- Years of issue – 1939 – 1945
- In total, 165,557 units were produced.
- Caliber – 82 mm
- Weight in firing position – 56 kg
- Calculation – 4 people
- Rate of fire – up to 25 rds / min
- The greatest firing range – 3040 m
- Direct shot range – 100 m
- Shooting angles:
- Horizontal + 3 ° + 30 °
- Vertical + 45 ° + 85 °
The first Soviet battalion 82-mm mortar was created in 1934 – 1935 by the designers of the “D group” from the Gas-Dynamic Laboratory of the Artillery Research Institute under the leadership of N.A. Dorovlev and in 1936 was adopted by the Red Army.
The combat test of the 82-mm BM-36 mortars of the 1936 model passed in battles with Japanese troops near Lake Khasan and the Khalkhin-Gol River and earned high praise from the troops, but during the hostilities a number of flaws in their design were revealed, including a small angle horizontal guidance and the need for complete disassembly of the mortar when transferred to the battlefield. At the same time, along with the development of the “Group D” mortar, the development of a new battalion mortar was actively carried out in Leningrad, in SKB-4 of the artillery plant No. 7 “Arsenal” them.Frunze, where an initiative group was created, which included highly qualified designers B.I. Shavyrin, E.A. Yagupov and G. D. Shirenin. Their new mortar was an improved version of the BM-36. While maintaining the original design of the mortar, almost all of its elements were modified taking into account the requirements of mass production. The mortar has a new, more rigid membrane-type base plate of a round shape with a side cut, while the BM-36 had a rectangular base plate, which corners were deformed during firing.In addition, the design of the two-legged carriage has changed, in particular, the spring travel of the shock absorber has been increased and the sight mount has been improved. The main tactical and technical data of both mortars coincided: the mass of the mine was 3.1 kg, the firing range was up to 3040 m. However, the mass of the new mortar was 56 kg – almost 8 kg less. The striker height decreased from 26 mm to 8 mm, the shock absorber travel was increased. The mortar had a relatively high practical rate of fire – 15 rounds per minute, and without correcting the aiming up to 25 rounds.
The mortar was disassembled into three parts: a barrel with a breech, a two-legged carriage and a base plate. Three human packs were designed to carry him. The Shavyrin mortar became easier to manufacture and provided the calculation with ease of maintenance. When creating a mortar, much attention was paid to improving the manufacturability of its design – about 90% of all mortar parts were manufactured in 5-7 accuracy classes, the use of alloy steels and non-ferrous metals was minimized. All this greatly facilitated the organization and deployment of mass production of mortars during the difficult war years at machine-building plants with medium and weak technical equipment, which had previously produced civilian products.
Thanks to the measures taken, the production of one 82-mm mortar of the 1937 model required only 182 machine-hours (for the manufacture of the 76.2-mm F-22 divisional gun, 1202 machine-hours were required, that is, almost seven times more). After a series of tests in February 1939, it was adopted by the Red Army under the name “82-mm battalion mortar model 1937” (BM-37).
Made according to a rigid scheme (without recoil devices), the design of the 82-mm mortar of the 1937 model became the basis for the creation of all subsequent Soviet battalion mortars. It consisted of a barrel, a two-legged gun carriage, a base plate and sights. To produce a shot, the mine was lowered by the stabilizer (tail) into the muzzle of the barrel, which, under its own weight, slid down the barrel bore, and was pierced by the primer-igniter of the tail cartridge (main charge), located in the mine stabilizer tube, onto the drummer screwed into the bottom of the breech.The fire of the capsule ignited the powder charge of the tail cartridge and, under the pressure of the powder gases, the mine flew out of the mortar barrel. The tail cartridge was the smallest charge; therefore, when firing with only one tail cartridge, the firing range was the smallest (from 100 to 475 m). To increase the firing range, additional gunpowder charges-boats were used, which were reinforced between the feathers of the stabilizer at the six-footed mine or ring charges in the ten-footed mine, which were put on the stabilizer tube of the mine. To ensure the best flexibility of the fire, several additional charges were used.
The two-legged carriage served to support the barrel, give it the required elevation angle and produce horizontal guidance. Therefore, all guidance mechanisms were mounted on a two-legged carriage: lifting, swivel and leveling mechanism. The two-legged gun carriage was put on the barrel with a clip. At the time of the shot, the recoil force was perceived by the membrane-type base plate, which, when fired, was pressed into the ground. To reduce the recoil force, which at the same time experienced the biped-carriage, it was connected to the barrel with a spring shock absorber, which softens the blow.A mechanical mortar sight MPB-82 was used as sighting devices. For firing an 82-mm mortar of the 1937 model of the year and all subsequent models of mortars of this caliber, 82-mm fragmentation six-feather and ten-point mines, as well as smoke and propaganda six-feather mines were used.
