Ukrainians pleasantly surprised – M120 mortar is easier to use than they thought – Technology Org

Mortars are extremely useful weapons, allowing to deliver strikes deep behind the front lines to unsuspecting enemies. They can be relatively light and quite precise. Furthermore, they are quite cheap to use. However, when the defenders of Ukraine learned that they would be using M120 mortars from the US they were slightly reluctant, because they were afraid these weapons would need a lot of maintenance.

M120 mortar weighs around 145 kg, but its effective range is around 7.2 kilometers.

M120 mortar weighs around 145 kg, but its effective range is around 7.2 kilometers. Image credit: The US Army via Wikimedia

A 120 mm mortar is a great weapon to have, because it is still fairly light, its ammunition (technically called bombs) is not too large to deal with and the blow it delivers is substantial. 120 mm mortars are way stronger than 60 mm ones, even if more difficult to move. Both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers are using 120 mm mortars in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

As part of the Western military aid to Ukraine, the defenders of the country have received M120 mortars. ArmyInform has recently spoken to one of the operators of the system and he (Pegasus) revealed that he was concerned about maintenance. Soldiers went to Germany to learn to use these weapons and soon their concerns were deleted – the M120 was easier to use and maintain than the Soviet counterparts.

“We like the equipment very much. We can work calmly and peacefully at night, without uncovering our position, like it would be with our old mortars, where the scales of which have to be highlighted with flashlights. Most of all we were afraid that the equipment would be strange, but it’s nothing like that,” Pegasus said.

The US soldiers have been using the M120 mortar since 1991.

The US soldiers have been using the M120 mortar since 1991. Image credit: USAF, Wikimedia

The M120 mortar is Soltam K6 – 120 mm mortar developed in Israel and used by many countries including the US. One such mortar weighs almost 145 kg, but can be quickly dismantled for a quick transport.

Usually 120 mm mortars are transported using Humvees, trucks, and other vehicles, because bombs are quite heavy. The defenders of Ukraine have noted that the M120 mortar feels lighter and more comfortable to operate than the old Soviet ones.

It’s also quick – its maximum rate of fire is around 16 rounds per minute (depending heavily on the performance of the crew). But usually, it fires a sustained 4 rounds per minute. A crew of 5 is needed to operate the M120 mortar effectively. The range of the M120 mortar is around 7.2 kilometers.

An interesting feature of the M120 mortar is the ability to fire lighter 81 mm bombs – this is achieved by using a special insert.

Ukraine has received a huge number of different weapon systems from its Western allies. This is both a blessing and a curse, because learning to operate all of those weapons and maintaining them is a difficult task. However, Western militaries have revealed that Ukrainians are quick learners – they definitely do not lack motivation.

Source:, Wikipedia.

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