Monday, 25 July 2016

Italian Explosive Ordnance - Projectiles (Introduction)

Italian Explosive Ordnance

Italian Projectiles and Cases


The projectiles used by the Italian army were very similar to French, British, and Japanese in construction and appearance.  In some cases, the projectiles were direct copies of British ammunition and used the same fuzing and filling.

Most field equipment is semi-fixed, with the smaller caliber and anti-aircraft guns using fixed ammunition.  When the semi-fixed type of ammunition is used, the propellent charge is divided into a number of parts which are enclosed in silk bags.

The first part is known by the Italians as the "fundamental," and the other part as "augmentative."  Igniters of black powder are also included.  The complete charge is enclosed in the cartridge case by means of a cardboard closing cup.  In the base of the cases are fitted percussion primers of standard design.

In guns using bag ammunition, an igniter, which has an extension piece fitted into the vent hole, is used.  For initiation of the charge, the types of tubes used are; friction, percussion, and electric-percussion.

The Italians designated their projectiles by the caliber, the specific equipment in which they were used, and the model numbers of projectiles.  In most cases, the model number is thought to have designated the year in which the ammunition was designed.

Types of Projectiles

1. High-Explosive (H.E.): These are of conventional design and are usually fitted with a point detonating fuze, with a booster charge below the fuze.  They most commonly have a shell body of forged steel and a parallel-wall inner cavity.  The cavity and exterior are machined over-all.  The cavity is threaded internally at the top to receive the nose adapter.  The latter is a machined forging, internally threaded at the nose to receive the fuze, and externally threaded at the base for attachment to the shell body.

In the medium caliber shell, the nose, contrary to the usual Italian practice, is sometimes formed by the "bottling" process with the upper portion threaded to take the fuze.  Another common method of construction is that which incorporates a shell machined from rolled bar steel and having a parallel-walled cavity of the same diameter as the nose adapter, or, in some cases where there is no adapter, the cavity is the same diameter as the fuze.

Some H.E. projectiles were cast and then machined.  The base plates of these shells also vary.  Some have no base plate, while others have the screwed type, the pressed-in type, or a steel plate soldered to the base of the shell.  The majority of the projectiles have on rotating band of pure copper, but a few have two rotating bands.

The booster system is of two types.  The first, the old system, consists of a metal tube containing compressed ballistite with a flash hole at each end.  This tube fits beneath the nose fuze and has underneath it a larger charge of ballistite, which is also in a metal tube and has a flash hole at the top only.

The latest type of booster system was designated "Detonatore AD Alto Explosivo" by Italians and was given the numbers 1 through 6, and called M35 or M38.  It consists of two parts, the upper part which fits immediately below the fuze and consists of an aluminum cylinder with a collar.  Inside this is another tube which contains a layer of cyclonite above which is a layer of lead azide.  Below this part is the other, which consists of two or more cylinders of TNT wrapped in oiled paper.  The upper cylinder has a central cavity to take the upper detonator tube.
2. Hollow Charge (E.P. and E.P.S.): A large range of artillery weapons are found to have been equipped with hollow charge ammunition.  Of the type that have been recovered, all show a similarity of design.  They appear to be converted H.E. shells.

The body of the shell is the same as that of the corresponding H.E. shells.  The almost hemispherical head is made of light alloy and, to overcome the difficulties in direction of rifling of different equipment, the head is secured to the body by indentation.  The nose portion of the shell is hollow and has a cavity liner pressed from 1mm steel plate, parabolic in shape.

There are two types of these shells, one using a base fuze only (E.P.) and the other, the late type (E.P.S.), incorporating a nose fuze with long flash tube leading to the center of the explosive charge.  this follows the German design.  The rotating band is usually located about 1/3 the distance from the base of the shell.  The explosive filling consists of 58% cyclonite, 40.5% TNT, and 1.5% wax.  The filling is cast with the fuze and booster assembled in the cavity.

3. Fragmentation: This type is also very similar to the H.E. projectiles, but contains a liner which fits into the internal cavity.  In most cases, the combustion type of time nose fuze is used.  The shell body is of forged steel with a comparatively thin wall, and is fitted with a copper driving band.

