Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Model engineer T Shamir’s brass mini-mortar operates on the same working principles as the full-size weapons of war dating from the 15th century.

You’ll probably believe the destructive power of this tiny hand-crafted brass cannon only when you see it in action on the video.

Builder Shamir has added a gunsight to an earlier model he made, and has also refined the mortar’s bore, both of which improve firing accuracy. As you’ll see, its target-tracking is second to none.

The tiny weapon fires steels balls just 3.2mm (0.126in) in diameter, but they have enough hitting power to punch clean through an unexpectedly wide range of targets in Shamir's home.

The real thing
From the 15th to the early 20th centuries, very heavy siege mortars were used, with cast-iron throats ranging up to around 39in (100cm) in diameter. As early as the 1400s, mortars could lob cannonballs weighing a massive 260kg (0.26 tonne), to create massive damage when they hit. ‘Roaring Meg’ was another big mortar, used during the English Civil War. Smaller and more portable designs were introduced during World War I, primarily to bombard enemy trenches, attacks which took place at fairly close range. Both portable and mobile mortars are still used by many fighting forces today.

This 330mm (13in) mortar shown above was used in the American Civil War. Here the mortar, named ‘Dictator’ is shown in 1864. It could be mounted on rails for mobility.

Plenty of model militaria here.