8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

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Gary Kennedy
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8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Gary Kennedy » 25 Oct 2018 15:34

I'm trying to find figures on the amount of ammunition carried for the 8-cm mortar when serving in an ordinary Infantry Battalion (so excluding motorised or armoured infantry).

From a few items over on germandocsinrussia the 1937 total for 8-cm bombs is 1728 per Inf Regt, which works out as 96 per weapon. There were a further 44 per mortar over the Regimental and Divisional columns. By 1941 the figures shift slightly with another example giving 100 bombs with combat troops and 56 more over the various columns. Later figures for 1944-45 show 132 bombs with Grenadier and Volksgrenadier Bns and a few other units.

Transport for the 8-cm in the normal Inf/Gren Bn was either the Jf.9 or later the Jf.8 cart, with a larger wagon normally being found on the scale of one for each pair of mortars.

Given all this then, was there a standardised load of ammunition prescribed for each mortar, and a suggested loading method for the carts and wagons involved? The only reference I've found comes in Alex Buchner's "The German Infantry Handbook", which says there were 48 bombs per weapon carried over the carts and wagons, of which the crew took 15 into action as a first supply. An 8-cm mortar ammunition case held three rounds so that would suggest 16 cases for a single mortar crew.

I've had a look round for a manual or illustrations that might show the expected carriage of ammunition over vehicles but without luck.

Anyone got an idea on the matter?

Gary

Yoozername
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Yoozername » 25 Oct 2018 19:39

http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/germa ... ortar.html

Some info, they claim 24 rds. per 8 cm mortar carried in action. But they claim 4 rds. per container? So, a six man crew would be 3 guys carrying the broken down mortar, and three guys carrying two 4 rd. containers each?

The Germans did have a heavy bomb for this mortar, similar to the US 81mm, but I don't think I have ever seen a photo of one being used in action. Perhaps used by motorized or panzergrenadier units.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Gary Kennedy » 26 Oct 2018 13:23

Thanks for that. I did actually find a copy of that original US document for download a while back, I forgot it gave an estimate of first ammn supply.

I think there was some snafu at the time with the details it shows for the 8-cm mortar. I noticed it says four bombs were carried in each ammn case as well but I've seen nothing to suggest that's correct, every other source (and photo and re-enactor) says or shows three. The range table they produced also looks to be incomplete, ending at 1900m, which was in part what prompted my earlier post on whether the range of the 8-cm underwent some improvement. Since then I have, I'm sure, seen a pre-war version with more lines that takes it up to 2400m, but I'm damned if I can find it now!

I did happen across some postings on another site re the 8-cm, which does include a few pages from the training literature of the day.

http://www.fjr5.es/foro/index.php?topic=778.0

So if I'm reading that correctly it's for the 7-man troop of 1939-1943 era, but excludes any details of the Jf.9 equipment cart. Personal loads of;

NCO - pistol, binoculars, aiming stakes, short spade and carrying harness (also one ammn case)
Mortar leader - RA35 sighting unit, pistol and short spade, also carrying harness with base plate
No.1 - pistol and carrying harness with bipod (I don't know what Klauenbeil means; is it a hatchet?)
No.2 - pistol, spares kit and short spade, also carrying harness with mortar barrel
No.3 - rifle, ammn case and carrying belt
No.4 - rifle, ammn case and carrying belt (plus saw?)
No.5 - rifle, ammn case and carrying belt (plus wire cutters?)

The accompanying picture in the thread shows three men each carrying two ammn cases and none with the NCO, so slightly different. I understand the tragegurt 34 was a belt that was used to link two ammn cases together so they could be carried slung rather than one in each hand (also used for the MG34). The carrying harness is then shown further down the thread, and looks to be a padded piece worn on the back that fits one of the three main components of bipod, barrel and baseplate.

I understand with a mortar there's variance about what could be carried, and accompanying riflemen can be burdened further with cases to be dropped off as they pass the mortar position. When you look at a few manuals though there is some recognition that once ammn is taken off transport and man packed forward there's a ceiling on how much can be carried over distance.

Gary

Yoozername
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Yoozername » 26 Oct 2018 19:21

I have seen both wooden and metal boxes and they appear to be different sizes but they probably became standardized at some point. A mortar crew on the move would rapidly consume that amount of ammunition if committed. Resupply or retreat might be the immediate options.

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Xavier
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Xavier » 05 Nov 2018 23:39

most common ammo carriers were metal (early to mid war) and wood (mid to late war) all of those only carried 3 rounds
four round carriers were used for propaganda rounds

Yoozername
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Yoozername » 06 Nov 2018 20:16

Supposedly late war the Germans used a cardboard carrier also.

Image

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Xavier
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Re: 8-cm mortar ammunition allocation

Post by Xavier » 07 Nov 2018 04:23

as a matter of fact, there are about 6 types of carriers, some were repurposed and relabeled from artillery round carriers, I mentioned just the most widespread ones. and most were 3 round carriers

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