BM-37 mortar

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Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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Effective damage

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Comparison with analogues

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Usage in battles

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Pros and cons

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An old but reliable weapon, the humble mortar has been a staple of siege warfare, but it would find a new, but important role during the First World War. The mostly static trench warfare on the Western Front rendered most direct-fire weapons of limited utility against dug-in opponents, leading to the recognized need for more indirect-fire weapons. The sudden need for mortars for the trenches led to the development of an infantry portable mortar by Fredrick Wilfred Stokes for the British Army which was called the 3-inch Stokes Mortar but was actually 81 mm (3.2-inches) in calibre. The Stokes was an influential weapon and after World War I, the 81 mm was adopted as the standard calibre for infantry mortars in multiple nations around the world.

The Soviet Union was not one of these nations, however. They instead adopted an 82 mm mortar round that allowed them to use captured enemy munitions that were 81 mm in calibre but denied the ability for the enemy to do the same with Soviet mortar rounds. Around the same time, the Stokes mortar evolved thanks to French weaponsmith Edgar Brandt who refined the Stokes first in 1927 and again in 1931. The Brandt Mle 27/31 was adopted by the Armée de Terre (French Army) and soon became a design that was licensed or otherwise copied by almost every nation that would serve in World War II. The Soviets were no exception despite their different calibre and adopted a modified copy of the Brandt Mortar in 1936 as the BM-36 which was soon modified to create the BM-37 the following year.

The BM-37 differs from the early BM-36 from a round baseplate instead of the earlier square baseplate, simpler sights, new traverse, and elevation controls, and shock absorbers on the bipod to reduce relaying time. Issued as an infantry mortar on the battalion level, the BM-37 was still in common use by the time of World War II and was the main mortar for the Red Army during the early years of the war. By around 1943, a number of mortars were lost in combat leading to the widespread adoption of the PM-41 as a replacement. The BM-37 was planned for the MBK-161-class of armoured riverboats but was dropped from the design. The Soviets later developed the M-37-M variant with a removable baseplate and redesigned it to avoid double-loading the mortar. The BM-37 was also licensed in China as the Norinco Type 53 which was also used in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. It was licensed and used as the Helwan Machine Tools Company Model 69 in Egypt and the Bulgarian Arsenal M-82 Mod 1937.


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See also

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External links

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Naval special armaments
Mortars  7.2-inch T37 · Mk 2
Rockets  5-inch GPSR Mk.7 · Mark 108 Weapon alfa
Missiles  RIM-24A
Rockets  M/50 Bofors
Mortars  BM-37 · RBM · RBU-1200 · RBU-2500 · RBU-6000 · RKU-36U
Rockets  BM-14-17 · BM-21 · M13 · M-8
Missiles  Volna-M
Mortars  Ordnance ML 4.2-inch mortar
Rockets  4.5-inch BBR Mk.7 (USA) · Mark 108 Weapon alfa (USA)
Missiles  Nettuno