Artillery / Mortars / M43

M43

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Mortar

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    M1938, M1943
    PM-38, PM-43
    Type 55 (Chinese production M43)
    UK2 (Egyptian production M43)
    120 Krh/38 (Finnish designation for M38)

  • DESIGNED
    Late 1930's

  • DESIGNER
    Unknown

  • PRODUCTION
    1938 - late 1960's

  • PRODUCERS
    China
    Egypt
    USSR

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good firepower
    Very heavy
    Average range

Introduction

The M43 is a heavy 120mm smoothbore mortar of Russian origin. The M38 is also known as the M1938 or PM-38. The M43 is a slightly updated model that was produced in much larger numbers than the M38 as it was widely exported and produced until the later stages of the Cold War.

Design

The design is based on the French Brandt Mle 35 mortar. The M38 is a conventional smoothbore muzzle loaded mortar. Besides having longer shock absorbers and some other minor differences the M43 is similar. The system consists of four major parts: the barrel, base-plate, bipod and two wheel carriage. The fixed spread bipod allows for manual traverse and elevation. A crew of six is normally used to operate the weapon.

Firepower

The M43 provides a lot of fire power with its ability to fire 12 to 15 rounds per minute to targets ranging 460 to 5.700 meters. The 120mm shells are very powerful. At the time of development the design was very modern. Judging by today's standard the range is somewhat limited and the weight is excessive.

Mobility

For a heavy mortar the M43 is very mobile due to its well designed two wheel carriage. Normally it is towed or transported by a light truck, but can be hand drawn over short distances by infantry.

Users

Russia has been the main user of the M43 mortar, although it has been replaced by the 2S11 mortar. Most Soviet allies received the M43, but due to its age more and more users are replacing it with more modern designs. However, the M43 still is one of the most common heavy mortars in the world.

Variants

M43

The M38 is a heavy mortar of Soviet design and is also known as the M1938 or PM-38. It is a conventional mortar that fires 120mm shells out to 5.7 km. It is very easy to transport by hand or vehicle due to the two wheel carriage. The M43 is a heavy 120mm mortar of Soviet design. The M43 is a modified version of the M38 and retains most design features. The most notable difference is the improved shock absorber. The Chinese Type 53, also called the Type 55, is a direct copy of the M43.

TypeMortar
Crew6
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 1.854 m tube
Elevation+45 to +80°
Traverse8° left and right
Rate of fire12 - 15 rpm
Range460 m to 5.7 km
CarriageSeparate 2 wheel carriage, 1.21 m track
Weight275 kg (firing position), 500 kg (travelling)
Length2 m (travelling)
Width1.548 m (travelling)
Height1.206 m (travelling)
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-

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