on the
During the I930s the Soviet arms de- at company or squad level, the batta- laying an d sig h ting arr angements.
sigmers closely followed trends else- lion mortars had a calibre of 82 mm
;here, and thus developed several (3,228 in). There were three models in
;.pes of light infantry mortars with a this family, the 82-PM 36 which was a
:alibre of 50 mm (1.97 in), After deal- direct copy ofthe Brandt mle 2713 I and
-::g for a short while wrth one desigm lnown to the Germans as the 8.2-cm
:at could be used as a 37 mm (1,46 in) Granatwerfer 274/l(r), the 82-PM 37
barrel for a weapon that could also be which was a revised model with recoil
';sed as an entrenching tool, the main springs to reduce firing loads on the
nodels settled down into a sedes that bipod and designated 8.2-cm Granat-
ccmmenced with the 50-PM 38, desig- werfer 214/2(r) by the Germans, and
:ated S-cm Granatwerfer 205/I(r) by the 82-PM 4L The last was a much
:e Germans, This was a conventional revised model that made extensive
iesigrn that used etas vents at the base use of stampings to ease production,
:i the barrel to vary the range; the and was called the 8.2-cm Granatwer-
barrel was held rn its bipod at either of fer 274/3(r) by the Germans. The short
:,',,o fixed angles, Thrs model soon bipod was so arrangied that wheels
proved drfficult to produce, so it was could be added to the ends for hand-
:eplaced by the 50-PM 39, or S-cm towing, and this feature was taken one
Granatwerfer 205/2(r) to the Germans, step turther with the 82-PM 43, which
',';hrch omitted the gas vent feature and used an even simpler bipod to ease
-sed instead normal bipod elevatron towing, one that is still in use today,
::ethods. While this model was effec- There remains one further 'ltght'
:,'e enough, it was strll thought to be monar to mention, This was a special-
:oo diftcult to produce and was in its ized 107-mm (4,21-in) mountain war-
.:rn replaced by the 50-PM 40, This fare mortar known as the I07-PBHM 38, Specification Weight: in action 45 kq (99,2 lb)
-r;as designed for mass production on a or 10.?-cm Gebirgsgnanatwerfer 328(r) 50-PM40 Elevation: +45'to +85"
lrand scale and the bipod legs and to the Germans. It was an enlarged Calibre:50 mm(1.97 in) Traverse: 5" to l0o variable
aaseplate were srmply pressed steel version of the B2-PM 37, and was used Lenqths: barrel 0,63 m (24,8 in); bore Maximum range: 3 I 00 m (3, 390 yards)
:lmponents, The bipod had a simple with a liqht limber for horse traction. 0.533 m(20.98 in) Bombweight: 3,4 kg (7,5 lb)
novel method of barrel levelling Alternatively the mortar could be Weight: in action 9,3 kg (20,5 lb)
=d rn service it proved reliable and
a::d broken down into loads for pack trans- Elevation: 45' or 75' fixed IO?-PBHM38
port, Firrng could be by the normal Traverse: 9" or 16" 107 mm (4,2I in)
-erul, even though the range was
s:mewhat restricted, There was one 'drop' method or by means of a trigger. Maximum range: BO0 m (875 yards)
Calibre:
Lengths:barrel 1.5? m(61,8 in); bore
:iher model in this calibre, the 50-PM This mountain version saw extensive Bombweight:0 85 kq (1 874 lb) t,4 m (55,12 in)
41 or S-cm Granatwerfer 200(r) to the use during World War I1 and it is still in Weight: in action 170.7 kg (376 1b)
irmans, that dispensed with a bipod use to this day, not only with the Sovtet 82-PM4l Elevation: +45'to +80"
a:d used instead a barrel yoke army but with many nations under Calibre:82 mm (3,228 in) Traverse:6"
a:ached to a large baseplate. A gas Soviet influence. Lenqths: barrel 1.32 m (51.97 in); bore Maximum range: 6314 m (6,905 yards)
-,-e:lnqi system was also used, but not 1,225 m (48,23 in) Bombweight:B kg (17,64 lb)

USSR

r20-HM 38
impressed by the firepower of the 120-
HM 38, Being on the receivingr end of
the weapon's efficiency on many occa-
sions, they had good reason to note the
power of the bomb's warhead and they
decided to adopt the design for lhem-
selves, In the short term they srmply
used as many captured examples as
they could, under the designation 12-
cm Granatrrerfer 378(r), but they then
went one better and copred the design
exactly for production in Germany.
This was known to them as the l2-cm
Granatwerfer 4Z(LZ-cmGrW 42) and it
was widely issued, even takrng the
place of infantry gnrns with some infan-
try formations. Thus the same weapon
was in use on both sides during the
fiqhtinq on the Eastem Front,
The usual bomb fired by the 120-HM
38 on both sides was the HE round, but
smoke and chemical rounds were pro-
duced (although thankfully the latter
were never used), The rate of fire
could be as high as l0 rounds per mi-
nute, so a battery of four of these mor-

A Red Army mortar battery uses


120-HM 38s in actioninthe
C au ca s i an hills during S eptembe r
I 942. The layer is using the mortar's
simple sight to lay the mortar while
the ammunition crew members
stand by to load the heavyHE bombs.
120-HM 38 (continued)

tars could lay down considerable Left: The Soviet 120-HM 38 was one of
alnounts of fire in a very short period, ffiemosl successfuI mortar designs
Over a period of action the baseplates of World War I I, and was even copied
drd have a tendency to 'bed in', making direct by the Germans for their own
relaying necessary, but this was par- use. It combined heavy firepower
hally eliminated by introduction of the and mobility and often replaced
120-HM 43 which used a springloaded support artillery with some
shock absorber on the barrel-bipod formations. It wassr'mple and easy to
mounting, It is this version, which was usein action, andfired aheavyHE
otherwise unchanqed from the origin- bomb.
al, that is most likely to be encountered
today, Over the years some changes
have been made to the ammunition,
whrch now has a longer range than the
wartlme equivalent, and another
change is that many modern versions
are now carried on various types of
self-propelled carriage,
Specification
120-HM38 Above:The 120-HM 38 is seen on its
Calibre: 120 mm (4.72 in) wheeled travelling carriage, from
Lenqths: barrel 1,862 m (73.3 in); bore which themortar couldbe rapidly
i,536 m (60,47 in) and easily emplaced. The wheeled
Weight: in action 280. I kg (617 Ib) carriagewas olten coupled to a
Elevation: *45oto *B0o Iimber that carried some
Traverse:6' ammunition. So successful was lft is
Maximum range: 6000 m (6,562 yards) mortar design that it is still in
Bombweisht: HE 16 ks (35,3 lb) production.

ffi brdnance, ML 2-inch Mortar


parti-
The first of the Brltish 2-in (50.8-mm) to the horizontal, a factor that was
mortars appeared in 1918, but it was cularly usefi:l in house{o-house com-
not in service for long being rendered bat, The bombs were normally carried
obsolete in 1919, It was not until the in tubes, each holding three, and
1930s that the notion ofreintroducing a arranged in handy packs of three
light mortar for use at platoon or sguad tubes. The normai 2-inch Mortar team
level was put forward, and as there consisted of two men, one carrytng the
was no 'history' of the development of mortar and the other carryinq the
such small mortars in the UK at that ammunition.
tLme it was decided to run a selection The 2-inch Mortar is still around, The
competition between the offerings Britrsh army uses rt for flring flares and
foom various armaments manufactur- other pyrotechnics pending the ser-
ers. The result was a flood of models vice debut of the new Light Mortar,
ftom a number of concerns, and after a and many other nations keeP the
series of trials one was selected, weapon 'on the books'. These daYs the
The winner was a design from the only version likely to be encountered
Spanish manufacturer ECIA, In its ori is the infantry model with its small
smal form this weapon was thought baseplate, the carrier version having
suitabie for improvement, and the ex- lonq since passed away,
tra fr:rther work was carned out in the
UK, leading to fuI1 production during Specification
1938, The first production version was z-inch Mortar Mk II* * *
the Ordnance, ML, 2-inch Mortar Mk II Calibre:2 in (50,8 mm) A 2-inchMortar team of theRoyalScofsFusjlr'ers in action during lateJune
(ML for muzzle loading), but this was Lengrths: barrel 0.665 m (26,2 in); bore 1 944 during an attack on Norrey-en-Bessin. The small size of the mortar

only the flrst of a lonq string of marks 0,5065 m(i9.94 in) means thaf most of it is hidden behind the mortar gunner, demonstrating how
and sub-marks, ln basrc terms there Weight: 4, 1 ks (9 ]b) easy the mortar was to conceal and use in action at close ranges .
-Jvere two types of 2-inch Mortar, One Ma:rimum range: 457 m (500 Yards)
was the pure infantry version, which Bombweight: HE 1,02 kg (2,25 lb)
-.vas a simple barrel with a small base-
plate and a trigqrer mechanism to flre
.re bomb after loadinq, The second
:j,pe was meant for use on Bren Gun or
-mversal Carriers and had a much lar-
Jer baseplate and a more complicated
::nirig system, if required the carrier
-,-ersion could be drsmounted for
;:und use and a handle was supplied
::: thrs purpose. However, between
-:-ese two types there were at the least
-i Crfferent variants, with differences
- barrel length, sightinq arange-
:::=rts and production variations.
-- ---=re were even special verstons for
:q: by the Indran Army and by air-
:,:=e drvrsions.
-:
;-:::rons
go with thrs array of weapon
A drill book demons tr a tion of the
there was an equally daunt-
" ; :a-nqte of types of ammunition, The loading of a Z-inchMortar.As the
;-- comb fired by the 2-inch Mortar
-l-5 :iE. but smoke and flares were
Ioader drops the bomb into the
muzzle, he taps the firer on the back
led. the latter berng partrcularly to order him to pull the trigger lever Soldiers of the lst Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment, in action in Sici-: ::.
-:,=-:- :br tarQlet illumination at night, via a cord lanyard. The model is the 1943, using a 2-inch Martar. The mortar gunner is operating the trigge: le','e:
:--.-:-; a trigger firing mechanism the Carrier versionwith the large at the base of the baftel to actually fire the bomb while his par lner obse.;es
T=::,:: could be used at angles close baseplate. thefallof thebomb.
ffi brdr,"r,ce, ML Mortar, 3 inch
other alteratrons were made to the The 3-inch Mortarwas the standard
The first 3-in (76,2-mm) mortar was the
original Stokes Mortar that was fust basic desigm. Later marks were equip- inlantry supportweapon of the
used in March 1917, This version re- ped with a new basepjate design and Britkh and Commonwealth armies in
mained in use for many years after improved sighting arrangements, and World W ar I I, but it generally lacked
World War I, and as funds for weapon there was even a specral version (Mor- r ang e compare d to weapons in
development were sparse between tar, 3 inch Mk V) developed for use in seruice elsewhere . During the war
the wars it remained in service virtual- the Far East, but only 5,000 of them gr adu al atnmunition changes
ly unchangted for some years, Howev- wete made and some were used by improved the range, and the3-inch
er there was some wotk carried out on the airborne divisions, The usual Mortar was a handy and popular
the basic design to the point at which it method of gettrng the weapon tnto ac- weaponinaction.
was decided during the early 1930s tron was pack carriage in three loads
that the Ordnance, ML Mortar, 3 inch by men, but the mechanized battallons
would be the standard infantry support carrred thelr weapons on spectally-
weapon, This was the Mortar, 3 inch equipped Universal Carriers, On
Mk II, the weapon that was used by the these the mortar was carried on the
army when World War il broke out in back ofthe vehicle ready to be assem-
September 1939, This Mk II had bled for normal grround use; lt was not
nurnerous chanqes from the oriqnal fired from the Carrier. The Carrier also
World War I Mk I, especially tn the had stowage for the ammunition,
ammunition which used many of the When dropped by parachute the bar-
features of the French Brandt design rel and bipod were dropped in one
innovations, container, Another contarner carried
It was not lonq after the start of the the baseplate whtle yet another con-
war when it was noticed that although tainer held the ammunition,
the Mk II was a sturdy and reliable The ammunition for the familY was
weapon, it lacked the range ofmany of largely confined to HE and smoke,
its contemporaries. The early versions although other payloads such as illumi-
had a rangre of only some 1463 m (1,600 nants were developed, By jugqhng
yards), whrch compared badly with with the propelling charge increments
the 2400 m (2 625 yards) of its German and barrel elevation angles it was
equivalent, the B-cm GrW 34, A long possible to d-rop a bomb as close as
series of experiments and trials using 114m (125 yards) away, a useful fea-
new propellants rncreased this range ture in close-quarter combat,
to 2515m (2,750 yards), which over- Somehow the weapon never
came many of the origrnal drawbacks, achieved the respect that was given to
but these new propellants took time to its opponents, but once the original
get into the hands offront-ltne troops, range shoficomings had been rec-
so at times many German and Italian tified it proved to be a sound enough Specification Weight: inaction 57.2 kq (126 Ib)
mofiars were used by British troops, weapon that remained in service with Mortar, 3-inch Mk II Elevation: +45"to +80'
especially during the North African the British army until the 1960s, It is Calibre:3 in (76,2 mm) Traverse: I 1"
campargns. used by some of the smaller ex- Lengths: overall 1.295 m (5 t tn); barrel Maximum range: 25 15 m (2, 750 yards)
Apart from the ammunttion changes Commonwealth armies, 1.19 m (46,85 in) Bomb weiqrht: HE 4,54 kg (10 lb)

