Modern mortars evolved from the so-called “Stokes Mortar”, but the basic principles still apply. This video gives you a short overview on mortars.
A modern mortar is a weapon that provides short-range indirect fire at high angles, usually between 45 and 80 degree. Unlike traditional (old) mortars it was relatively small and mobile, which made it well-suited for trench warfare and also maneuver warfare, because unlike unwieldy artillery it could be used directly by the infantry units at the front line.
Script and further information here: http://militaryhistoryvisualized.com/how-does-a-mortar-work/
Hogg, Ian V.: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ammunition
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Great video that shows the removal of several augmenting charges at around 3:00
—Notes on Accuracy & “Methodology”—
Note that the mortar shell and mortar are not of the same type (and diameter in real life), but the functionality is similar.
1) The depicted Mortar Shell is a 8cm Wgr 38.
2) The depicted detailed Mortar is roughly a Esperanza 60mm Model ‘L’ Mortar.
3) The depicted Mortars in the beginning are US M2 60mm mortars.