New Zealand Field Artillery

Page 4 – Trench Mortar Batteries

New Zealand gunners loading a medium trench mortar, 1918

Trench mortars are small artillery pieces used to shell targets in a nearby enemy trench. They were basically short tubes which fired shells at steep angles. 

Trench mortar units were added to the New Zealand Division around April 1916 and reorganised in September. Each infantry brigade acquired a ‘light’ trench mortar battery, while the artillery acquired several ‘medium’ and ‘heavy’ batteries. 

NameUnit attached toCampaignsFurther information
1st New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1919)Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
2nd New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1919)Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
3rd New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery

New Zealand Rifle Brigade (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1919)

Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
4th New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade (Mar 1917 - Feb 1918)Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917.
 
V/New Zealand Heavy Trench Mortar Battery

New Zealand Field Artillery (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1918)

Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917
 
X/New Zealand Medium Trench Mortar Battery

New Zealand Field Artillery (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1919)

Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
 
Y/New Zealand Medium Trench Mortar Battery

New Zealand Field Artillery (c Apr 1916 - Jan 1919)

Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
 
Z/New Zealand Medium Trench Mortar Battery

New Zealand Field Artillery (c Apr 1916 - Feb 1918)

Western Front:
Somme 1916;  
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917.
 

Cloth patches, badges, shoulder titles and puggarees

Cloth patches worn by the (l to r) 1st, 2nd, 3rd light trench mortar batteries. Cloth patches showing a blue grenade on khaki were sewn on the backs of uniform jackets from October 1916 to identify which unit – or part of a unit – an individual belonged to.

NZFA badge

Cap badge: the light trench mortar batteries wore the insignia of their infantry unit, while the heavy and medium batteries’ cap badge featured a gun surmounted by ‘NZ’ in a scroll, and a crown. Below, a scroll reading Quo fas et gloria ducunt (Where right and glory lead). Collar badges: a seven-flame grenade.

Shoulder title

Shoulder title worn by the New Zealand trench mortar batteries.

The scarlet-on-dark blue puggaree (hatband) worn by all New Zealand Field Artillery units.

How to cite this page

'Trench Mortar Batteries', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/new-zealand-artillery/trench-mortar-batteries, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Mar-2017

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Trench Mortar Batteries

What do you know?