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German artillery shell manufacturers?


Doug504
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I'm looking for any information regarding German artillery shell manufacturers related to the great war.

I do have information regarding the various types of shell, their explosive charges etc in an excellent 1918 publication, "Notes on German shells - 1918", (I have this as a PDF if anyone is interested).

However, I'm still looking for details of the actual manufacturers and particularly where the steel and iron shell casings originated. Any information greatly appreciated.

Doug.

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My grandfather was a Feuerwehr-Offizier (Explosives Officer, linked to heavy artillery)and was head of inspections of produced artillery shells for an area of Germany; after the war he got tangled in a legal mess with the Werthheim family of department store fame. Seemingly they had two shell factories and they gave him a large bribe (during the war) to pass

defective shells they had made; he kept but did not cash the check and had the shells scrapped. In court after the war he produced the check and won the case, and then challenged

the patriarch of the Werthheim family to a duel with automatic pistols. When my father told me this I thought it was a joke, and my father said: "Certainly not. Your grandfather was an excellent shot, and fully intended to kill the son of a bitch." By not accepting the duel the Werthheimer was thrown out of the Reserve Officers' Association.

Just a lead, but I would be interested in anything you find out on this. But I suspect that you will find that there were hundreds of manufacturers.

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Hi Doug,

Interesting question. I suspect that Bob is correct and that there are a great number of manufacturers. Looking at the detailed list of U.K. manufacturers I have for 1916 the list for firms making shell steel and forgings covers over twenty pages. When the list for those firms making adaptors, gaines and fuzes is added the list is over forty pages long.

I have no idea whether the German supply system was the same involving a large number of firms and, indeed, whether if it did, a list is still available. However, I attach a photo of a list taken from German Weapons Uniforms and Insignia 1841 - 1918 by Major James E. Hicks (1963). You will see that he says that "Manufacturers' marks play no part in the identification of shells and guns, but a few of the better-known trade marks are given below for information". The marks given have, in fact, been sufficient to identify the few German shells in my collection.

Anyway, good luck with the search.

Regards,

Michael.

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My grandfather was a Feuerwehr-Offizier (Explosives Officer, linked to heavy artillery)and was head of inspections of produced artillery shells for an area of Germany; after the war he got tangled in a legal mess with the Werthheim family of department store fame. Seemingly they had two shell factories and they gave him a large bribe (during the war) to pass

defective shells they had made; he kept but did not cash the check and had the shells scrapped. In court after the war he produced the check and won the case, and then challenged

the patriarch of the Werthheim family to a duel with automatic pistols. When my father told me this I thought it was a joke, and my father said: "Certainly not. Your grandfather was an excellent shot, and fully intended to kill the son of a bitch." By not accepting the duel the Werthheimer was thrown out of the Reserve Officers' Association.

Just a lead, but I would be interested in anything you find out on this. But I suspect that you will find that there were hundreds of manufacturers.

Hi Doug,

Interesting question. I suspect that Bob is correct and that there are a great number of manufacturers. Looking at the detailed list of U.K. manufacturers I have for 1916 the list for firms making shell steel and forgings covers over twenty pages. When the list for those firms making adaptors, gaines and fuzes is added the list is over forty pages long.

I have no idea whether the German supply system was the same involving a large number of firms and, indeed, whether if it did, a list is still available. However, I attach a photo of a list taken from German Weapons Uniforms and Insignia 1841 - 1918 by Major James E. Hicks (1963). You will see that he says that "Manufacturers' marks play no part in the identification of shells and guns, but a few of the better-known trade marks are given below for information". The marks given have, in fact, been sufficient to identify the few German shells in my collection.

Anyway, good luck with the search.

Regards,

Michael.

Bob, Michael,

thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for the information you have supplied. I'll look into the details and references you have provided, sometimes it's these small pieces of data that enable the jigsaw to be put together. A brief outline of the proposed study is that the analysis of the composition of the metals of both German and British artillery shells by XRF analysis will enable the construction of a database to enable the identification of shrapnel fragments found in the field. This is a sub section of a larger project into soil contamination of Somme woodlands; i.e. have the battles of the Somme left a lasting legacy in the soils?

Again, thank you for the information supplied, full acknowledgement will be given if information is used in the project.

Doug.

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