Soldiers of the Black Watch are seen in action with their 3-inch Mortar near A British 3-inch Mortar team provides fire support against German positions
Herouvillette inNormandy duringJune 1944. The mortar is carefully across lft eRiver Maas during the bitter weather of January I 945.
emplaced in a purpose-dug pit, with adequate space for the mortar and crew This team appears to have a lengthy fire mission, judging from the pile oI
andwith camouflage netting handy for concealment. mortar bomb containers stacked ready to hand.

o rdnance, SB .z-inch Mortar


changed to convert the new weapon forged bodies to reduce weight and to they did manaqe a ranqe of 3658 m
into a healry mortar firing conventional produce a better ballistic shape, At (4,000 yards), By that time HE bombs
HE bombs for issue to Royal Artillery that time the required forging facilities were the main projectile used, but the
batteries, Thus the new mortar be- were not available, so the bomb original smoke function had not been
came the Ordnance, SB 4.2-inch Mor- bodies had to be cast, This resulted in entirely forgotten and some smoke
tar (SB for smooth-bored). a maximum range of only 3018 m (3,300 bombs were produced,
The 4,2-inch Mortar was produced yards) as opposed to the requlred The 4.2-inch Mortar was fauiY heftY
al a time when the Brrtish defence in- 4023 m (4,400 yards). These bombs to move around, so the usual method o:
dustry was fully stretched and produc- had to be used for they were all that gettrng it into action was to tow It usmQi
tion facilities of all kinds were in short could be made at the time pendingrthe a Jeep or other light vehicle, The base-
Supply, This was particularly notice- introduction of a new design with a plate and the barreJ./bipod were sc
able in the production of the bombs, streamlined body. Again, these had to arrangTed that they could be easil1
for the designers wanted them to have be manu-factured usrng cast iron but lifted up onto a small wheeled moun:- I
Ordnance, SB 4.2-inch Mortar (continued) Infantry Support Weapons of World War II
ing. Once on site they could be lo- 4,2-inch Mortar complements, The 4.2-
wered from the mounting and the bar- inch Mortar was used wherever British
rel and bipod quickly assembled. troops sewed from late 1942 onwards,
When carried on a Universal Carrier and the weapon was still in use during
thilgs were even simpler. The base- the Korean War, in which itwas used to
plate was simply dropped off the back, tackle targets situated on reverse
the barrel was inserted and the bipod slopes behind hills or in valleys,
shoved into place, and firing could
start almost at once. Getting out of ac- Specification
tion was just as rapid, Thls led to the 4.2-inchMortar
4.2-inch Mortar being viewed with Calibre: 106.7 mm(4,2 in)
some suspicion by the troops that re- Lengths: barrei 1,73 m (68. I in); bore
lied upon rts firepower support, While 1.565m(616in)
they valued rts supporting fire they Weight: in action 599 kg (1,320 1b)
l<new that as soon as a 4.z-lnch Mortar Elevation: +45'to +80'
battery was brought.into action nearby Traverse: I0"
would be offagain before the incom-
rt Maximum range: 3749 m (4, 100 yards)
mg counterbattery fire ftomthe enemy Bomb weight:9.07 kg (20 Ib)
arrled, By that time the 4.2-inch Mor-
tar battery would be some distance A 4.2-inch Mortar fkes on German
away, leaving the units close to theu positions in the foothills of Mount
former position to receive the fire Etna in Sicily during'l 943 . The crew
meant for the battery. are protecting their ears against the
The 4,2-inch Morta-rs were widely considerable muzzle blast. The
used by the Royal Artillery, many fleld amount of dust stirred up could
reglments having alternatlve gn:n or reveal amortar position in action.

ffi US-** Infantry Howitzer Mk II


At some point during 1942 a decrsion that they already had qurte enough Specification Elevation: -5"to *30o
was made to produce a light hovntzer weapon types within their battalions, 95-mm InfantryHowitzer Traverse: B'
for use by British infantry battalions but and there simply was not enough man- Calibre:94 mm (3,7 in) Muzzlevelocity:330 m (1,083 ft) per
atthat time the infantry themselveshad power to deal with a howitzer as well. tengths: barrel 1.BB m (74.05 in); bore second
not been consulted: perhaps the plan- This finaily killed off the 95-mm Infan- 1.75 m (69 in) Maximum range: 5486 m (6,000 yards)
ners were rnfluenced by the use of try Howitzer project altogether, and Weight: in action954,8 kg (2, 105 ]b) Projectile weight I 1,34 ks (25 lb)
infalfi artillery in nations such as Ger- the majority of the numbers produced
many and the USA. In order to con- were never even issued, They were
sewe production facilities it was de- simply scrapped after the war and to-
clded that the new weapon would in- day only one remains,
corporate features from a number of Only two projectiles were produced
existing weapons, The barrel was to for use with this weapon, HE and
be machined from a 94-mm (3.7-in) smoke, There were plans for an anti-
antiaircraft gun liner, the breech tank HEAT projectile, but that was an
ntechanrsm would come from the 25- offshoot of the 95-mm tank howitzer
pdr f,e1d gun and the recoil system and prognamme, and mention can be found
:radle came from 6-pdr anti-tank glun of a flare sheli, These projectrles were
Tmponents, To srmphfy matters the to be flred using a three-charge sys-
rew weapon would fire the same tem.
as the old 3,7-inch Pack The entire 95-mm Inlantry Howitzer
=r,rnunition
::rwitzer and the ciose-support howit- project now seems almost like a text-
-s fitted in some tanks. The term 95- book example of how not to QIo about
urm Infantry Howitzer was applied to weapon design, No doubt the weapon
-:e project, 95 mm denoting the differ- could have been developed to the
:*:es from other similar weapons, point of sewiceability, but the recoil
lhe 95-mm Infantry Howitzer was system was such a source of troubles
of the success stones of World that it now seems doubtful if it would
=: one
-fi- lI. The resultant amalgamation of ever have worked properly. Perhaps
-:-Donents from various weapons the biggest mistake in the entire pro-
:-ed to a new welded steel box car- ject was going ahead with design and
:,=;e looked rather odd, and so it development without even troubling to
:=:ed out to be once it was fired. The find out if the intended operator really
i-;,:: recoil system was simply not up wanted the final product,
ic --:: :ask of absorbing the recoil loads
:equently broke, The wheel track
=:
-qi ploved to be too narrow, leading
t ::;r:rstabilrty, Prolonged firing also
rrr';ed that the overall construction of The expertmental 9 5 -mm ( actu ally
te l.r-apon, desi€rned for pack trans- 3.7 - in/ 9 4-mm) I nf antry H owit zer
:r:i:-- lO loads, was such that compo- undergoes toop trials in ltaly in
le:s :culd be shaken loose. No doubt 1944. Formed from various parts of
:rr:= ievelopment could have elimin- existing we apons, this intantry
tnp: of these defects, but by the howitzer was not a great success and
lE€ ="ry
:e-y emergred the weapon was the infantry did not pailia)laily want
erLrr*:r -:r production. it, so the weapon was never acceptd
i T-=s at this point that the inJantry for fuL[- scale service.
m=:: into the programme, They
xm:-r=:l'm
:mounced that they did not
qr,ar:r -:€ Teapon. They had not been
m:L{-i3i at any stage and considered

:A€-kesft 3.7-rn (94-mm) howitzer


ilEs fo,be a mountain weapon
=ealrt
m :r ras frs t introduced during
d$'rric'trarl, butwas laterused as a
&mr' -:ac& fi ona tz er in World W ar I I.
45/5 modello 35 'Brixia'
To the little 45/5 modello 35 'Brixia' elevation and traverse controls. erratic and ineffective fuagrmentation. Granatwerfer 176(i),
must go the prize for being the most The barrel of the modello 35 was The modello 35 was rurdely used by It seems almost certain that the lta-
overdesigrned and overengineered located in a folding frame arrangement the ltalian armed forces, mainly at pla- lian soldiers found to their cost the
mortar of World War II. Qurte why the that rested against a carrier's back us- toon levei. AII Italian soldrers were hmrtations of the modello 35 and re-
desrgners of the modello 35 went to ing a cushion pad to ease the load trained in its use, some of them while tained the ,.nleapon in service for the
such lengths to introduce needless agarnst the body, In use thrs frame was still in one or other ofthe Italian youth simple reason that there was iittle
complexrties to a light support mortar unfolded in such a way that the firer movements, which were rssued with chance ofltalian industry berng able to
with a very limited performance and a could then sit astride the weapon if an equally complex but even less produce anything better in the then
relatively ineffectrve projectile is now required. In action the modello 35 effectrve version of the modello 35, this foreseeable future, Hanng expended
difficult to fathom, but the result was could manage a fire rate of up to about trme in 35-mm (1,38-in) calibre, These so much development time and pro-
issued to the ltalian armed forces in 10 rounds per minute, and rn trained weapons were meant only for training, duction effort into getting the modello
large numbers. hands the vfeapon was qulte accwate, usually flring inert bombs, 35 into the hands of the troops, the
In thrs weapon's designation the But even when they landed right on The ltalians were not the oniy users limited ability of the ltalian defence
term 45/5 indicates the calibre of target the small bombs were relatlely of the modello 35. There were times industries would have required too
45 mm (1.77 in) and the lengith of the ineffective, mainly as a result of the during the North A-frican campaigms much trme to design, develop and pro-
barrel in calibres, i,e. 5x45 mm small payload that often resulted in when the Afrika Korps found itself us- duce yet another weapon, So the Ita-
(actually it was marginally longer), ing the thrngrs, usually for logistical Iian soldiers simply had to make do
Such a small calibre could encompass reasons when serving alongside lta- with what they were given; no doubt
only a small bomb that weighed a lian formations, There was even an in- many of them thought it was not much.
mere 0,465 kg (1.025 corres-
1b), u,rth a struction manuai wrrtten in German for
pondingly small explosrve payload. this very purpose, the German de- Specification
The barrel was breech{oaded: oper- srgnation of the weapon being 4.5-cm 45/5 modello 35
ating a lever opened the breech and Calibre:45 mm (1,77 in)
closing it fed a propelling cartddge Lengrths: barreI0.26 m (10,2 in); bore
from a magazine holding 10 cartridges, 0.24I m(9,49 rn)
A trigger was used to fire the bomb, Weight:inaction 15.5 kq(34, 17 ]b)
and to vary the range a gas port was Elevation: * 10o to *90"
opened or closed to vent off some of Traverse:20'
the propellant gases, If this was not Maximum range: 536 m (586 yards)
enough there were also complex Bomb weisht: 0.465 ks (1,025 lb)

The I talian 45/ 5 modello 35' Brixia'


mortarwas one of themost
complicated mortar designs ever
produced. lt used a lever-operated
breech mechanism and fired tiny
0.465-kg ( 1.025Jb) bombs.

