Five Facts: A Feature Of Battlefields For Hundreds Of Years To The Present Day – Mortars (Watch)

For hundreds of years, some form or another of mortar weapons have been used in warfare, but it was many, many years before Sir Wilfred Stokes developed the Stokes trench mortar in 1915. He improved the mortar during World War I, so much so that now this new artillery weapon could be transported by one soldier.

In the terrible trench warfare of the First World War, especially on the Western Front, there was a great need for a versatile and an easily transportable weapon that could be utilized by the soldiers in the trenches. The Stokes trench mortar weapon proved to be very useful for this task, even though, in the beginning, it was rejected.

Artillery shells, because of their low direction of flight, were unable to hit targets directly in the trenches, but mortar shells, on the other hand, could be aimed for direct hits in the trenches.

Following World War I, an improved version of the mortar weapon and artillery was developed. This modified weapon discharged an aerodynamic bomb that was fin-stabilized and contained a booster force for longer range.

By the time World War II began, it was capable of firing 30 mortar shells per minute and had a scope of over 2,500 yards with specific shell types.

Although today’s mortar weapons are quite similar in design to the Stokes mortar, they are vastly enhanced versions with much-improved features. These weapons will provide ground forces with an accurate, adaptable, light, and easy to operate support weapon that has enough firepower against most soft and hard targets to provide the infantry with excellent close fire munitions more quickly than any other means.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.