Original U.S. Vietnam War Inert M302 “WP” 60mm Mortar Smoke Round With M52A2 PD Fuze - Dated 1973

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a Vietnam War M302 Willie Pete Smoke round for the US M2 60mm Mortar System. The M302 is completely inert in accordance per the current guidelines set out by the BATF and is no longer able to be used as an explosive device.

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The M302 White phosphorus Cartridge (WP): A "bursting smoke" shell used as a signaling, screening, smoke-producing, and casualty-producing shell.

Unlike regular smoke shells of the period, which used a "hot" chemical reaction to generate a smoke cloud, the white phosphorus shell detonates to expose its filler to the air, causing it to spontaneously ignite and generate a thick cloud of white or grey smoke. It also sets combustible materials in its radius of effect on fire, causing secondary smoke sources. If personnel are hit by burning white phosphorus, the fragments will continue to burn inside the wound. They need to be evacuated to a hospital to have the fragments removed under special conditions.

This example is in lovely condition though it was repainted and appears to have had a hole that was patched, but we did however use a bore camera to inspect the interior and there is no evidence of a hole having been cut and could just be an area of heavy paint.

The M302 and the M302A1 differ only in minor dimensions and in the presence of the 51-millimeter (2.00-inch) fin extension on the M302A1. The M302A2 is identical to the M302A1. They are a semi-fixed, fin-stabilized, central bursting type mortar used with WP for spotting, screening, anti-personnel and limited incendiary effects.

The mortar is composed of six major components - the body, PD fuze (M52A2) dated 4-53, fin assembly, propelling charge of four increments (not included), ignition cartridge and primer(not included).

The body is a thin-wall steel casing with cylindrical sidewalls and a conical base which is threaded to receive the shaft of the fin assembly. The front end is closed with an adapter that holds the fuze and the burster casing. The burster extends about three fourths the length of the cavity, which upon functioning bursts the casing to release the chemical contents. The body is painted gray and does not have any stenciling present, however, there are factory stamping still visible: KVS-3-9-73-60MM-M302. The fin assembly is painted the same color as the body and not the original black.

A lovely example ready for display.

M2 Mortar
The M2 Mortar is a 60 millimeter smoothbore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used by U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War for light infantry support.

The U.S. M2 60 mm mortar was developed from the heavier 81 mm M1 Mortar to provide a lighter-weight alternative to company-level fire support. The M2 attempted to bridge the gap between the 81 mm mortar and the hand grenade. Normally employed by the weapons platoon of a U.S. infantry company, the M2 is of the usual mortar pattern of the day. It consists of a smoothbore metal tube on a rectangular base plate, supported by a simple bipod with the elevation and traverse mechanisms. The firing pin was fixed in the base cap of the tube, and the bomb was fired automatically when it dropped down the barrel. Though classed as a light mortar, the M2 had considerable range compared to the 50 mm and 60 mm mortars of most other nations, and its fixed-firing pin design allowed a high rate of fire by trained crews.

During the late 1920s, the US Army began examining mortars to act as a light infantry support weapon. The War Department eventually settled on a 60 mm design from Edgar Brandt, a French ordnance engineer, and purchased a license to build the weapon. The model was standardized as the Mortar, 60 mm M2. Testing took place in the late 1930s, and the first order for 1,500 M2 mortars was placed in January 1940.

The weapon was used throughout World War II by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. It saw service again in the Korean War, and by French forces in their counterinsurgency campaigns in Indochina and Algeria. It was used under designation m/952 by Portugal during the Portuguese Colonial War. During the Vietnam War, the M2 was again used by the U.S. Army and Marines, as well as by South Vietnamese forces. Ultimately, the M2 was replaced by the M224 in 1978.

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