Like the other major military powers of World War 2, the Soviet Union went on to adopted various caliber of mortars for the indirect fire support role. This included several 50mm models as in the M1938 and M1940), the mid-sized 82mm models M1936 and M1937 and the larger 120mm M1938. Another 82mm offering became the M1941 (recognized by the Red Army as the "82-PM 41") which was a revision on the earlier M1937, itself a modification of the M1936 and this born from the excellent French Brandt line of 1927. Due to its caliber, the weapon was considered an infantry battalion-level weapon to which 50mm types became company-level weapons in comparison.
The M1941 brought about use of a removable wheeled base and incorporated a pronounced arch to the base plate as well as a redesigned bipod support structure - the changes intended to improve both mass production (aided by heavier use of stampings) and portability of the system (wheels could be affixed to the bipod structure for towing by infantry). Despite the well-intentioned initiative, the M1941 was soon found to have degraded its stability when firing, leading to general inaccuracy.
This forced a quick modernization to be undertaken as the Soviet Empire was now fully embroiled in war with Germany and her Axis cohorts following the June 1941 invasion (Operation Barbarossa). The resulting product added new sight mountings, a reworked wheelbase and simplified bipod to give rise to the Model 1943 (M1943) which joined the M1937 and M1941 models already in circulation.
The M1941 and M1943 fired the typical "tear drop" projectile with a standard HE (High-Explosive) capability to be used primarily against foes in dug-in or fortified positions (smoke, flare and illumination rounds were also noted). The projectile contained a section of fins at its tapered base for stability during flight and a bulbous body contained the detonator and explosive content. The launch tube measured 52 inches long with a bore length of 48 inches and, when setup to fire, the entire system weighed 126lbs which required multiple crew to tote the various major components about - a typical crew numbered four. Controls on the bipod support allowed for an elevation of 45 to 85 degrees with traversal of 6 to 11 degrees. Each 7.5lb projectile exited the tube at 660 feet per second to reach out to ranges of 3,400 yards. Sighting was through the MPB-82 device. A trained crew could fire between 15 and 25 projectiles per minute and overall battlefield capabilities were generally equivalent to the preceding M1937 series.
The M1941 saw service beyond the Red Army for it was also adopted at various points in its history by the armies of Germany (in captured samples), Albania, Cambodia, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany (following World War 2), Finland, Mongolia, North Korea, Poland, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. The weapon was in constant service from 1941 to the 1960s before given up for more modern types. Production spanned from 1941 to 1943.
Captured M1941 mortars were designated by the German Army as "8.2cm Granatwerfer 274/3(r)", the "r" showcasing their "Russian" origins and the "3" dictating its place in line behind captured M1936 and M1937 systems (these as "8.2cm Granatwerfer 274" and "8.2cm Granatwerfer 274/2" respectively).
Manufacturing State Arsenals - Soviet Union
Albania; Cambodi; China; Czechoslovakia; Finland; Germany; East Germany; Mongolia; North Korea; Poland; Soviet Union; Vietnam; Yugoslavia
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