Thursday, March 08, 2018

Anti-Aircraft Gun & World War I Mortar

The Royal Canadian Legion, Heather Branch 357, occupies a place north of County Road 43 about 2.3 km east of Finch, Ontario. That Legion Hall displays two memorial artifacts: a 40-mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun, used by Allied Forces during World War Two, and a First World War 24-cm mortar.

The anti-aircraft gun on display is a Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun. Designed in the early 1930s, thousands of these guns were manufactured and used in a large variety of roles by many countries. This gun is mounted on a wheeled carriage.

The mortar on display is an IKO 24cm (9.5 inch) Schwerer Flügelminenwerfer, literally translated as heavy wing mortar, serial number 2715, manufactured in 1917. It was allocated to Finch, Ontario, and shipped there by Canadian Pacific Railway on December 20, 1922. The projectile fired from this mortar weighed 100 kg (220 pounds) and was stabilized with fins or wings. It had a range of 1,000 to 1,200 meters (1,093 to 1,312 yards). IKO was the German Ingenieurkomitee (Engineering Committee) that designed the weapon, with it's manufacture outsourced to private companies such as Maschinenfabrik Germania in Chemnitz, Oberschlesische Eidenbahn-Bedarfs-AG in Zawaszski, or Wolf Netter & Jacobi of Strasbourg. The carriage for this mortar consisted of bolted wooden beams that in most cases did not last. The base structure of this one is imbedded in concrete. About three hundered of these were manufactured. This is one of two known to exist in Canada. The other is on display at the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum in Shilo, Manitoba.