240 mm Trench Mortar

240 mm Trench Mortar

Infobox Weapon
name=240 mm Trench Mortar


caption=240 mm Trench Mortar, side view
origin=FRA
type= Heavy trench mortar
is_ranged=yes
is_bladed=
is_explosive=yes
is_artillery=yes
is_UK=yes
is_vehicle=
target=
date=
prod_date=
number=
service=1915 - 1918
used_by=FRA
USA
ITA

wars=World War I
designer=Dumezil-Batignolles
design_date=1915
manufacturer=
production_date=
weight=2,200 lb (1,000 kg)
length=
part_length=79.3 inch
(including breech)
crew=7
cartridge=HE 180 lb (US & France)
caliber=240 mm (9.45 inch)
action=
rate=1 per 6 min
velocity=145 m/s (475 ft/s)
(max charge)
range=660–2,265 yd
(200–690 m)
max_range=
feed=
sights=
breech=vertical sliding block
recoil=
weight=700 lb (barrel & breech);
450 lb (carriage);
760 lb (base);
carriage=
elevation=75° to 45°
traverse=18° left & right
diameter=
filling=amatol or ammonal
filling_weight=90 lb (40 kg)
detonation=
yield=
This large calibre mortar of World War I originated as a French design, the Mortier de 240 mm developed by Batignolles Company of Paris and introduced in 1915.

ervice

The weapon was dismantled for transport, requiring four carts for the barrel, base, carriage and ammunition.

In action, a heavy timber platform was constructed embedded in the ground, on which the mortar base was immovably secured. The mortar carriage sat on the base and could traverse. The mortar barrel and breech were mounted on the carriage which provided elevation.

They were used in the "siege warfare" on the Western Front to destroy enemy strongpoints, bunkers and similar "hard" targets which were invulnerable to lighter mortars and field guns. The US Army handbook described it : "... the use for which it is primarily adapted is in the bombardment of strongly protected targets—dwellings, covered shelters, command posts, entrances to galleries, etc—or in the destruction of sectors of trenches, salients and the like." [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=137&CISOBOX=1&REC=3 "Handbook of the 9.45-inch trench mortar matériel" United States Ordnance Department. December 1917. page 9] ] . Their effectiveness decreased late in the war as German policy changed to a lightly held frontline, hence decreasing available targets, and they became redundant when the war of movement resumed late in 1918.

240 mm mortar in French use

The mortar was first introduced in 1915 as the "Mortier de 240 mm CT" ("court de tranchee"). It was a short barreled version which fired a 192 lb (87 kg) bomb for 1,125 yards (1,030 m), using a propellant charge of 1 lb 9 oz (710 g). [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Trench_Ordnance Classic Encyclopedia. Trench Ordnance] ]

Its first major use was in the Champagne offensive of September 25 1915.

This was followed later by the "Mortier de 240 mm LT" ("long de tranchée") which was a long barreled version with improved firing arrangement and breech-loaded charge which fired a convert|179|lb|abbr=on bomb convert|2265|yd, using a propellant charge of convert|2|lb|13|oz|kg|abbr=on. This appears to be the bomb configuration adopted by USA.

French estimates were 80 bombs needed to destroy a strong shelter with a roof of concrete or rails and concrete. [ [http://www.archive.org/details/generalnotesonus00franiala General notes on the use of artillery. France. Ministère de la guerre. 1917] Page 43]

240 mm mortar in US use

David Lupton's Sons Co manufactured the weapon in the United States during World War I.

The US version appears to have been a direct copy of the Mortier de 240 mm LT, i.e. with longer barrel and propellant charge loaded into the breech via a brass cartridge case, was also produced late in the war but it is doubtful whether any were actually used in combat. The December 1917 manual describes the weapon as "9.45 inch" but makes clear it is the French 240 mm they are describing that the US has adopted. The bomb is described as weighing convert|180|lb|abbr=on, with an explosive charge of convert|90|lb|abbr=on and range from 660 to convert|2500|yd.

The March 1918 manual describes the Bomb, Model 1916, Type T, weight convert|183|lb|abbr=on, explosive convert|93|lb|abbr=on, length 1.02 m (40 in). Barrel and breech weighing convert|690|lb|abbr=on, carriage convert|448|lb|abbr=on, base convert|764|lb|abbr=on, timber platform convert|5720|lb|abbr=on. Propellant charges of 800 grams Ballistite + 15 grams F-3 black powder for 750-1400 meters, and 1250 grams Ballistite + 15 grams F-3 for 1100-2200 meters [ [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=252&CISOBOX=1&REC=8 "Manual for trench artillery, United States Army (provisional). Part IV, 240 mm. trench mortar." Prepared at Headquarters AEF France March 1918. page 9-10] ] . This figure agrees with the charge quoted for the mortar in French use for maximum range.

