As with other nations Germany adopted a wide variety of mortars during the Second World War, at the beginning of the Second World War Germany had two main types of mortar in service, the 5-cm leichte Granatwerfer 36 and the 8-cm schwere Granatwerfer 34, there was also a 10cm mortar but this was not as common as the previous two models. As the war progressed the need for ever larger mortars was realised and this lead to the development and production of 12cm and 21cm mortars.
5-cm Mortar (5-cm leichte Granatwerfer 36)
This 50mm mortar was the standard light infantry mortar used by the German Army for the first half of the Second World War. It was designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig and was first issued in 1936. The weapon was of complex design - a barrel and a monopod were fixed to the base plate. The 5cm leGrW 36 was heavy for its calibre being nearly 4kg heavier than the British 2" mortar, the bomb fired was also light weighing only 0.9kg again lighter than the bomb fired by the British 2" Mortar. The 5cm mortar was not highly regarded among the troops due it its weight, complexity and ineffective bomb and so was gradually replaced by larger more effective weapons.
5cm Mortar characteristics
|Elevation||43° to 90°|
|Weight of HE bomb||0.9kg|
|Rate of fire||12-20 rpm|
5cm Mortar production by year
| 5cm leGrW 36||6,600||5,800||8,800||2,900||-||-|
8cm Mortar (8-cm schwere Granatwerfer 34)
The 8-cm sGrW 34 was the standard heavy infantry mortar used throughout the Second World War. It was again designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig and was introduced into service in 1934, it was a modification of the Brandt 81.4mm mortar. It was a straight forward design and well built. It could be broken into three pieces so it could be carried more easily and was capable of firing high explosive smoke and illuminating ammunition. The 8cm sGrW 34 was well respected by the allies due to its accuracy and rate of fire. A lighter version was created for airborne and this was designed in 1940, both weapons fired the same ammunition but the airborne version had reduced range.
8cm Mortar characteristics
| ||8-cm sGrW 34||kurzer GrW 34|
|Elevation||40° to 90°||47° to 88°|
|Weight of HE bomb||3.5kg||3.5kg|
|Filling||500gm TNT||500gm TNT|
|Rate of fire||10-12 rpm||10-12 rpm|
8cm Mortar production by year (Ammunition in millions)
|8-cm sGrW 34||4,380||4,230||9,780||19,588||26,341||3,788|
10cm Mortar (10-cm Nebelwerfer 35)
This 105mm mortar was in service with the German army at the beginning of the Second World War and remained in production until 1943. It was an enlarged version of the 8cm mortar. It was initially intended for chemical warfare, being capable of firing smoke and chemical shells but it was also capable of firing a high explosive round.
10cm Mortar characteristics
|Elevation||45° to 80°|
|Weight of HE bomb||7.27kg|
Sources - Various Handbooks, AVIA 22 456-514