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Friday, December 18, 2020

LIGHTWEIGHT COMPANY MORTAR 60MM, M224

Greetings Me Droogs and Droogettes
Ok Gang... Strap the fuck in...
As said "Big Duke Six, This's Eagle Thrust...
Get your people back 'cause this one's gonna be a big one!"
I'm gonna -try- to break this down like Barney Style
The M224 Mortar is used to provide high-angle fire for close-in support of ground troops.  It is a 60mm smooth bore cannon utilized for dropping anti-personnel high explosives from great angles.  Y'all generally have seen them in the movies.  IRL, they're a bit like that, but this's the real no shitter.
The Capabilities and Features are as follows:
  1. Lightweight
  2. Highly mobile 
  3. Easily maintained 
  4. Self-illuminated fire control 
  5. Hand-held firing possible 
  6. Smooth bore 
The System Components are as follows: 
  1. M225 60mm Mortar Cannon 
  2. M170 60mm Mortar Bipod 
  3. M7 and M8 Baseplates 
  4. M67 Sight Unit   
Now, couple of things when it sez "self illuminated"
That's the tritium sites.
Fucking radioactive man.  Don't drop it, don't fuck with it... if it's already broken, ditch it.  Tritium is a thing of badness and should not be fucked with under any circumstances  Think "Permanent Orange Afro".
Pieces Partz:
Cannon M225. Provides a lightweight, smooth bore cannon which incorporates a handle with a self-illuminating range indicator and a firing mechanism assembly. Also called "The Boom Toob"

Bipod M170. Clamps to the cannon for use with baseplate M7 to provide support in the conventional mode. Provides means to elevate, traverse, and cross-level the cannon as well as to absorb the shock of firing. Referred to as "That awkward motherfucker to hump" by the grunts.

Baseplate M7. This baseplate provides a stable firing base and helps absorb the firing shock in the conventional mode. "The heavy motherfucker that's awkward too."

Sight Unit M67. This unit provides self-illuminating sighting capability for indirect fire in the conventional mode. This unit serves to lay the mortar for deflection and elevation. The "Glows in the Dark thingy."

Two Modes to be used in.  One is 'static', meaning it's used in a fixed position, with range markers, limiters and cards (another whole different discussion for later) and the other, which is MOR likely for we, those of us Merry Murderous Marauders of the Future FREEFOR, the mobile-gun quick-emplace Mortar.
Difference between, well, one, no bipod.  Two, no fancy-shmancy sight, and Three, teeny lightweight base plate.  The range indicator assembly is used to position cannon tube to estimated target range. It's a level-like bubble unit above the trigger assembly.  The lack of a bipod means someone has to hold it while the other guy (or gal) lines up the shot and does the shooting.  Usually the guy holding does the 'hanging' and drop of the round, but we'll cover that in a bit.  So, the range indicator looks like this:
A vial containing a ball (1) that moves when cannon is elevated or depressed and indicates the firing range. The black scale (2) is for charge one. The red scale (3) is for charge zero. The yellow index (range 3 on red scale and range 10 on black scale) is a warning reminder to brace the baseplate. 

SETUP OF YE OLDE MORTARS
Traditional fixed emplaced mortars are great for KD (Known Distances) and TRP'd areas that need indirect fire suppression. TRP = Target Reference Points.  If you're in a defensive position, and have a natural obstacle like HUGE assed rock, or, a large depression that could be used as shelter, your Mortar team should be 'dialed in', knowing the distance/range, and the area to drop some HE either in or behind said-obstacle to fuck up the bad guys day. 

So, setting up ye olde Mortar:
Lower Saddle. Bipod is attached here for elevations from 1101 to 1511 mils. 
Upper Saddle. Bipod is attached here for elevations from 0800 to 1100 mils. 
Sight Unit M67. Lays weapon in elevation and deflection (azimuth). 
Range Indicator Assembly. Indicates angle of cannon tube for hand-held firing. 
Trigger. Activates mechanism to discharge the weapon.
Firing Selector. Positions firing pin location for different firing modes or for safe. 
 D = DROP FIRE. Round fires when dropped. 
 S = SAFE. Mortar will not fire. 
 T = TRIGGER FIRE. Round fires only when trigger is squeezed. 

Ok...
MOR SETUP
To put it together, the following Steps need to be Observed:
1)  Select firing site (preferably a flat area with firm soil) with a line of fire.  Pu the M7 baseplate in by standing on it and rocking. Jumping up and down on the fucker is ok.  

