Hip Fired Mortar


Above is a couple of pictures of SOG 1-0 Joe Walker firing a 60mm mortar from the hip. Walker was famous for his recon team ( RT California) often packing a 60mm mortar with them on their missions across the border. Being outnumbered by absurd amounts with no quick artillery support, having a mortar on hand when a 9 man team made contact with PAVN forces would have gave a decisive advantage in those first few seconds or minutes. Besides the advantage of having heavier weapons that 556 carbines and 40mm grenades, the mortar would have given the impression of a larger forces which would cause hesitation when it came to a quick assault on a small team. That hesitation would have given the SOG men an extra few seconds to beat feet and get a life saving head start to a LZ or defendable location to wait for air support and extraction.

You can see from the recoil in the second picture how serious it would have been to fire the “knee mortar” in WW2. Everyone knows the story of Marines and GIs who thought the small Japanese mortar was meant to be fired off the upper thigh.


  1. I wish there was a note telling us for sure whether this was an M2 or an M19…

    M2, no trigger; firing it like this would have been a hell of a feat of coordination. M19, with its trigger? Piece of cake.

    I think it’s an M19, looking at the base of the tube, but what the hell was SOG doing with one, when the only people who’d adopted them were the Marines?

    Just another one of those mysteries, I guess. Kinda like one of my old bosses, who swore up and down he’d been issued the Browning Hi-Power he’d carried in Vietnam by his unit, and so had every other aircrewman flying gunships in his unit. Still don’t know what to think about that one…

    • There is no mystery to it at all. SOG had access to any weapons they requested regardless of whether the US Army or used it or any other military in the world. SOG used everything from the gyrojet pistol to welrods to stens to a jet fuel by product that created an explosive. Having a mortar the US Army didnt keep in any TO&E wouldn’t have keep them from getting something for even 2 seconds. Before restrictions on using US weapons on cross border operations were relaxed, the more oddball the better

        • I been intending to do some more stuff about SOG but I had to get that Civil War urge out of me first. I may do some SOG stuff next week I have a few things in mind. All that Civil War stuff really was intensive so I been taking a break from the longer history posts for a bit.

  2. I had a weapons book when I was a kid (no, not Jane’s Infantry Weapons, sadly) that had a section on mortars. I remember one manufacturer made a lightweight “commando” variant of one of their 60mm mortars. Instead of regular mechanical sights, sections of white tape were sewn into the carrying sling, with different strips corresponding to different firing angles. The gunner would place their foot in the sling, forming a triangle with the barrel of the mortar.


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