M19 Maschinengranatwerfer

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M19 Maschinengranatwerfer
The remnants of a M19 Maschinengranatwerfer in Festungsfront in Oder-Warthe fortress in Międzyrzecz, Poland.
Type Mortar
Place of origin Germany
Production history
Designed 1934
Manufacturer Rheinmetall-Borsig
No. built 150
Weight 220 kg

Shell weight 0.9 kg
Caliber 50 mm
Elevation +48° to +87°
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire 60-120 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 44-83 m/s
Maximum firing range 50-750 m

The M-19 Maschinengranatwerfer is a German 50 mm mortar which was used during World War II. The mortar was developed in 1934 for the purpose of defending permanent military bases. It had a maximum rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute and a range of 750 metres.


Created by Rheinmetall-Borsig, it is a very heavy and complicated weapon system, with its barrel and base alone weighing 220 kg.

This automatic 5 cm mortar could fire a maximum of 120 grenades a minute, and was electrically operated with manual backup. The firing rate of 120 grenades/minute was seldom used as it caused much stress, wear and tear on the construction. It was loaded with clips of 6 grenades by two crew members. The clips were prepared by several other crew members. One gunner aimed and fired the weapon.

It is unknown how many units were built, but it is estimated that the number could hardly have been much more than 150.

The idea was that the M19 mortar would be used in conjunction with machine guns, especially those mounted in armoured domes. The mortar was to fire into areas that were out of range for the machine guns, such as low spots in the terrain and the far sides of hills. In this way enemy hiding soldiers would be chased out into the open, so that the machine guns could hit them.

R-633 bunker[edit]

The R-633 bunker was designed to protect the M19.[1] Less than 100 R-633 were built.[2]:225 Where possible the entire construction was to be buried underground, leaving just the flat armoured opening on the roof to fire through. Access to the bunker was by way of a trench.

The automatic feeder for the mortar required a three-phase electricity supply to power the lift, otherwise ammunition had to be passed up. Earlier versions were manually fed using a flywheel. The bunker held 3,944 mortar rounds. A 24 V battery system provided lighting. Bulbs illuminated to show the rate of fire, 40, 60, 80 or 120 round per minute.

Each R-633 was built to the standard B strength, with 2 m thick walls and roof. If, as was standard, it was to be completely buried, 1,900 m3 had to be excavated. Each bunker required 845 m3 of concrete, 40 tonnes of steel rebar and 6.3 tonnes of other steel items.[1]

Two armoured turrets were designed:[2]:350

  • 34P8 Panzerturm für 5cm M19 Maschinengranatwerfer mit Schachtring B strength designed in 1935
  • 49P8 Panzerturm für 5cm M19 Maschinengranatwerfer was A-1 strength designed in 1935

(The 34 and 49 refer to the type of design, the P stands for Panzer or armoured, the 8 is the sum of the last 2 digits of the year (3+5=8))

The R-633 had a crew of 14 men, half working with the mortar, the remainder providing local defence.[3]

Locations of M-19's[edit]

Fjell, Norway festning R633 M-19 Maschinengranatenwerfer

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Zaloga, Steven J. The Atlantic Wall (1): France. Osprey Publishing, 2012. p. 39. ISBN 9781782007074. 
  2. ^ a b c Kaufmann, J.E.; et al. Fortress Third Reich: German Fortifications and Defense Systems in World War II. Da Capo Press, 2007. ISBN 9780306816352. 
  3. ^ a b c "M19 Maschinengranatwerfer". 
  4. ^ Davenport, Trevor. Festung Alderney. Barnes publishing. ISBN 0 9545714 0 1. 
  5. ^ "German Mortar Bunker". Traces of War. 
  6. ^ "M19 Maschinengranatwerfer". 
  7. ^ "Atlantic Wall Places in Denmark and Norway". 
  8. ^ "M 19 mortar, U-boat base". 
  9. ^ "Brittany K.V.Gruppe Lorient Wn Lo25 Le Locmiquel, Cote 40". 
  10. ^ "Ra230 Fort de la Cité d'Aleth. Inside the wall. K.V.U. Gruppe Festung St Malo, K.V.Gruppe Rance.". 
  11. ^ Kaufmann, J.E.; et al. The Forts and Fortifications of Europe 1815-1945: The Central States: Germany, Austria-Hungry and Czechoslovakia. Pen and Sword, 2014. ISBN 9781473838550. 
  12. ^ Gavey, Ernie. German Fortifications of Guernsey. Guernsey Armouries. ISBN 978-0953163106. 
  13. ^ "M19 Fortress mortar". 
  14. ^ "La Corbière Point, Saint Brelade". CIOS. 
  15. ^ "Kernwerk".