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Soldier manning a Crapouillot mortar

The mortier de 58mm type N°2 was a medium trench mortar designed around the last weeks of 1914 by commandant Duchêne. One of the first pieces of standard-issue trench artillery of the French army, it consisted of a heavy baseplate and 58mm mortar firing finned bombs ranging in caliber from 60mm to 200mm, which were fitted in the muzzle of the gun on metal poles containing the propellant.

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  French soldiers carrying another model of the Crapouillot’s projectile, with more accurate proportions than the above illustration.

Although a successful design issued to various Entente power, the Crapouillot mortar alone could not fill the army’s requirement for trench artillery and was complemented by a slew of improvised grenade launching weapons. By the end of the war and with a production run of three full years, the mortiers de 58mm made up 70% of all French trench mortars.