US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

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Richard Stone
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US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Richard Stone » 22 Mar 2022 11:37

The attached short report by the 90th Infantry Division discusses their extensive use of captured German 3” (81mm) mortars during their operations in France. The unit considered the German mortar to be a successful design and to be superior to the US mortar in several respects.

The 90th preferred to use US mortar ammunition in their German mortars. They found the US mortar ammunition to be interchangeable with the German mortar rounds but was more reliable. The German mortar ammunition they tested during the 1944 period showed a number of defects, indicating problems with its manufacture, with at least some percentage of the defects caused by worker sabotage.

The report is from the US Army Combat Notes report series for the European Campaign.
ComBatt Notes - 15 August 1944 - Captured German 81mm Mortar .png
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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Paul_Atreides » 22 Mar 2022 13:52

How it (range — 4500 yards) can be?

Original range of german mortar — less 2,5 km.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Richard Stone » 22 Mar 2022 20:52

This is the mortar range table discussed in the attached report.
ComBatt Notes - 15 August 1944 - Captured German 81mm Mortar - Range Table.png
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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by kfbr392 » 22 Mar 2022 21:28

Paul_Atreides wrote:
22 Mar 2022 13:52
How it (range — 4500 yards) can be?

Original range of german mortar — less 2,5 km.
A valid question.
My speculation:
The US shell casings seem to have been of higher quality iron.
The German tube appears to have been sufficiently robust to handle it all.
The German base plate would likely have been overstressed over time - but so what. Just junk the broken captured mortar.

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Paul_Atreides » 23 Mar 2022 18:58

From firing tables for the Soviet 82-mm mortar:

bm-82_0.jpg

Soviet shell

bm-82_1.jpg
bm-82_2.jpg

German shell

bm-82_3.jpg

American shell

bm-82_4.jpg

So I still doubt the correctness of this table download/file.php?id=502764&t=1
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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by ROLAND1369 » 18 Apr 2022 13:36

Their could have been a tighter clearance between the German mortar and the American shell resulting in a higher muzzle velocity developed. They might have also added an extra increment. Most mortars can be over stressed if needed. Once in a "bad social situation" we needed a little extra range with a US M29 81 MM mortar. We added a teaspoon of Gasoline prior to firing and achieved a little over 5000 meters on a weapon with a normal maximum of 4700 meters.

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Apr 2022 14:23

ROLAND1369 wrote:
18 Apr 2022 13:36
.... Once in a "bad social situation" we needed a little extra range with a US M29 81 MM mortar. We added a teaspoon of Gasoline prior to firing and achieved a little over 5000 meters on a weapon with a normal maximum of 4700 meters.
Roland, can you provide more details on that?

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by ROLAND1369 » 19 Apr 2022 16:30

We were in an fortified camp under attack and were trying to hit a 75 mm US mountain gun firing on us. We had a man in the mortar pit hanging the round with one hand and holding on to a man outside the pit with the other. When he dropped the mortar round the other man jerked him out of the pit before the round hit the bottom of the tube and fired. In the gunnery contest we lost, but the tube didn't blow either.

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 May 2022 01:40

ROLAND1369 wrote:
19 Apr 2022 16:30
.. and were trying to hit a 75 mm US mountain gun firing on us. ...
Hey are you speaking of this little cutie the M116 75mm Howitzer? Who was fielding that antique?

Screen Shot 2022-05-29 at 8.39.35 PM.png
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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by ROLAND1369 » 30 May 2022 17:58

No the ones we found were the earlier version with the wooden wheels. We dug up 4 of them from a cache. However I can beat that, One day after another bad social situation, a firefight in which me and my Viets go our asses kicked pretty well I thought we were being shelled by an 82 MM mortar. After we recovered the area my viets brought me some very odd artillery shell casings which I recognized as coming from a 70 MM Japanese Type 92 Battalion gun. The final answer to your question is that they were operated by Main Force VC Units. These guys were not black pajama part time vc. They were as good or better than NVA , wore good green uniforms and canvas boots and were well trained and equipped. Don't assume an old weapon is useless in modern warfare. Both these weapons out ranged 60 and 81 mortars, were more accurate, and could be broken down into transport packs each weighing less than 150 lbs. Very handy weapons for an insurgent force.

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Jun 2022 19:08

Likely referring to the improved mortar designated GrW 34/1, introduced in 1944, featuring increased barrel length and reinforced plate.

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by kfbr392 » 14 Jun 2022 19:54

Stiltzkin wrote:
14 Jun 2022 19:08
Likely referring to the improved mortar designated GrW 34/1, introduced in 1944, featuring increased barrel length and reinforced plate.
No, can’t be. GrW 34/1 was only delivered from December 1944.
I posted about it here: viewtopic.php?p=2368672#p2368672

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Re: US Use Of Captured German Mortars - 90th Infantry Division - France 1944

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Jun 2022 20:28

No, can’t be. GrW 34/1 was only delivered from December 1944.
Then the answer can only lie in the fields of charges/ballistics/chemical reaction, perhaps the barrel withstood a greater loading of charges.

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