MANUFACTURER(S): State Factories - France
OPERATORS: France (Vichy France); Nazi Germany
ACTION: Manually-Loaded, Striker Actuated
SIGHTS: Integrated Optics Set.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Brandt mle 37 (Mortier Brandt de 50mm modele 37) Infantry Light Mortar.
Entry last updated on 5/3/2019.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Brandt mle 37 (Model of 1937) Light Mortar was one of several mortar systems adopted by the French just prior to World War 2 (1939-1945). The 81mm mle 27 was introduced in 1927 and the 50mm mle 37 followed in 1937, though its issuance did not occur until 1939. The type was introduced to succeed the standard platoon-level French infantry rifle grenade by allowing for more potent, accurate in-direct firepower against entrenched enemy forces. The result was a light-enough and reliable weapon to make a statement during the Grand War - though the collapse of the French defense in the German invasion of 1940 made certain that the mortar would see more action in the hands of Vichy French forces as well as the Germans. In the latter case, the mortar took on the designation of Granatenwerfer 203(f) - the lowercase "f" signifying its French origins.
The mle 37 exhibited a caliber of 50mm and its launch tube measured 415mm in length. Setup weight was 3.65 kilograms. Onboard controls allowed for traversal of 8-degrees to either side though elevation was fixed at 45-degrees. Rate-of-fire possible was up to 25 rounds per minute while the standard shell was High-Explosive (HE) in nature. Range was out to 695 meters and velocity for the outgoing shell was listed at 70 meters per second. Beyond the traditional launch tube a baseplate was featured as was a folding bipod assembly.
Another light mortar to come into service became the mle 1935. This was a 60mm system which was also adopted by the U.S. military (as the M1). Nearly 5,000 of this series were made available for 1940.