The Model 35 Brixia light mortar is a 45 mm caliber light mortar mounted on a legged base and designed for operation by two crew. The rear legs are fitted with a pad for the gunner to lay forward on behind the mortar, or sit upon when the situation allowed. A lever allowed for operating the breech and firing the weapon, while ammunition was fed in by the loader. Well trained teams could reach up to 18 rounds per minute, although operational rate of fire was less intense to avoid damage to the firing tube. The Brixia mortar differed from comparable World War II weapons in that it was trigger fired with the help of separate ignition cartridges to be fed into a special magazine, making the weapon more similar to modern cannon-mortars than conventional parabolic grenade launchers of the time.
At tactical level, an infantry battalion had 9 Brixia mortars assigned (rarely, up to 14). The Brixia mortar was assigned to a battalion’s mortar platoon, three squads with three mortars each, which were distributed to the companies. The heavier 81mm mortar was assigned to the heavy weapons company.
The Brixia was a complicated weapon and it was costly and lengthy to produce, but, in the hand of skilled operators was superior to other World War II mortars and could lay down very precise and intense curtains of fire. This was offset by the shells, which fragmented poorly and, due to the limited caliber, had a very light and low-yield warhead. The weapon served on every front where Italian troops were involved (North Africa, Balkans, East Africa, Southern Russia, France) and was also employed during defense of the homeland against invading allied troops and during clashes between RSI formations and Italian partisans, on both sides, due to many Italian partisans having a former military background it was one of the few support weapons which could be found in the hands of the local Resistance. Mortars captured by the Germans were given the designation 4.5 cm GrW 176(i).
Made of aluminum and steel, this item is in EXCELLENT used condition! It was manufactured between 1939 and 1945, and features MUCH of it’s original paint and finish! The pin and pull tab are also 100% original. Some slight marks and wear, but there are no breaks, damage, or cracks! A PERFECT item for any collection or display!