The Coehorn mortar was a light siege weapon, used mostly in trench warfare, and designed to be carried in battle by four men. Its name derives from the seventeenth century Dutch soldier and siege engineer, Baron van Coehorn, who first developed the weapon in 1674, and it is a sad comment on the state of artillery development that such a design had been in use, virtually unchanged, for some two hundred years. These light, mobile mortars were an integral part of siege operations, and the Federal forces utilized them in large numbers. Their high angle of fire and surprising accuracy allowed opposing forces to fire projectiles into carefully fortified and entrenched positions with devastating effect. Excellent examples may be found at Gettysburg, Petersburg, and West Point.
Artifacts courtesy of Gettysburg Museum of the Civil
its maximum range of 1,200 yards (1,100m)
1 Coehorn, Model 1841 bronze 241b
(11kg) mortar. This mortar has a bore of |ust under 6 inches (150mm); its tube weighs 1641b (74kg) and is approximately 16 inches (405mm) long
2 Twenty-four pounder shell for item 1. Note the hole in the side into which the time or percussion fuse was inserted. The projectile weighs 171b (7.7kg) and holds a bursting charge of 11b (0.5kg) of powder. It took 121b (5kg) of powder to send this shell to
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