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Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar
Canadian 3 inch mortar team, training post war.
Type Mortar
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars Second World War
Korean War
Production history
Designed 1930s
Weight 50.8 kg (112 lb)
Barrel length 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)

Calibre 81.2 mm (3.20 in)
Muzzle velocity 198 m/s (650 ft/s)
Maximum range Mk.II: 1,463 m (1,600 yd)
Mk.II LR: 2,560 m (2,800 yd)

The Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar was the United Kingdom's standard mortar used by the British Army from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, superseding the Stokes Mortar[1] Although called the '3-inch mortar' by the British Army, its caliber was actually 3.209 in (81.5 mm)[2]

In action in Burma, 1944


The ML 3-inch mortar is a conventional Stokes-type mortar which is muzzle-loaded and drop-fired.

Returned & Services League building, Roma, Queensland


Based on their experience in World War I, the British infantry sought some sort of artillery for close support. The initial plan was for special batteries of artillery, but the cost was prohibitive and the mortar was accepted instead.

The Mark II mortar (Mark I was the Stokes) was adopted by the British Army in the early 1930s; and this was the standard British mortar when World War II broke out in September 1939. Experience in the early part of the war showed that although the Mark II was reliable and sturdy it did not have sufficient range compared to the German 81 mm s.GW.34 mortar. A series of experiments and trials using new propellants impoved the range from 1600 yards to 2800 yards by about 1942; and by 1943 the barrel, baseplate and sights had also been improved.[3][4] The Mark II remained in service until replaced by the L16 81mm mortar.


  •  United Kingdom
  •  Australia
  •  Canada
  •  India
  •  Ireland
  •  Luxembourg
  •  New Zealand
  •  Philippines
  •  Poland
  •  Kingdom of Italy (1944-1946)

See also


  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII, Chris Bishop, 2002, page 194
  2. Handbook for the Ordnance, M.L 3-Inch Mortar, Mark II, on Mounting, 3-inch Mortar, Mark I Land Service 1937, Reprinted with Amendments, 1942. Reprinted with the permission of the Controller, His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. By Authority: Modern Printing Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne.
  3. The War Office, Army Council, Small Arms Training, Volume I, Pamphlet No. 9, Mortar (3-inch) 1939
  4. The War Office, Army Council, Small Arms Training, Volume I, Pamphlet No. 9, Ammendments No.1, Mortar (3-inch) 1943

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