Original German WWI 1917 German Z.s.u.m W.M 17cm Mittlerer Minenwerfer Fuse with Transit Can

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent example of an inert time and percussion fuze for the WW1 Imperial German 17 cm Mittlerer Minenwerfer. Used to great effect throughout WW1 as a 'Trench Mortar' this fuse is correctly stamped Z.s.u.m. W.M (Werfe Mortar) and AEG17. It is made from Brass with an alloy cap and has a time ring which indicates that it could be used between 7 and 25 seconds before detonation. This is a nice original Axis Great War fuze in wonderful condition. It comes complete with its original; transit and storage can that features a screw off top, carry handle and partial original paper label still adhered to the exterior.

The weapon was developed for use by engineer troops after the Siege of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. It illustrated the usefulness of this type of weapon in destroying bunkers and field fortifications otherwise immune to normal artillery. It was a muzzle-loading, rifled mortar that had a standard hydro-spring recoil system. It fired 50 kilogram (110 lb) HE shells, which contained far more explosive filler than ordinary artillery shells of the same caliber. The low muzzle velocity allowed for thinner shell walls, hence more space for filler. Furthermore, the low velocity allowed for the use of explosives like Ammonium Nitrate-Carbon that were less shock-resistant than TNT, which was in short supply. This caused a large number of premature detonations that made crewing the minenwerfer riskier than normal artillery pieces.

A new version of the weapon, with a longer barrel, was put into production at some point during the war. It was called the 17 cm mMW n/A (neuer Art) or new pattern, while the older model was termed the a/A (alter Art) or old pattern.

In action the mMW was emplaced in a pit, after its wheels were removed, not less than 1.5 meters deep to protect it and its crew. It could be towed short distances by four men or carried by 17. Despite its extremely short range, the mMW proved to be very effective at destroying bunkers and other field fortifications. Consequently, its numbers went from 116 in service when the war broke out to some 2,361 in 1918.
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