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Help With Positive ID Of 37mm M1916 Round-Oh, And Is It Live?!


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I hope this is okay to post here, because, if I'm right on the ID, the US did use them some-but please correct me if I'm wrong. I picked this up over the weekend, and now I'm kind of worried. I saw the primer had not been struck, but figured that it may be just an insert or empty primer. The case itself doesn't feel dense as you would imagine one with powder in it to be. The projectile end is heavy, and when you tilt it back and forth (no I didn't shake it!), you can hear something rattling around. It is hard to tell if the rattling is coming from the projectile or shell casing. I emailed pictures to a friend, and he said that he believed it to be a 37mm French round, and he thought that some of them had a glass fuse in them. I'm worried now that that may have been the sound! I took the round and gently wrapped it up, and placed it in an ammo can. I then took it 100 or so yards from my house and placed it in the shade of a bush on my property. I don't know how to know if it's live, and if it is, I'd hate to have something historically significant destroyed by a bomb squad. Does anyone here know any ordinance experts? Thanks in advance guys...

 

It is pictured next to a 5.56mm and a .30/06 for size reference.

 

 

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Always interested in purchasing items pertaining to the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII (82nd Airborne Div.). Please send me a PM if you have something.

 

 

 

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I would also place some sandbags around it to help prevent shrapnel from spreading any great distance in the event it does detonate prematurely. I would treat it as if it were a live round, which it looks to be, and I would for safety sake contact the local bomb squad.

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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I had my son look at it(Ex EOD) and he confirms it is most likely French. May have impact or Base Detonating fuze. French used Pictric (sp) acid as explosive which it VERY unstable. His advice it to stay away and call Bomb Squad. Yes I saw my mistake. Ordnance not Ordinance

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Picric acid is very nasty stuff. I was on the hazmat team for a number of years and it got to the point that the county, military, and state EOD teams would no longer handle it and it was turned over to private contractors.

 

The fact that you have moved it so much tells me you are either extremely lucky, like angel sitting on your shoulder lucky or it is stable and at that age it is not stable ever. If the rattling around is picric crystals that can be a big problem.

 

I don't know how they take care of it now but one of the call outs I was on they used robots to drill and inject a neutralizer into the cans.

HHC 3/39th Inf. Bn., 9th ID 76-79
IAFF L-726 - retired.

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Yes, it is a French Hotchkiss 37mm, with either the Mle. 1918 or Mle. 1916 HE projectile.

 

It has an impact fuze, the portion on top to which is crimped a copper cup with the detonating compound...which extends into a metal container containing, yes, picric acid HE.

 

That is a problem with old French artillery, and most Japanese...picric acid becomes more unstable over time, developing a shock sensitivity. That becomes an issue with this, as it does appear live...is the projectile firmly in the case, or is it loose? Also is the fuze staked in place? Or is it loose...all could be clues...

 

I guess I would figure this one to be live, if you contact the police, it will be gone, you will never see it again live or not, and you are gong to be out you investment...just so you know...

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I think that if you value life, you won't mind being out a few bucks, and you'll call the authorities like what has been suggested..

 

This is from another firefighter who spent 8 years on the HAZMAT team in a city collocated with a military installation. I can tell you that we were called out numerous times because Soldiers who lived off post, thought it would be cool to pick up ordnance in the field and then display them in their homes, almost half of the ordnance being live, including a blu 26 type cluster bomb that was live..

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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If you saw the Barney Fife type in my town, you'd be hesitant to call, too! I may be front page news! So, does the bomb squad charge me for coming out, just to find out if it's safe? Am I going to be in trouble?

Always interested in purchasing items pertaining to the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII (82nd Airborne Div.). Please send me a PM if you have something.

 

 

 

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We never charged to come out because you pay fire taxes but if a private company is contacted and used it's possible they could charge. As far as being in trouble i don't think so. Better to be safe than blow up your house or a neighbors.

HHC 3/39th Inf. Bn., 9th ID 76-79
IAFF L-726 - retired.

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Had a NCO from my old unit bring one in one drill and showed it to me, same rattle sound. Had been on his Gramdmas mantle from her husband forever. Sure as hell, it turned out to be Live shell and live primed. NYPD had to take it to Rodmans neck

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I would call the bomb squad. The worst that will happen is you will lose whatever you payed for it but, think of the consequences if they get wind of the fact that you are in possession of a live bomb.

Your house would look like a Beehive just crawling with BATFE agents looking for more. Also, if you didn't voluntarily surrender it and they had to come take it from you, you could be in for some real legal trouble.

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I'll give them a call this afternoon. Thanks guys. I'll let you know the out come.

Always interested in purchasing items pertaining to the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII (82nd Airborne Div.). Please send me a PM if you have something.

 

 

 

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I have a friend that is a police officer, and he told me about an incident that he responded to. A gentleman had a live shell like the one you have, clamped it in a vice and for some reason struck the above said shell on the nose. My friend said that it had enough "oomph" to shear the head of the claw hammer that the guy was using and to drive it through his skull and stick in the floor joists. I hope everything works out in your favor

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It always amazes me what some guys think is a good idea...why would you smack a artillery projectile with a hammer???

 

Reminds me of my grandfather...he know I always like military stuff, and would chisel stuff off his buddies, you know, the old guys in Florida, he was always poking around their sheds with them, and when he would find stuff, if he could get it he'd put it away...anyway, as is typical, he couldn't just leave stuff alone, he was always "improving" things...

 

Anyway, one day he finds a 20mm round...the projectile was loose, so he decides to solder it...I am not sure if was soldering the projectile, or the fuze, but something went off, and he felt a pain in his leg...went to the hospital, where they pulled the nose fuze out of his thigh....still have that fuze!

 

Anyway picric acid is a bit scary, it does ooze and crystalize, and the crystals become very shock sensitive. If the crystals get on the threads, and you try to unscrew the fuze, they will tend to go off...

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It always amazes me what some guys think is a good idea...why would you smack a artillery projectile with a hammer???

 

Reminds me of my grandfather...he know I always like military stuff, and would chisel stuff off his buddies, you know, the old guys in Florida, he was always poking around their sheds with them, and when he would find stuff, if he could get it he'd put it away...anyway, as is typical, he couldn't just leave stuff alone, he was always "improving" things...

 

Anyway, one day he finds a 20mm round...the projectile was loose, so he decides to solder it...I am not sure if was soldering the projectile, or the fuze, but something went off, and he felt a pain in his leg...went to the hospital, where they pulled the nose fuze out of his thigh....still have that fuze!

 

Anyway picric acid is a bit scary, it does ooze and crystalize, and the crystals become very shock sensitive. If the crystals get on the threads, and you try to unscrew the fuze, they will tend to go off...

As a Kid in the 1970's (74-75?) we had a Junkyard next door. Basically this guy bought 2 adjoining houses and loaded them with junk and cars. He did this in several places in Flushing. Anyhow eventually the City sent in workers to clean up. When they left for the day us kids went scrounging. Us kids found these big cans with bullets and of course grabbed as many as we could carry. One of my bullets was loose and black dust kept leaking out when I shook it.

 

So naturally I decided to chuck it in the vise outside Grandpas garage and proceeded to use a mallet on the casing end. Cue next door neighbor (Marine vet) Screaming What the F are you fing doing just as the case split open and dropped propellent.

 

It turns out we kids had stumbled upon a cache of Oerlikon 20mm HEI-T, thousands of them. Apparently the junk yard guy had stolen them as scrap from the Brooklyn Navy yard in the late 40's 50's.

 

NYPD had to send the wicker bomb truck and go house to house confiscating them from us kids (except 3 I hid in the garage)

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