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The Northover projector - also known as the Northover mortar - was just one of the weapons developed to fill desperate need for replacement anti-tank weapons following the Dunkirk evacuation. A rudimentary weapon, the Northover was fitted to a mounting made from four simple tubes and a mounting plate, which was sufficient to absorb any recoil, and basic but accurate sights.
The Northover was quick and easy to produce in large numbers, and was basically a steel pipe with a rudimentary breech mechanism at one end. Ammunition consisted of standard rifle and hand Grenades fired by black powder, later supplemented by the No 76 phosphorus grenade, a glass bottle containing a Benzine/phosphous mixture.[N 2]
During 1940 the Northover was issued to units of the Home Guard as a standard weapon, with some examples going to regular units to provide limited anti tank capability. However, the use of standard rifle and hand grenades limited the probable effectiveness of the weapon. Use of the No 76 phosphorus grenade would have made the weapon more effective, but the glass bottles used to produce the No 76 grenade tended to break apart as soon as they were fired, which reduced the popularity of the weapon in service.
The Northover was usually operated by a crew of 2, with possibly another person responsible for spotting and designating targets. Many Home Guard Units modified their projectors for ease of movement, using handcarts and motorcycle sidecars. A lightened Mk 2 version was produced in 1941, by which time the urgent need for such pipe weapons had receded.
Few Northover Projectors have survived the war years, but stocks of the No 76 grenade have occasionally been recovered from their wartime hiding places.
- Calibre: 2.5in (63.5 mm)
- Projector: 60 lb (27.2 kg)
- Mounting: 74 lb (33.6 kg)
- Effective: 100 yards (91 m)
- Maximum: 300 yards (274 m)
- ↑ One Sussex Home Guard unit was photographed with their Projector mounted on a small hand cart for use as an anti aircraft weapon.
- ↑ Use of this grenade led to the Northover becoming known as a bottle mortar.
- ↑ Probert Encyclopaedia
- ↑ 2,0 2,1 2,2 2,3 2,4 Vorlage:War Machine Magazine issue 105 - Infantry Anti Tank Weapons of World War II