It's Time for a Direct Fire Breech-Loaded Mortar

It's Time for a Direct Fire Breech-Loaded Mortar image
July 21, 2015 | Source: National Defense Magazine

"A lightweight vehicle mounted breech-loaded mortar system, designed to accompanying our dismounted ground troops operating in an urban environment, or in support of remote outposts, would provide immediate direct fire or indirect fire capabilities to small unit leaders at the squad and platoon level."

After a decade of fighting against the United States and its allies, enemies have become increasingly elusive and adaptable.

The United States faces a kaleidoscope of enemy combatants from all over the world having a common thread of unbridled savagery and brutality. Like a cancer, this threat is metastasizing. At present, the armed conflict is centered in the Middle East. Current weapon systems are ideally suited for the European theater, and to a lesser degree, mountainous terrain. Conflict in urban environments does not lend itself to the application of many of these systems.

More often than not, U.S. forces engage in a street-by-street, building-by-building, slugfest with an enemy who is not the least reluctant to position themselves in schools, mosques and among non-combatants. Large crew-served and aerial-delivered munitions tend to obliterate targets and cause significant collateral damage. What is needed are weapons that are effective against brick and masonry without collapsing entire structures.   

A much maligned and underappreciated weapon is the mortar. Military planners and war fighters tend to be enamored with high tech weapon systems and fail to recognize the potential of a tried and true weapon that has been around since before the Civil War. While high tech weapon systems have their place on the battlefield, they are expensive and should be used for high value targets. It is universally accepted that the mortar is an indirect fire weapon.