Light Mortar Platoon (Fucilieri) (Early & Mid War)
Brixia 45/5 modello 35
The Brixia light mortar was the standard weapon of its type for the Italian Army in World War II. It was quite a complex weapon for its humble role; incorporating a separate, magazine fed, propellent charge that was loaded separately from the bomb. The bombs were also loaded into the breech rather than from the muzzle like most light mortars.
The upright propellent magazine held ten charges, a charge being loaded when the rear-mounted breach had been closed on a new bomb. Range could be increased and decreased by opening and closing of the barrel gas ports.
The mortar was mounted on a folding tripod with a padded frame hinged to the rear leg.
The gunner was prone when firing it, resting his chest on the padded frame. A lever allowed for operating the breech, while the loader fed the ammunition in. A trigger was used to fire the bomb. 2-4 crew usually operated it.
It fired the .5kg, 45mm, bomb out to a range of 530 meters, and could fire up to 18 rounds per minute.
It was fitted with a sight and complex elevation and traverse controls.
Each Brixia platoon consisted of nine weapons divided into three squads of three mortars. These formations were not part of the infantry company, but were detached from battalion assets. Usually each company had one of these platoons available.
Although of only limited value on the battlefield (due to its small calibre), it still proved popular among the soldiers.
Calibre: 45mm (1.75 in)
Barrel length: 260mm (10.25in)
Action weight: 15.5kg (34.2lb)
Shell weight: 456g (16.1oz)
Elevation: +10° to +90°
Muzzle velocity: 83m/s (270ft/s)
Maximum range: 530m (580yd)
Rate of fire: 8 to 18 rounds per minute