Roots of Israel’s Self Propelled mortars
The IDF standard M3A1 Mk-C type mounted a 81mm mortar on a rigid baseplate, which, during the first Arab-Israeli wars became the main tactical support weapon in tank and armoured infantry companies and battalions. Combat proven by insufficient firepower, it was followed by the Mk-D heavy mortar carrier, mounting the Soltam 120mm mortar. Initial firing tests on an AMX-13 chassis failed due to the excessive recoil (120 ton local pressure!) but an ad-hoc quite simple solution produced the answer. Instead of trying to absorb the recoil forces elastically, the Israeli technicians mounted the mortar base to the halftrack mass permanently, thus achieving an overall absorbtion of the recoil blast by the carrier spring mechanism itself. The Mk-D 120mm mobile mortar became a key element in IDF combat support for many years, until more technically advanced systems were locally developed by Soltam.
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