The forward end is screw-threaded internally to receive the adapter.  The body contains a fragmentation cylinder machined from grey cast iron, which is grooved along its length and circumferentially on the exterior to assist fragmentation.  A channel is formed through the center of the cylinder to accommodate the bursting charge.

Red lead is inserted between the exterior of the cylinder, the wall of the shell, and the fragmentation grooves.  The nose adapter is machined from grey cast iron and is screw-threaded internally to two diameters to receive the booster and the fuze, respectively.  The exposed portion of the adapter forms the head of the shell and is shaped to form a sloping shoulder with a cylindrical neck.  The base of the adapter is recessed to fit over the forward end of the explosive filling.  From tests, it has been found that the break up of the fragmentation cylinder generally follows the line of weakness. 
4. Armor Piercing (A.P.): Most Italian armor piercing shells are conventional in design.  The shell is generally machined from steel bar stock and then hardened from the rotating band forward.  A ballistic cap may or may not be fitted.  All but a very few have small explosive filling of TNT and a base fuze.

5. Shrapnel: The later type is designed on conventional lines.  It differs from the British type in having gunpowder pellets in the central booster tube.  An earlier type had a charge of TNT in the nose.  The shell has a nose adapter, a flash tube to the explosive filling located in the base of the cavity, and a diaphragm separating the explosive filling from the shrapnel bullets.

The shell body is forged steel and is machined externally.  The explosive cavity and bearing surfaces of the diaphragm are also machined.  The nose adapter, which forms a cover for the shrapnel bullets and provides a slot for the flash tube, is machined from bar stock.  The flash tube is of brass and fits between slots in the nose adapter and diaphragm.  The diaphragm is stamped steel plate.  The shrapnel bullets, varying from 100 to 250 in number, are lead-antimony alloy. 

6. Aerial Burst or Impact (A.D.E.): Projectiles designated "A.D.E." are regular High Explosive shells but have the A.D.E. type fuzes, which are time or percussion fuzes.

7. Anti-Aircraft (A.A.): These projectiles are H.E. shells with an aerial burst fuze.


Before 1931 the following coloring system was used:

Color of Body

Grey ----- H.E.
White ----- High Capacity H.E.
Blue ----- Fragmentation
Carmine ----- Shrapnel

Color of Nose (Ogive same color as body)

 Red ----- Practice Shell
Carmine ----- Star Shell
Black ----- Tracer

Color of Ogive

Red ----- H.E. or A.P.
Carmine ----- Incendiary
Black ----- Smoke
Yellow ----- Chemical

Since 1931, the shell body has been zincated and the ogive and nose painted in distinctive colored bands may be found on the body of the shell.  The following coloring scheme was used:

Color of ogive or nose same as before 1931

Band above the Rotating Band
Green ----- Steel shell
White ----- High Capacity H.E.
Red ----- Shrapnel
Blue ----- Fragmentation
Black ----- Practice

Band at Shoulder

Blue ----- Anti-Aircraft

The stenciling of which the following examples may be found on the body of the projectile:
100/17 - Caliber/length of weapon in calibers
Tritolo - Explosive Filling
61.000 kg - Weight of Projectile
A.P. VIII 1928 - Place and date of filling
Explosive Filling
The following explosive fillings have been found used by the Italians.
Italian Nomenclature
1. Tritolo - TNT
2. PNP - Ammonium Nitrate (75%), PETN (20%), Wax (5%)
3. MAT - Picric Acid (60%), TNT (40%)
4. MBT - Picric Acid, Dimitrophenol
5. Pertite - Picric Acid
6. Schneiderite - Ammonium Nitrate (87%), Dinitronapthalene (13%)
7. Nougat MST - Ammonium Nitrate (50%), Dinitronapthalene (7%), TNT (43%)
8. Toluolammonal - Ammonium Nitrate (47%), TNT (30%), Aluminum (20%), Carbon (3%)
9. MNDT Siperite - Ammonium Nitrate (72.8%), Dinitronapthalene (10.5%), TNT (16.7%)
10. Amathol Explosive 60/40 - Amathol
11. Ecrasite - Ammonium Triniteocresol
12. Tritolite - TNT (50%), Cyclonite (50%)
The composition of the propellants has no outstanding features.  Apparently only three types were used in service:
1. A straight ballistite (Ballistite or Bal.) containing about 50% nitro-cellulose and 50% nitroglycerin without stabilizer.
2. A modified ballistite (Ballistite Attenuate or Bal. Att.) containing 60% nitro-cellulose, 26% nitroglycerin, and 14% dinitroluene as a moderant coating.
3. The so-called "Italian Cordite" which usually bears no markings other than the weapon and propellant sizes.  This contains about 72% nitro-cellulose, 24% nitroglycerin, and 4% mineral jelly.  In addition, this type of propellant has been found to contain sodium carbonate or bicarbonate, presumably as an additional stabilizer.
In some cases, bags containing potassium chloride have been found included in the charges, presumably as a flash-reducing agent.  The shapes encountered have been flat strip, cord, square flake, and tubular cord. 
An example of marking of the propellant is:
"Ballistite Attenulata Piastine - 1 x 10 x 220 days CKA VI grs. 570" 
The marking reads it as a charge of 570 grams of "Ballistite in Attenuata" strip form 1mm x 10mm x 220mm for the 75mm gun.

