The makeshift mortar looked like something from an old pirate ship, and it took the Kurdish fighters several days to figure out how to use the improvised weapon seized in a skirmish with ISIS.

When they finally did, they crouched behind sandbags and launched a series of homemade shells found with the device at a village held by the terrorist group a mile away. As each projectile blasted off from the 8-foot tube mounted on a pair of tires, culminating in a puff of smoke on the horizon, members of Kurdistan’s army, known as the Peshmerga, laughed and slapped each other on the back.

”I hope they felt it like I felt the pain I felt in my arm,” said a soldier named Ali, still nursing a wound from the recent fight near Sinjar where the curious armament had been found.

The incident, which occurred last week in Kurdish-held territory on the plains just north of Mosul, typified the resourcefulness of both sides. A makeshift rocket launcher crafted from spare parts and ingenuity found in the aftermath of a battle and then turned on its builders.