The Stokes mortar was the first modern, portable, infantry mortar, which is used in indirect fire to give support to an advancing unit. Designed by Sir Wilfred Stokes, it consisted of an 81mm (3.2 in)-caliber, steel) tube propped up by a steel baseplate. At the bottom of the tube, which was supported by a bipod, there was a striker stud that ignited the the shell primer when it was dropped into the tube. It fired 4.84-kg High Explosive shells to a maximum range of 730 m (800 yards). The shell was fed through the muzzle of the mortar tube. Once fired, the shell (or bomb) formed an elliptic pattern in the air to rain down on the enemy positions.

This weapon was first used in combat, by British infantry units, in the Battle of Loos, in late September 1915. More than 1,600 Stokes trench mortars had been manufactured by the end of the war, in November 1918. It would also be used by American marines in the Banana Wars, in 1928, in Nicaragua, in the Chaco War in 1932, and in World War II by the Polish Army. In this last armed conflict, the British would replace it in active service by the ML 3-in mortar.

Specifications

Length: 1.20 m (48 in)
Caliber: 81 mm (3.5 in)
Action: percussion
Rate of fire: 25 rpm
Elevation: +45º to +75º
Weight: 47.2 kg (104 lb)

stokes-trench-mortar

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