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Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Type 97 81mm

Infantry Mortar [ 1937 ]

The Type 97 81mm infantry mortar served the Japanese Army throughout World War 2.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/17/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Imperial Japanese Army made use of various lobbed ordnance weapon systems throughout World War 2 in their conquest of the Pacific. Chief among these became the unique grenade dischargers that were more akin to miniature personal mortar systems firing a lesser projectile. However, like all modern armies of the time, the IJA also placed value on more conventional mortar designs and these appeared in two popular calibers - 81mm and 90mm.

The Type 97 (or Model 97) was an 81mm mortar was not unlike the American M1 system in design, scope and operation. It consisted of three major components to include the firing tube, base plate and an adjustable bipod assembly. A crank handle at the neck of the bipod allowed for elevation changes by the crew. The base plate was heavy and rectangular in shape and the 81mm projectile rounds were small enough to cup in two hands when handling. The crew adjusted all facets of the projectile's launch based on terrain and windage. Operation was via dropping the active 81mm shell down the firing tube to which the shell struck a waiting firing pin and ignited the projectile's propellant charge. This forced the projectile out of the firing tube and towards the calculated arc destination.

The Type 97 81mm mortar held an effective range out to 3,062 yards, firing at a muzzle velocity equal to 643 feet per second. The crew could elevate the firing tube from +45 to +85 degrees for attacking targets closer to the firing point. The system, as a whole, weighed in at 148lbs and required multiple crew for transport, this breaking down into several pieces. The primary 81mm projectile in use with the Type 97 was the Model 100 High-Explosive (HE) shell weighing just over 7lbs.

The Type 97 81mm mortar entered service with the IJA in 1937 and was kept operational through to the end of the war in August of 1945. The weapon saw considerable actions across the Pacific and Southeast Asia, wherever the IJA was active.


Service Year

Imperial Japan national flag graphic
Imperial Japan


Infantry Mortar

State Factories - Imperial Japan
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of modern Japan Imperial Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Empty Wgt
147.71 lb
67.00 kg

Adjustable Elevation Mechanism


Manual; Firing Pin at Base

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of an infantry mortar projectile / shell
Rounds / Feed

Single-Shot; Reusable Firing Tube
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
9,186 ft
(2,800 m | 3,062 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
643 ft/sec
(196 m/sec)

Type 97 - Base Series Designation

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Images Gallery

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Two views of the Type 97 81mm infantry mortar


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