5th Light Trench Mortar Battery

From Our Contribution

5th Trench.jpg
Shoulder patch

Brief History

The 5th Light Trench Mortar Battery was a part of the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division. It was raised in Egypt after the ANZAC Division returned from Gallipoli, and the 'doubling of the AIF' took place. Light Trench Mortar Batteries were under the direct command of the Brigade Headquarters but were generally deployed close to the front line so that the enemy was within range.

Trench Mortar Batteries and Machine Gun Companies gave Brigades their own integral fire support. The trench mortars were the Brigade's own ‘artillery’ and the soldiers were generally drawn from units within the Brigade. The Battery would have provided support exclusively to the Battalions of the Brigade. Mortars provide indirect fire, firing high-explosive fragmentation bombs at a high angle, which then detonate on impact or very soon thereafter. The projectile follows a high looping path to the target, with its point of impact determined by the power of the propelling charge, the elevation of the barrel or tube, and the direction (or bearing) it is pointing.

Trench mortar batteries were generally equipped with the 3 inch Stokes Mortar which had a range of approx. 800 yards. It was served by a two or three man crew. The ‘Number One’ in the crew would lay or aim the mortar - although they were not in direct line of sight to the enemy. The ‘Number Two’ loaded and fired the mortar. The ‘Number Three’s’ task was to keep a supply of bombs up to the mortar. On receipt of an order to fire, the Number Three would adjust the charges if necessary to match the range and elevation necessary to engage the target by removing charge bags of propellant from the bomb. When the fire mission commenced, he would remove the safety pin from the fuze before passing the bomb to the Number Two. Twenty one men lost their life while posted to this unit.

Unit Personnel

Individual Honours

  • 2 x Military Cross
  • 6 x Military Medal
  • 1 x Mentioned in Despatches


See [1] for further details.

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