Robert Hurst wrote:Hi
37 mm Spade Mortar
To this day little information exists on the Russian 37 mm Spade Mortar. It was a unique weapon that, when carried, resembled a conventional short-handled spade, but it could be quickly converted into a mortar by pulling a monpod stabilising leg out of the 'handle' which unlocked the 'spade' to form a base plate. It could function as a normal spade when folded so the basic idea may have been to give every soldier his own mortar, but the 37 mm mortar appears to have been little used.
The correct Russian designation for this oddity is unknown - even the Germans were unable to discover it for they gave the weapon the reporting designation of 3.7 cm Spatengranatenwerfer 161(r).
Calibre: 37 mm (1.45 in)
Barrel length: 520 mm (20.47 in)
Bore length: 375 mm (14.76 in)
Weight: 2.4 kg (5.3 lb)
Maximum range (approx): 300 m (328 yds)
Bomb weight (approx): 0.68 kg (1.5 lb)
The 50 mm Model 38 was the result of a long series of Russian experiments to produce a light infantry mortar. For its task it turned out to be rather more complicated and expensive than the production requirements demanded and it was produced in small numbers only before being replaced by the Model 1939.
Its main design feature was that the barrel was clamped at two elevation angles only - 45 and 75 degrees. Range variations were made by altering a sleeve round the base of the barrel. This sleeve opened a series of gas ports which bled off exhaust gases and so determined the range.
Despite the small number produced, some fell into German hands in 1941 and they were taken over as the 5 cm Granatenwerfer 205/1(r).
Calibre: 50 (1.97 in)
Barrel length: 780 mm (30.7 in)
Bore length: 553 mm (21.77 in)
Weight in action: 12.1 kg (26.6 lb)
Elevation (fixed): 45 to 75 degrees plus 82 deghrees on some models
Traverse: 6 degrees
Muzzle velocity (max): 96 m/sec (315 ft/sec)
Maximum range (45 degrees): 800 m (875 yds)
Maximum range (75 degrees): 402 m (440 yds)
Maximum range (82 degrees): 100 m (109 yds)
Bomb weight: 0.85 kg (1.875 lb)
Did the Russians produce WP rounds for any of their mortars?
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