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"Two German 100-mm Smoke/HE Mortars" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on German 100-mm mortars during WWII is reproduced from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 29, July 15, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


In Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 24, p. 24 was published an account based on the best sources then available, of a German 100-mm mortar. A more recent report indicates that there are not one, but two such weapons, and the original account was inaccurate in many details because of incomplete source data. More information on these mortars has now come in.

a. The 100-mm (4-inch) German Smoke Mortar (10-cm Nebelwerfer 35)

This mortar, the standard smoke-CW weapon of the German Army, is actually 105 mm in caliber. HE ammunition, however, is also fired, and the mortar is used to some extent by airborne troops. It consists of a barrel, bipod, and baseplate constructed on the familiar German lines--a scaled-up version of the German 81-mm mortar with the exception of the traversing gear. In this case, the traversing screw is housed in a sleeve by the two ends of a bow-shaped yoke, secured to the top of the elevating screw (see figure 1).

[100-mm (4-inch) German Smoke Mortar (10-cm Nebelwerfer 35)]

The particulars of the mortar follow:

Weight in action  231 lbs      Weight of bomb  16 lbs
Weight in barrel   72 lbs Maximum range  3,300 yds
Weight of bipod   73 lbs Rate of fire  12-15 rpm
Weight of baseplate   85 lbs Crew  5 men
Transport, two-wheeled handcart

The details of the HE bomb are:

Weight  16 lbs     Color  greenish gray
Weight of filling 3 lbs 12 ozs Length over-all 17.12 in
Filling TNT Maximum diameter 4.09 in
Fuze Nose-percussion,
type WgrZ.* 38
No of charges primary plus
four augmenting
Weight of primary
262 grains Weight of augmenting
   charge, each 
324 grains
Booster Standard mortar
bomb booster,
type Zdlg** c/98 Np
with small smoke box
Packing Singly in container;
weight with bomb,
about 20 pounds.

b. 100-mm (4-inch) Smoke Mortar 40 (10-cm, Nebelwerfer 40)

While full details are not yet at hand, it will be seen from figure 2 that the mortar is fired from a two-wheeled, rubber-tired carriage, provided with a rectangular baseplate. It is, in addition, known to be breech loading, an unusual feature in mortars, and has a rather long, smooth-bore barrel of 5.64 feet which presumably forced the adoption of breech loading. It would be interesting to learn how the breech mechanism operates.

[100-mm (4-inch) Smoke Mortar 40 (10-cm, Nebelwerfer 40)]

Under the barrel will be noted in the illustration a tube that looks quite like a recoil mechanism, presumably to take up some of the stresses. The weapon throws a 19-pound bomb, either HE or smoke, from a 550-yard minimum, to the very respectable maximum range of 6,780 yards, nearly 4 miles, at a rate of from 8 to 10 rounds per minute. The elevation is from 44.8 to 84.6 degrees, and the traverse 7 degrees, right or left. Three charges can be used; charge I, 2.08 ounces, giving a muzzle velocity of 427 foot seconds; II, 4.76 ounces, 755 foot seconds, and III, with 8.78 ounces, which develops a velocity of 1,017 foot seconds. Altogether, this rather odd weapon presents a curious combination of a mobile, smooth-bore, gun-howitzer of considerable power on a light, handy mount, with extremely interesting tactical possibilities.

*Werfergranatzünder - mortar shell fuze
**Zündladung - detonation charge


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