M113 anti-tank mortar 120 mm

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MTW NDV 2 with mortar 120 mm

MTW NDV 2 with mortar 120 mm
M113 anti-tank mortar 120 mm
Technical data vehicle
designation M113 A2 (EFT) GE 120 mm (unmodified) M113 G3 (EFT) GE 120 mm (NDV 2)
Type: gun carrier
Engine: 6-cylinder Detroit diesel 6V 53 with direct injection 6-cylinder MTU diesel 6V 183TC22 with exhaust gas turbocharger
Displacement: 5220 cc 10,960 cc
Power: 154 kW (210 hp ) 220 kW (300 PS )
Cooling: Liquid cooling
Transmission: Allison TX-100
3 -speed automatic manual transmission 3 forward, 1 reverse
ZF LSG 1000 six-speed planetary gearbox
6 forward, 1 reverse gear
Landing gear: Torsion bar suspension roller drive without support rollers
Length over all: 5120 mm
Width over everything: 2690 mm
Height above everything: 2640 mm
Ground clearance : 410 mm
Wading ability : 1400 mm
Ability to exceed: 1400 mm
Climbing ability: 610 mm
Gradeability : 60%
Bank slope: 30%
Combat weight : 12,500 kg over 12,500 kg
permissible maximum speed
30 km / h 62 km / h (governed)
Maximum speed
62 km / h 62 km / h (governed)
Fuel quantity: 360 l distributed in 2 external tanks (EFT)
Fuel consumption : Road: 69 l per 100 km, terrain: 100 l per 100 km ?
Driving range: Road: 480 km Road: 650 km
Armor : Aluminum-magnesium alloy 5083 estimated values
front: 44 mm
sides: 20 mm
roof: 12 mm
rear: 20 mm
floor: 12 mm
Armament: 1 × mortar 120 mm , 1 × machine gun MG3 , smoke thrower system
Crew: 5
Technical data weapon system
designation Rheinmetall (license production) Tampella
Type: High-angle firearm muzzle loader with fixed firing pin
Caliber : 120 mm
Firing range: 450 m to max. 6350 m with 8 partial loads
Shot height: 3000 m
Side straightening area: Side straightening device 54 lines , bipod on roller carriage 400 lines
Elevation range: 800 to 1420 lines *
Weight tube: 54 kg 48 kg
Weight bipod
base plate:
32.8 kg
64 kg
Ammunition: 60 cartridges on the vehicle
Cadence : 5 rounds per minute for 5 minutes or 15 rounds in 1 minute
M113 front view
Mortar carrier M113 A1 (EFT) GE in firing position
Rear view
Driver's seat of a mortar carrier with steering brake lever in front of the NDV 2

The armored mortar M113 was in the years 1969/1973 and 1977/1978 for the army of the Bundeswehr procured. It is used for deep fire support against lightly armored targets.

In November 2017, M113 tank mortars were used by the "Heavy Companies" of three Jäger- und Gebirgsjäger battalions .

Function description

The armor-bearer based on the armored personnel carrier M113 the US Army . The modifications to the M113 were an enlarged, split roof hatch that opens to the sides and a welded tailgate as well as a central crossbeam in the rear fighting compartment, with which the firing energy is simultaneously diverted to the chassis.

A 120 mm mortar is mounted in the rear combat compartment as the main weapon system. Depending on the year of introduction, the vehicles have different mortars. In the early years, only Tampella mortars were installed - recognizable by the smaller ball socket in the central cross member - later Rheinmetall produced the pipes under license. These differ in their higher weight and a larger ball socket in the weapon carrier. Both variants can be used both from the vehicle and when dismounted. The floor plate required for dismounted operations was initially carried on a truck by the company command group after external fuel tanks had been attached, so that the crew was still operational if the vehicle failed. The dismounted battle was internally known as the “floor plate rally” among the tank mortars .

Within the five-man anti-tank mortar squad it is precisely defined who has to take which parts of the weapon with them in order to be able to carry out the dismounted fight.

In addition to the base plate, the bipod, the earth spurs, the troop crate, the PERI crate, the straightening rods, the entire long and short view assembly and the mortar itself are among the items that have to be transported in addition to the personal equipment when dismounted.

The mortar is attached to the central crossbeam in the mounted fight and can be adjusted in a range of about 40 ° to the side and about 50 ° in height. The entire MTW must be moved for larger corrections. The maximum firing range is 6350 m; the maximum shot height 3000 m. However, you can continue shooting with this mortar. The distance meters specified in advance result from the distances and pipe elevations contained in the firing boards as well as the safety regulations of the Bundeswehr. Furthermore, the mortar can be used for direct aiming, i. H. the target is in the immediate vicinity and can be fought independently by the commander.

