Mattress (rocket)

Mattress was the term applied to ground-based British-devised multiple rocket launchers during World War II. Compared with the German and Soviet forays into this area (the Nebelwerfer and Katyusha launchers respectively) the western Allies deployed these weapons late in the war. Nevertheless, they did see useful service as artillery support during the crossings of the Rhine and the Scheldt rivers.

Land Mattress
Land Mattress (right) and German Nebelwerfer at the Canadian War Museum. The brass registration plaque on the Mattress reads Proj., Rocket 3in, No. 8 MK-1. A.C. Cars. 1945. Reg. No. 108
TypeMultiple rocket launcher
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
WarsWorld War II
Mass1,118 kg (2,465 lb)

ShellRocket length: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Rocket weight: 30.5 kg (67 lb)
Warhead: 3.18 kg (7 lb)
Caliber76.2 mm (3 in)
Muzzle velocity353 m/s (1,160 ft/s)
Maximum firing range7,230 m (7,910 yd)

Sea Mattress

The first multiple rocket launch system developed by the British was designed to be deployed on warships and landing craft and fired in support of troops in a landing action. The rockets were 5-inch cordite sticks and the launching system, known as a "mattress projector", was capable of projecting a salvo of 16 to 30 rockets 3,000 yards (2.7 km) in around 45 seconds. The weapon was also known as the stickleback.

For naval assault on beaches the specially-outfitted Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) - LCT(R) was devised, each of which carried over a thousand rockets intended to be fired en masse against targets on the invasion beaches and intended for saturating the defenders' positions with rockets. They were used in Italy and in Normandy.

Land Mattress

The so-called land mattress was a ground weapon named after its naval equivalent. Based on the British Z gun anti-aircraft rockets, it was tested in the summer of 1944 and saw some action with British and Canadian troops, with mixed results. The Land Mattress was based on the 3-inch-diameter (76 mm) tube of the RP-3 or "60lb" rocket used as an air-to-ground weapon with naval 5-inch shells as warheads, and consisted of a 16- or 30-tube launching system mounted on a towed carriage. The land version had an operational range of 8,000 yards (7.3 km). Rounds were fired at a rate of 4 per second. At the crossing of the Scheldt over a thousand rockets were fired in 6 hours.

See also


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