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.
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|
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
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, filled||46.75 lb|
|Diameter of tail fins||10.6 in|
|Total length of bomb||31.26 in|
|Length without fuze or tail||12.99 in|
|Diameter of spigot||3.5 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
*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.