Firing a ‘knee’ mortar.
When it came to weapons production, the Imperial Japanese Army’s requirements often came in second to the needs of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Army was an infantry-heavy organization that lacked much in the way of the modern heavy weaponry other armies enjoyed.
To help compensate for the lack of heavy weapons, the Imperial Japanese Army worked hard to develop large numbers of what were probably the best light infantrymen in the world at the time. Their creed stressed relentless offensive action seeking a quick decision and emphasizing spiritual factors including zealous dedication and fighting spirit. Night attacks were a true specialty, and their weaponry reflected their light and fast doctrine.
To offset their frequent lack of artillery, the Japanese augmented their firepower through the extensive use of mortars, the best and most cost-effective substitute for industry-intensive heavier artillery. Technically, Japanese light “knee” mortars at first…