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A question came up, and I pose it to the knowledgeable people here since I'm no kind of artilleryman. As I understand the basic mortar your round has a primer and some sort of propellant charge, when dropping it into the tube it strikes a firing pin and FOOMP! downrange it goes.
The scenario in question is Saving Private Ryan when they are defending the bridge from the Germans. They have 60mm mortar rounds with no tube, but they strike the primers and throw them like grenades.
How the heck does that work or is it pure hollywood BS? (and the rest of that movie seemed to set a pretty good standard) As I envision it there should be a burst of propellant when they strike the rounds which I don't recall seeing, and would the fuses be armed?
 

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Too fuzzy to go into details, but the movie was somewhat accurate.
There are a couple built in mechanical safety devices that are disarmed when preparing t around for dropping.
not sure if 81s can do this, but it is possible with 60s
I have fired a lot of them, but never banged one against anything.
I wouldn't try it at home, niether.
Even though it was a movie, it was too big a presentation to show something purely nonsensical.
I'm sure 10 minutes of real world research will reveal more than you could ever digest on the subject.
 

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Two Inch, 60mm, and German 50mm Mortar rounds had a Nose Fuse which was armed by the shock of it's being fired (One had to remove a "safety Pin" from the Fuse body.)..a detail most movie takes don't show.
THis "Safety Pin" was used because Airdrops of Fused Mortar shells could make them go off on landing, or later when in the tube. Larger Mortar shells had the Fuses shipped separately from the shells, and they were fitted when used.

SO " banging down" a 60mm onto a hard surface (tail first) "armed" the Fuse, so that it would "Go-off" when it landed ( hopefully "Nose first").

BTW, both 60mm and 81mm ( and corresponding Allied "inch" types, had a propellant charge in what was essentially a shotshell (28 gauge for 2 inch/60mm, and 12 gauge for 3 inch/81mm). "HI pressure-Low pressure" activation.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services
Brisbane Australia.
 

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US mortars had/have a tranverse, bore-riding safety pin, that is released by set-back upon firing. The pin is spring-loaded and flies away when the round leaves the tube - and until it does, the fuze is prevented from functioning. US mortar rounds are armed IMMEDIATELY upon that pin springing free (just as the round leaves the muzzle of the tube) and the fuzes are very sensitive - a small branch (say = pencil-sized) is adequate to initiate one. I am aware of a training accident (one that killed part of and inujred others in the firing crew and caused an NCO and officer to receive Article 15s) when an 81mm was set up too close to a tree (for concealment) and when fired - hitting a branch set off the round.

You could arm a 60mm in the manner described and thereafter use it as a grenade. Be risky behavior, though, and not something i'd care to do or be around.
 

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Some US 81mm point detonating fuzes had a shear pin arming device which was activated by the shock of firing. As they could, at least theoretically, be activated even when there was a misfire by the shock of hitting the base of the tube, misfire procedure was taken very seriously.
Some US 4.2 in fuzed were spin activated, the mortar being rifled.
 

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The U.S. 60mm mortar round was authorized to be used with the M1 Projection Adapter as a rifle grenade! The shell was fitted into the adapter, the adapter & shell placed on the grenade launcher (M1 or M1903 rifles only, no M1 carbines) the pin / safety wire removed and fired with the standard Grenade Projection Cartridge M3. The set back on firing released the spring loaded cross through safety pin and the fuse was armed to explode on impact.... Here is a WWII photo of a solider with a 60mm motar round as a rifle grenade. The second photo is my resin dummy 60mm mortar shell in a M1 adapter. The third photo shows the Training Bulletin (TB 9-1985-2) which was issued showing how to do this.


60mm morter rifle grenade, authorized..jpg Completed 60mm shell - rifle grenade, safety pin side..jpg Completed  mortar shell - rifle grenade dummy round..jpg
 

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WWII disassembled complete bakelite fuse for a 60MM & 81MM including the booster cup. Some excellent discriptions fellas on the mechanical operation when fired. The set pin is in the middle of the pic just above the large spring loaded pin that leaves the tube when fired. One little side note....... this assembly was manufactured by GE. They were making more than radios in those days........:cheers:

View attachment 561299
 

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rockm... During WWII my father worked for GE in Bloomfield, NJ. The workers called the gov't owned contractor operated plant "the turret plant". They were making components for the B29 remote fire control system, including the turrets... In 1944 and 45 we had a red "power on" light on the top of our Christmas tree.
 
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