Ordnance ML 3 inch mortar

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Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar
Canadian 3-inch mortar team, training post war
Type Mortar
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars Second World War
Korean War
Production history
Designed 1930s
  • 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)
Length 4 ft 3 in (1.3 m)
Barrel length 3 ft 11 in (1.19 m)[1]

Shell Bomb 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Calibre 3.2 in (81 mm)
Elevation +45° to +80°
Traverse 11°[1]
Muzzle velocity 650 ft/s (200 m/s)
Maximum firing range Mk.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.[2] Although called the '3-inch mortar' by the British Army, its calibre was actually 3.209 in (81.5 mm).[3]


The ML 3-inch mortar is a conventional Stokes-type mortar which is muzzle-loaded and drop-fired.


In action in Burma, 1944

Based on their experience in World War I, 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.

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 World War II 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.[4][5]

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


Returned & Services League building, Roma, Queensland

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]




  1. ^ a b Chamberlain, Peter (1975). Mortars and rockets. Gander, Terry. New York: Arco Pub. Co. p. 18. ISBN 0668038179. OCLC 2067459. 
  2. ^ Bishop, page 194.
  3. ^ Handbook for the Ordnance, M.L 3-Inch Mortar, Mark II.
  4. ^ Pamphlet No. 9, Mortar (3-inch) 1939.
  5. ^ Pamphlet No. 9, Amendment No.1, Mortar (3-inch) 1943.