In the course of hostilities, captured German 81-mm mortar mines were often used for firing 82-mm mortars. Due to the small difference in caliber, the firing accuracy decreased slightly, but remained quite acceptable. In this regard, it is interesting to note that Soviet mines were not suitable for firing from 81mm German mortars. For an 82-mm battalion mortar weighing 56 kg, which was disassembled for carrying into three parts (barrel with breech, biped – gun carriage and base plate), human packs were designed, allowing it to be carried on the back of three numbers of mortar crew. Ammunition for these mortars was also carried in trays on human packs.
The 82-mm BM-37 battalion mortar of the 1937 model was intended to suppress firing points, defeat manpower, destroy wire barriers located behind shelters and inaccessible to flat small arms and artillery fire, as well as located openly. 82-mm battalion mortars were a powerful means of fire support for the actions of a rifle battalion, allowing them to solve fire missions at a distance of up to 3000 meters. On June 22, 1941, in the Red Army, they were in service with the battalion’s mortar company (6 mortars).In the first period of the war, 82-mm mortars were used centrally as part of separate mortar battalions in rifle regiments, but already in the second half of 1942, mortar companies were returned to rifle battalions, which significantly increased their firepower and independence in battle.
The BM-37 mortar was first successfully used in May – September 1939 during the battles with the Japanese invaders in the Khalkhin-Gol River region, where it proved to be especially effective for defeating enemy infantry in trenches and on reverse slopes. The war with Finland proved all the advantages of battalion mortars, therefore, by the beginning of World War II, the production of these mortars was already in full swing. By June 22, 1941, the Red Army was armed with 13,000 82-mm mortars of the 1937 model. Battalion 82-mm mortar model 1937 during the Great Patriotic War was most widespread in the units of the Red Army, being the main example of this type of weapon.
Parts of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front suffered heavy losses from the 82-mm BM-37 mortars. So, only one mortar company of the 478th Rifle Regiment of the 320th Rifle Enakievo Division under the command of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Lieutenant I.M. Safonova destroyed 37 machine guns, 7 artillery pieces, 15 vehicles, 530 enemy soldiers and officers and blew up an ammunition depot.During the period from 1941 to 1945, the battalion mortar underwent design changes several times, so that the troops had three main types of this mortar, which differed from one another in the arrangement of the leveling mechanism, sight attachment and some other parts. For the first time, the 82-mm BM-37 mortar underwent a number of design changes in 1942. It differed from the mortars of a later release in that the mechanisms of rough and precise leveling in it were located directly on the right leg of the biped-carriage.
The mortar was equipped with a mechanical sight MP-82Us. In 1942 – 1943, an 82-mm mortar of the 1937 model of the second model was produced. It was distinguished by the device of the precise leveling mechanism and the method of fastening the sight (since these mortars were equipped with a mechanical sight MPB-82), the presence of a level on the swivel, as well as the profile of the thread of the lead screw of the lifting mechanism, which is rotated 180 ° in comparison with the profile of the thread of the mortar screw of the latter release.
In 1943 – 1945, the production of the third model of the 82-mm mortar of the 1937 model was mastered. Its main design features were the presence of a swinging sight, and the associated lack of an accurate leveling mechanism. All three 82mm mortar models had the same ballistic characteristics and used the same ammunition. On the march, mortars and ammunition were transported on specially designed horse-drawn mortar carriages or on vehicles available in the troops (motor vehicles, utility carts, sledge sleds, etc.).where one or more mortars with an appropriate set of human pack devices, spare parts and trays with mines were placed. The mortar crews were also transported by motor vehicles. In mountain rifle and cavalry units on the march, mortars and ammunition were transported on horse packs. When crossing short distances on the march (up to 10-15 km), as well as when changing the firing position, mortars and mines were carried by the crew on special human packs.
The 82-mm modernized battalion mortar of the 1937 model, with the base plate of the 1941 model of the mortar with a swinging sight and a safety guard against double loading, was produced for a long time in the post-war period and is still in service with the Russian army. Mass production of 82-mm battalion mortar model 1937 was mastered at many factories, including: No. 7 (Leningrad), No. 221 “Barricades” (Stalingrad); them. Kirov (Leningrad). In total, during the war years in the USSR, about 348 thousand different mortars were fired, of which 165 557 82-mm battalion mortars of all modifications were manufactured in 1939-1945.