The Stokes Mortar came in three parts: the firing tube (43 lbs), the base plate (28 ibs) and the bipod (37 obs), a total of 108 lbs. The mortar was fired by dropping an 11lb shell down the tube onto a firing pin at the base of the tube. This set off a shotgun-like blank cartridge and this in turn ignited propellant rings attached to the mortar shell. The angle of the bipod could be adjusted to increase or decrease the range and the shell could be fired to a maximum range of 800 yards. The safe minimum distance was 100 yards.
Like the Lewis Gun, the Stokes Mortar provided the infantry with integral fire support that could move forward with the troops in the attack. Its simplicity and light weight meant that it was relatively easy to replace injured crews and ammunition supply could be maintained by distributing ammo to the advancing troops.