artillery shell identification

artillery shell identification

A LIVE SHELL OR ARE UNSURE IF YOU HAVE A LIVE SHELL, The copper cylinders which holds the projectiles produced during this era all have the similarity of not having an extraction groove. However, according to The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ammunition, they are called common shells because they were the common shell used against all targets. A shell casing may have several different styles of bases (heads). The propellant is packed into a shell casing or a combustible bag (a powder bag). They are typically used in armor piercing projectiles, common shells, HEP shells, and HEAT shells. A WWI casing will have a case rim, which is essentially the wider base of the cartridge, but no indention above it, which is an extraction groove. There are two broad categories of armor piercing projectiles. Plastic casings are normally injection molded (Figure 6). From left to right:  Diagram of a base-fuzed explosive projectile and nonexplosive projectile, MK29 APCBC projectile {WW2}. The stock numbers are strings of numbers 11 or 13 digits long. Early projectiles used lead balls as their load. This marking identifies the kind of explosive or filler that is present in the artillery shell. Figure 16 shows nosed-fused shells used in 1880s and 1890s era Hotchkiss revolving cannons. The explosive used in early shells was black powder, a low explosive. A casual observer, or ammunition collector, might enjoy knowing a little bit about the markings and what they mean as well. These rotating bands are added just to trap propellant gases behind the projectile. Smoke shells are used to provide smoke screens. The other information which will help you to determine its origin are the shell's measurements (base, bottom, top and sometimes neck diameter and full length). Drawing is probably the most common method of constructing casings. Figure 43  Mechanical time fuzes: MK25 mechanical time fuze, outside and sectioned view {ww2} and M564 mechanical time fuze {1980}. The balls then spread out and hit the target. They are typically heavy, solid, blunt-nosed projectiles. Figure 27 shows different HEAT projectiles. Illumination shells, sometimes called star shells, are used provide illumination to troops on the ground. A  British term for HVAP projectiles is armor piercing composite, rigid (APCR). Figure 32 shows a diagram of an APERS shell. Figure 24  Diagram of a German arrowhead shot. Typical illumination shells are nose-fuzed with an expelling charge just below the fuze that ejects the illumination candle out of the base of the shell. Proximity fuzes, also called VT fuzes, are used when a shell needs to function above or near a target. Base-detonating fuzes also cause shells to function upon or shortly after impact. Technical Manual 9-1300-203, Artillery Ammunition, Department of the Army, April 1967. The same letters used in the caliber and filler are used to identify the shell components. From left to right:  Photos 1 and 2 show the side and base of a coiled, three-piece, 37mm Hotchkiss [37x94R] {1884} casing; note the three rivets holding the casing together. Typically chemical shells are the same shapes as explosive shells. Later projectiles used steel balls, steel pellets, or flechettes (small darts). Figure 25 shows several APDS projectiles. Identify the cartridge body. Armor piercing projectiles are used to destroy armored vehicles or other hard targets. These casings are denoted by the suffix B. Questions or comments can e-mailed to the author at big_ordnance@hotmail.com. The nose section of a proximity fuze is typically made out of plastic to enable the radio or other waves to pass through it. Electrical time fuzes are recent time fuzes. Figure 39 shows an example of an illumination shell. This is the lot number of the filler material, or the lot number of where the filling was placed inside the shell. Figure 12  Rotating bands made from different materials. Artillery shells come with a Department of Defense ammunition code and a federal or national stock number. The British had numerous armories in many locations across the globe, so obtaining a head-stamp I.D.

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