STRENGTH IN SIMPLICITY

WEAPONS OF WAR

How did a unsophisticated metal tube become the father of modern light artillery? John Ash profiles the Stokes Mortar, a simple trench weapon that became the ‘infantry’s artillery’ by necessity

LEFT A STOKES MORTAR TEAM SPOTS FOR, AIMS AND ‘HANGS’ A ROUND ON THE SALONIKA FRONT
DUTCH NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Astaple weapon in any arsenal and with a centuries-old history, mortars remain a versatile component of any armed force and the principal indirect fire support weapon relied upon by modern infantry.

Even today, most mortars retain the simple qualities that were refined on the Western Front, enabling them become what is arguably the most lethal single weapon system in living memory.

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