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Bizarre WWI artillery fuse


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I reached out to the Western Front Museum, and they cleared everything up. Looks like it is indeed a 75mm round, with a modified fuse. Here is their reply:

 

“The 3inch shells had a crimping at the lower end of the shell and yours hasn’t which means it is definitely an American made 75mm shell fitted with a M1907 PTTF (Powder Train Time Fuze). The number 7898 is the model number often followed by the year of manufacturing (16 = 1916). Fuze has been modified to fit a lamp fitting. I believe that the fuze adaptor ring is probably from a 3” shell as it does not properly fit this shell. Nevertheless a nice specimen in remarkable good condition for its age. Nice find.

Hope this helps.”

82nd Airborne Division

North Carolina State University 2016

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That clears that up. Remember, the flaming bomb ( visible on your projectile bottom) is a US acceptance marking. Your case also has the ordnance wheel stamping, also denoting US manufacture. Next step would be to carefully sand with fine grit (320) the section below the rotating band so it will fit the case, and maybe use some naval jelly to remove the rust. Careful fitting the projectile to the case neck. To much force can crack the case. If you have a hair dryer, heat up the brass neck as hot as you can then take the finely sanded projectile base and try to push it into place. Ideal fit would be your body weight seating the projectile into place, but not loose enough were it will fall out.

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Ok got it. The round I purchased does not have those rings. Ive noticed that these rings are mostly on French made rounds and earlier US rounds. I wonder what their intended purpose is

The 3" was a heavier round, used an entirely different case style. Upon filling, the brass case was crimped into those rings, all US 3" projectiles were crimped on. That is what differentiates the 75mm shrapnel round from the 3" shrapnel round (76.2"). They used the same fuze, different adapter rings.
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A few of my unfired 75mm shrapnel rounds, you can compare the adapter rings to yours. Remember the fired specimens like you have were laying on the battlefields in piles. Soldiers picked up the pieces, then fitted what ever parts found back together. The blackpowder charge at the base (ignited by the fuze tube ) blew out the contents-pusher tube, .45 cal lead balls,and fuze usually with the adapter. Visualize the projectile steel case being a shotgun cartridge. The adapter threads are fine thread ( weaker) the fuze threads coarse threads- blackpowder charge created enough pressure to seperate ( open) and push out pusher plate and balls at the adapter thread. All were re-assembled, some with mismatched parts (75mm and 3" mixed) . post-180924-0-96084400-1574448241_thumb.jpeg

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Fuze, pusher plate (270 lead balls surrounded the pusher tube). The fuze (with brass shipping cover), adapter ring still secured to the projectile case, and pusher plates all were designed to fall to the ground with the lead balls. Many were in good enough shape to reassemble and take home as souveneers. I will add, some " bring backs", had French, US and even German parts incorrectly reassembled. post-180924-0-10673900-1574449897_thumb.jpeg

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post-180924-0-51273600-1574450908_thumb.jpeg

Theory of operation. As a footnote, the Brits mostly used the shrapnel shell timed to discharge its balls as little as 100 yards in Front of its advancing troops. The matrix mixed in with the balls was an incendiary emitting smoke so the shrapnel balls point of impact could be observed and corrected to land immediately in front of their advancing troops.The US did not like using that tactic due to friendly casualties inflicted by poorly timed fuzes and quickly developed HE shrapnel shells ( projectile was filled with HE, not balls, and the steel case supplied the high velocity unidirectional shrapnel). The lead ball shrapnel shell ( was directional forward) only pushed the lead balls at about 1300 FPS, the HE shrapnel traveling supersonic.

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Thanks for all of the help! I will do some light touch up work when it arrives to see if I can get the round seated into the shell casing. I also have another M1907 fuse on the way, so I can replace the one that was modified. I want to leave the adapter rings as is. I think thats a pretty cool piece of the rounds history, since it was likely assembled with bits and pieces by the soldier who brought it back. I guess the fuse portion of the 75mm was similar enough to the 3 inch to make it work. Hopefully the current fuse isnt too difficult to get off. Might take a little bit of soaking in degreaser to loosen up the threads. Im assuming this was turned into a lamp a long time ago, and the threads might be tight.

 

I cant imagine the shrapnel rounds were as effective as the later HE rounds. It doesnt seem that there would be nearly as much kinetic energy traveling behind those ball bearings, as there would be with a hunk of steel being propelled by the HE charge. It reminds me a little of the new M825 WP round we use to dispense white phosphorous soaked wedges that produce smoke. Pretty similar method of dispensing what is inside the round.

82nd Airborne Division

North Carolina State University 2016

donation2015.gif

donation2017.gif

 

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The Scoville timed fuzes used on the 75mm and 3" are the same. The adapter ring was different. The ball shrapnel was ineffective compared to the HE shrapnel. The only plus to the ball shrapnel shell was it was directional- forward. As for removing the fuze from the adapter ring, Kroil oil ( the absolute best) and hot cold to expand contract the brass/steel joint. Good luck.

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