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The Granatwerfer 36, or LeGrW 36, was a light mortar that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

The LeGrW 36 could fire fifty millimeter mortar shells at a distance of up to 510 meters. The weapon's muzzle velocity was seventy-five meters per second, and its maximum rate of fire was around twenty-five rounds per minute, with around three shells being able to be launched every four seconds.[1]

The combat weight of the weapon was fourteen kilograms, while its total length was 465 millimeters. This short stature allowed it to be taken virtually anywhere with relative ease. However, most of the advantages of the LeGrW 36, with its small size were counteracted by its large weight and complicated nature. 

Although range of the weapon suffered, the LeGrW 36 was used by the Heer until the end of the war. In fact, the weapon was so small that it could even be carried by an individual soldier in a small carrying bag.[2]

The LeGrW 36 had a maximum elevation range from forty-two to ninety degrees and the minimum distance that the weapon was capable of firing was fifty meters. For accurate targeting, the LeGrW 36 featured a special telescopic sight, although this was later removed for ease of manufacturing. Unusually, the LeGrW 36 was only capable of firing HE (High Explosive) shells.[3] During the war, no further variants were ever produced of the LeGrW 36 but several minor improvements were made.

History

The LeGrW 36 was first developed in 1934 as an additional supplement to the reformed Heer's cache of weapons. It was accepted into the armed forces in 1936, and saw service until the end of the war. Although technically the LeGrW 36 was a good design, in the field it was often abandoned for its many faults such as having too light a round to be effective and its large weight. By 1942, the weapon was already being phased out of frontline service and replaced with cheaper and more reliable weapons.

References

  1. http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ltmortar/index.html
  2. http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Waffen/Bilderseitenneu/5-cmGranatwerfer36.htm
  3. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=300


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