81mm Mortar Section

An 81mm mortar team races to set up their tube during training at Camp Pendleton, 1943. Note that the mortarmen are carrying the M1 rifle rather than the more portable carbine. In combat, carbines were often exchanged for the more reliable rifles - why these mortarmen, who have not yet been in combat, are carrying a heavier weapon is unknown.
An 81mm mortar team races to set up their tube during training at Camp Pendleton, 1943.

Introduced in the F-Series Table of Organization in the spring of 1944, the mortar platoon was the battalion’s mobile artillery force. The tubes and crews came from disbanded weapons companies. In addition to the large 81mm mortars, the platoon’s headquarters also carried four smaller 60mm mortars in reserve. In at least one instance, on Iwo Jima, the mortarmen were sent forward and attached to Able Company as riflemen.

mortarssmall

Series F Heavy Mortar Platoon (March 1944 – 1945)

Platoon Headquarters
Platoon Leader (Lieutenant)
Assistant Platoon Leader (Lieutenant)
Platoon Sergeant (Gunnery Sergeant)
Ammunition NCO (Sergeant)
Wire Chief (Sergeant)
One Telephone Operator (Private/PFC)
Two Messengers (Private/PFC)

Vehicles: Two hand carts.

Two Mortar Sections – EACH
Section Leader (Platoon Sergeant)

Four Mortar Squads – EACH
Squad Leader (Corporal)
Gunner (Private/PFC)
Assistant Gunner (Private/PFC)
Four Ammunition Carriers (Private/PFC)

Vehicles: Four hand carts.

Total Personnel: Two officers, thirty-six enlisted.

81mm-mortar-section
As the gunner sights the tube, the assistant prepares to hang a round. 24th Marines, Camp Pendleton, 1943.

 

The information contained herein is based on the GHQ Table of Organization & Equipment #3, 1994.

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