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17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer
Minenwerfer 170 mm Memorial de Verdun.jpg
17 cm Minenwerfer n/A at the Verdun Memorial, Verdun, France
Type Medium trench mortar
Place of origin German Empire
Service history
In service 1913–1918
Used by German Empire
Wars World War I
Production history
Designer Rheinmetall
Manufacturer Rheinmetall
Produced 1913–18
Number built approx. 2361
Variants 17 cm mMW n/A
Weight 483 kg (1,065 lbs)
Barrel length a/A: 64.6 cm (2 ft 1 in) L/3.8
n/A: 76.5 cm (2 ft 6 in) L/4.5

Caliber 170 mm (6.69 in)
Recoil hydro-spring
Carriage box trail
Elevation +45° to 90°
Traverse 25°
Rate of fire 20 rpm
Muzzle velocity 200 m/s (656 ft/s)
Effective range 300 m (325 yards)
Maximum range 1,600 meters (1,700 yd)
Sights panoramic

The 17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer (17 cm mMW) was a mortar used by Germany in World War I.

Development and Use

17 cm Minenwerfer Hämeenlinna 1.JPG

The a/A model in transport mode, with wheels attached

The n/A model (with long barrel), at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

The weapon was developed for use by engineer troops after the Siege of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. It illustrated the usefulness of this type of weapon in destroying bunkers and field fortifications otherwise immune to normal artillery. It was a muzzle-loading, rifled mortar that had a standard hydro-spring recoil system. It fired 50 kilogram (110 lb) HE shells, which contained far more explosive filler than ordinary artillery shells of the same caliber. The low muzzle velocity allowed for thinner shell walls, hence more space for filler. Furthermore, the low velocity allowed for the use of explosives like Ammonium Nitrate-Carbon that were less shock-resistant than TNT, which was in short supply. This caused a large number of premature detonations that made crewing the minenwerfer riskier than normal artillery pieces. A new version of the weapon, with a longer barrel, was put into production at some point during the war. It was called the 17 cm mMW n/A (neuer Art) or new pattern, while the older model was termed the a/A (alter Art) or old pattern. In action the mMW was emplaced in a pit, after its wheels were removed, not less than 1.5 meters deep to protect it and its crew. It could be towed short distances by four men or carried by 17. Despite its extremely short range, the mMW proved to be very effective at destroying bunkers and other field fortifications. Consequently, its numbers went from 116 in service when the war broke out to some 2,361 in 1918.[1]

Surviving Examples

See also


  1. The data for this weapon differs between sources and cannot be considered definitive. Data provided has generally been for an a/A mortar as given at the US Army Field Artillery Museum, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma


  • Jäger, Herbert. (2001). German Artillery of World War One. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire: Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-403-8.

External links

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