artillery shell identification

By October 19, 2020 No Comments


World War I was referred to at the time -- and even still today -- as The Great War, involving numerous countries in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Figure 31  3.8-inch shrapnel shell (left) {WWI} and diagram showing how a shrapnel shell functions (right). Figure 35  Cargo shells: 105mm Howitzer M915 sectioned to show M80 submunition grenades {1990s} (left) and 155mm Howitzer M741 shell used to deliver antitank mines {1992}. Two types of projectiles use explosives to defeat hard targets: high-explosive antitank (HEAT) and high-explosive plastic (HEP). From the early 1900s to the present, more powerful high explosives (HE) have been used in explosive shells (Figure 18). Figure 28  106mm recoilless rifle M346A1 HEP projectile {1960s}. Semirimmed casings are denoted by the suffix SR. Rimless casings have no suffix that follows the diameter and length. Rimmed casings are denoted by the suffix R after the diameter and length. Figure 14  Cone stabilization (left) and fin stabilization (right). The markings identify data that is crucial to both the government and the person using the artillery shell. This is the lot number of the filler material, or the lot number of where the filling was placed inside the shell. The most common ones are rimmed, semirimmed, rimless, rebated, and belted. Antipersonnel shells, or APERS shells, are an improvement on shrapnel shells loaded with flechettes instead of lead balls. Combustible casings are normally waterproofed to keep them from getting damaged by moisture. Figure 23 shows a schematic and a photo of a typical HVAP projectile. Base-detonating fuzes also cause shells to function upon or shortly after impact.

Therefore the projectile is able to apply a greater stress on the target and stands a greater chance of defeating it. Figure 32  Diagram of a 105mm APERS shell. Most shells need a fuze to function. A marking of BE is indicative of its being produced at the Royal Ordinance Factory in Worcester U.K., both during WWI. Some stockpile ammunition from the mid 1800's was used as well, but this can prove difficult to find. (The ammunition pictured in the article was used by the United States unless otherwise noted. The lot number signifies where the ammunition was made, who made it and when it was made. It belongs below the candle at the bottom of the shell.

Armor piercing capped ballistic capped (APCBC). PDFs may be used in explosive and chemical shells. AP projectiles look a lot like base-fuzed common shells, but they are made from much harder steel. When shells are marked, it is easy to tell what kind of shell they are, what damage they will do, what lot number they came from and who manufactured the shell. The lead balls are called shrapnel (fragments from any other type of shell are shell fragments, not shrapnel). Figure 7 Recoilless shell casings. The cap keeps the hard-steel projectile body from cracking when it hits the target, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the projectile. Artillery Ammunition: Guns, Howitzers, Mortars, Recoilless Rifles, Grenade Launchers, and Artillery Fuzes (Federal Supply Class 1310, 1315, 1320, 1390), Department of the Army, December 31, 1986 . An M107 would be a commonly used shell. A shell casing may have several different styles of bases (heads). Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Figure 42  Powder train time fuzes. Figure 30 shows different canister projectiles. Proximity fuzes, also called VT fuzes, are used when a shell needs to function above or near a target. HVAP projectiles are made using a relatively light, usually aluminum, body to enclose a hardened-steel, tungsten, or depleted uranium core. HEP projectiles (Figure 28) are also called high-explosive squash head (HESH) projectiles. With separated ammunition, the shell casing is not attached to the projectile at all. // Leaf Group Lifestyle, United States Army: Interpreting Ammunition Markings and Color Codes, Small Arms Survey: Conventional Ammunition Marking. Home | Membership & Journal | Resource Center | Reference | Events | Contact | Forum, Copyright © International Ammunition Association Website Designed and Maintained by Aaron Newcomer.
Shell casings have been made from many different materials including brass, steel, aluminum, plastic, and combustible materials. The copper cylinders which holds the projectiles produced during this era all have the similarity of not having an extraction groove. Shrapnel shells were phased out of use by most countries by the end of WW2. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College. Figure 31 shows a photo of a shrapnel shell and a diagram of how they work. The drag is usually caused by fins although sometimes a cone may be used. APCBCs are APC projectiles (Figure 22) with the addition of a windshield to improve the aerodynamics of the projectile. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE  Questions or comments can e-mailed to the author at [email protected] With semifixed ammunition, the casing and the projectile still fit together,  but the shell casing can be removed to adjust the size of the powder charge. From left to right:  3-inch 50-caliber MK7 drill cartridge {WW2}, 5-inch 38-caliber drill round (casing section only) {WW2}, 155mm howitzer M2 dummy projectile {WW2}. These markings have several different purposes, but the main purpose for the labels is safety. If the date is between 1900 and 1918, then you have a round possibly used--or manufactured--during the time of the Great War. Technical Manual 9-1300-203, Artillery Ammunition, Department of the Army, April 1967. Figure 17  Base-fuzed common shells from left to right: 1.65-inch Hotchkiss {1890s-1900s}, 3-pounder (47mm) {1890s}, and 3-inch field gun {WWI}. Never assume that ordinance is inactive or inert no matter how old it is. When the explosives are initiated, the cone is inverted and turned onto a jet of molten metal and gas that punches a hole in the target. Figure 10 Damaged casings: Cut off British (left) and German (right) shell casings. Figure 14 shows fin and cone stabilizers for projectiles. Proof projectiles are used to ensure that weapons are strong enough to be accepted into service. The propellant can either be blackpowder or smokeless powder in the form of cylindrical grains of various sizes. Figure 41  Base detonating fuzes:  From left to right: 1-pounder (37mm) base fuze {Spanish-American War}, M66 base fuze used in 75mm, 76mm and 3-inch APCBC projectiles {WW2}, M534A1 base fuze for the 105mm M393A1 HEP shell {1960-1990}.

A more aerodynamic projectile means the projectile hits the target with a higher velocity and therefore more force than a nonballistically capped projectile. Often a collector encounters shell casings that have been altered. You should see a few markings depending on the age and surface condition of the cartridge. With most fixed, semifixed, and separated rounds of ammunition, the shell casing contains the primer. Chemical shells include smoke shells, teargas shells, and poison gas shells.

A casual observer, or ammunition collector, might enjoy knowing a little bit about the markings and what they mean as well. Figure 4  Draw steps for the 20x110 Hispano casing. Figure 36  Artillery shell submunitions. Although they are not always marked, they are usually well made, and so it is clear that they are legitimate shell casings and not just made by someone fooling around. The same letters used in the caliber and filler are used to identify the shell components. This helps the government keep track of where shells are sold, and it makes it easier to recall entire batches if an error is found. This is the number that tells what type of artillery shell it is, what type of device it should be used in and what it should be used for.

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