The M224 Mortar is a gadget for the Support class in Battlefield 4. It is unlocked at 76,000 cumulative Support class points and occupies one of the two available gadget slots. Battlelog describes the M224 as a “remote-controlled 60mm Mortar that fires high explosive rounds using a terrain grid targeting system. Shells travel a ballistic path and may hit objects between the launcher and the intended target. Rapid fire is very inaccurate, single shells have great precision.”
The mortar in Battlefield 3 required the player to man the emplaced weapon the entire time it was in use, leaving them susceptible to enemy sneak attacks and keeping them out of the battle. In Battlefield 4, the mortar is now remote-controlled, allowing the player to place the mortar wherever they choose and get into the action. When they are ready to fire the mortar, the player uses a handheld device to control the gadget. The aiming screen is similar to the BF3 version, as it is a top-down view of the map, limited to the mortar’s firing range.
In normal game modes, the player has a targeting reticle on the firing screen. For some reason, this reticle is not present in hardcore mode and the player must attempt to center the map on the location they wish to fire. The player can then choose a location on which to fire, such as an armed Rush objective, or they can fire on spotted enemy targets. The Support must keep in mind that the mortar shell has a travel time, so with moving targets one must anticipate where they will be. While on the test range, I counted the travel time of the shells and found that minimum-range shells seem to take about four seconds, whereas max-range shells only seem to take about three. Minimum range for the mortar is about 30 meters, and maximum is around 280 meters.
The player gets a maximum of five shells at a time for the mortar. The mortar replenishes ammo automatically on a timer. It takes approximately 10 seconds for a new shell to appear in reserve. Therefore, a player should have a new volley of five shells available every 50 seconds. However, a player can choose to use only one or two shells at a time, which is advisable if remote-controlling the mortar from a location close to enemy lines. Once the first shell is fired, the reload timer starts.
When using the mortar firing screen, the view becomes that of the mortar, leaving the player unable to see threats to the soldier. If those threats are spotted, they can be seen on the targeting map if the player is within range of the mortar. The player must be careful not to fire on their own location, however, as you can kill yourself with your own mortar.
As an emplaced gadget, the mortar base can be destroyed by an enemy MAV, as well as enemy infantry who happen across it. Should a player try to use the mortar and find themselves unable to enter the targeting screen, that means the gadget has been destroyed. When the base is destroyed, the player is unable to use the mortar again until they respawn. Due to a bug that allowed unlimited mortar ammo from ammo bags, the mortar base/emplacement is no longer resupplied until the player respawns.
The mortar fires at an angle and cannot be placed directly behind tall objects or buildings. Doing so can cause the mortar shells to hit the object and destroy the emplacement with splash damage. Though shells are fired at a lower angle, they appear to drop at 90 degrees, or straight down. This gives the mortar the ability to hit close behind tall cover.
Typical uses for the mortar include:
* Firing on an armed objective in Rush to prevent defenders from defusing
* Firing onto rooftops to take out camping snipers
* Suppressive fire on enemy clusters
* Area prevention on vehicles and infantry – the mortar is not a highly effective tool for destroying vehicles, but firing on them encourages them to back off.