The Maginot Line - A misunderstood history

Mortar model 1935

Mortar (50mm)

This breech loaded, smoothbore barrel infantry weapon was originally designed to defend dry moats/ditches and dead ground. Normal weapons (which fire grenades/bullets in a more or less straight line) could not reach these spots. Therefore, a curved trajectory was needed.

Mortier Mle 1935
Magazine capacity 150 rounds
Range Min. 65m (at 45°)
Max. 1400m (at 45°)
Max. 700m (at 20°)
Rate of fire 10-15 rpm (1 person)
25-30 rpm (2 people)
Total weight 11 kg
Weight of grenade 950g (of which 95kg are explosives)

The need for such a weapon was made clear as early as 1931, but it was not until 1935 that the arms manufacturer Châtellerault (MAC) came up with a prototype of a curved trajectory weapon which answered to the needs laid out by the CDF.

Typical for this weapon (in contrast with it’s Army counterparts) was the fixed elevation: 45 degrees in (e.g. counterscarp) casemates and 20 degrees in a GFM cloche type A.