On the subject of Iranian mortar rounds…

On the subject of supposedly Iranian weapons in Iraq, something new to think about (with pictures, even)…

Left-Handed Leftist ponders a bit about markings on Iranian weapons, and how common latin characters are. Let’s compare some mortar rounds, shall we? Here’s a couple genuine Iranian 81mm high-explosive and white-phosphorous (very technically, “chemical weapons”) mortar rounds, taken directly from the manufacturer’s website (no, really):

81mm Iranian mortar rounds

Here’s an 81mm round, supposedly of Iranian origin, supposedly found in Iraq in January 2007:

Supposedly Iranian 81mm mortar shell

It’s taken from the Iranian weapons report, courtesy of Talking Points Memo.

The ribbed body is somewhat unusual, compared to contemporary U.S. mortar rounds, for example. Or so I thought. Check out this photo of Staff Sgt. Lance D. Wilson, taken on March 3rd, 1991, during Desert Storm. He’s holding an Iraqi mortar round in his hands – admittedly, it’s a 60mm round, not 81mm, but it seems pretty clear it has some kinship to both the rounds above.

Iraqi 60mm mortar round recovered in 1991

Here’s a crop from the Department of Defense’s high-resolution original. The markings are a little hard to make out, but it’s definately marked “60MM”, and some other markings, in sans-serif latin characters.

Iraqi 60mm mortar round recovered in 1991

According to several sources, the Iraqi army was one of the many armies to field an 81mm mortar. I don’t know where they got them from, but I think the possibility exists that the “Iranian” mortar round in the second picture above is actually Iraqi, with spurious markings.

Anyone have pics available of Iraqi 81mm mortar rounds to compare, by chance?

Uncle Sam kindly provides a photo of an Iraqi “82mm” (sic) mortar round found in 2003, without fuze:

Iraqi 81mm mortar round recovered in 2003

It’s cropped from this photo below:

Iraqi 82mm mortar rounds recovered in 2003

Look familiar? It should. Green ribbed body, highly uncommon eight fins, same fin profile as the “Iranian” 81mm “evidence” rounds… Folks, we have ourselves a winner, I think.

(Update: Mike Rivero is wrong about the Iranian website being a forgery.)

Published in: General, History | on February 12th, 2007| 8 Comments »

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  1. On 2/13/2007 at 11:10 am Clinton Kirby Said:

    Thanks for keeping me abreast of the latest. And thanks for the link. I know you’ll keep your eyes open. Great work!

  2. On 2/13/2007 at 2:03 pm silence Said:

    I’d really love to have links to your sources for these photos. Would you care to share?


  3. On 2/13/2007 at 2:09 pm Nemo Said:

    The first photo is from the Iranian company’s website, obviously;

    The second picture is from the “dossier”, of course, via TPM;

    The remaining images are from the U.S. military; I can’t link to them directly (stupid JavaScript), but you can find them at defenselink.mil by searching on various terms (like “iraq mortar”, “iraqi mortar”, and so on; I forget which exact searches came up with which images.)

  4. On 2/13/2007 at 2:30 pm silence Said:

    Found them!


    Thank you!

  5. On 2/13/2007 at 3:52 pm Nemo Said:

    Thanks for the links to the DOD files; I’ve included them in the body of the post.

  6. On 2/14/2007 at 3:32 am Hoary Said:

    More @agonist …

  7. On 2/14/2007 at 7:30 am woodchopper Said:

    I have just looked in “Janes Ammunition Handbook 2003-4” and the 81mm Mortar round pictured there was very similar to the aledged Iranian round (pictured above). The script was in the same font, size and position (below the ribs rather than above in the manufacturers photograph).

    So the Iraqi and Iranian rounds seem to be very similar. Its a small world.

  8. On 2/14/2007 at 11:43 am Bryan Said:

    Actually, the Soviets use and sell an 82mm mortar, while the 81mm is the US/UK standard size. The Iraqis would have both which could get real interesting in a night battle. It is interesting that the Iraqis label below the ribs, because the US, UK, and Iranians all label at the top.