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26cm Minenwerfer M17

early version

Trench artillery

Contributor :
Massimo (Flickr) Foti     
(Flickr) Janos Biberika     
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Location :
Military Museum
Coordinates : Lat : 47.50390 / Long : 19.02830
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 1
Items covered by this file : 1

Original version with its double superposed base

I do not know if this museum owns two similar mortars or if this picture has been taken before the weapon renovation

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     26cm MW M17 Origin :       ( Skoda)          

Historic context :

In 1916, the Austro-Hungarian Army provoked in emergency the manufacturing of the 24cm M17 heavy mortars, that was just a copy of the famous French 240mm LT heavy mortars, in order to replace the existing 22.5cm M15. In parallel, it was decided to test heavy mortars prototypes proposed by Böhler (1 model) and Skoda (2 models, including 1 with a recoil recuperation system).

All the proposed models revealed themselves superior to the 24cm M16, but at the end the choosen one was the Skoda type. The one equipped with a recoil recuperation system was discarded in order to avoid complexity. This '26cm M17 MW' was composed with a rifled bore muzzle loading barrel, enlarged in its lower part and drilled with a hole for firing the propulsive charge with a primer. It was rotating on a ball stud for the vertical aiming that was done by acting on a bolt and screw system supporting the barrel.

The base was made of riveted steel plates. Two versions are known, seemingly giving birth to two different vintages :

  • the original one was equipped with an long and narrow base made of two superposed stages that could rotate on each other in order to allow a small horizontal aiming field,
  • the later one was equipped with a simplified but wider base, apparently allowing a much larger horizontal aiming range.
Some sources respectively name these versions '26cm M16 MW' and '26cm M17 MW'. These denominations should be taken with some reserve, since it seems only the M17 one is known and because the design and service history of this mortar is hardly compatible with a 1916 vintage numbering.

It could be transported in four separate loads. Because of the lack of coal and steel ans despite a priorization, only about 300 such weapons only were produced, and the first mortars (the biggest produced during WW1 by Austro-Hungaria) only arrived on the front from March 1918. This weapon was still in service in the Austrian army after WW1.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 26cm heavy trench mortar M 1917
  • Design year : 1916
  • Calibre : 260.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 1600 kg (M16) - 1730 kg (M17)
  • Weight for transportation : 4 separate loads
  • Tube length in calibres : 5.80
  • Grooves : 0 unknown (rifled bore)
  • Projectile weight : 60 et 83 kg
  • Initial speed :
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 1650 m (M16) - 2400 m (M17)
  • Elevation range : 34 to 75 degrees
  • Direction range : unknown