Ordnance ML 4.2-inch mortar
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Vehicles equipped with this weapon
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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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The British Army remained wedded to the Stokes Mortar design after World War I even when other nations were adopting more modern Brandt Mortar designs in the 1930s. As such, most British Mortars during World War II were still based on the Stokes design including their heavy mortar the Ordnance ML 4.2-inch Mortar. Entering service at the end of 1941, the ML 4.2-inch is a towed mortar design often carried on a trailer by a Loyd Carrier and had a six-man crew. Assigned to the Royal Engineers chemical warfare companies, the ML 4.2-inch first entered combat during the Second Battle of El-Alamein in late 1942. The Australian 24th Infantry Brigade’s 66th Mortar Company used these mortars so intensively to protect the infantry, they expended all the 4.2-inch mortar rounds in the North African Theatre.
In 1943, the chemical weapons companies were disbanded, and the ML 4.2-inch mortars were shipped to heavy mortar companies attached to the infantry machine gun battalions. The companies had 16 mortars and were divided into four platoons 4 mortars each. Later the Commonwealth forces in Italy found they had more mortars than they needed for their machine gun battalions usually replacing batteries in divisional anti-tank regiments. In comparison to the forces in Europe and North Africa, the Commonwealth armies in the Pacific Theatre were slower to receive these weapons. The Australians in the South West Pacific Theatre got the Ordnance ML 4.2-inch Mortar before the forces serving in Burma (present-day Myanmar).
After the war, the Royal Engineers who previously used the mortars transferred the 4.2-inch to the Royal Artillery. They were notably used by British forces during the Korean War. The 170th Mortar Battery during the Battle of the Imjin River in April 1951 along the DMZ. British Airborne forces would also use the mortars in Kuwait in 1961 when the nation became independent from the U.K. in 1961. The British would also man these mortars during the Confrontation of Borneo in 1965 when Indonesia engaged in an armed conflict to prevent the creation of Malaysia. In 1966, the Ordnance ML 4.2-inch Mortar was retired from the British Army.
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|Naval special armaments|
|Mortars||7.2 in T37 · Mk 2|
|Rockets||Mk.7 · M8 · Mark 108 Weapon alfa|
|Mortars||BM-37 · RBM · RBU-1200 · RBU-2500 · RBU-6000 · RKU-36U|
|Rockets||BM-14-17 · M13 · M-8|
|Mortars||Ordnance ML 4.2-inch mortar|
|Rockets||Mark 108 Weapon alfa (USA)|