The Heavy Mortar is a larger support version of the standard Mortar used by the Imperial Guard. Its primary advantages are a wide range of ammunition types, a high rate of fire, and simplicity to construct and maintain.. However its massive size means the heavy mortar must either be towed into place by a Trojan or Centaur or mounted on a vehicle, most notably the Griffon Mortar Carrier.
While they were once quite popular with many Imperial Guard regiments, the use of heavy mortars has fallen out of favor in recent years, since for many commanders it lacks both the heavy firepower and long reach of much larger artillery pieces, limiting its use in box-barrages or counter-battery fire. Towed heavy mortars have become even less popular, being seen as too slow to keep up with advancing mechanized units, and have largely been regulated to PDFs and Siege Regiments.
For all their faults heavy mortars also have a number of advantages. They are an excellent close support weapons for engaging enemy infantry and light vehicles, freeing the heavier artillery for use against more appropriate targets, and can maintain a steady rate of fire for hours. Its versatility also allows it to fulfill a variety of other roles, from launching illumination shells during night battles or laying down a smoke screen before an infantry attack.
The variety of ammunition the heavy mortar can fire is part of what keeps it active on the modern battlefield. Below are a listing of some of the more well-known shells these weapons can launch.
- High Explosive Shells: HE shells are the standard round fired by heavy mortars capable of causing extensive damage.
- Frag Shells: Frag shells use timed warheads, designed to explode just above the ground in an airburst, in order to spread shrapnel over a wide area. Their primary use is against masses of light infantry in the open, or the exposed crews of heavy weapons.
- Melta Shells: Melta shells operate similar to other Melta Weapons, undergoing a sub-atomic reaction upon impact and releasing a blast of intense heat. Capable of melting vehicles and reducing troops to ash, it's primary use is against a dug-in enemy.
- Inferno Shells: Inferno shells contain a lethal cocktail of phosphorous and synthesized compounds based on chemicals used in Flamers. Upon impact, a small explosive charge spreads the deadly mix, which ignites on contact with the air, over a wide area. Capable of melting through armour and sticking to flesh, the chemicals will continue to burn long after the initial explosion.
- Siege Shells: Siege shells are fired on a high trajectory and fused to explode after having already buried itself in the ground. This makes it ideal for taking out buildings and bunkers by collapsing the foundation and causing it to cave in.
- Illumination Shells: Illumination shells burn brightly and slowly after they are launched, increasing visibility during night operations. The shell also deploys a parachute to slow down its descent.
- Smoke Shells: Smoke shells create a dense cloud of smoke upon impact, useful for hiding friendly forces from the enemy and creating a smoke screen.
- Lucius pattern
|Vehicle Name:||Heavy Mortar||Main Armament:||Heavy Mortar|
|Forge World of Origin:||Lucius||Secondary Armament:||N/A|
|Crew:||4 x Gunners||Elevation:||From +20° to +82°|
|Weight:||3.5 tonnes||Secondary Ammunition:||N/A|
|Max Speed - on road||N/A||Gun Mantlet||N/A|
|Max Speed - off road:||N/A||Vehicle Designation:||7556-307-9857-HMO3|
|Transport Capacity:||N/A||Firing Ports:||N/A|
- 1: Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 25
- 2: Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pg. 233
- 3: Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pg. 112