The 60mm Mortar
The 60mm-mortar is an indirect fire support weapon used primarily by the infantry. The weapon is fielded in two configurations, the handheld version using the M1 base plate and the more accurate version with the M5 mount consisting of a base plate, bipod and C2A1 sight. A two person mortar crew can carry the weapon and several rounds of ammunition over long distances. Additional ammunition is normally carried in a vehicle or by the remainder of the infantry platoon. A tactical advantage of the mortar is its high trajectory, which allows the mortar to be fired from behind high cover, the suppression of targets behind high cover and the firing of the mortar over the heads of friendly troops without endangering them.
The weapon can fire 30 rounds per minute for short periods and 8 rounds per minute for sustained periods. In the handheld configuration it can be used against targets between 100 and 1500 metres away, the M5 mount extends this range to 2800 metres. The mortar can fire a variety of ammunition including high explosive (HE) rounds that produce a large number of lethal fragments, white and red phosphorus smoke rounds for making smoke screens and illumination rounds to light up the battlefield at night.
In the handheld configuration the mortar consists of a barrel, a base cap and a firing mechanism. These three parts are normally assembled into single unit. The mortar is loaded by dropping a round into the muzzle. The firing mechanism can be set to fire the round as soon as it reaches the bottom of the barrel or set to fire when operated by the soldier similar to a rifle trigger.
- Calibre: 60mm
- Ammunition: High Explosive (HE), White or Red Phosphorus (WP/RP), Illumination
- Rate of Fire: Normal – 8 per minute, Maximum – 30 rounds per minute
- Weight: Handheld configuration 7.7kg, M5 base plate configuration 23.4kg
- Length: 726mm in handheld configuration
- Range: Handheld configuration 100 to 1500m, M5 base plate configuration 100 to 2800m