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"German 200-mm Spigot Mortar Bomb" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on the German 200-mm spigot mortar was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 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.]


It is now established that a new weapon has been introduced into service in the German Army and is known as the 200-mm spigot mortar. It is intended for the destruction of obstacles, minefields, and gun emplacements.

a. General

The mortar appears to be of normal spigot design,* except that fixed ammunition is not used, the propellant case being attached to the top of the spigot before the bomb is loaded.

The projectile appears to have an egg-shaped body, containing the explosive charge, and has a long tubular tail with fins at the base (see accompanying sketch).

It would seem from the figures quoted below that the explosive charge constitutes a very high percentage of the weight of the bomb itself, excluding the tail-piece. The ratio may be up to 70 or 80 percent. It is clear, therefore, that there will be considerable blast effect with comparatively little fragmentation.

The blast would give good effect against personnel. The effect against concrete and armor would also be high. Presumably the weapon would be used to produce a lane through minefields, the mines being destroyed by sympathetic detonation. It is not considered, however, that the effect would be sufficiently great to represent a very substantial advance in minefield clearance methods.

[Model 40 Bomb for German 200-mm (7.87 in.) Spigot Mortar]

[Propellant Case]

Based on the charge and weight of the projectile, it does not seem likely that the maximum range will exceed 500 yards. The provision of three charges indicates that there is a very low minimum range, and it is possible that the recent incendiary projectiles, reported as having a range of only 200 yards, may be a version of this projectile fired from the same weapon.

In spite of the large caliber of the weapon, it seems certain that it will not be unduly difficult to manhandle. It can be effective as airborne or parachutist equipment.

The possibility of an incendiary filling has been noted. There is also no reason why a smoke or chemical filling could not also be used.

b. Model 40 HE Bomb

This is a nose-fuzed bomb with a high charge-weight ratio, and is fitted with a tubular tail with 8 stabilizing fins.

Range, estimated      200 to 500 yds
Weight of bomb, filled46.75 lb
Diameter7.79 in
Diameter of tail fins10.6 in
Total length of bomb31.26 in
Length without fuze or tail12.99 in
Diameter of spigot3.5 in
Weight of TNT filling (approx)15 lb

The fuze can be set for instantaneous or delay action. The three charges weigh 540, 370 and 185 grains, respectively. The propellant is nitroglycerine ring powder, and is contained in a steel propellant case fitted with an electric primer.

*The spigot is a rod extending up through the tubular tail of the mortar bomb. Traverse and elevation are directly controlled by manipulation of the spigot; the tube simply serves to confine the blast of the propellant.


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