"Separate loading ammunition" was used i.e. the mortar bomb was a separate unit from the propellant cartridge case, which was flanged, brass, 9.776 inches long x convert|6.67|in|mm diameter (248.3 by 169.4 mm) [ [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=137&CISOBOX=1&REC=3 "Handbook of the convert|9.45|in|mm|sing=on trench mortar matériel" December 1917. United States Ordnance Department. page 43] ] . The bomb was loaded into the barrel muzzle. The cartridge containing propellant charge appropriate for the required range was loaded into the breech, similar to a howitzer.

The mortar was fired by pulling a lanyard, which triggered a primer in the base of the cartridge case and ignited the propellant charge in the cartridge. The cartridge cases could be reused after cleaning and replacing the primer.

240 mm Mortar in Italian Use

Italy used both the French CT and LT versions and produced their own long barrel version.


24 cm Minenwerfer M.16 reported in Austro-Hungarian use

Some 400 were copied and manufactured by Böhler during World War I based on examples captured from Italy,Wesley Thomas, [http://www.landships.freeservers.com/ah_ww1mortars.htm 24cm Minenwerfer M. 16. with photographs] ] although the Austrians had problems recreating the original powder mixture and their shells suffered from large dispersions. [Ortner, M. Christian. "The Austro-Hungarian Artillery From 1867 to 1918: Technology, Organization, and Tactics". Vienna, Verlag Militaria, 2007 ISBN 978-3-902526-13-7, p. 480]

24 cm Heavy Flügelminenwerfer (finned smoothbore mortar) reported in German use

The US A.E.F. in France reported in March 1918 : "... a new pattern minenwerfer which was brought out in 1916 and looks very much like the French 240... uses a heavy bomb fitted with four vanes like the French 240 mm bombs. This bomb weighs 100 kg (220 lb) and contains 42 kg (93 lb) of explosive... ranges obtained vary from 490 to 1310 yards" [ [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=133&CISOBOX=1&REC=2 "Manual for trench artillery, United States Army (provisional). Part I, Trench Artillery.". Prepared at Headquarters AEF, France, March 1918. page 49-50] ] . The specifications appear similar to the early French 240 mm CT quoted above. It is unknown whether this was related to the French or Austrian Böhler versions.

Notes and references

See also

*List of artillery#Siege mortars
*9.45 inch Heavy Mortar British version

urviving examples

*A French LT example is displayed in the open at Place de Longueval, France
Bernard Plumier : [http://canonspgmww1guns.canalblog.com/archives/03__lance_mines_allies__allied_mine_throwers_/p10-0.html Link to his web page which has details and photograph] [http://canonspgmww1guns.canalblog.com/images/Mortier240PlacedeLongueval80avril1988.jpgDirect link to photograph]

External links

;French 240 mm
* [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Trench_Ordnance Classic Encyclopedia. Trench Ordnance]
*W L Ruffel, [http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/mortar/mort10.htm French Mortars of WW1]
*Jim Webster, [http://www.jedsite.info/mortar/mike/mortier-de-240_series/mortier-de-240-ct/md240ct-intro.html Photograph of model of Mortier de 240 mm CT and bomb]
*Jim Webster, [http://www.jedsite.info/mortar/mike/mortier-de-240_series/mortier-de-240-lt/md240lt-intro.html Photograph of model of Mortier de 240 mm LT and bomb] ;US 240 mmThe US manuals for the mortar appear to be based on French manuals e.g. the soldiers depicted are in French uniform.
* [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=137&CISOBOX=1&REC=3 "Handbook of the 9.45-inch trench mortar matériel" United States Ordnance Department. December 1917. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library]
* [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=133&CISOBOX=1&REC=2 "Manual for trench artillery, United States Army (provisional). Part I, Trench Artillery.". Prepared at Headquarters AEF, France, March 1918. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library]
* [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=252&CISOBOX=1&REC=8 "Manual for trench artillery, United States Army (provisional). Part IV, 240 mm. trench mortar." Prepared at Headquarters AEF France March 1918. Includes range tables. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library]
* [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=258&CISOBOX=1&REC=9 "Provisional drill regulations for trench mortar batteries; 6" Newton and the 240mm. : chapters II, VI, and VIII". United States. War Dept, 1918. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library]
* [http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=202&CISOBOX=1&REC=17 "Handbook on trench mortar fuzes, Mark VII and Mark VII-E.". United States. War Dept, 1918. Made available online by Combined Arms Research Library] ;German 240 mm
*W L Ruffel, [http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/mortar/mort12.htm German Mortars of WW1]
* [http://www.landships.freeservers.com/adh_germart2_mandh-mortars.htm Schwerer 24 cm Flügelminenwerfer "Iko"]


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