mortar was the standard mortar used by Canadian infantry battalions in the
Second World War. The weapons were grouped into a Mortar Platoon, first as
part of Headquarters Company and from 1942 as part of Support Company. Six
such weapons comprised an infantry battalion commander's personal
entered British service in the 1930s, and became widely issued in the
Canadian Army in 1940, serving through to the end of the war, and
eventually replaced by the US-designed 81mm Mortar.
references cite the calibre of the weapon as 76.2mm. The weapon has been
noted for its weight and the long flight times for the ammunition to reach
the target due to the high angle trajectory common to all mortars.
was usually done by Universal Carrier, on which 66 bombs could also be
carried, though the 15-cwt truck was also used, which could carry 90
rounds of ammunition as a standard load. The mortar was always dismounted
to fire, and the advantage of a mortar was that it could be sited beneath
ground level, behind a wall, or in otherwise "dead ground" and thus harder
for the enemy to locate.
could be broken down into a three-man load:
Mortar No. 1 carrying the
baseplate and optical sight (52 lbs)
Mortar No. 2 carrying the barrel
and spare parts bag (51 lbs)
Mortar No. 3 carrying the bipod
and one case of bombs (36 lbs)
3-inch mortar crew of The Regina Rifle Regiment in Normandy, 9 Jun 1944.
Their Carrier can be seen in the background.
Weight: 147.5 lbs
Muzzle Velocity: 620 fps
Ammunition Types: HE (High Explosive) and Smoke
(Charge I): 500 yards to 1,500 yds (HE).
(Charge II): 950 yards to 2,800 yds (HE).
Maximum - 2,800 yds
Average Flight Time of Bomb (HE):
Approximately 20 seconds, Charge I
AApproximately 30 seconds, Charge II
Fragmentation Radius: Up to 100 yards in all directions from
point of bomb impact.
Weight (HE): 9.99 lbs per bomb
Elevation: +45º. to +80º
generally a minimum of three, not counting ammunition carriers
or vehicle drivers
Weight of weapon in action: 111.99 lbs1
At left, Canadian
troops firing a mortar in the vicinity of the Sangro River in
PAC Photo. Above, British
3-inch Mortar crew
in Germany, 1945. Soldier in the centre wears the Crew Suit
intended for AFV crews. Soldier at right wears the Mark III
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare
(Columbia House, New York, NY, 1978) p.2352