CERI\,4ANY

S-cm leichte Granatwerfer 36


German weapon desrgners between were made using coarse and fine con- Specification Weight: in action 14 kq (30.8 lb)
the world wars were presented with trol knobs, Firing was carried out using IeGrW36 Elevation: +42"to +90"
virtually a clean slate onwhich to work a tigger. Only HE bombs were fired, Calibre: 50 mm(1,969 in) Traverse:34"
as Germany gradually rearmed duringt Whlle the designers felt rather Lengrths: barrel0.465 m (t8.3 in); bore Maximum range: 520 m (569 yards)
the early 1930s. Thus when a requtre- proud of their achievement in the 0,35 m (13,78 in) Bomb weight: 0,9 kg (1.98 ]b)
ment was issued for a light infantry leGrW 36, the soldiers were not so en-
mortar for ssue at squad level, the de- thusiastic, They felt that the leGrW 36,
signers at Rheinmetall-Borsig AG de- quite apart from the weight problem,
cided not to follow the usual barre7 was simply too complicated and the
baseplate/bipod form but instead bomb not worth al1 the trouble in-
evolved a design in which the barrel volved, The bomb weighed only 0.9 kg
was permanently secured to the base- (1,98 lb) and the maxmum ranqe was a
plate and the bipod was vrrhrally eli- mere 520 m (569 yards), On top of this
mrnated in favour ofa monopod devtce the weapon took time to produce, and
frxed to the baseplate, The result was a was costly in raw material terms and
rather complex little weapon with a other resources, Such a situation could
calibre of 50mm (1,969in) that was not last once the war was under waY,
ioown as the S-cm leichte Granatwer- and by 1941 the leGrW 36 was out of
fer 36 or leGrW 36 (light grenade- production, Those that had been
Iauncher model 1936) that was first manufacured were gradually with-
rssued for use during 1936, drawn from front-line sewice in favour
The leGrW 36 was in rnany ways a of something better, being passed on
prime example of the German's gener- to second-line and grarrison units,
al love of gadgetry in weapons, It had Many were used by units manninq the
ali manner of them from the traverse Atlantic Wall as part of the beach de-
ccntrols burlt onto the baseplate to a fences. Some were passed on to the
;ery complicated but completely un- Italian army,
:recessary telescopic sight, This sight Overall the leGrW 36 was not one of
';as very much a designer's attempt to the German weapon desiqners' best
:*-ake the weapon as perfect as possi- efforts. They allowed a small weapon
:ie and ensure accuracy, but the to become far too complex and costly
:a:rges at which the lrttle IeGrW 36 was to justify the result, and the German
-ed were such that a simple [ne army was astute enouqh to realize the
p:,rted on the barrel was all that was fact and so went on to employ more
:-eeded and the sight soon went out of useful weapons,
p::Cuction dwing 1938,
lhe weapon could be carried by The |-cm IeGRW 36 was one of the
::= nal using a handle on the base of standard German army light mortars
:e barrel. For all its small size the of theearlywaryears, butitwas too
-:3:W 36 was rather heavy, weighing complex and ex pens ive for w artime *.{
-= kg (30,81b). Thus in action one man production and its performance was l
:-:r :: carry it. with another carrylng not outstanding. Here one is being ;
--:,= ilrrrumtion in a steel box, In action loaded while the layer adiusts the
::: baseplate was placed on the complicated fire controls on the l;ll::r'$l
-:-i and all barrel adjustments heavy base plate and yoke.
GERMANY
Infantry Support Weapons of World War II
8-cm schwere Granatwerfer 34
The German army's 8-cm schwere cerned with productron of the weapon, The German 9-cm sGrW 34
Granatwerfer 34 or 8-cm sGrW 34 and even more were involved in mak- was greatly respected by
3eavy crenade{auncher model 1934) ing the ammunition for the range of the Allies,who came to
;a:ned for itself an enviable reputation bombs that could be fired ftom the fear its accuracy and rapid
among Allied front-line soldiers for tts sGrW 34 was wlde. There were the rate offire, but itwas not
accuracy and rate offlre. The weapon usual HE and smoke bombs, but ia- an outstanding design and
fras encountered everywhere the novations included iliuminating and muchof thepraiseit
German anny was in action, for the target,marking bombs for use in asso- earned was mainly due to
sCrW 34 was one of the Germanarmy's ciatioh with ground-attack aircraft. the careful and thorough
sandard weapons in use ftom 1939 There, was even a special 'bouncing trainingof the mortat
Cght through to the last days of World bomU.'known as the B-cm Wurfgrranate cfews.
lVar iI. It was a Rheinmetall-Borsig AG 39 that was pushed back up into the air
product, but was in truth a Germanic after ithad struck the gnound. Thrs was
:evision of the Brandt mle 27131 and done:using a tiny rocket motor, and at a
even used the same calibre of B I 4 mm
. predelermined height the bomb ex-
{3.2 rn). ploded to scatter its fragrments over a
Despite its reputation there was no- much,wider area than would be the
'iurg remarkable reqarding the de- case.wrth a conventional ground-
s.gn of the sGrW 34. Much of the re- detonated bomb, Again, this was a
spect it gained as a weapon should typical German weapon innovation
instead have gone to the thorouqh that was really too expensrve and un-
iraining and efficiency of the men who reliable for greneral use and the num-
used it, for throughout the war the Ger- bers produced were never large, One
man mortar crews seemed always to extra bonus for the sGrW 34 was that it
have an edge over their rivals. They could:'fire a wide range of captured
became experts at getting their sGrW ammunition, although usually wrth
34s rr and out of action rapidly and by some loss ia ranqe performance,
careful use of plottlng boards and For airborne use a special shor-
other fire-control a:ds, they were able tened version of the sGrW 34 was de-
to obtain maximum accuracy from veloped rn 1940. This was the kurzer
theLr fire. Granatwerfer 42, usually known as the
The sGrW 34 was strarqhtforward in Stummelwerfer, This was issued in
design and very well made. It was con- quantity from about 1942 onwards, but
sequently very robust and could be saw little use by airborne forces and
broken down into three loads for man- instead became a replacement for the
pack carrying; more men had to carry little S-cm leGrW 36, It fired the same
the ammunition, A special version ex- ammunition variety as the sGrW 34 but
isted for use from SdKfz 250/7 half- the range was reduced by more than
tracks, Severai centres were con- ha1f.
Specification
sGrW34 Elevation: +40'to +90'
Calibre: BI.4 mm (3.2 in) Traverse: 9' to 15" variable with
Lengths: barrel 1, 143 m (45 rn); bore elevation
I,033 m (40,67 in) Maximum range: 2400 m (2,625 yards)
Weight: in action 56.7 kg (125 lb) Bomb weight: 3.5 ks (7 72 lb)

Right: A German army 9-cm sGrW 34


crew. The pear-shaped bomb is
beingintroduced into themuzzle to
fall down onto the tked firing pin to
fire the propellingcharge and
propel the bomb to a maximum
range of 2400 m (2,625 yards).

Below: A propaganda photogrraph of


an8-cm sGrW 34in action, clearly
showing the elevation, traverse and
levelling controls on the bipod. The
crew member on the right is holding
the bipod toprovide anextra
measure of stability onfiring.

The shape of theS-cm sGrW 34 bomb canbeclearly seenhere asitisfte/d


redy tor 1o adinginto the mu z zle. The bomb weighed 3. 5 kg (7.7 2 lb) and
M multiple tail frns to provide stability in tlight. The layer is making fine
tr'arerse adlus tnents using the simple sight mounted on the bipod.
re! TIH;* leichte Infantrieseschtit z rB
One of the many tactical lessons the shield became an optional extra.
leamed by the German army during The leGebIG lB turned out to be
World War I was that each infantry heavier than the original but the pack
battahon should have a measure of load feature made it much more suit-
artil1ery support available to it at all able for its intended role. It was meant
times. This led to the introduction of to be a temporary measure for the
light infantry guns to each infantry mountain warfare units until pwpose-
battalion, and it was appreclated that burlt mountain guns could be de-
special llght gmns would be particular- veloped and produced, but in the
ly useful for the role. Thus during the event those produced remained in
l92Os one of the flrst priorities of the sewice until the war ended,
then severely-restricted German There was also a special versiori of
weapons rndustry was the develop- the lelG IB developed for airborne
ment of a light inlantry gmn, or leichte forces and known as the 7.5-cm leIG
Infantriegeschiitz. A 75-mm (2.95-in) l8F, the F indicating Fallschirmjdger,
design was produced by Rheinmetall- or parachutist, This could also be
Borsiq as early as 1927 and was issued broken down into loads, but this time
for service in 1932, It was usually only four for paradropping in special
lrrown as the 7.5-cm leIG 18, or 7.5-cm containers. This version had small met- A 7.5-cm lelG 18 is loaded, an unusual procedure where operation of the
leichte Infantriegeschiitz 18. al wheels, no shield and tubular trail breech lever raised the rear end of the harrel upwards in a slipper to expose
The first examples had wooden- legs. Only sx were produced as by the the chamber; the breech hlockremained fixed. This gun has spoked wheels
spoked wheels. while later versions time they were ready thef intended for horse traction, while later models had metal wheels with rubber tyres.
rntended for use by motorized forma- role had been assumed by the recoil-
tions had metal disc wheels with rub- less gmn, Elevation: - 10" to + 73"
ber tyres. The lelG l8'had an unusual 12"
Traverse: Thecrewof a7.1-cmlelG 18in
breech-loading mechanism: operating Specification Muzzle velocity: 210 m (689 ft) per training during early 1940. Note the
a lever opened not the breech but in- leIG 18 second relatively small size of the round
stead moved the entire barrel section Calibre: 75 mm (2,95 in) Maximumrarge:3550 m (3,BB2yards) beinghanded totheloadeL and the
upwards in a square shpper to expose Lengths: gnrnoverall 0,9 m (35.43 in); Projectile weight: HE 5,45 kg or 6 kg way one crew member is kneeling on
the loading chamber. This system was barrel 0,884 m (34.8 in) (12or13,21b);hollowcharge3kg theendofthetrailtoprouideextra
yet another example of German de- Weight: in action 400 kg (BB2 lb) (6,6 lb) weight for stability on tiring.
sigm rnnovation simply for its ovm sake,
for the mechanism offered no real
advantage over conventional systems
of the period, and has been used in no
artillery design srnce, The rest of the
gun was orthodox enough, and in ac-
tion it proved to be sturdy and reliable
although hanng only a limited range,
as a result mainly of the short barrel, In
common with most other artrllery de-
signs of the period, the leIG lB was
supposed to have an anti-tank capabil-
ity usrng a hollow-charqre warhead
projectile, but this was not very effec-
tive and was little used.
There were two variants of the basic
lelG 18, One was a version specrally
developed for use by mountain war-
fare units and known as the leichte
Gebirgs Infantriegeschi.itz 18 or leGe-
bIG l8 (iight mountain infantry gnrn
model 1B), This was developed from
1935 onwards and was basically an
ordrnary lelG 1B that could be broken
down into l0 loads for pack transport
on mu-les or light vehicles, To save
weight the ordinary box trail was re-
placed by tubular steel trail legs, and

