Scotland is home to vast areas of unused, sparsely populated land which makes it perfect for military training. In recent years, the boom in onshore wind energy has seen an increase in construction activity within rural Scotland. This has resulted in UXO finds in some areas left untouched since the 1940s.
The War Office requisitioned large areas of private land in 1940. This was in response to the threat of a German invasion of England. This led to much UXO contamination of civilian land. Consequently, mortar bombs can also be found in more surprising locations.
This UXO find is highly likely to have been one of four British WW2-era mortar calibres; 29mm, 2 inch, 3 inch, 4.2 inch. The former was predominantly a Home Guard weapon and the latter three were mainly used by the British Army.
A mortar is a simple infantry weapon. It fires a projectile in a high-arcing trajectory at low velocity. Mortar shells are usually cylindrical or teardrop-shaped. They deliver a range of effects including smoke, chemical and illumination.
A mortar bomb relies on a striker hitting a detonator for the charge to ignite. Any malfunctioning striker can remain in a very fragile condition.