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Remembered Today:

Salvage shell casings


Prussia
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I was recently shown a brass shell casing for a 4.5 howitzer that was stamped 1916 on the circumfrence of the base but 1917 on the centre. I was told that this was becuase the shell casing had been re-filled and used again. Do any members know if this is correct as i thought that the casings were salvaged to be melted down and re-cast?

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I'm no expert on this, but are the stampings on the same bit of metal, or is one on the main base and the other on the inserted round central section where the percussion cap is?

If they're on different bits it could mean that these were manufactured separately, and at different times, and the whole thing later put together at a filling factory?

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Yes, the casings were salvaged and re-used wherever possible. A brass case was very expensive and complicated to manufacture. The percussion cap that fits in the centre will of course be renewed each time. This is why it is quite common to find for example a 1916 dated cartridge case with a 1917 or 1918 central percussion cap. If you look on the base of a British 18 pdr case you will see CF (for Cordite Filled) and maybe another F or two - each one is a re-fill.

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Thanks Max

That's it!

Exactly as per the example shown to me.

I presume that wear and tear were were checked for in the filling factory?

Just on the off chance, do you know if if these types of re-used casings were more prone to prematures or not?

Malcolm

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The salvaged cartridge cases are put through stringent examination before being refilled, you will not get a premature in a cartridge you perhaps will get a hangfire from damp propellant. There are three types of premature, 1. Bore, self explanatory (with the bore of the piece) 2. Muzzle, within 100 mtrs of the muzzle. 3, In Flight, within the line of the trajectory.

John

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The Canadian Salvage Corps return for April / May 1917 following Vimy Ridge includes the following recoveries:

Cartridge cases 4.5 in, Howitzer, 10,706, worth £2,477

Cartridge Cases 18 Pdr, 98,098, worth £32,870

Regards

TonyE

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Thanks very much for the interesting replies. I've certainly learnt a lot from the postings as this is a subject on which I know very little.

One last one on this topic, which I hope does not appear too daft but is in response to the reply regarding premature detonations from John.

Are are the explosions in the bore refered to in the previous reply due to faulty ammunition or faulty manufacture of the barrel primarily? Were there any british artillery pieces or ammunition that were particulary prone to this event. I have a recollection of reading somewhere that the "graze fuse" had a particularly bad reputation in this respect? Were there any artillery pieces that had a similarly bad reputation?

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I cannot help either with KUZ. They must have been a new case producer in 1917 as they are not shown in the Ministry of Munitions 1916 edition if the "List of Firms, giving Trade Marks and Initials".

I would be very interested to know who they were.

Regards

TonyE

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Tony,

'List of Firms giving Trade Marks and Initials'???

I have been looking for that for some time.

Could you give me a reference for it?

Where did you find it?

I have completely overlooked this document and am very interested in a copy.

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Simon

I have had my photocopy for over twenty five years. I originally got it from the Canadian War Museum along with other Min of Mun contract listings. I am not sure if there is a copy in the PRO since I have never searched, already having one. There certainly ought to be.

Email me off board at aoe.303@tesco.net

Regards

TonyE

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