2)  Take the Boom Toob and rotate locking cap (2) until opening in cap points in direction of fire. Place base of cannon (3) into locking cap opening (4). 
3)  Rotate Boom Toob (3) 1/4 turn to firing position with handle and firing mechanism (5) upward.
4)  Grap the Bipod now.  Loosen knob (6) and swing it downward. Open the collar (7). 
5)  Place upper saddle (8) or lower saddle (9) in collar (7) with handle and firing mechanism straight-up on top of cannon. Use upper saddle for elevations of 1100 mils or less and use lower saddle for elevations greater than 1100 mils. Upper saddle must be used for boresighting. 
6)  Close collar (7) and swing knob (6) into place and tighten.  Essentially, clamp the Awkward Motherfucker onto the Boom Tube, and clamp it on and tighten tight
7)  Once it's on there, 'spread her legs' (10) and emplace the Boom Toob at an angle.
8)  The, reenact the scene from "American History X" and curbstomp the bipod legs like a gangbanger who just tried to rob your house.
OK:  Next, Install the sight
1. Remove M67 sight unit (1) from sight unit case. 
2. Press latching lever (2) while installing sight unit (1) into dovetail slot (3) on bipod. 
3. Release latching lever (2) and check to ensure that sight unit (1) is firmly locked to bipod. 
OK... that's the 'quick and dirty' on setting up a fixed emplacement which is traditional for Mortars.  I leave it to the 11Charlies in the audience to get into the deeper if'n y'all want.  I'm an 11Hotel, but I can dance Charlie a wee bit, having fucked around alllll the way up to the four-deuce before the dot mil got rid of them... that'd be the WW2 era 4.2in Mortar that my unit had back in the Reserves during my brief stint in the Reserves after Gulf One (1991 that is).  

What we need to concern ourselves with is the lightweight highly mobile nature of this particular Boom Toob, and the fact we don't need the extreme in-depth stuff to do full on boresighting, rnaging and all the rest... to be honest, the manual is 3 megs in a PDF format.  If'n yall want a copy, hit me up at theintrepidreporter2019 at gmail or the rakkasan101st at the proton, and I'll shoot you a copy.  I want to cover the quick n dirty (like yer mother) that we'll more than likely have.  To that, lets get into the HOW this fucker works.
This particular beastie has two modes.  The traditional "Hang and Drop" the round, and the "Drop the Round" and "Pull the Trigger" when you need/want to.
DROP FIRE METHOD
1. Mortar is fired by dropping the round (1) down the cannon tube (2), fin first. The selector switch (3) must be at D. 
2. Percussion primer and ignition cartridge (4) function after the primer on round strikes firing pin (5) in base of cannon. 
3. The propelling charge is ignited by the flash of the ignition cartridge. Expanding gases (6) force the round from the mortar. 
4. KER-BLAM! "On the way" (7)
Now thats drop fire.  Traditional like you see on TV... this puppy tho... it has a cool feature:

TRIGGER FIRE METHOD
 1. With the selector switch (1) at T, the round (2) is dropped down the cannon tube (3), fin first. Mortar will fire only after trigger (4) is squeezed. 
 2. Trigger fire method can be used when the mortar is in either the conventional or hand-held mode. 

Now, I forgot (mea culpa!) That the M8 Baseplate is a wee different... instructions follow:
1. Place lower slope of M8 baseplate (1) in direction of fire. 
2. Pull latch knob (2) and rotate latch (3) open.
3. Insert basecap (4) of cannon into socket of baseplate. Close latch (3). Make sure latch pin seats.  
Sorry 'bout that... a coup[le of Rum N Cokes and oh yeah, Grandbebe #1 is here for the weekend... I got off work to chase a hyperactive Redhead around the house for a couple of hours, and then am expected to be cognizant?  Suck my ass y'all LOL.

So... that covers the basics except Ammo and the "How to" about Mortar rounds.  Now, for a most simplistic explanation, the 60mm mortar rounds come individually packed in cardboard tubes.  Each Mortar round individually has rings of high explosive, which is what makes it lob the round.
Now, this thing has more BB's than any weapon should be allowed.  The list is:
The following cartridges are authorized to be fired in the 60mm, M224 mortar: 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M720 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M720A1 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M768 
Cartridge, 60mm: Illum, M721
Cartridge, 60mm: Smoke, WP, M722 
Cartridge, 60mm: Smoke, WP, M722A1 
Cartridge, 60mm: FRP, M769 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M888 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M49A4 
Cartridge, 60mm: Smoke, WP, M302A1/M302A2 
Cartridge, 60mm: Illum, M83 Series 
Cartridge, 60mm: TP, M50A3 
Cartridge, 60mm: Training, M69 
Cartridge, 60mm: Training Device 
Cartridge, 60mm: SRTP, M766 
Cartridge, 60mm: IR Illum, M767 
Cartridge, 60mm: HE, M1061 
For this, I'm stealing directly from the TM, as it'll take me four hours to transcribe and/or cut n paste.
THIS'S ALL CRITICAL PARTY INFORMATION
FAAFO IF'N YOU DON'T PAY ATTENTION








And because Uncle can never make it easy, these ALL have different fuzes and fuzing modes:







And there you have it... a very bare bones writeup of the M224 Boom Toob.
Welcome to the Party Pal.
I Remain The Intrepid Reporter
Big Country

9 comments:

  1. Anyone who served in Afghan knew the Mortar was the real Ace card, not the machine gun. Great post, keep them coming. Rakkasan! Let valor not fail!

