M19 Mortar

The M19 Mortar is a smoothbore, muzzle loading, very light and simple, high-angle-of-fire weapon for light infantry support developed and produced in the United States.

It has been made obsolete and supplanted by the more modern M224 Mortar, which has a much longer range.

Description

The original M19 just had a simple spade-like baseplate, leaving the elevation and traverse free for the firer. This of course was too inaccurate, and the infantry initially refused the M19. A new mount, the M5, was developed, which used a conventional baseplate and bipod with elevation and traverse adjustment. This gave the M19 better accuracy, but made it heavier than the M2 Mortar with less range.

The M19 fired the same ammunition used in the M2 mortar, which it was supposed to replace. The 60-mm mortar is used by the infantry to lob explosive shells at well-protected hostile locations. The weapon can also fire illumination rounds to light up the battlefield at night, and smoke rounds to provide concealment during the day.

History

The M19 was developed in 1942 as a replacement for the M2 Mortar. It was a very simple and light weapon, but was too inaccurate without a mounting. The M5 mount was developed for it, but made it heavier and had less range than the older M2 mortar. Very few M19s were made, but some survived in US service to be used in the Vietnam War. Many M19s were scrapped or exported to other countries.

Operators

* Belgium - The ParaCommando Regiment of the Belgian Land Component uses the M19 for light fire support.
* Canada - The Canadian Forces continues to use the M19 as part of the weapons detachment of infantry platoons.

References

* Hogg, Ian (2000). "Twentieth-Century Artillery". Friedman/Fairfax Publishers. ISBN 1-58663-299-X


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