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Dave Durango

42cm Magdeburg Polte Marine shell

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Dave Durango

I have a 42cm (16”) German artillery shell base. I researched the crest on the base, a crowned “M” denotes naval. All the other similar shells I have seen have a year and month stamped on the bottom. This one doesn’t.  It is approximately 16” tall as well. Does anyone know anything about it and it’s worth? 

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Wexflyer

I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that the largest German naval gun of WWI was of  380 mm/15" diameter. Shells for such large guns did not have cases. However, the Germans did use brass cases for their propellant charges, and this is presumably what you have - a cartridge case.

One example of a description of the German 15" gun is available at

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_15-45_skc13.php

 

Also, your photos do clearly show a year and a month!  - June, 1917.

Edited by Wexflyer

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bierast

This is for the 42cm M-Gerät (Dicke Bertha). I don't know what it's worth but it's a pretty rare and desirable piece as casings go!

 

http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cc/cc16.htm

http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cc/guide.htm

http://www.landships.info/landships/artillery_articles/42cm_M_Gerat.html

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Dave Durango
9 hours ago, Wexflyer said:

I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that the largest German naval gun of WWI was of  380 mm/15" diameter. Shells for such large guns did not have cases. However, the Germans did use brass cases for their propellant charges, and this is presumably what you have - a cartridge case.

One example of a description of the German 15" gun is available at

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_15-45_skc13.php

 

Also, your photos do clearly show a year and a month!  - June, 1917.

Usually, the month and year are spelled out, April 1917, instead of VI 17. Why would this be different? This is the only shell like this I have ever seen marked this way.

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Dave Durango
1 hour ago, bierast said:

This is for the 42cm M-Gerät (Dicke Bertha). I don't know what it's worth but it's a pretty rare and desirable piece as casings go!

 

http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cc/cc16.htm

http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cc/guide.htm

http://www.landships.info/landships/artillery_articles/42cm_M_Gerat.html

Thanks for the info, but these are all land artillery. Why does mine have the naval gun insignia, a crowned “M”?  Also, my research also agreed about the maximum size as well. That’s why I am confused

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trajan

Maybe this helps? All about the "The 42cm kurze Marinekanone 14 L/12 in Räderlafette (Short Naval Cannon 14 L/12), M-Gerät or 'Big Bertha' 

 

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_42cm_big_bertha.html

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Dave Durango

Thanks. I think that explains it. Does anyone know what it might be worth? 

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MikB
4 hours ago, Dave Durango said:

Thanks. I think that explains it. Does anyone know what it might be worth? 

 

No, but it must be the biggest from WW1 and I'd think very much too rare to have anything like an established market value.

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Dave Durango

Because the markings are so different on mine vs others I have seen with a manufacturing date, I wonder if it was a prototype round, before regular production. I have seen many with different numbers, but no markings like mine.

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Guest

This case looks naval to me, the short Bertha case was necked down. And had the smaller primer not the larger c/12 primer that this has. Is it possible this case has been cut down at some point ?

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MikB
3 hours ago, Ams38 said:

This case looks naval to me, the short Bertha case was necked down. And had the smaller primer not the larger c/12 primer that this has. Is it possible this case has been cut down at some point ?

 

Necked down from what?  I didn't think there were any other pieces  => 42cm. in German service at that time.

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Guest

I’m not sure, the case is on kaisers bunker web page. I was once told there was a taller case and a shorter necked down case. 

Ive noticed a few howitzers have a necked down case. The 30.5 cm i have is ever so slightly  necked down also the 18.5 cm howitzer is too. But I’m sorry I can’t tell you as to why. 

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Maj D

I have a German 16" (I think) shell casing with the following stamped on the base.  136, Polte, Aug 1917, Magdeburg, SP406.  I have been able to figure out all the marking except what the SP406 means.  This casing also has "CAMBRAI FEB 9th 1919 engraved on the outside of the casing.  Cambrai was the location of the first combined arms attack (tanks, infantry and artillery) undertaken by the Canadian army in WW1.

Does anyone have any clue on what this could/should be worth and any other information you may know. 

 

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steveJ
On 19/09/2019 at 18:35, Maj D said:

I have a German 16" (I think) shell casing with the following stamped on the base.  136, Polte, Aug 1917, Magdeburg, SP406.  I have been able to figure out all the marking except what the SP406 means.  This casing also has "CAMBRAI FEB 9th 1919 engraved on the outside of the casing.  Cambrai was the location of the first combined arms attack (tanks, infantry and artillery) undertaken by the Canadian army in WW1.

Does anyone have any clue on what this could/should be worth and any other information you may know. 

 

These are quite rare and can go for over £2,000 in provided it has not been cut down, yours might be devalued a bit because of the writing..

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Chasemuseum

Value is an interesting concept. Here in Australia, these are not that rare, they come up at clearing sales of houses every once in a while. A large quantity was brought to Australia after WW1 and sold through the Australian War Memorial (the at Prince Alfred Park in Sydney) in the 1920s as part of the process of raising funds to build the facility at Canberra. The 1920s guide books for the memorial have in the rear several pages of advertisements, offering German helmets, bayonets and these shell cases, "suitable for holding pot plants."

 

One of the strange factors affecting value is that it is essentially illegal to import or export a brass shell case from Australia. It is necessary to first obtain permission from the office of the Federal Government Minister responsible for Customs & Border Control. If a case is sent through the mail without permission it is subject to seizure and destruction while the individual responsible in Australia can and will be prosecuted.

 

Surely this cannot be so, the Army sell them by the tonne as scrap metal?

In 2004 I imported a 77mm shell case without permission and had to get permission after the fact for an article that had already arrived. I was able to get the permission, but with a warning that I had been a very naughty boy and not to do it again.

 

Also regarding height and function. This brass case is not a "cartridge case" as such. The shell is loaded separately into the gun and rammed in hard so that the rifling of the barrel engages into the copper driving bands of the shell. The charge bags of propellent are then loaded into the breach. These were typically quite long. Finally this short length casing is loaded. This houses the "primer" igniter system and a bag of igniter propellant which burns very rapidly and initiates the burning of the main propellent charge. The brass case  provides a gas check seal for the breach of the gun. So the projectile was never intended to be able to "sit" in the case, unlike the 10.5cm, 15cm & 21cm howitzer ammunition. These were also issued as separate ammunition components, with the number of propellent charge bags not required, removed from the cartridge case prior to the shell and cartridge case each being loaded separately into the breach. The case prevented the shell from falling back into the chamber when the barrel was elevated to the firing position. 

Edited by Chasemuseum
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