The Type 31 60mm Light Mortar was a Chinese copy of the American M2 series - itself a copy of the French Modele 1935 product.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Left side view of the Type 31 60mm mortar on display
Credit: Front left side view of the Type 31 60mm infantry mortar
Credit: A U.S. service member demonstrates the portability of aType 31 60mm mortar
The Chinese Type 31 series of light 60mm infantry mortar was an indigenous copy of the American M2 60mm mortar series. The American M2 itself was nothing more than a copy of the French Stokes-Brandt "Mortier Modele 1935" of 1935, proving the French design as utterly sound and quite excellent in its own right. Key differences between the Chinese and American versions lay in the shorter barrel of the Chinese model, which measured in at 675mm in length. While this made the Chinese version lighter in weight, it did restrict its operational range to 1,530 meters.
Design of the Type 31 was highly conventional as was its operation. The system consisted of three major components made up of the square baseplate, firing tube and adjustable bipod. The crew could adjust elevation by a lever along the bipod assembly. A carrying handle along the top of the firing tube facilitated transport and the Type 31 could be further broken down to have its pieces carried by the fire team. Operation was much in the same fashion as the American and French design before it, requiring the operator to simply drop the 60mm projectile down the muzzle into the smoothbore tube. A firing pin actuated the projectile's propellant which sent the projectile into the air against the target area along a predetermined calculated path.
The Type 31 was eventually modernized to become the Type 63 light mortar. This newer version was designed to be lighter and more portable with a smaller area baseplate - the baseplate now designed as rectangular over the original's square design. Operationally, the Type 63 behaved much in the same way as the Type 31 before it including capabilities.
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