Otherwise, at greater distances, it is indirect judging, which starts with the so-called advanced observer (VB) via the fire control armor (M113) and then passes on fire commands to the individual troops, which then execute them. For special tasks, such as setting up a so-called barrage , a "work mortar" away from the actual firing position will shoot the target according to the VB, which must be done very precisely, because the work mortar is usually 300 m away from the actual firing position that the VB should have hit the target after the second shot if possible.

After the target has been zeroed in, the working mortar will return to the firing position as quickly as possible, while the remaining five troops are already setting up the mortars on the target (provided that both half-trains are in use).

After the work mortar has received and stopped its fire command, the firing of the ordered shots can take place.

In peacetime, the 120 mm mortar “only” fires up to the so-called 8th charge - with eight sets of propellant charges - while in the event of a defense it is likely to be possible to shoot up to the 12th charge and thus distances of 10 to 12 km can be reached . The propellant charge rings are made of cellulose nitrate and split into two colored charges. The brown basic charge always remains on the cartridge, whereas the white partial charge rings can be removed depending on the range. Due to safety regulations in Germany only a few training areas (e.g. TrpÜbPl Lübheen) can be used to shoot with the 8th charge, as the old ammunition made it impossible to overshoot one's own troops.

The spread of the mortars is used deliberately to ensure even surface coverage and to use the ammunition types optimally. With the Panzerhaubitze 2000 , on the other hand, the dispersion has to be artificially calculated by the target computer.

To maintain contact with the fire control vehicle, the carriers have a SEM 52-S / FZ / 46 for short distances. As part of improvements, a radio data transmission computer MRT 86 (portable military computer) was also tested for the transmission of fire commands. After a successful test at the Hammelburg Infantry School, the crisis reaction forces were equipped with it in the 1990s. The data computer allows an exact calculation and thus more effective fire in the target, but also better distribution in the target area when firing flare and smoke ammunition.

The advantages of the weapon system lie in its mobility and tactical availability. Unlike artillery fire , mortar fire can be requested and coordinated at battalion level. In this case, a company commander can request fire support, e.g. B. to shoot barrages to protect the battalion's own units. The small size of the weapon system also allows it to be used effectively in urban areas. For this reason, the mortar companies are also known as "the small artillery" and are known as the "hammer of the battalion". Their tactical importance became particularly evident in the last Gulf War.

The 120 mm mortars are also used by paratroopers due to their low weight and volume , with the M113 being exchanged for wolves , as the increased mass of the NDV 2 limits its airborne capabilities. Original plans provided for the Wiesel 2 to be used as a mortar carrier for the paratroopers, who also have an automated straightening device. This also means that fewer soldiers are required to operate the weapon system.

Service life extension

Due to their long use, the planned NDV 2 was carried out on the tank mortar from 2001. NDV stands for service life extension and largely includes the further development of the engines, since the permitted road speed of 30 km / h of the M113 was not satisfactory during maneuvers. For comparison, the Leopard 2 A5 battle tank reaches 72 km / h and the Marder A3 armored personnel carrier 65 km / h. The technical problems and the unreliability of the old engines were also a problem, but the imminent end of the operating license also required an increase in combat value .

As part of the NDV 2, a new engine was MTU based on a Mercedes-Benz Actros - engine , including new cooling, a new track connector track of DIEHL (Type 513) including drive sprocket and a new circuit steering gear from ZF installed with possibility for turning on the vertical axis. The new engine also required the redesign of the driver's area. Instead of the steering brake lever, a steering wheel and control panel with electronic monitoring were installed. The hydraulically assisted 2-circuit brake system operated by the foot was also new.


The crew consists of five people in total.

  • The commander controls the vehicle, monitors communications, keeps records of ammunition and fuel consumption, and directs and leads the gun carrier's fire fight.
  • His deputy is the gunner . This operates the mortar in cooperation with the loader . To do this, he tries to bring the line image of the PERI R16A1 into line with the collimator 12A2 , which acts as a fixed reference point in the vehicle . At the same time he is responsible for the maintenance of the weapon system. His seat is in the rear of the fighting compartment on the right.
  • The third man is the loader. He operates the mortar in cooperation with the gunner. To do this, he plays two dragonflies on the mortar (tilting drive, leveling device) at the same time , while the gunner brings the line image over one another. At the fire command he loads the mortar. If the porter is on the march or in the firing position, he secures with his hand weapon over the side wall from his place at the stern hatch. Another task is to support the gunner in the technical service at the weapon system.
  • Number 4 is the ammunition shooter. He supports the driver in returning to the gun emplacement, keeps a record of the ammunition consumption and is solely responsible for stowing the ammunition in the ammunition holders. In addition, he sets the time fuse for the ejection time on the smoke and light ammunition, pulls the pre-fuse of the cartridge and, if necessary, supports the driver with the technical service on the vehicle. When setting up without radio, it takes on the function of a foot detector and also serves as a close-range security. His seat is on the left in the rear fighting compartment.
  • The last one on the "team" is the military driver (MKF). His seat is in the front left next to the engine. He drives the vehicle with the assistance of the commander, but is left to his own devices in terms of implementation and use of the terrain. Other tasks include maintenance work (technical service) on the entire vehicle and securing, if necessary, in the firing position from its hatch. In addition to his job as a driver, according to the regulations, he is also trained as a mortar shooter and can be used on the mortar.