EI THi* schwere Infantrieseschiit z g3


jectiles. In use these proved to be less
Mlnen the German army issued its tn- for horse traction, but later examples were towed by horse teams, although
fantry gmn requirements during the intended for use with the motorized trucks or halftracks were used than flrl1y effective, for even a normal
eariy 1920s, two types ofweapon were formations had wheels with rubber whenever possible. Even with a trac- 150-mm HE shell stnlong a tank could
requested. One was to be a 75-mm rims, Once again Rheinmetall-Bdrsiql tor rt was still a job to handle the be effective and a lot less trouble to
(2,95-rn) gun and the other a l5-cm was responsible for the basic desigm weapon in action, and it was not until manuiacture and issue, But for really
(5.87-rn) howitzer to act as a heavier (although production was carried out the sIG 33 was placed upon a tracked strong targets the slG 33 could fire a
ccLnterpart to the light gnrn, Deveiop- by several other manufacturers), and self-propeiled chassis that the weapon muzzle{oaded stick bomb known as a
nent of this heavy weapon com- for once no gimmicks were intro- could give its fuIl poteritial. It was then Stielgrranate 42, Thrs had only a short
nenced in 1927 at a leisurely pace, so duced, the design of the siG 33 beingr much more appreciated as a powerfirl range and was gnrided by fils towards
-irat it was not finally approved for ser- straightlorward and orthodox. If any- support weapon flring a wide array of its tarqet, which was usually a block-
-;ce r.rntii 1933, Even then it was 1936 thing it was too orthodox for the infan- projectiles, Most of the tracked chassis house, bunker or some other strong-
before the f,rst examples came oil the try gunners, for the adherence to stan- used for the self-propelled role were point.
crcduchon lines and they were then dard design meant that the slG 33 was old tank chassis that were no longet
-ssaed at the rate oftwo to each infantry really too heavy for the tnfantry role. It large or powerful enough for Specification
c.atta-lion, required a large horse team to drag armoured warfare; in fact the very first sIG33
To confr-:se matters somewhat this the weapon, and once the slG 33 was attempt to mount asIG 33 on a PzKpfw I Calibre:149, I mm (5,87 in)
-:-cm howitzer was actually desig- emplaced it was a slow and hard task hull resulted in the very first German barrel i.65 m (64.9 in)
Lengrth:
:::ed as a gn-n, i,e. I5-cm schwere In- to move it out, Some attempts were self-propelled artilIery weapon, and Weight:inaction U50 kg(3,BSB lb)
fanrriegeschiitz 33 or lS-cm sIG 33 (15- made before 1939 to ltqhten the heavy this was used during the 1940 cam- Elevation: 0" to *73'
::::eavy mfantry gnrn model 1933), It carriage by the use oflight alloys, but pargn in France. Traverse: ll.5'
r.s cieflnitely a howitzer, however, these were in overall short supply and As with all other weapons of its era, Muzzle velocity: 240 m (787 ft) per
,----r a shorr barrel set on a heavy box- earmarked for the Luftwaffe so the the sIG 33 was supposed to have an second
:--lei camaqe, Early examples had heavy desigrn had to be tolerated, anti-tank capability and was accot- Maximum range: 4700 m (5, 140 yards)
:::s<ed steel wheels with metal rims Throughout the war most sIG 33s dingly issued wrth hollow-charge pro- Proiectile weisht HE 38 kq (83.8 lb)
The slG 33 in Action
In 19 17 the German army re-introduced light artillery to the infantry battalions, was first issued), each weapon was towed by a
significantly increasing their firepower and tactical flexibility. These battalion guns team of six horses driven by three men, More
were so successful that the post-war German armyordered a series of purpose- men sat on a limber that was used to connec:
the team to the weapon. Men not mth the
built weapons which were to serve them well in World War II , although their horses or the gmns were used to form a sma[
function was eventually usurped by heavy mortars. headquarters and fire-control section, whjle
During the years after World War 1 the small two prototypes were actually made, and when the rest were scattered among the formatiors
qeneral staff of what was allowed to remain of the staff planners saw the bulk and weight of they supported to radio or telephone back
rhe German army carried out a great deal of the intended weapons declded to go for the target information, The latter were not always
what is now termed tactical analysis, using the I50-mm version, necessary, for in some of the better-trained
mass of reports and other data collected durlng That was in 1927, and production began at a divisions the infantry'could themselves pro-
ihe battles oi the 'Great War'. Out of these slow pace. This howitzer was not formally duce fire orders and target data,
patient siftings came many indications of future accepted for service until 1933, and lt was 1936 Once at the firingt position the horses were
iactlcs and of the direction weapon design before the troops actually laid their hands on led away to the rear. If the unit was mechanized
should follow, and in neariy every case some- the first exampies, Much of thls delay was the type of tractor could vary widely. It was
*,hing was done to implement these flndings, caused by the priority glven to other weapon supposed to be one of the various types of
One conclusion that was followed up was the programmes by the planners and by the fact halftrack tractors, but in practice these were in
need for the infantry battalion to have its own that there were some resewations regarding such short supply that very often trucks had to
rrtegral artiliery fire support, the manpower to the weight of the chosen deslgn. At one point be used, The types and condition of some of
handle these weapons coming from within the some consideration was given to the possibiirty these could be quite variable, especially by
battaiion itself. Thts would enable the infantry of a split-traii carriagte, but in the end the ori- the end of 1941 when captured French and
battalion to supply some measweof its own fire ginal box trail design was adopted, The Soviet equipment was ln widespread use, Ths
support outside that usually provided by artil- weapon was designated the l5-cm schwere tractor equipment had to be kept quite close to
1ery batteries, and with some measure of speed Infantriegeschiitz 33, or l5-cm slG 33. the firing position, not only to get the weapon
of response that remote batteries could not The 15 cm sIG 33 was allocated to German and the firing team out of action in a hurry if the
always supply. army infantry divisions, There they were situation demanded lt, but in order for the crew
TWo weapons were requested, One was a grouped together with the smaller 7,5-cm IG to keep a close eye on it anything left un-
75-mm (2.95-in) gnrn, while the otherwasto be a 18s in the infantry howitzer company, often attended on the battlefleld was likely to be
heavier howitzer with an undetermined knov,n within the division as the 13th Company. commandeered for some other purpose, The
calibre, At that period, in the wake of the Ver- Within this company the 4th Platoon (or Zug) tractor/truck also carried some of the ammuni-
sarlies Treaty, the only armaments concern that was equipped wlth two slG 33s, The platoon tion, which was another reason flrr keeping it
could deal with the request ryas Rheinmetall- was commanded by a junior officer with five close by the howitzer.
Borsiq AG of Diisseldorf, Krupp belng forbld- NCOs in support, The firll piatoon complement
den to produce small-calibre artilleryweapons was 33 men, although this was not always
achieved and the numbers varied according to I |-cm sIG 33s of a motorized infantry unit are seen
under the terms of the treaty, Rheinmetall de- in actionon the EasternFront.Thewheels of these
cided to produce an entirely orthodox howit- whether the divrsion was mechanized or not. weapons have rubber tyres, denoting thatthey
zer, but as the size was still uncertain pro- Between them these 33 men formed the man- weie towedby someform of mechanized tractor'
totypes were to be produced with calibres of power to operate the sIG 33s in action. If the The standing soldier on the nearestgrun is holding
105 mm (4.14 in) 150 mm (actually I49 1 mm/ division was a horse-drawn formation (which the propellantcharge caseready to load behind
5 87 in) and 210 mm (8.27 in). Only the latter most of them were, especially when the slG 33 the shell in the breech.

I
I

I
ls-cm schwere
lnfantriegeschult 33

The I S-cm slG 33 was produced in two main sewice versions, for horse-drawn traction (shown here) with
steel-rimmedmetalwheels or for mechanizedtractionwithrubber-tyredwheels' Both typeswere
othetwisesimilar andwerehighly efficient andbattle-worthyweapons thatprovedtobe tooheavyfor
their infantry role, as they were t6o bulky to be moved quickly under front-line conditions. In action t!e1
ha,d agoodi-angd GZOO'mtS,l4Tyards)iormostfire support.tasks, andfired auseful38'kg(83.9-lb)HE
shell, bowerful enough to destroy most battlefield strongpoints.
Infantry Support Weapons of World War II
sIG 33 in Action

