Turkish Improvised Trench Mortar : Maidos, Gallipoli

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Kilid Bahr Area, Maidos
Accession Number RELAWM00344
Collection type Technology
Object type Artillery
Physical description Steel, Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made Ottoman Empire: Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Crude improvised mortar. It is made from a 75 mm artillery shell casing clamped onto a roughly carved wooden stock. One end of the stock has been carved out so the shell casing sits securely in place there is then a 'zig zag' section carved in the middle, possibly to assist in holding the item and then a butt has been carved at the other end. It is held together with steel bands bolted together. There is a hole through the base of the butt - possibly to attach it to a metal plate.

History / Summary

This improvised Turkish mortar was found on a rubbish dump at Maidos near the Turkish Barracks in January 1919 by staff of the Australian War Records Section (AWRS). A small party of AWRS staff, led by Lieutenant William Hopkin James, worked on Gallipoli between December 1918 and March 1919, taking photographs and collecting items for the national collection.

Another improvised mortar, similar in design to this one, was found in the newly captured Lone Pine trenches in August 1915 (see photograph G01337 and artwork ART13625), indictaing there was a number of improvised mortars of this design made by the Turks. Witnesses note that they hurled a cast-iron bomb the size of a cricket ball, which did considerable damage.