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107mm M2 Chemical Mortar


4.2-inch M2


Overview


107mm M2 Chemical Mortar

US forces firing smoke shells at a German position in 1944.
Source: National Museum of Health and Medicine - © GNU Attribution Share Alike license

Origin
United States
Type
Heavy mortar
Entered service
1928 (4.2-inch M1)
1943 (4.2-inch M2)
Status
Obsolete
Development
1924 - 1928
Developer
United States
Production
1928 - late 1940's
Producer
United States
Unit cost
Number produced
Designations
4.2-inch mortar
Chemical mortar
Notable users
United States

Description


Introduction

The M2 is a conventional muzzle loaded rifled 107mm mortar. It was developed in the USA in the 1920's. At first it was only used to fire chemical rounds, but during World War 2 high explosive rounds were widely used. In the 1950's it was replaced by the M30 in US service, which is much heavier and provides a much longer range.

Design

The M2 is a conventional muzzle loaded rifled mortar. It is based on a square baseplate, a standard on a small rectangular plate and two rods connecting the two. The sight unit is attached near the muzzle.

107mm M2 Chemical Mortar

Excerpt from a US field manual denoting the parts 4.2-inch M2 mortar.
Source: www.rt66.com - © Copyright lies with original owner

Firepower

The M2 fires a variety of 107mm shells out to a maximum of 4 km. Ammunition types include chemical for mustard gas and white phosphorus smoke. During World War 2 a high explosive shell was introduced, which became the main ammunition type. The practical rate of firs only 5 rounds per minute. The maximum rate of fire is 20 rounds per minute, but only for a very short burst of fire.

Mobility

With a weight of only 150 kg the M2 was a relatively light mortar for its caliber. When disassembled it can be carried over short distances by its crew. It is normally moved using a two wheel handcart. Several tracked and half-track self-propelled mortar mounts for the M2 were developed, but none of those was adopted for service.

Users

The main user of the M2 was the United States, which used it extensively in World War 2. Many nations adopted the M2 after World War 2 when US stock became available. Nowadays it is obsolete and only very few remain in reserve use.

Variants

4.2-inch M1
The M1 is a conventional muzzle loaded mortar that fires 107mm shells. It was the original 4.2-inch mortar that was adopted by the United States. It was only used to fire chemical and smoke shells out to 2.2 km. The M1 was replaced in production and US service with a strengthened version called the M2.
4.2-inch M2
The M2 is the improved 4.2-inch mortar and the model that was used during World War 2 and the Korean War. The M2 has a much longer range than the M1 as more propellant can be used. The M2 was widely used during World War 2 and was produced in larger quantities than the M1.

Details


Facts M2 Chemical Mortar
General
Origin
United States
Type
Heavy mortar
Crew
4
Dimensions
Weight (complete)
151 kg in firing position
Weight (parts)
47.6 kg barrel
77.1 kg baseplate
24.9 kg standard
Width
0.71 m
Ordnance
Type
107mm rifled mortar
Barrel length
1.22 m
Muzzle velocity
256 m/s
Elevation
Up to 60.75°
Traverse
17° left and 17° right
Fire control
Sights
Indirect fire sights
Firepower
Rate of fire
20 rpm maximum (for very short burst only)
5 rpm normal
1 rpm sustained
Range
4.0 km maximum
515 m minimum
Carriage
Type
Two wheel handcart

Media


Related articles


81mm M1

The 4.2-inch M2 was used alongside the 81mm M1 during World War 2.

107mm M30

The 107mm M30 was developed to replace the M2. It is a more capable weapon with longer range and higher rate of fire. This comes at the cost of being about twice as heavy.