The basic premise of indirect fire is that the explosive projectile travels on an arc, with such a trajectory allowing it to land in a defile or atop a ridge. The result of such fire is often out of the sight line of the firer, but is dearly felt by the enemy. This means that, to the living, the results of destroying a human body remain as an intact mystery.
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The 60MM mortar leaves its short, dark tube relatively benignly, certainly more so than the direct fire flash and roar of machine guns or rockets. But therein lies part of its allure. There is a small wwhump and as the round leaves the tube there is a slow, almost languid passage. Over this short life you can watch the effects of a mathematical exchange between propellant charge and gravity, the moment at the apex of all flight where one cedes control to another.
You feel connected, watching the round’s rise and drop, and feel its certainty because it is the certainty of a natural scale. Not the flash and roar of a rocket or the futuristic flare of a tracer round. With the mortar you gain the out-of-body experience of flight and fall culminating with an exclamation point of dirt and dark smoke. And here comes the echoing refrain of a distant Krump, of high explosive and steel shrapnel forcing its way into dirt and rocks and maybe flesh. Slicing back through the air it traversed in its previous guise as aviary proxy.
And if you feel connected to the mortar, you might also feel connected to its outcome; a distant but incontrovertible fury, as you explode and pass through these items. You smell, ever so fleetingly, moisture, dirt, rot, iron, the burning of fabric and skin and hair. Slowing down as the energy is absorbed by the world, you come to rest in the quiet and damp of the ground, a ground whose qualities are not that different from the overcast skies above.
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The mortar’s life is that of a rainbow.
It is a pair of punctuation marks bracketing a whispered sentence that you might live to regret hearing.
The mortar's life is that beauty – it is the wounding of nature.