  • Mortar 120 mm TAMPELLA
  • 1 machine gun type MG3 , 7.62 mm for air defense and combat light ground targets.
  • 4 HK G36 assault rifles , 5.56 mm
  • 1 pistol type, 9 mm (for the gunner, then only three assault rifles)
  • 1 submachine gun type MP2 , 9 mm (for the driver)
  • 2 anti-tank weapons, type bazooka 3

If enemy contact is expected, it is possible to use the mortar in direct aiming at light to unarmored targets. Since the introduction of the weapon carrier, the structure of the hand weapons of the crew has changed frequently. While the gunner initially only had one pistol in addition to the MG3, this later became an assault rifle like the G36. One reason for this change was the time in the covered position, when the vehicle is not in the firing position and the crew is deployed for safety.

Mortar ammunition

Mortar cartridges of the tampella mortar with four partial charge rings, from left to right Fog, proximity fuse, explosive cartridge

The 120 mm mortar is able to fire the following ammunition (Each cartridge, apart from the explosive cartridge with proximity fuse (ANNZ), has a so-called locking pin. The fuse of the ANNZ consists of a plastic cap that holds the fuse protects against mechanical stress and moisture. Both must be removed before locking):

  • HE ammunition (explosive cartridge) with impact fuse; is used to combat soft targets and fortifications. The deadly fragment radius is about 50 m. The detonator of the HE mortar shell can be used both with and without delay. Fortifications are shaken and collapsed with the help of the adjustable delay of the ignition. The delay time is 0.05 seconds.
  • HE ammunition with radar-based proximity fuse; is used to combat entrenched infantry forces. The explosion takes place 5 meters (± 2 m) above the ground, creating a scattering cone that penetrates the trenches from above. The approach function (Doppler effect) only becomes effective on the sloping branch of the projectile trajectory. In the case of a fire command, explosive and proximity fuses are usually fired in direct alternation.
  • Flare ammunition with double fuse; has a lighting radius of one kilometer. The use of light sources has decreased because of the use of night vision devices and the risk of one's own discovery.
  • Smoke ammunition with double fuse; since the mist is carcinogenic, the use for training purposes has decreased. There is now an improved version of the fog that is less harmful to health.
  • Practice ammunition (blue) with impact fuse. A large part of the explosive filling has been replaced by an inert mass, but still contains explosives to indicate the impact.

An overview of the ammunition can be found in the list of Bundeswehr ammunition .

Tactically, different types of ammunition are fired alternately in order to significantly increase the effect on the target. In order to be able to fight entrenched troop units effectively, the VB (forward observer) must plan his fire commands in such a way that as little ammunition as possible is used, but the greatest possible effect is achieved. In this case, it is beneficial to let squad 1, squad 3 and squad 5 fire impact fuze with a delay, in which case team 2, team 4 and squad 6 fire proximity fuze. Delayed impact fuses, so to speak, “dug out” the enemy troops, and the proximity fuses gave the fragmentation effect from above. The next shot is then fired with an impact fuse with a delay instead of a proximity fuse.

At the end, two more impact fuses are usually fired without delay, which completely forced the opposing troops down. However, a rapid fire sequence is urgently required here in order to change position in a flash after the fire has stopped. Since the detection of high-angle weapons is quite simple, it quickly becomes a target of the enemy artillery.

Future with the Panzer Grenadiers

According to the Army, the service life of the 120 mm mortar runs until 2030, but the M113 carrier vehicles can only be used until 2025. A successor system for indirect fire has been considered over and over, but has not yet been decided (as of November 2017).


The vehicle is often jokingly referred to as the “1000-liter thermal bath”, as its appearance is reminiscent of the thermal containers used by the Bundeswehr to feed the troops. Another nickname for the vehicle is the "cookie jar" due to its aluminum armor and shape.

Web links

Commons : M113 anti-tank mortar 120 mm  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. There again: mortar and mine-layer. Eyes straight ahead, November 1, 2017, accessed November 2, 2017 .
  2. www.panzer-modell.de - picture of the steering wheel