In the eariy stages of Worid War II few of the


slG 33s were used by mechanized divisions, so
the horse was the usual method of traction,
Getting the slG 33 in and out of action was thus a
hard task, for the weapon usually had to be
manhandled over the final stages of positioning
which often requrred the labour of more than
the six-man team alone, But once in action the
slG 33 proved to be an excelient weapon.
Although labelled as a qLrn it was actuaily a
howltzer using a slx-charge propellant system
that could be varied (to suit the range and the
type of target) by producing dlrect or plunging
fire. The normal rate of flre was slow but
steadyr four rounds per minute was considered
the norm as the projectile and the charge case
had to be loaded by hand. The usual projectile
was an HE shell known as the In-fantrieGranate
33 or 38, the two differing only in detail. This
had a bursting charge of TNT or amatol
weighlng 8 29 kg (18 28 Ib), which was enough
to produce a really powerful burst and damage
even heavy structures. Smoke projectiles were
also fired and for anti-tank use there was a
hollow-charge projectile. However, the car-
riage of the slG 33 did not lend itself to anti-tank
warfare, so these hollow-charge warheads
were more often used against concrete struc-
hrres such as blockhouses or bunkers. The crew of a 11-cm slG 33 undergoes training in 1938. The layer is adjusting the dial sight, while two
members of the crew prepare to traverse the heavy carriage using a lever over the trail spade (which is
Attempted weight reduction notdugin, as itwould be in action).Thisweaponis fittedwith steel-rimmedwheels.
For atl its effectiveness the sIG 33 was really
too heavy for lts infantry-orientated roie, Va- the origrnal steel-rimmed traction wheel type slG 33 carriers from the PzKpfw 1l and PzKpfw
rious belated attempts were made to reduce by a llghter version, somettmes with wooden 38(t) lines came into this cateEtory, Most of
carriage weight by rncorporating some light spokes, but this had solid rubber tyres which those whrch used captured French tank chas-
alloys, including the productlon of an allJight- iightened the load but Ilttie, sis were produced only in small numbers,
alloy carriage, but to no avail, It was 1939 be- It was only when the sIG 33 was placed upon although one based on the Lorraine ammuni-
fore these weight-reductron projects were im- a self-propeiled carriage that its fuIl combat tion carrier chassis was bullt in iarge numbers
plemented and by then the forthcoming war potential could be achieved. Starting in 1940 all and became a'standard' German army vehicle.
shortages were already casting their shadows. manner of AFVs were used to carry the slG 33,
Aluminium and other slmilar iight metals were most of them conversions of captured vehicles Manpowerreduction
raw materials that the German economy could or German tank chassis that were no longer The use of self-propelled carriages for the
not supply iavishly, and all stocks were ear- being produced as battle tanks. In this way the slG 33 also brought about a reduction in front-
marked for the Luftwaffe. Thus the orlginal PzKpfw I, II and III all acted as slG 33 carrlers, line manpower requirements, and after 1943
steel carriage remained in production, though and the ex-Czech PzKpfw 38(t) chassis was this was an important consideration for the Ger-
with some small modifications as the war prog- another that was used, Some of these conver- man army. Men were stril needed to look after
ressed, One change brought replacement of sions were produced as standard models: the the vehicles but the large numbers of men
previously required to lead and look after the
horses could now be used for other purposes.
But rt should be stressed that.many units re-
tained their horses until the very end of the war.
Many garrison and second-line units retained
their horses througrhout every layer of their
organizations and were consequently slow in
response and manoeuvre compared with the
mechanized formations.
But after 1943 the slG 33 was no longer such
an important weapon, Its usefulness had come
to be overshadowed by the rntroduction of 120-
mm (4,72-1n) Sovret mortars into the German
army. The effectiveness of these large mortars
had so rmpressed the Germans that they
promptly turned round any that they could cap-
ture and used them against their former own-
ers, The Germans then went one better and
started to produce drrect coples. These I20-
mm mortars were gradually issued to new units
in place of the slG 33 The mortars proved
to be much easier to handie, and their large
bombs were often only marginally less effec-
tive than the slG 33 projectiles. They were
also much cheaper and easier to produce, and
after 1943 that was important to the German
economy,
The slG 33 was one of the last true infantry
P.ed Army soldiers examine apair of 15-cm slG 33 infantry howitzers, with the soldierin the background gn:ns, Since 1945 they have faded from the
a'teldng a rammer for some destructive purpose. Note the heavy carriage and large breech of the
a,eapoi in theforeground. Many of theseweaponswerelosttotheenemy, as theywere toodifficultto tactical scene and the healry mortar reiqns
supreme in their place,

_ :_
SWEDEN
Infantry Support Weapons of World War II
Bofors 75-mm Model 1934
The Bofors 75-mm Model 1934 was orr-
grinally designed by AB Bofors as a
mountain Enrn and was piaced on the
market in the 1920s. At that tlme the
artillery markets around the world The Bofors 75-mm Model I 934 was
were awash wrth the swplus of World purchased by anumber of nations i:
War I, but there was a small demand World W ar I I, including B elgnum an d
for specialized weapons and the the Netherlands. The German annv
Bofors 75-mm (2.95-in) qun fell into this even purchased some during the
category, As with all products from the mid- 1930s for use as mountain gans.
Bofors plant at Karlslcoga, the 75-mm The Model 1934 could be broken
gunwasvery well made from the flnest down into a variety of pack loads. or
materials, and used a sound and well could be towed by alight tractor.
considered design, And it was just
what was required by one European
nation, the Netherlands.
One would have thought that the iast
thing a nation as well endowed with flat
terrain as the Netherlands would have
wanted was a mountain gun, but the
Dutch needed the gun not for service
at home but away on the other side of
the world in the Dutch East Indies, At
that time the Netherlands maintained a
sizeable force of troops in the islands
that now make up much of Indonesia, ing into Japanese hands. Their new transport facility, Instead the moddle mans made no use of this 7.5-cm
ard as the terrain is either very over- masters used the gmns for their own i934s were produced as 'one-piece' Gebirgshaubitze 34 and the capru:-:
grown or mountainous some form of pwposes until the ammunition stocks weapons wlth the only feature de- weapons were simply scrapped.
pack artillery was required, The ran out, and by 1945 few were left. signed to save towing lenglh being a
Bofors gun was apparently just what Some of these Bofors 75-mm gnrns section of the box trail that could be Specficatron
was needed and a batch was duly ac- were sold to Turkey in the years lead- folded upwards on tow, Unlike the Model34
quired. The Bofors gun could be ing up to World War I1, but the main Dutch gmns, the Belgian models were Calibre:75 mm (2.95 in)
broken down lnto eight loads, carried customer was another unlikely client intended for towing by light tracked Lengths: piece overall l.B m (70.87 ;-,
in special harnesses by mules, but for for a mountain gun. This time the recr- tractors and were delivered with rub- barrel 1.583 m (62,32 in)
normal towing a four-horse team was pient was Belgnum, for which a special ber-tyred steel disc wheels. Weight: in actron 928 kg (2,0461b)
'rsed wrth a further srx mules carrying version was produced as the Canon de The Belgian guns had little chance Elevation: - l0' to + 50"
ammunition and other bits and pieces; 75 moddle 1934, This time the qun was to shine, for when the Germans in- Traverse: B"
ihe gmnners themselves had to walk, for use by the Belgran troops based vaded in May 1940 they passed rapidly Muzzle velocity:455 m (1,493 ft) per
These guns were still in use when along the borders in the Ardennes re- through the regnon where these gnms second
World War Il reached the Pacific, and gion, but as this area was reasonably were based, Thus the Bofors gmns pas- Maximumrange:9300 m (10, 171ya:c.
,'.rith the Japanese invasion the qlrns well provided with roads and tracks, sed into German hands, but as the Projectile weight: 6.59 kg ( I 4.53 k l
lad a briefperrod of action before fall- there was no need for the full pack numbers rnvolved were few the Ger-

l:el/etlrer/ands army used their BoforsTS-mm Model 1934 howitzers in the ANetherlands army BoforsTS-mm (2.95-in)Model 1934 howitzer is ready ior
i . i :n Easf /ndje s, where they were carried into action in pack load s c arried action in the D utch E as t I ndies dur ing I 9 4 L The J ap anes e army overw h e Lm ed,
:.; ": uies. lVole how brakes were applied to this carrier mule as it moved thk Dutch colony during early 1942 and tookover many of these howitzers for
::-,c':r a sleep s/ope carryingthewheels andpartof the carriage trails. their own local use until the war ended.

: -tiS
monars
mrnate low-flyrng enemy aircraft at built product, yet one more variation of included mu]es, for wlLic: a s:.=:--
night so that light anti-aircraft weapons the mle 27l3i deslgn, The Americans harness set was densed ::. :=::.:::
could deal with them; the round had produced their version as the 8l-mm the most universally useo -,','*- -:-: l.'
other uses as well, Mortar M I, and with some slight altera- halftrack carrier foom ';:-:: -:.= -'.!-
From the M2 the Americans de- trons to suit local production methods tt mortarcouldbe fued v,-':-- -. i-- : - :
veloped their 60-mm Mortar Ml9, was manu-factured throughout World to dismount the weap:: 1: ,'. :j .-:
which can be regarded as the US War II, One odd American piece of case on such vehrcles l-. -:.= :--:
equivalent of the British Z-inch Mortar, equipment used with this weapon was Universal Carrier ft:- -;--.- -. . i j::-
which it closely resembled. Not many a small hand cart onto which the mortar vice lrfe lhe Ml rena-;.=t'.-.- -:. --
Ml9s were produced, and of these and rts ammunttion could be loaded, chanqed, A specral l-=:::- -.- ..-..-
most went to airborne formations, TVro men were all that were required tube was densed r- -:---'r--- -:--. -
The standard battalion mortar of the to tow thrs handy little carrier, known but rt was Ltile Lse: :-.r .. .r: -
US Army was another Brandt licence- as the Hand Cart M6A 1. Other carners shonened versLon r.:.'.:. -. := l.-l
USmortars (continued)

Universal' and of which much was ex- TheAmerican60-mm


pecied, was not accepted for service MortarMI9wasa
on a large scale, muchsimplified
Perhaps the best known of a1l World ve$ionof the60-mm
War Il American mofiars was the 4.2- Mortar M2, and used a
inch Chemical Mortar, the marn reason simple baseplate and
for its fame probably being that it is still no bipod. Itwas used
ir service with the US fumy, As with its mainly byAnterican
Bntrsh counterpart, it was devrsed to airborneforces andby
be a mortar firing smoke projectiles a few infantry units, but
(hence the Chemical Mortar desigma- its effective rangewas
tron), but it was not long before it was onlyaboutS20 m(350
realized that HE bombs would be very yards) and itwas not
efective as well. It was a cumbersome very accurate, being
and large weapon with a massive and hand-held.
heavy baseplate (that was later re-
piaced by much [ghter desierns), and
the barrel was rifled to fire bombs that
closely resembled conventional artil-
1ery projectrles, The rifling made the Calibre: 60 mm (2,38 ln) Above: A 4.2-in Chemical Mortar is
4,2-rnch Chemrcal Mortar very accu- Lengrth: barrel 0,726 m (28.6 in) seen in action on Arundel Island
rate, and the projectiles were much Weight: in action 19,05 kg (42 ]b) during the Solomons campaign. Note
heavier than their smooth-bore Elevation: +40'to +85' the stackof bombsfor thismortar
equivalents. In action they were often Traverse: 14" and how the shape resembles that of
used as infantry support weapons, but Ma:<imum range: lB 15 m ( 1,985 yards) a conventional artillery proj ectile.
many were issued to smoke screen Bombweight: I 36 kg(3 1b)
units. The one major drawback to the
4.2-inch Chemical Mortar was rts MI ChemicalMortar
weight and bulk, It was not an easy Calibre: B 1.4 mm (3.2 in) Calibre: 106,7 mm (4.2 in)
weapon to deploy and to overcome Lengrth:barrel 1,257 m (49,5 in) Lengrth:barrel I.019 m (40, i in)
thrs various self-propelled carriages Weight: in action 6 1.7 kg ( 136 lb) Weight: in action 149,7 kg (330 lb)
were devised for it. Eleyation: +40"to +85" Elevation: +45'to +59'
Traverse: l4o Traverse:7o
Specification Maximum range: 3008 m (3,290 yards) Maximum range: 4023 m (4,400 yards)
M2 Bomb weight: 3, 12 kq (6.87 ]b) Bombweight: 14,5 ks (32 lb)

