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    81MM L16 BRITISH MORTAR

    Not much spoken about this reliable piece of Britishicon equipment on this site, used for many years to deadly effect in all the major British and Commonwealth campaigns.

    I have always rated the 81mm, albeit a beast to parachute in with, especially if you got the short straw of carrying the base plate at 24 lbs plus extra bombs and your own extra ammo, or indeed the barrel.
    The Brit version was called the L16 and the Aussie version the F2 strange but there you have it. Peter L might know the reason for that anomoly.

    The range of the mortar was 5650 metres which is an incredible range as it was highly accurate and dare I say pinpoint accuracy with a good mortar crew its effective kill zone was a radius of 40 metres, and a danger radius of up to 190 metres.

    It fired at best 20 rounds per minute, but typically 15 was a safer bet.
    In short a great weapon and like the GPMG, may it stay as part of the arsenal for as long as it performs for the soldier on the ground to a very high accurate standard!!

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    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 10-13-2019 at 11:09 AM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    I took my course on that very creature in 1974, fall set of primary Combat Function courses... I hated the idea at first but then once I was in Mortar Pl and was doing "Parallel by sight unit" practice one day the light came on for me. I suddenly understood all of it and became fast enough to be one of the steady number ones. No more aiming stakes for me...but yes, the sight and base plate were mine. Fortunately for me we were mechanized most of the time. Digging a mortar pit could be a trial though. I stayed there from summer '76 after Cyprus to about mid '78 and shot lots of great shoots and lots of gun camps. I was fortunate too not to have been stuck there for life. Not my thing in perpetuity as some liked to root in and got lazy...I went to Recce and onward. Long time ago now...
    Regards, Jim

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    Jim,
    It had some great features especially when they introduced the Optical TRILUX sight, now thats what you call accuracy. Nothing was safe out to 5,000 + metres!!



    I went on an update course somewhere in Yorkshire....Strensall Camp I think it was called, where they had the biggest model of undulating ground and you fired a wired in 81mm and the fall of shot showed you how accurate your crew was on a computer screen, so effectively you were firing a real tube without the noise. It was an amazing toy but bloody expensive I recall.
    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 10-13-2019 at 03:20 PM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    We had one that used a 25mm shell that was launched by compressed air...different color shells had different range, we built a miniature world in Wainwright that had small houses and all. I have one here in my cartridge collection... Of course there were the solid cast ammo too, I have both an 81 and 60 here as well.

    Yes the sight was fine once the novice got it into his head. Just a big compass really. You could see how the Battalion in defense could organize fire with the GPMGs and Mortars using the range cards en mass and one LCpl with a compass out in front could call support to any pinpoint. Simply direction and range and all guns turn as one... Too bad we couldn't get that picture in our heads at 18.
    Regards, Jim

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    81mm mortar....., one of the best bits of kit and killing machines you'll ever see. If you watch a mortar crew in action you'll see why. 2 rounds close and then they're on. There is NO escape once they start. Ammo is superb quality and in the great scheme of things, it's cheap too. There was talk that a good mportar team make snipers redundant. Why kill one gunman when you can kill 25 with one cheap mortar round. Most of the mortar tubes, base plates and tripods are older than the crews!

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    Peter,
    Very true and wise words. A mean killing machine that has stood the test of time, like the Jimpy!!
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    One of the reasons that I went up to Vung Tau was to look at some troublesome 81mm bipods that had been taken there for trials. There was more to it than that - including the forgotten spares order. Strangely, as apprentices we were taught on the old 3" heavy mortar. Yep, like the L7 GPMG I can see the 81mm mortar going on for many years yet. Brilliant bits of kit and so easy for the crunchies to maintain too.

    Has anyone seen/experienced the 'slipper' training barrels for the 81? Did you have them Jim?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Laidlericon View Post
    Most of the mortar tubes, base plates and tripods are older than the crews!
    When I used them they had just been pressed into service with us, many of my elders had been using the old US issue "M1icon" tube and bipod. The same tubes and gear for the most part went to Afghanistan and was worn out there. The soil is so hard there that it would beat them to pieces. That's OK, more can be had.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Laidler View Post
    the 'slipper' training barrels for the 81
    Not seen, maybe if you explain a bit or can show me a pic...last time I used one was about 1981...

    Here's a couple pics of one of the insert types. No pics of the pneumatic tube though...
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    Regards, Jim

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    "SLIPPER' tubes were old shot-out barrels that had a half diameter section, the length of a drill round, cut out of the rear of the tube. When the round was dropped in, it fell to the bottom, hit a small wedge shaped bit of steel which tipped the dummy round out. The problem was that the dummy rounds would get damaged by hitting the wedge. The rounds also tipped out and knocked seven bells out of the base plate. So a new slipper barrel was tried. Similar, cut-out barrel but had a rounded ramp near to the bottom of the barrel that slid the round out, missing the base plate. But where the ramp was welded into the barrel, it STILL damaged the drill round fins!!!!!

    The REAL trouble was that the barrels with welded-in slipper ramps were such a bloody awkward shape to carry and store. I had a couple and gave a complete slipper barrel, well worn base plate and tripod to my sons school CCF plus a couple of drill rounds. They got a team together and got quite good. The Warrant Officer asked someone on high at Salisbury Plain Training area if they could fire a live one - or two! No was the reply. But they did get to spend a day with the RGJ mortar demo team.

    Nice nostalgic thread. 81mm Mortars......, the tripods were a bit of a nightmare - metalastic bushes and all that but VERY effective weapons

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    Thought it would bring back some dear memories!!
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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