Here is another US Army support weapon to join the other two released this week (.30 cal LMG teams and a .50 cal HMG team) – the 81mm M1 mortar. With a round in the tube the crew are covering their ears and turning away as the mortar unleashes its payload…
The M1 81mm mortar was the largest weapon in the arsenal of the U.S. WWII infantry battalion. It provided the battalion commander with a powerful and flexible indirect fire capability. Sometimes called “infantry artillery,” or “hip pocket artillery,” mortars were capable of quickly laying down heavy barrages. These could stop enemy attacks under the worst conditions. Able to fire at high angles, mortars could fire at targets in defilade, either under direction of an forward observer, or firing from map coordinates.
In campaigns in the Pacific, these weapons became a vital part of the battalion’s firepower, especially since they could be man-packed into positions that were inaccessible to conventional artillery.
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