The M2 Mortar is a smoothbore, muzzle loading, high angle of fire weapon used by U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War for light infantry support. This is a M49A2 Mortar shell (reproduction) as used by some SOG teams when running "heavy" as a break contact weapon. When used like this the tube was used without the bipod and sighting device. A small base plate was used. This set-up can be seen on page 93 of Running Recon by Frank Greco. We will be moving the straps to reflect the one in the photograph.
The M49A2 HE round is painted olive drab. It consists of a hollow body, fin assembly that screws on the rear of the body, and M525 fuze that is attached to the front of the round. A TNT bursting charge is contained in the body and is ignited by the booster charge in the fuze upon impact. The fin assembly contains the ignition cartridge and provides a means for attaching the propelling increments. The fins keep the projectiles stable in flight.
Each round comes in a separate fiber container (as seen above) complete for firing.
The U.S. M2 60 mm mortar was developed from the heavier 81 mm M1 Mortar to provide a lighter-weight alternative to company-level fire support. The M2 attempted to bridge the gap between the 80 mm mortar and the hand grenade. Normally employed by the weapons platoon of a U.S. infantry company, the M2 is of the usual mortar pattern of the day. It consists of a smoothbore metal tube on a rectangular baseplate, supported by a simple bipod with the elevation and traverse mechanisms. The firing pin was fixed in the base cap of the tube, and the bomb was fired automatically when it dropped down the barrel. Though classed as a light mortar, the M2 had considerable range compared to the 50 mm and 60 mm mortars of most other nations, and its fixed-firing pin design allowed a high rate of fire by trained crews.