Saving Private Ryan made us ask the question: Could you really throw mortar rounds like a grenade?

Many were skeptical. In fact, if you’re going to search on google, you’d see forums asking about whether it’s real or not. To tell you shortly, it is indeed possible.

Saving Private Ryan Scene

Private Ryan striking the mortar round
Private Ryan striking the mortar round. © DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount Pictures

In the scene, the troops are defending the bridge at the fictional French town of Ramelle against German SS Panzer Grenadiers and Wehrmacht infantry supported by a mixed bag of armor. They have been baited into attacking Capt Miller’s prepared ambush but threaten to outflank Miller’s group and force them out of cover and into the open. Miller’s men are low on ammunition and out of grenades, and all that’s left are mortar rounds. Private Ryan told him that they could use those without the tube. He then begins smashing the rear end of the rounds on a piece of metal to trigger them before chucking them at the German soldiers. The rounds explode on contact with the ground throwing dead Germans in all directions.

Launching The Mortar Round

To understand how this is possible, let’s look at how these mortar rounds work.