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Viewing Topic "Who invented the modern mortar?"
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Posted by: Paintybeard Is Elite 214 accurate?
Posted on: 18/05/2017 13:04:07

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Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 320
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

I've just started reading the recent Elite title No.214 "World War II Infantry Support Tactics". The author is Ospreys frequent contributor, Mr G. Rottman. Having read several of his books I expect the style to be rather plodding, but essentially accurate and reliable.

 So I was a bit taken aback when I reach the section on Infantry mortars on page 12 and read: "...most combatants armies used Brandt type mortars..." and then adds a large footnote detailing the work of Edgar Brandt and the (initially pneumatic) mortars he developed in WW1. He goes on to describe the operating mechanism and states: "...with slight adaptions Brandt's mortars were produced by many countries..."

I try not to be over-influenced by my natural Anglo-philia, but is this right? I have long been under the impression that the modern mortar is essentially the work of Sir W. Stokes in early 1915.

 I'm at sea at present, and only have limited access to the internet, but I note an article in the online Britannica ( that states: "The Mortier-Brandt Modele 27/31 mortar was developed from the Stokes mortar of World War 1..."

 So can other forum members help me out: Who should be credited with the invention of the modern mortar?

Posted on: 18/05/2017 13:04:08
Posted by: AdamC
Total Posts: 260
Joined Date: Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hi Painty, 

As far as I'm aware what we would consider the "modern" portable mortar was the work of Stokes in 1915.

Posted on: 19/05/2017 13:06:16
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 320
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

I have now finished reading this book and I further note that the commentary on Plate "E" specifically describes the British 3" Mk.II mortar as: "...a Brandt type mortar..." Yet when I checked through Ospreys own New Vanguard No.54 (Infantry Mortars of World Was 2 by John Norris) I read on page 4: "...The Americans, French and Italians would standardise on the Brandt design from France; the British, German and Japanese armies used the technology behind the Stokes design..." So who is right? And what IS the difference between the 2 types?

A further quibble: in the section on Infantry guns on page 14 the author finishes by saying: "...The British and Commonwealth armies did not have guns of this type." Really? I would have thought the QF 3.7" pack howitzer fell into the category of Infantry guns.

 There are other minor details that I find myself uneasy about in this volume, but I will not bore forum members further. Suffice to say the I don't think that this is one of Ospreys best books, it seems rushed and to suffer from Not-invented-in-America syndrome.

Posted on: 20/05/2017 02:38:49
Posted by: overman
Total Posts: 6
Joined Date: Saturday, 23 September 2017

It is my understanding that the Brandt design was based on the Stokes design, the latter of which was heavier and best used in trenches ('trench mortar'), had slower RoF, and used less effective HE ammo.

Posted on: 24/02/2018 09:29:04

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