Original U.S. Vietnam War INERT 81mm Mortar M301A3 Illumination Round with Deactivated Fuse - Dated 1972

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a totally inert/deactivated example of the 81mm M301A3 Illumination Mortar Round. The device has no explosive filling or charges and cannot be converted to be an explosive device. This is completely inert and in compliance with BATF guidelines on inert ordnance. Not Available For Export.

The 81 mm Mortar Illumination Round is used for the illumination of target areas during night missions or low-visibility conditions. The round functions by way of a time fuse, at a height of 400 m wherein the front and rear body are split, ejecting the parachute and illumination kit. The round is delivered as a ready-to-fire in 2-round containers, equipped with a fuse and charge system.

The complete round consists of a body tube and tail cone assembly, an illuminant candle, and parachute assembly, a time fuse with a built in expelling charge, a fin assembly with propellant charge, and an ignition cartridge with percussion primer. The nose of the thin walled steel tubing body is fitted with a steel adapter and internally threaded to accept the fuze. The tail cone is internally threaded to accept the tin assembly, and is attached to the body tube with four equally spaced shear pins. The illuminant assembly consisting of a first fire charge and an illuminant charge, is contained in a box board case and attached to the parachute with a 30-inch suspension line.

Cartridge has a cylindrical body that contains an illuminating candle and parachute assembly. The round has a burst height of 400 - 600 meters and provides illumination for about 60 seconds for an area of about 1,200 meters. It is painted white with black markings. It uses the M185 propelling charge that consists of eight increments fitted into the spaces between the fins and held by a propellant holder. The increments are individually wrapped with waterproof bags that are not removed.

The round measures a total length of 25” and the main body is painted white, for easy identification in the dark, when these were usually used. The tail fin assembly is aluminum and unpainted, attached solidly to the body with crimped finger washers, so it cannot be removed. It does not look to have been fired previously. The fuse is able to be removed, allowing the empty interior of the round to be inspected..

There is minor surface rust and wear present on the tube body, making the markings somewhat obscured. We can make out the faint ILLUM / 81MM / CTG M301A3 stencil on the side of the body. There is also the year and round designation stamped into the metal:

GR 2 48 7 1972 - 81MM M301A3

The fuse also appears to be dated 1970 with the tail fin assembly being dated 1971.

A very nice example with great period markings! Comes ready to display!

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