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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's 5-cm leichte Granatwerfer 36,
5-cm leGrW 36

During the 1930s the Germans wanted a squad level mortar. Rheinmetall-Borsig AG designed a mortar where the barrel was permanently attacked to the baseplate and a monopod (instead of the normal bipod) was attached.

It was first issued in 1936. Until 1938 the mortar had a telescopic site mounted, but this was unnecessary at the ranges the mortar was used.

How Used

There was a handle in the barrel that allowed a single man to carry it. Another man carried the ammunition.

The baseplate was placed on the ground and the adjustments were made using a coarse and fine control knobs. Firing was done by a trigger.

Soldier's Views

Most soldiers thought it was too heavy and complex to fire the small 50 mm bomb.

End of Production

The 5-cm leGrW 36 was expensive in the amount of raw materials that were used to produce the weapon. Based on this, in 1941 production ceased.

Most of the mortars were taken from front line units and passed on to second line or garrison untis. Many were used in the defenses of the Atlantic Wall.

The Italian army also received some.

  5-cm leGrW 36
Caliber 1.969"
50 mm
Length of gun 18.3"
0.465 m
Length of bore 13.78"
0.35 m
Rifling  
Length of rifling  
Weight traveling  
Weight in action 30.8 lb
14 kg
Elevation +42° to +90°
Traverse 34°
Muzzle Velocity  
Range of shell 569 yards
520 m
Shell weight 1.98 lb
0.9 kg
Armor penetration  
Breech mechanism  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, 1998, Chris Bishop
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site