The world's first mortar: how it came to be

The world's first mortar: how it came to be

Mortar – weapon, without which almost no high-intensity conflict has occurred since the First World War.

Meanwhile, it was invented a little earlier, during the siege of the Port Arthur fortress by the Japanese army in 1904. Then, during the assault, the Japanese broke through the first defense redoubts and began to dig in directly near the Russian positions.

As a result, the enemy found himself in the so-called “dead space”, which was not covered by our large-caliber artillery.

As a solution to the problem, the midshipman of the 1st Pacific Squadron fleet Sergei Vlasyev suggested that Lieutenant General Roman Kondratenko hit the Japanese with mounted fire. For this purpose, it was planned to use pole ship mines that had been removed from service.

The development of the appropriate weapon was entrusted to Captain Leonid Gobyato.

The latter somewhat improved the proposed concept and created a weapon for firing aerial mines weighing up to 15 pounds of pyroxylin based on a “stripped-down” 75-mm howitzer.

However, this design did not last long. Within a month and a half, the first mortar was created, which was based on a 47-mm Hotchkins naval gun mounted on a wheelbase (light carriage). In addition, special ammunition was manufactured for the new version of the weapon.

The mine, filled with 6,2 kilograms of pyroxylin, was made of sheet iron and had the shape of a truncated cone. The pole on which the warhead was located was inserted into the bore all the way to the wad.

At the same time, a sliding over-caliber stabilizer was located on the pole. When fired, the latter slid along the pole and was ultimately fixed on a thickening in the tail of the mine.

The Gobyato gun had a firing range of 50 to 400 meters at an angle of 45 to 62 degrees.

The results of firing from the new weapon were amazing. Of the four ammunition fired from the world's first mortar, three fell into Japanese trenches.
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  1. -3
    5 October 2023 14: 02

    The results of firing from the new weapon were amazing. Of the four ammunition fired from the world's first mortar, three fell into Japanese trenches.

    it just didn’t help the Russian troops sad
    1. +1
      5 October 2023 14: 07
      For there are no miracle weapons, there is only extensive military production and “The Lord God is on the side of large battalions
  2. 0
    5 October 2023 20: 04
    There is another version of the origin of the mortar! The fact is that at that time (that is, the period of the Russian-Japanese War) the fleet had so-called mine boats (predecessors of torpedo boats), armed with mine launchers and Erickson mines (could have been and other types...)

    Throwing mines resembled torpedoes, but did not have an engine and moved in the water after being “shot” from the mine apparatus due to the inertia of the shot... the distance was short!
    And then one day, the mine officer of the cruiser “Bayan,” Lieutenant Podgursky, proposed using a boat mine-throwing apparatus, which threw a throwing mine at a distance of up to 100 steps... Thus, a mortar was created for firing at Japanese trenches. The tests were successful and subsequently 8 such mortars were installed in positions! Since throwing sea mines were launched from throwing mines, this type of weapon was called a mortar!
    For reference :

    A mine launcher and a mine designed by Erickson were in service with steam boats. The mine carried about 30 kg of pyroxylin and was fired at less than 100 m. During the siege of Port Arthur, the devices were adapted for firing on land. They had great explosive power and destroyed Japanese fortifications.

    56-foot mine boats - (“destroyers”) had devices for shortened (length 4,57 m instead of 5,2 m) mines of the 1900 model, which at a speed of 27 knots covered 366 m. Steam boats were equipped with devices for throwing (not having engines and propellers) mines weighing 67 kg (charge weighing 29 kg of pyroxylin), which, due to the inertia acquired during the shot, could travel 46-60 m in water
  3. 0
    7 October 2023 00: 20
    Invented by a Russian officer. Back in 1905.

    And the only country that entered WW1 with mortars in the army was Germany anyway!