Naval and Coastal Defence Equipment

The equipment is simpler to design as the Army but different distinctly in markings from Italian field equipment.  The following coloring is used:

H.E. --- White body with red ogive
Star --- White body with red ogive
Practice --- Yellow with grey and white nose

Special light projectiles, as opposed to heavy projectiles, have green bodies and white heads (grey if made of cast iron).

Star --- Green band above the rotating band
A.P. --- Blue band above the rotating band
Practice H.E. --- Yellow band above the rotating band
A.P. Shot --- Red band above the rotating band

(Piercing caps - Red; Ballistic caps - Unpainted)

The markings on the H.E. projectiles are:

On the body - Caliber and filling
On the ogive - Type, date, and place of filling
C.L. - Tracer fitted

Star shells have a black triangle on the ogive which may or may not enclose a black disc.  This refers to type of star filled.

Next Time: Italian Small Arms Ammunition

Monday, 18 July 2016

Italian Explosive Ordnance - Bombs (Part 5)

Italian Explosive Ordnance

160kg (CS) Anti-Submarine Bomb

Overall length: 69.8 inches
Body length: 36.2 inches
Body diameter: 13.3 inches
Wall thickness: 0.31 inch
Tail length: 27.2 inches
Tail width: 15.3 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Weight of filling: 99 kilograms
Total weight: 176 kilograms

-Nose: Type B
-Tail: "Grand-daddy"
Color and markings: Overall gray; red nose

Description:  This bomb has a hemispherical nose.  The vanes are short, with a corrugated metal reinforcing ring around the rear of vanes.

160kg H.E. Bomb

Overall length: 62.4 inches
Body length: 50.4 inches
Body diameter: 12.6 inches
Tail length: 27.6 inches
Tail width: 12.6 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Weight of filling: Unknown
Total weight: 163.5 kilograms

Fuzing: Nose - Unknown
Color and markings: Overall gray; red nose
Description: The bomb has an unusual tail unit.  The vanes are short and attached near the end of the tail cone.  The nose of the bomb is more hemispherical than other Italian H.E. demolition bombs.  It is thought that this bomb was designed for use against submarines.

3kg (CV) Antiaircraft Bomb

Overall length: 13.5 inches
Body length: 6.4 inches
Body diameter: 3.2 inches
Tail length: 7 inches
Tail width: 3.2 inches
Type of filling: Amatol
Weight of filling: 0.4 kilograms
Total weight: 3 kilograms

Fuzing: Nose - Type I
Color and markings: Overall green; red band on nose
Description:  The bomb consists of two containers made of mild steel sheet.  The space between them is filled with steel pellets embedded in concrete.  The nose and the body of the bomb are apparently loaded separately with their filler of concrete and steel.  A brown substance, which tops the nose filling, forms a cushion between the concrete filling.  It appears to be a waterproof composition, containing a resinous wax.

