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Mortars in the World War I

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“Mortar, portable, short-barreled, muzzle-loading artillery piece that fires explosive projectiles at low velocities, short ranges, and high, arcing trajectories.” Many types of technology were used during World War I but the one that I have chosen is Mortars. In their place in World War I they were first used by the British and I will get more into that in the next paragraph. I will also have a key later on in this paper.

Mortars were far in advance than other weapons in the time period that the war and had been around for centuries before the war was even thought about. But the mortars that were being used before the Brits brought in the Stokes Mortar were heavy and hard to transport. So that lead the British to bring the plans for the Stokes Mortar (above left) in 1915.

The only problem was it still had no moving parts, but it could fire up to 22 three inch shells in a minute along with a range of 1,100 yards. And the mortar was loaded by dropping the load or shell down the barrel or tube. A loading system similar to that of old rifles and shotguns. Has seen in the picture to the left the Stokes Mortar was fixed in the ground set at a 50° to 45° angle, and then the legs were covered in dirt for extra stability(hence the line even with the ground in the picture). The picture on the left is the original model the the British designed and I have put together a key to help point out the different parts on the weapon. KEY:A-Barrel, B-Tubular Supporting Legs, C-Base Plate, D-Traversing Gear, E-Elevating Gear, F-Copper Washer, G-Base Cap , H-Striker Pin , I-Canvas Muzzle Cover , J-TriggerThe Germans also developed their own version of the Stokes Mortar which had some moving parts but was still relatively stable. They were first introduced in January of 1915 by British weapons designer F.W.C (above right)who became Sir Wilfred. The barrel (tube) which weighed 43 pounds, the base plate (28 pounds) and bipod (37 pounds) which lead to a GRAND TOTAL of 108 lbs of metal The Mortars that the British designed were still light enough to be carried from place to place on the battlefield by men though. They didn’t have to use carts to transport them which was a good advantage to the soldiers that had them and it allowed them to move thing around quicker. Bruce N. Canfield said in the World War I website that, “The Stokes mortar was soon tested by the British Army and was deemed “…a brilliant concept.”

However, it was determined that the war currently raging in Europe would soon be over and there would not be time to produce the new weapon before the fighting ended!”. He also said that the British army’s were soon proved wrong. Mortars changed the war for Europe and I think that it’s safe to say that the war would not have ended like it did if Sir Wilfred hadn’t redesigned the Mortar to fit with the needs of his side’s military force.

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