Version française

Great Britain

2-in. medium trench mortar Toffee-Apple

Trench artillery

Contributor :
Bernard Plumier      http://www.passioncompassion1418.com
Lien vers post du blog
Location :
Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Museum
Coordinates : Lat : 50.83690 / Long : 2.94590
General comments on this surviving gun :

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

This rare weapon is not so well preserved in this rich museum

Zoom on the ball hinge and elevation mechanism wheel

View on the damaged bomb, showing its wall thickness.

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     2-in. medium trench mortar Origin :       ( Royal Ordnance Factory)          

Historic context :

After more than one year using improvised trench artillery weapons, most of the time dangerous and not so efficient, the '2-inches Medium Trench Mortar' designed by the Royal Ordnance Factories at Woolwich inspired by a pre-war Krupp design appeared on the frontline from the end of 1915. Manufactured by numerous contractors, this weapon threw a football-size sperical projectile weighing 39 to 43 lbs, filled in with explosive (amatol or ammonal), smoke making material, or more rarely toxic gasses (chlorine and phosgen), and equipped with a long tubular tail. The characteristic shape of this projectile gave way to this weapon nicknames : 'Toffee apple', 'Tadpole' or 'Plum pudding' !

The mortar itself was simply made of a 2-in inner diameter steel tube in which the projectile tail was introduced after a propulsive charge corresponding to the desired range, and equipped at its lower end with a Lee-Enfield rifle mechanism triggering a blank cartridge. The tube was linked to a wooden platform via a ball hinge, and its elevation could be tuned by turning a small wheel commanding a screw integrated inside a leg connected to the tube at one third height.

This weapon was intensively used particularly on the Somme and on the Yser in 1916, often in a barbed wires net destruction mission. Its relative lack of precision, too short range, revelating fire noise and flash, and its low efficiency projectile (not to forget the very unpopular trend of the tail to be projected backwards to the friendly trenches at explosion...) induced its progressive replacement from 1917 by the 6-in Medium Mortar Newton.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : Ordnance 2 inches medium trench mortar Toffee-Apple
  • Design year : 1915
  • Calibre : 50.80 mm (2 in)
  • Weight in firing position : 105 lbs (48 kg)
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 0.00 40.85 in (1038 mm)
  • Grooves : 0 (smooth bore)
  • Projectile weight : 51 lbs (25 kg)
  • Initial speed :
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 100 to 570 yards (100 - 570 m)
  • Elevation range :
  • Direction range :

  • Allied Artillery of World War One           Ian V. Hogg                   Crowood   1998  
  • Weapons of the Trench War 1914-1918       Anthony Saunders                   Sutton   1999