fb-** Pack Howitzer MIAI


=
In the aftermath of World War I the
1920 Westervelt Board recommended
The 75-mm (2.95-in) Pack Howitzer M I A I on Carriage MB
was one of the Al,fies'mosf successful light weapons of the
type. I t was a pack howitzer that could be readily adapted
the desigm of a new 75-mm (2.95-in)
hght howrtzer for use in mountain war- {or paradropping, andwasused by bothBritish and
fare and as a general-issue pack howit- American airborne units in I 944 and I 945 . Some are still
zer. This was one of the proposals that inusetothkday.
was actually pursued at the time, for by
1927 the 75-mm Pack Howitzer Ml had
been standardized; some later pro-
duction chanqes altered the desiqna-
tion to the MIAI. The howitzer was
mounted on a camage of ingeruous
desigm that could be easily broken
down into sx loads, and the box trail
was perforated to save weight, The
howitzer itself could be broken down
for pack transport, and was so
arranged that the barrel was held in a slons to the self-propelled role were
trough and kept in place by a cover made (some being mounted on half-
along the top: this gave the weapon a tracks) and it was just as successful in
dishnctive appearance. Traverse was that role. One role for which the MlAl
effected using a screw mechanism was not much used appears to be
directly on the axle, so the cradle had mountain warfare, There were few
to carry only the elevation mechanism, campargns where mountain warfare
The first MlAls were mounted on was necessary for the Allies, v,rth the
the Carriage Ml, which was lntended possibie exception of that in YuQtosia-
tbr animai traction and so had wooden- via, There partisan troops were
spoked wheels, The lntroduction of trained in the use of the MlAl by Brit-
necharuzed tractlon 1ed to the adop- ish oftcers, and the partisans appear to
ron of the Carriage MB, which used have made good use of them during
r,rbber-tyred metal wheels, This little the latter staqes of therr war of self-
:cwitzer became one of the first Allied liberation.
arbome artillery weapons, for it was It was as one of the first Allied ar-
-ssued to nearly every Allied airborne borne artrllery pieces that the MlAl
::rmation, including the Bntish air- will probably be best remembered, It
b:me divisions, But rt should not be was used at Arnhem when some were
that the Ml carriage went out landed from General Aircraft Hamilcar for mountain warfare were instead A US Army light howitzer hattery
=cught
:i ashion: many were produced dur- giiders, but the howitzer could aiso be used in the flooded flatlands of the trains with a 75-mm (2.95-in) Pack
-:g World War II for issue to Allied broken dovm into ntne loads for para- Scheldt estuary. Howitzer, attired in an odd unitorm
::raies such as the Chinese, who used dropping, intended for use by expeditionary
howiEer in some numbers. Not ali MlAls had suchan adventur- forces in tropical climates. Dating
=eOn either carriage the little MlAl ous life, Many were used simply as from ] 936, this howitzer has early-
r';- a popular and very useful weapon. infantry support weapons or as pack Calibre:75 mm (2,95 rn) p attern M 8 carriage spoked wheels.
-: ;ras a thoroughly modern design, artillery in the dense jungles of the Far Lengrths: piece 1,321 m (52 in); barrel
=-d. i:: acton it was easy to sewe and East, The MlAl was light enough to 1.194 m (47 in) Muzzle velocity: maxmum 3Bl m
be used to provide fire support take part in the initial stages of ampht- Weight: complete 587.9 kg (1,296 lb) (1,250 ft) per second
=ld
1: ralges up to 8925 m (9,760 yards), bious assaults such as that on Wai- Elevation: -5'to +45' Maximum range:8925 m (9,760 yards)
lo,sllite its light weight some conver- cheren in 1944, when howitzers meant Traverse:6' Projec{ile weight: 6, 24 I kg ( 13, 76 Ib)
TheBattle ol Kohima Below: In order to takeKohima, itwas essential
The war in Burma, fought in sodden rain forests, precipitous mountains and that the Japanese take Imphal quickly for use as a
torrentialrivers,wasunlike anyof theother campaignsof WorldWar II.Theepic supply base. However, 4 Corps held out,
preventing the concentration of J apanese forces
struggles of the XIV Army to defeat the Japanese ){V army are epitomized by the aroundKohima.These troops from the 23rd Indian
battleforKohima. Division are attacking Nungshigum, north of
Imphal.

I fought at Kohima!'
There can be few men alive today who can
nake this claim, lor the bones of many rest r$Si* ?
liere still and the health of the majority who
hved to reach home must have been affected 'U
by their ordeal; but whoever they are and It
whether their skin be white, brown or yellow
Jrey should be accorded respect, for they *I
lived through a conflict comparable only with H
Stalingrad or Cassino in World War II or with *i
Mort Homme at Verdun in World War L It was a
fight to the death,
The events which led to the battle began on
tJre night of 7 March 1944 when ]:ieutenant-
General R, Mutaguchi, commanding the
Japanese l5th Army, launched Operation 'U-
Go', throwing his divisions across the Chindwin
river in an attack somewhat grandiloquently
Cubbed 'The March on Delhi'. The first stage of
ihis was to be the isolation and then capture of
'jre vast stores and administration centre which
-ie British had built up at Imphal,
Chindwincrossing
Diversionary attacks were launched to the
south of Imphal, but apart from the main assault
cn the depot the most important step was the
nove by the 3lst Division under Lieutenant-
3eneral K. Sato, which crossed the Chindwin
rn 15 March and drove towards the small set- the settlement. Some idea of the size of his task (streaming back from forward positions where
jement of Kohima wlth its Naga village, its is revealed by the fact that although the dis- they had been both observrng and attemptingr
:natdan on which the detachment of Assam tance on the map was only 120 km (75 miles), to delay Sato's advance) and the farthful, tena-
Lrlles drilled, its rernforcement camp in which his men had actually to march nearly 320 km cious and extraordinarily couragteous Naga
soldiers returning from leave or hospital awa- (200 miles) their weapons, ammunition and villagers, One vrtal British formatron of whici
-:ed their next move forward, its District Com- supplies belng carried on muies, elephants the first Japanese arrivals remained for some
bungalow with its terraced garden and oxen, of which the first and last categories time in ignorance, however, was a battery c:
=:ssioner's
rnd tennrs court, and its vital tactical position were regarded as meat on the hoof. It is a 3.7-rn (94-mm) howitzers sited on the reverse
:cmmanding the only road along which British tribute to the Japanese soldrers and their com- slope of a hill at Jotsoma 3 2 km ( 2 miles) to the
:einforcements and supplies could reach Im- mander that their forward units reached the west of Kohima, manned by Indian gunners c-
;ra1 from the rallheads ln Manipur. northern outsklrts of Kohima at 04.00 on the
Sato's orders, to be carrred out with the morning of 5 Aprrl. The Naga village on Kohima ridge was captured
::nost haste, were to drive his infantry batta- They found facing them a hastily-organized during theJapanese offensive in early April, and
-:rs and their accompanying gnrns of the 3lst defence perimeter manned at that moment by retaken by the |th Brigade ofthe 2nd British
l,lcuntain Artrllery Regiment in three columns some I,500 men, mostly of the 4th Royal West Division during the encircling operation a month
=:ross the countryside between the river and Kents augmented by men of the Assam Rifles later.

&
-th.e
Battle of Kohima

:e 161st Indian Bngade, of whrch the 4th oithe stubborn infantry defence, arded by asto- Kents, the survivors of the Assam Rifles and
l-rueen's Own Royal West Kents were one nishingly accurate frre from the howitzers at those of the composite companres formed from
r,aliahon and the l/]st Punjabis and the 4/7th Jotsoma, whlch broke up their formations as the reinforcement depot dragged themseives
i.alputs the other two, These battalions were soon as they assembled accompanied the out through the grisiy evidence of their ordeals
:r.vrnQt down from Dimapur to join the de waves all the way forward to the defences, and and the men of the Royal Berkshire Regiment
-3nce liarrred the survivors as soon as they were and the Durham Lrght Infantry took their
Withrn hours
-:panese of arrrval the men cf the ordered back places,
SBth Regrment were givrng proof of But the battle was by no means over. On the
.ierr ferocity, anrl the Royal West Kents of their British delay Britrsh srde, brgades of the Znd Division were
s:ubbornness, The Japanese swept around And on the followrng day reinforcements for pouring down the road lrom Dimapur, while on
l.rhrma from the Naga village to jarl Hrl] and on the hard-pressed Brltrsh got through to jotsoma the Japanese side more and more of Sato's 3lst
.:re nrght of 6 April, strengthened as more of and began planning to blast their way through Divisron were being deployed, and as there
.:rerr compatriots arrived, succeeded in taking the last 3.2km (2 miles) Thrs was to prove was physrcally not enough room in the Kohima
',','r rnore of the features insrde the defence appalhnqiy difflcult and a necessary delay of24 area ior two whole di;isrons to operate encrr.c
:.nneter known as D,l,S, and F.S.D But their hours almost fatal, for durrng that night the ling moves were attempted by both sides
.::acking units were annihrlated on the next Japanese blasted F,S.D. wtth every shell and through the appaliinqly difficult country around
::rrining by the counterattack of the Royal mortar bomb their weapons could frre; the Kohima, This was such that a rate of movement
"iest Kents, perimeter began to dtstntegrate, the f S.D. of 1.6 km (1 mile) per day against no enemy
Ilorlrever, by nornr more and more of Sato s positron and neighbouring Kukri Piquet rvas opposition came to be accepted as the norm
.- O in'an ry and rhen gunners were coming lost, and when on 27 Aprrl rain began falling wrth a
--c and he himself was conficlent of success 1B Aprtl, the British at Jotsoma
But at 08.00 on werght and ferocity vrhich none of the troops on
',',.hin 48 hours though seven days later this and the surrounding area repheC with a devas- either side had ever experienced before,
:::fl.ience was waning. On the night of 13 tating bombardment of the same krnd and movement became aimost impossible and di-
:-pril massed attacks by wave after wave of under its protection the rehef of the onginal arrhoea and dysentery took an even greater
:ieering assault troops foundered on the rock garrison was carried out The Royal West toll than bullets and shrapnel.
And all the trme, on the central Kohima
'lheJapanesepridedthemseivesontheferociousnessoflJrejrinfantryassaults,butinthefaceoftough Ridge the kernel of the battle was belng
'..lrposifjon theirfanaticalaflacksledloseverecasualties.Herethejapanesecftargeftasalmostoverruna fought The Durhams fought off an attack on
irittsh position at Kahima. Such assaults were aften only halted at point-blank range, and, in"the savage
Garrison Hill which cost SAto such hlgh casual-
:iose-quarter fighting which followed, grenades, sub-machine guns and even bayonets and entrenching ties that he orclered a cessaiion of nigftt attacks,
',:.:ols hecame the primeweapons.

