The Type 94 90mm infantry mortar debuted with IJA forces in 1935.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Type 94 infantry mortar was a large-caliber field weapon of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) that maintained firepower qualities more akin to that of a field artillery piece than that of a conventional mortar. The weapon was fitted with a long 90mm firing tube and weighty baseplate as well as an adjustable bipod stand. The firepower inherent in the Type 94 meant that it could be used as a portable and highly devastating artillery piece when such a battlefield component was not available. Otherwise, she served as a heavy mortar when needed as such. The weapon excelled in the jungle warfare prevalent throughout the Pacific campaigns of World War 2.
Like other infantry mortars of this class, the Type 94 consisted of three major components made up of the aforementioned firing tube, baseplate and bipod. The system could be broken down into these elements for ease of transport. The firing tube made up the length of the Type 94 system and was smoothbore in nature (no rifling therein). A recoil cylinder was mounted along the side of the firing tube with a yoke slide at the rear. The baseplate was specifically designed as heavy and rectangular in shape, developed to absorb much of the violent recoil from the weapon system at the point the mortar met the ground. The bipod was fitted under and aft of the muzzle and featured two staked "feet" that were driven a ways into soft ground for forward support. The bipod also held the adjustment controls that allowed a Type 94 crew the ability to manage traverse and elevation degrees by way of a twist knob and rotating hand crank respectively. Elevation was limited to +45 to +80 degrees. Barrel length was over 4 feet and weight was 350 lbs (hence the requirement of multiple crew to manage and transport the weapon). Operational range was in the vicinity of 4,100 yards with a muzzle velocity of 745 feet per second.
Due to its weight, the Type 94 served well as a static defensive emplacement. Its large and heavy size precluded it from being readily transportable to dynamic fronts and thusly she sat in prepared positions awaiting the enemy. Such weapons did serve the jungle environment quite well for their lobbed indirect area fire support and the Type 94 did not disappoint, particularly in her use of the powerful 90m high-explosive projectile. The Type 94 served with IJA infantry forces throughout their conflict against China and furthermore against the Allied forces across the Pacific Island Campaigns dotting the World War 2 landscape. American forces faced the weapon in the Battle of the Philippines and the Battle of Guadalcanal to name a few instances where her actions were noteworthy against Allied troops.
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