Jump to content

ML 3-inch mortar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Ordnance ML 3 inch Mortar)

Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar
Canadian 3-inch mortar team, training post war
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used bySee Users
WarsSecond World War
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948[1]
1948 Arab–Israeli War
Korean War
Suez Crisis[2]
Sino-Indian War[3]
Nigerian Civil War
Soviet-Afghan War
Production history
  • Base plate/sight: 37 lb (17 kg)
  • Barrel/spares: 34 lb (15 kg)
  • Bipod: 44.5 lb (20.2 kg)
  • Total: 115.5 lb (52.4 kg)
Length4 ft 3 in (1.3 m)
Barrel length3 ft 11 in (1.19 m)[4]

ShellBomb 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Calibre3.21 in (81.5 mm)
Elevation+45° to +80°
Muzzle velocity650 ft/s (200 m/s)
Maximum firing rangeMk.II: 1,600 yd (1,500 m)
Mk.II LR: 2,800 yd (2,600 m)

The Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar was the United Kingdom's standard mortar used by the British Army from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, superseding the Stokes mortar. Initially handicapped by its short range compared to similar Second World War mortars, improvements of the propellant charges enabled it to be used with great satisfaction by various armies of the British Empire and of the Commonwealth.


The ML 3-inch mortar is a conventional Stokes-type mortar that is muzzle-loaded and drop-fired. It also reuses many of the Brandt mortar features.[5]

Tail unit of Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar bomb fired by the Royal Jordanian Army on 5 June 1967. The ICI made white phosphorus bomb landed in Israeli part of Jerusalem, causing minor damage.


In action in Burma, 1944

Based on their experience in the First World War, the British infantry sought some sort of artillery for close support. The initial plan was for special batteries of artillery, but the cost was prohibitive and the mortar was accepted instead.

Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Paget, C-in-C Home Forces, inspecting a 3-inch mortar crew, 9 January 1943.

The Mark II mortar (Mark I was the Stokes) was adopted by the British Army in the early 1930s; and this was the standard British mortar when the Second World War broke out in September 1939. Experience in the early part of the war showed that, although the Mark II was reliable and sturdy, it did not have sufficient range compared to the German 81 mm s.GW.34 mortar. A series of experiments and trials using new propellants improved the range from 1600 yards to 2800 yards by about 1942; and, by 1943, the barrel, baseplate and sights had also been improved.[5][6] Although called the '3-inch mortar' by the British Army, its calibre was actually 3.21 in (81.5 mm).[5]

The ML 3-inch mortar was carried on three packs by infantry or on Universal Carriers.[6]

The Mark II remained in service with the British Army until replaced by the L16 81mm mortar in 1965.


The Canadian Army modified some of its 3-inch mortars, lengthening them to increase their range. This modification was abandoned as it was considered too heavy.

The Australian Army, for its part, shortened the barrel for use in jungle.[6]


Returned & Services League building, Roma, Queensland

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]




  1. ^ a b Gates, Scott; Roy, Kaushik (2014). Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-138-25298-1.
  2. ^ Varble, Derek (25 March 2003). The Suez Crisis 1956. Essential Histories 49. Osprey Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-84176-418-4.
  3. ^ a b Subramanian, L.N. (November–December 2000). "The Battle of Chushul". Bharat Rakshak Monitor. 3 (3). Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
  4. ^ a b Chamberlain, Peter (1975). Mortars and rockets. Gander, Terry. New York: Arco Pub. Co. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-668-03817-1. OCLC 2067459.
  5. ^ a b c Bishop 1998, p. 194.
  6. ^ a b c Norris 2002, p. 13.
  7. ^ Isby, David C. (1990). The War in Afghanistan 1979-1989: The Soviet Empire at High Tide. Concord Publications. p. 15. ISBN 978-9623610094.
  8. ^ a b c d Norris 2002, p. 43.
  9. ^ Jowett, Philip (2016). Modern African Wars (5): The Nigerian-Biafran War 1967–70. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-4728-1609-2.
  10. ^ Ilan, Amitzur (1996). The Origin of the Arab-Israeli Arms Race: Arms, Embargo, Military Power and Decision in the 1948 Palestine War. St Antony's Series. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 40, 133. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-13696-4. ISBN 978-1-349-13696-4.
  11. ^ Iraqi army equipment 1930-2017. Vol. 2. p. 18.
  12. ^ Young, Peter (1972). The Arab Legion. Men-at-Arms. Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-85045-084-2.
  13. ^ Norris 2002, p. 5.
  14. ^ Jowett 2016, p. 20.
  15. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. (1982). The Polish Army 1939–45. Men-at-Arms 117. Osprey Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-85045-417-8.
  16. ^ "WWII weapons in Yemen's civil war". wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com. 9 September 2018.[self-published source]
  17. ^ Vukšić, Velimir (July 2003). Tito's partisans 1941–45. Warrior 73. Osprey Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-84176-675-1.