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    1. It really depended on where we were going. If we were gonna have a valley between us and the bad guys, we generally didn't bother humping the 60 around, and just carried more 240 ammo. We didn't bother with the cheese rings or bipod. Or even the sight. Just tube, square plate, and ammo. If we needed something bigger, we used the magic green box and had 155s land on the badguys. Our chucks were damn good at what they did. Big Mac was a damn surgeon with the 60.
      1-327

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  2. The Tritium in weapon sights is NOT particularly dangerous to humans, especially compared to a lot of other isotopes.
    It has a half life of about 12 years so it is persistent....when compared to our typical life span. It has a short half life compared to many naturally occurring radioactive elements. It is a form of water.....it's just a water molecule with two extra neutrons. It decays via Beta particle emission....which is an electron. Beta particles in large quantities can cause skin erythema (reddening) and with PROLONGED exposure skin cancer is possible. If ingested it will generally be excreted by the kidneys eventually....but the Beta particle emission can cause mutagenic effects internally. So ingestion is not a good idea. If the substance gets on your skin just wash it off. Like all radioactive materials it is not 100% safe but compared to most it is VERY low risk and aside from being a Beta particle emitter non toxic. In weapon sights it is usually mixed with a phosphorescent agent which is what causes it t glow in the dark. Generally the Tritium and the phosphorescent agent are suspended in a polymer of some kind so it is difficult to break the sight and release the Tritium. It would take real effort to hurt yourself from the Tritium in a typical weapon sight.

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  3. Beautiful write-up! Noticed the "smoke" shells are marked "WP" - last I checked, Willy Pete wasn't good to be on the receiving end of exposure to, if one happens to be a dickhead running around outside of a sealed vehicle and/or not wearing a chemical protective suit and gas mask?

    Another thing of note re: that "KD" thing. IRA during the Troubles used to make these things called "Barrack Busters". Basically it was a van that they'd cut the top out of, mount a bigass improvised mortar (sometimes as simple as a piece of sewer pipe mounted in a concrete block) in the back with a remote trigger. The shot was pre-calculated to fire from a known position to a fixed target, and they'd drive it to the position, park it, leave it, and trigger it at the optimal time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrack_buster

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    Replies
    1. The Haj used Dump trucks with a burlap covering painted and camo'd to look like it was fullof dirt. Used to drive around in 04-05 in Baghdad and open the 'flap' they had to fire out of... would've kept getting away with it if'n it wasn't for those meddling Apaches... a AH-64D Longbow happened to be looking right place/right time when they opened the hatch and they took a Hellfire for it. The -other- neet trick they had was a 'frozen' Mortar tube. Literally put water in the tube in the middle of the tube, they used saran wrap or the haj equivalent from my understanding. Left a foot and a half of 'dead space' and froze a big ole plug of water in the tube. They then left the round sitting on top of the plug of ice, and kept it til it was 'go time'. Took the tube out, leaned it in on a rock or in some brush, and the Iraqi heat took care of the rest... water'd melt, round would slide down, hit the pin and BOOM... time delayed remote mortar. More on this and a in-depth later.

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  4. What a helpful post. Will put on sidebar etc... I was trained, oddly enough, on the 2" mortar. Not that it took a huge amount of training. "Don't blow your bloody hand off, idiot," sort of thing.

    Cheers.

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  5. If Aeslop is going to start becoming a fixture around here I'm heading on down the trail. I got no time for that stupid motherfucker. Just saying. His fucking take on everything is so fucked up these days I'm just over that Cali faggot.

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  6. Easily the single best -and most valuable - post on the web in some time!
    Having grown up in the M19, I have looked longingly, nay lustfully at these when I've encountered them. First time through the TM and I will be reviewing until I know this critter well.
    So many improvements! Increments on the body instead of between the fins ( in most cases) has gotta make setting charges easier. Nice to know SOME of this ammo can be used in an M19 (or M2) knowing which can and which can't is a real podium-kicker for me.
    Now, if Santa would bring me one with lotsa ammo (about half trainers) I'd be a happy and useful lad.
    Thanks for this!
    Boat Guy

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