'r ,111.....
,r.l:

..::.. ,. :,r:*li:
iani
.. ."{$"
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t.::.rl'
.:.irEi/r .:l
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l!"
."-;j;.r;.... . :-.tt.,' ."i
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jt{I
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iEt:"-i:

. 'ti
.:+
:lll' .',d. ;.
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.,.:.
.\| .).. .:: '
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trnfantrySupport Weapons of World //a: i.

ind he sent a caustic signal to Mutuguchi com-


ciairring of the time the latter was taking to
lapture Imphal, and also of the total lack of
support or supplies coming through to hrm at
Kohlma.
Reinforcernents
Now it was becoming a battle of logrstrcs,
tnd the British were winning it, only were ItJot
supphes flowing down from Dimapur, but also
nore mountain artrllery, and even mobile arttl-
-eryrntheformof tanks, Andbythe endof April 'I ..
I
,:i.,3: lrtrri,
.r;e 2nd Dorseishires had been-rn frghting their
,vay inio Kohima towards the District Commts- -j3sq.
s.oner's bungalo'w, and reached the edge of
.he tennis court, This now became tlre scene of :-*: :,
ir almost Pyrrhic conflict &". l.4i*iil*aa
The opposing forces were separated by less
'tan 22 m (25 yards), but the Japanese had got
.rere earlier and, great diggers always, had
:urrovred deep into the terrace whlch rose at
.ne far end, and also under a big water-tank
.','hich dominated the area, No one could move
:.cross the open area in daylight, and Dimapur
::ores were astonished by the continual de-
:rands for gym shoes for nrght patrollingl But
.rcugh these proved effective, the battle drag-
,red on wrth ever-increasing ferocrty, and it
.'.'as not until the middle of May, when a single
.arLk managed the tortuous route up the Dtstrtct
lcmmrssioner's dririe and began blasttng the
'rpanese
bunkers, that the British could claim
--,.en 'the first set'. ABritish machine-gun enjoys a commanding
pcssition overlooking a Burmese hill village.
Clearings could be open killing graunds in the
early stages of a jungle battle, but after prolonge':
action large areas offarestwere destrayed,
creating a shattered, alien landscape remintsce:.:
of the battlefields of WorldWar L
:j;+'ii:''
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i.=";11
q-*.ri*.+
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.',, I ': t,:! !:.I:!rr 'r':
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r*l'; *ii
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'- :i' .F'


, ."',,.', " t,:raj.:t:rtr.ri:
.t :F.r
::"ri;!:l ' ' :,r!:i:..i:r:i.ii.i:1.:::
!, ' :.;..:i' :' irl ':1';:ril"$.'::;': , ..!l:, '' t"'':..",.:
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,pi

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ga$€:.e-+ -='t
The Battle of Kohima

Gurkhas in Burma man their 3-in mottar. Mortars


proved valuable in the jungle, the high trajectory
being an advantage when operating under the Like themortar, the infantry packgunprovedof value inBurma. Designed to be loaded onmulehack, on
canopy, as normal artillery would have very thegrounds thatanytvhere amancango amule canusuallyfollow (unlikewheeledor trackedvehicles),
restricted arcs offire. theJapaneseTS-mm infantry gun had arangeof 7000 m (7,650yards).

But more tanks arrived (of l49th RAC) and his radio and ordered his men to retire. livrng on grass and roots, therr clothing and
more infantry; and during May the men of the Thls the Japanese soldiers reluctantly did, boots in tatters, using canes or their broken
Manchesters, the Royal Scots, the Royai Nor- desperately fighting off the clutches of the now rifles as crutches, is an epic of endurance and
:clks, the Worcesters, the Queen's Own all-encircling British and firing off the last of courage whrch no soldier will ever decry, cer-
3ameron Highlanders and the Royal Welch therr mortar bombs and shells, And the story of tainly not the equally valorous men who fought
:,,:sriiers came up to help the men already in their aqonizing walk back to the Chlndwin, them,
Kchrma, amid their ordeal of shell and bomb-
i:'.irst and the incessant chatter of rifle and
:rachine-gnrn, facrng the almost unbeltevable
-ravery and ferocity of the Japanese soldiers.
Nothing was coming up for them: Muta-
T:chi's attack on Imphal was biocked by the
garrison ihere, and far from sending help up to
Sa:o he had demanded the release to him of
:re of Sato's battalions, All Sato received dur-
::g the entire campaign were words of empty
encouraqtement, orders which he was unable
:-- obey and promises of victory at Imphal
',',-lch were never kept; and all the time hts
:::en were sacrificing their lives, for as usual
:-:ne ol them allowed themselves to be iaken
pnsoner and there was nothing for the wound-
ed io do but to dle; and Sato's strength was
:^ing.
By the end of May Sato knew that he could
:-:: take Kohima, and further sacrifice was
!,:urtJess. After an angry exchange of signals
'n-,n Mutagmchi, in one of which he pointed out
:at since crossing the Chindwin his force had
:::eived not a single bullet or grain of rice, let
=r::ie any reinforcements, he senl off his last
--;ry;rbe ('The tactical abillty of 15th Army
S:== lies below that of cadets.'), closed down
The eventual failure oftheJapanese offensive at
Kohima sealed thefate of theJapanese army in
Burma, andfromJune 1945 theywere
remorselessly pushed backby a triumphantXlV
fumy. Despiteits importance, the strugglefor
Burma has offen been overshadowed by events
nearer to home, earning the eventualuictors the
itJe of 'The Forgotten Army'.
JAPAN
Infantry Support Weapons of World War'II
50-mm ligrht mortars
-here were tvuo main types of 50-mm
.-.97-in) mortar in service with the
_apanese army dunng World War IL
lcth of them could be regrarded more
:s gnenadeJaunchers than real mor-
:ars as they used projectiles that were
-i1le more than finned hand Qrrenades,
rd they were mainly used as squad
,';eapons for purely local support.
The first version to enter service was
-re Type I0, which entered service in
-921, It was a simple smooth-bore
,'reapon that fired its grenade by
reans of a trigger mechanism, An
adjustable gas vent was provided to
nve variations in range. The Type 10
:nginally fired HE grenades, but with
-re introduction of the later model it
,vas used more and more to fire
pyrotechnic grenades for target illu-
inination and similar purposes, The
nain drawback of the Type l0 was its
-lmited range, which was only some
-60 m (175 yards), a factor that gave
:rse to development of the second
',veapon in this class, the Type 89.
By 1941 the Type 89 had al1 but re-
placed the Type 10 in sewice and dif-
:ered from it in several respects, one
;eing that the barrel was rifled instead
:f smooth-bored. The other main
:hangre was the elimination of the pre-
',-ious gas vent system in favour of a
:lng pin that could be moved up and
jown the barrel: the higher the firrng
pin was up the barrel the shorter the
:esultant range. The Type 89 mortar
ired a new series of grenades to an The J apanese 50-mm ( L97-in)
:fective range of 650m (711 yards), G ren ade D ischar ger TTpe I 0 w as
,';hich was a substantlal increase over
-:at possible with the Type 10, Gre-
first produced in I 92 I and later :'
replaced by the improved TYpe 89. *rX
:.ades developed for the Type 89 in-
:luded the usual HE, smoke, signalling
:rd flares, Development of this
With a limited range ( 180 m/ 175
yards), it remained a light and handy
weapon that could fire a range of H E,
,1 g
-,';eaponreached the point where a smoke and llare grenades. ? -a'
,. I
:pecial version for use by airborne
rrops was produced. Normally both ing against a leg would result in im-
:-e Type 10 and Type 89 could be mediate injury, The recorl of these little
:-smantled for carrying in a special weapons was considerable and the over a shoulder while still carrying a How not to do it. For some reason the
-:ather case, baseplate had to be held against the normal load and the resultant increase Americans decided that the small
The main version encountered by ground or something really substan- in squad firepower was appreciable, spadebasep/a te oI theJapanese
---: Allies was the Type 89. Somehow, tia1, Aiming was rudimentary for there especially when using the longer- grenade dischargers enabled a
:-: word spread among the Allies that were no sigthts other than a hne range Type 89, soldier to fire them from the thigh or
--.:se little mortars were 'knee' mortars marked on the barrel, but in a short knee (hence']<nee mortars'), but
=:1
j the name stuck, Exactly how many time almost any soldier could learn to Specification anyone attempting this inevitably
:-:ir:red thighs this completely mis- use the weapon fairly effectively, The Type 89 ended upwith a broken leg, for the
-=:drng nickname caused among un- mortar was light and handy in action, Calibre: 50 mm (1,97 in) recoil {orces were considerable.
::,:red users is now imposstble to de- but the grenade was somewhat on the Lengrths: overall 0,6 1 m (24 in); barrel
-=:::ne, but attemptlng to fire either of light side, What really mattered was 0,254 m (10 in) Maximum range: 650 m (71 1 yarci.-
::-ie mofiars with the baseplate rest- that any soldier could carry one slung Weight: 4.65 kg (I0,25 lb) Grenadeweight:0,79 kg(l 74 Ul

JAPAN

70-mm Battalion Gun Type 92


poned on cranked axles that could be
turned through 180' to lower the
silhouette of the gnrn when occasion
demanded, Although it was a small
weapon, the Type 92 required a crew
of 10 men, most of these being used for
manhandling or carrying the gmn and
actingt as ammunition suppliers. In ac-
tion the maximum number required
was only five,
The \pe 92 fired the usual HE pro-
jectiles alonq with smoke and shrapnel
for close-ranqe use agarnst personnel
rn the open There was also a rather
A team of Japanese Army gunners
tows aType 92 BattalionGun over
rough ground in the Aleutian Islands.
The team are using special towing
harnesses and ar e c ar rying wicker
back- p acks con taining ammunition
and spares for the gun. In action the
gun weighed only 2 I 2.47 kg (468 lb).

A
70-mm Battalion Gun Type 92 (continued)

-::effective armour-piercing projectile. The little J apanese 70-mm (2.7 56-in) B attalion Gun T'ype 92 looked rather odd,
Itre maxrmum range was rather short, but it was a highly successful weapon that combined mobility with firepower .
being only some 2745 m (3,002 yards), I t could be use d to provide direct or indirect fire, and it cou ld be easily
and the effective range was only about manhandled by a team of men.
ralfthat, but as the TYpe 92 had onlY
','ery srmple sights andwas rarelyused
agamst targets other than those clearly
visrlcle, thrs mattered but little in ac-
tron. The Tlpe 92 was certainly used
'well forward, Its drrect or plungnng fire
could be very effective, in both de-
ience and attack, and some Allied re-
ports speak of the Tlpe 92 being used
in the same manner as a mortar. One
operational method that was de-
veloped to a fine art by the Japanese
for the Tlpe 92 was harassing fire in
jrinqle warfare. A small team would
draq or carry the Type 92 forward, fire
off a few rounds at a known target and
then move hastily on to a new fire post-
hon or out of the area altogether. A
sngle gn:n could keep large bodies of
Allied soldiers awake and alert bY
such simple tactics.
Although labelled as a gmn, the Type
89 Lrsed a variable propellant charge
system and could be flred in the upper
register (i.e, above an elevation angJle Chinese army. There was even a ver- tion to its size, range and projectile Weight: in actron 212,47 kq (468,4 lb)
of 45') to drop projectiles onto targets sion ofthe TYpe 89 developed for use weight, Many are still prized as Elevation: - 10" to +50"
as close as 100 m (109 yards) away, On in some experimental tanks, but only a museum pleces. Traverse:90'
target the HE projectiles were very few of these (known as the Type 94) Muzzle velocity: i9B m (650 ft) per
destructive, and the shrapnel shell were actually produced, Specification second
often proved to be very efective in The Type 92 was a small arti1lery Type 92 Maximum range: about 2745 m (3,000
breaking up massed infantry attacks piece but it often had an eflect on its Calibre: 70 mm (2,756 in) yards)
such as those sometimes used by the enemies that was quite out of propor- Length: barrel 0 .622 m (24.5 in) Projectile weight: HE 3.795 kq (8.37 lb)

E irfifni"t Brandt de 8I mm moddle 27/gl


The F rench B randt I 1 -mm ( actu
.4-mm/3.2-in) moddle 27/31 was
81
one of the most influential mortar
ally

