US 36-Inch ''Little David'' Mortar

  • Artillery Thru The Age
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

While it’s “sight” would have created fear, the 36-Bore Inch Mortar known affectionately as  “Little David’’ was never intended for combat. Based in part on the massive German Krupp Railway Guns, capable of firing shells well over 8-miles, ‘’Little David’’ was built to test aerial bombs and ordnance. Weighing over 40-tons, ‘’Little David” was fitted with a special 180-degree, rotating cassion. This platform was built into a ground recession, reinforced by concrete. The Base (93,000-pounds) was roughly 15-feet deep and was reinforced by rebar. The barrel was 22-feet long and as stated, the gun featured a 36-inch bore. It took roughly 12-hours for “David” to be loaded for test. On average, the Gun could deploy a bomb as far as 6-miles. “Little David” was designed to support up to a shell weighing 4,000-pounds. By firing the shell up and over, Testers could evaluate the effectiveness of aerial bombs when they deployed over their target. Blast radius and depth tests were also conducted. ‘’Little David’’ spent it’s life at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Maryland)  through World War II. However, in 1945, it was greatly assumed by many – that although Germany had surrendered – Japan had not and appeared likely to continue fighting. This meant the eventual invasion of Japan. ‘’Little David’’ underwent a refit to allow the gun to be moved by (2) massive Artillery Tractors and supportive Cranes. In reality, ‘’Little David’’ was configured into a siege mortar. With the deployment of (2) Atomic weapons over Japan, Imperial Forces surrendered in August of 1945 – with ‘’Little David’’ never being deployed. Retired in the 1950s, ‘’Little David’’ was a display piece at The Army Ordnance Museum (Aberdeen), but was moved to Missouri when the Base was closed and The Army Ordnance Center was moved (2000s).