Even though the Stokes Mortar of was used as the standard bomb. Then designs ofils gen eration; many
World War I estabhshed the overall there was a bomb that was hvrce the WorldWar II morfarssucfi as fftose
design shape and form of the modern werght ofthe standard, but which had a used in America and Germany were
mortar, it was still a very rudimentary shorter range. The third type of bomb greaily influenced by its overall
weapon, The Stokes Modar was little used was smoke, Within these three desigm. Several French versions
more than a prpe supported on a sim- categtories came numerous marks and existed, but the 'classic' torm is
ple foame and sitting on a base plate to sub-marks; for instance various col- shownhere.
take the recoil forces, The French owed smokes were available,
Brandt company changed all that in the The mle 2l/31 greatly influenced
years alter World War I by a carefui mortar designs from the moment itwas
redesign and drastrc improvement in announced. Within a few years the mle
the type of bomb flred. At first sight the 27l31 was being either licence-
Brandt-inspired modifications were produced or simply plagiarized all
difrcult to detect for the overall form of over Europe and elsewhere, The mor-
the Stokes design remained, but the tar's calibre, 81,4 mm (3,2 in), became
urprovements were there neverthe- the virtual European calibre for infan-
less, One of the first was that the new try mortars and nearly every infantry
Brandt mode1, introduced as the Mor- mortar in use during World War Il had
tier Brandt de 8I mm modele 27 in 1927 some feature or other derived from the
and updated again in 1931 as the mod- mle 27/BI, and many were direct
dle27/37 to take advantage of ammuni- copies. This influence was wtde
ion improvements, was in the overall enough to encompass the standard
handrness of the weapon, mortars of Germany, the USA, the
Settingup the orignal Stokes Mortar Netherlands, China and even the
cften took time, but the redesignof the USSR. All of these nations made their
Brandt bipod was such that it could be own alterations and innovations, but
set up on any piece of gnound; the the resultant weapons were all basr
levellmg of the sights was easily car- cally the mle 27/3I at heart even if the
ied out by the bipod leg destgn, on mle 26/31 was in its h.un derived from
-r;luch only one leg needed to be ad- the Stokes Mortar.
'.xted, The sights were clamped to a The Brandt influence suwives to thts
position close to the muzzle, one that day, although the weapons ofthe cur-
-,r;as convenient for the layer to peer rent generation of Bl-mm mortars out-
trough wrthout having to stand over range the m1e 2716 l by a factor ofnear-
::re weapon, and slight changes of ly six, But the mle 27l3I was more than
laverse were easrly made using a gtood enough to be used tn its manY
s:lew mechanism on the sight brack- forms throuethout World War Il and for
3: But the main changes carne with the years after it.
:::rnunition, The early grrenades ofthe
S::kes Mortar were replaced by well- Specification
s:aoed bombs that not only carried MortierBrandt de 8 I mm mle 2713 I
::::ie explosive payload but had a Calibre: B 1,4 mm (3.2 in)
:::-:ch grreater range, In fact Brandt Lengths: barrel 1,2675 m (49.9 in); bore
p::duced a wide range of morlar 1, 167 m (45,94 in) Elevation: +45" to +80' l9O0 m (2,078 yards); heavy bomb
i.::::os for its mle 26131, but they fell Weights: rnaction 59,7 kg (131,6 lb); Traverse: B" to 12' variable wtth 1O0Om(1,094yards)
:::: three marn brackets, First there barrel20,7 ks (45,6 lb); bipod 18.5 kg elevation Bomb weight: standard 3.25 kg
:.;:s cne v'rth an HE payload, and this (40.8 1b); base plate 20,5 kg (45,2 ]b) Maximum range: standard bomb (7.165 1b); heaw6.9 ks(15 2l]b)
Armed Forces of the World

WbrsclwPqct Pa,r,Z

Poland
.he independence of Poland was finally recognized
cy the Treaty oJ Versailles n 1 91 9, but just 20 years
ater invasion and conquest of the country by Ger
nany led to the outbreak of World War ll. The Ger-
-nan eastward advance of '1 939 was complemented
cy a Soviet westward advance. When the Soviet
Jnion finally entered World War ll Polish units were
'ormed to fight the Germans, although many Poles
rad escaped to the West soon after the German
nvasion of Poland to f ight with the French and Brit-
sh. After the end of the war none of the Poles who
1ad fought with the Western Allles were allowed to
o n the new Polish army, which was organized,
:rained and equipped alonq Soviet lines.
Today Poland is the home of the Soviet Northern
Group of Forces, compris ng an army HO and the
2Oth and 38th Tank Drvisions. ln time of war with
\ATO, Poland would play a vital role as most of the
'ernforcements {rom the Soviet Union would have
:o pass through the country to reach East Germany.
Poland has the largest armed forces in the War'
saw Pact other than those of the Soviet Union itself,
:nd the Polish forces are considered by many to be
:ne best, with considerable amounts of new equip-
nent issued in recent years.
The Polish armed forces have a total strength of
323,000, of whom 185,000 are conscripts. ln the
3rmy; air force and internal security forces con-
:cripts serve two years, whrle in the navy and spe-
: al services they serve three years. Reserves for
-re armed forces total some 500,000.
assault division (the 7th), three artrllery brigades, Poland is the largest of the Soviet Union's Warsaw
Polish Army one ariillery and three anti-tank regiments, four sur- Pact allies, and its armed forces use a mixture of
face-to-surface missile brigades with 'Scud' m s- Soviet and indigenous equipment. The 25I
Poland is divided into three mrlrtary districts
f,omerania, Silesia and Warsaw), and the army has I 22-mm selt-propelled gun seen here was
siles and one air-defence brigade. The last has introduced in the 1970s, being fitst observed at a
total strength of 210,000 officers and men, of seven regiments with 54-6 'Gainfuls' and two with
'
,', nom about 155,000 are conscripts. There are five SA-B'Geckos'.
Polish parade in July 1 974.

:,nk divisions (the 5th, 1Oth, .1 1rh, 16th and 20th), Army equipment includes 3,400 T-54lT-55 MBTs,
: ght motorized rifle divisions (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 100 or more T-72 MBTs, 100 or more PT-76 light 64 armoured personnel carriers. Artil ery includes
:.r,91h,'1 2th and 1sth), one airborne division lthe tanks, 800 FUG and BRDM-2 4x4 amphibious scout 150 1 52-mm (6-in) M 1937 gun/howitzers, 500 122-
a:1, stationed near Czech border), one amphibious cars, 800 BMP-1 MlCVs, and 2,500 0T-62 and OT- mm (4.8-rn) D-30, M1938 and 2S1 howitzers (with
the last being self-propelled), 130 152-mm
tV 1943(D-1) howitzers, 250 multiple rocket-
launchers rncluding the 122-mm BM-21, 140-mm
(5.5-in) BM-l4 series, '140-mm WP-B and 240-mm
(9 45-in) BM-24. There is also a variety of anti-tank
guns and other older artillery held in reserve. Sur-
face-to-surface launchers consist of 36 for the
'Scud' and 51 for the FROG series; these can be
fitted wlth a variety of warheads, including tactical
nuclear in Soviet control. ATGWs include the AT-3
'Sagger', AT-4 'Spigot' and the old AT-1 'Snapper',
plus recoilless rifles and B5-mm (3.35-ln) D44 and
100-mm {3.9-rn) T-12 guns. Anti aircraft weapons
include SA-4 'Ganef', 54'6 'Gainful, SA-7 'Grail',
SA-B 'Gecko' and SA-9 'Gaskrn' sur{ace-to-air mis-
siies, plus 23-mmZU-23,57-mm 5-60, B5-mm KS-
'1
2 and 100 mm KS-'1 9 towed anti-aircraft guns, as
well as 23-mm ZSU-23-4 and 57-mm ZSU-57-2 self-
propelled anti-aircraft grns.

The Polish air force is equipped with nearly 700


combat aircraft organized along Soviet lines. Air
defence is still entrusted to about 350 late model
MiG-21s, seen here in natural metal finish- It is
believed that the first squadrons of their
replacements, MiG-2Ss, have recently become
operational.
Armed Forces of the World
The country is self-sufficient in small arms pro-
duction, and produced the Soviet T-55 MBT until
1982. lt is now tooling up to make the T-72 MBT.

Polish Air Force


The Polish air force has a total strength of 91,000
officers and men, of whom 30,000 are conscripts,
and has just under 700 combat aircraft. There are 1 1
air-defence squadrons with 400 Mikoyan-Gurevich
MiG-21 series fighters, 1B fighter/ground-attack
squadrons (12 with 150 MiG-l 5s, three with 35
Sukhoi Su-7s and three with 35 Su-20s), six recon-
naissance squadrons with the lViG-21RF, llyushin
ll-28 and LIM-6, two transport regiments with about
30 aircraft, and three helicopter regiments. The last
have '100 Mil Mi-2, 12 Mi-4,25 lVi-B and over 20
Mi-24 helicopters. There are also some 300 training
aircraft including the Polish-built TS-Bs and TS-1 1s.
For almost 20 years Poland has built the Mi-2 (NATO
reportrng name 'Hoplite') light helicopter for the Above: Although most of the I 60-strong force has Below: OT-62As of the Polish amphibious assault
home and export markets, and by 1985 is believed now beenreplaced bySukhoiSu-20s, some Su-ZBs division come ashore from a'Polnocny'class LCT
to have produced some 4,000 examples, of which still soldier on. I n keeping with Soviet military during an exercise on the Baltic coast. The 0T-62 is
perhaps half have been supplied to the Soviet Un- philosophy, the Polish air force r's seen as a tactical a Czech development of the Soviet BTR-50 and
force to augment army artillery. features a more powerful engine, and full NBC
o1 protection. Itentered Polish service in 1966.
-he Polish air force also controls three air-def ence
divisions, which have some nine SAM regiments
covering 50 sites with 400 launchers for SA-2
'Guideline' and SA-3'Goa' missiles.

Polish Navy
The Polish navy has a strength of 22,000 officers
and men, 5,000 of. them conscripts. Warships in-
clude four'Whiskey' class conventional sub-
marines, one 'SAM Kotlin' class AA destroyer, 13
'Osa l' fast attack craft (missile), five 'Obluze' class
oatrol craft, one 'Oksywie' class patrol craft, eight
'Modified Obluze'class large patrol craft, nine
'Gdansk' class large patrol craft, eight 'Wisla' class
torpedo boats,'14'Pilica' class patrol craft, 2l'KB'
class coastal patrol craft, 12 'Wisloka' class coast
patrol craft, 12 'Krogulec' class coastal minesweep-
ers, 12 'f -43' class ocean minesweepers, 23 'K B'
m nesweeping boats, 23 'Polnocny' class LCTs
cased on a Soviet design), three 'Marbut' LCMs
and 1 5 'Erchstaden' class LCPs. ln addition there are
rlany training ships, intellrgence craft, recovery
snips, survey craft and auxiliaries. Some of these
snips, such as the 'Wisloka', 'Gdansk' and 'K B'
-rits, are manned by the interior border troops. ters including Ml-2, Ml-4 and Mi-B types.
The navy also has some 2,000 men in coastal Para-milltary forces include the Citizens' Militia
Below: Polish infantry are armed with the PMK, a
leience and a similar number in naval aviation. The with a total strength of 350,000, lVinjstry of the Polish copy of the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle. Poland
3iter includes an attack regiment with three squad- lnterior Border Troops with a strength of 161,000 has also exported theweapon to Bulgaria. The
'ons of MiG-'l 7s, one reconnaissance squadron with and lnternal Defence Troops with a strength of PMK comes in both solid andfoldingbuttversions,
t,'i G-17s and ll-28s, and two squadrons of helicop- 58,000 officers and men. and differs litUe from the Soviet original.