20kg (CV) Antiaicraft Bomb

Overall length: 30.7 inches
Body length: 15.5 inches
Body diameter: 5.5 inches
Wall thickness: 1.1 inches
Tail length: 18 inches
Tail width: 5.7 inches

Type of filling: Unknown
Weight of filling: Unknown
Total weight: Unknown

Fuzing: Nose - Type I

Description: The bomb case is loaded with steel pellets embedded in concrete.  No further description is available.

3.5kg, 5kg, 25kg, 50kg, and 100kg Hollow Charge Bombs

Body length: 18.8 inches
Body diameter: 6 inches
Wall thickness: 0.06 inch
Tail length: 7.7 inches
Tail width: 6 inches
Type of filling: RDX/TNT
Weight of filling: 2.2 kilograms
Total weight: 3.5 kilograms (approx.)
Fuzing: Tail fuze for hollow-charge bombs

Description: All these bombs are very similar in appearance, except the 25kg which differs slightly.  The 25kg has the bomb casing of helically wound steel strips.  The 3.5kg was the only bomb of this type known to be used or manufactured by the Italians.

This bomb has a dome-shaped nose completely empty of any main filling and threaded at its base to screw over the threaded cone-shaped body.  The main filling is 60% RDX, 38% TNT, and 2% wax, which is separately cast and is an easy fit in the bomb body.

This main filling has the hollow dome-shaped recess at its base and has fitted to its apex an RDX booster pierced to receive the fuze and its booster.  A horizontal suspension lug is riveted to the body, and a safety pin holder is riveted to the tail vane to receive the safety pin of the fuze.

Bomb Container

Overall length: 5 feet, 6 inches
Body length: 2 feet 8.5 inches
Body diameter: 11 inches
Wall thickness: 0.047 inch
Tail length: 22 inches
Tail width: 11 inches (approx.)

Type of filling:
-40 x 2kg Anti-Personnel F or Mtr.; or
-40 x 1kg Incendiary; or
-20 x 2kg Incendiary; or
-24 x 4kg Anti-Personnel Thermos

Weight (empty): 23 kilograms

Description: This is a metal container holding eight columns of anti-personnel or incendiary bombs.  The body is cylindrical and is of sheet metal.  It contains eight longitudinal tubes which are welded to the after closing plate and the forward closing plate holes in the latter leave the forward ends of the tubes open.  A flap, which is hinged to this plate, partly closes these holes.  The container is held closed by a ball locking the adjustment of which can be observed through the inspection hole.  The forward end of the bomb is closed by an aluminum cap held on by three clips.  Riveted to the inside of this cap is a plate.  Ejector springs are fitted in the after ends of the tube.

The tail cone, carrying four fins, is fitted by screws to the body.  A corrugated ring strut strengthens the tail fins.  Below the drum and situated between each pin of adjacent fins is a drogue of pressed steel.  Each of these drogues is connected to its neighbor by a fabric web fixed to the sides of the drogue by rivets.

A fabric-covered elastic strip attached to each case at one end to the drogue, and at the other end to the drum, tends to pull each drogue open.  The range of movement of each drogue is limited by the length of a flexible wire cable fixed to the tail cone.  Before dropping, these drogues are prevented from opening by a cord or wire which encircles them and passes through a cutter.  This clockwork is prevented from running by a safety pin.  To the underside of this particular drogue is attached an additional cable which runs through a hole in the tail cone, between the main body and inner tubes, and terminates in a bolt, the withdrawal of which releases the ball locking device.  A transit safety pin prevents withdrawal of the bolt.

Operation: On loading into the aircraft, the transit pin is withdrawn.  On release, the safety pin in the clockwork is withdrawn.  After the preset time, varying between 0 and 20 seconds, the clockwork activates a cutter which severs the restraining wire and so allows the drogues to open.  This causes the bolt to be withdrawn.  The springs eject the bombs by forcing open the flap which, in turn, throws off the cap by pressing on the plate with the cap.

Parachute Flares

Overall length: 36.9 inches
Flare length: 17 inches
Body diameter: 4 inches (approx.)
Tail length: 14.2 inches

Type of filling: Magnesium Powder
Weight of filling: Unknown
Total weight: Unknown
Fuzing: Nose fuze - Type L
Description: The bomb consists of a light metal nose, a thin cylindrical body filled with magnesium powder, and a tail unit containing the parachute and release mechanism.  The flare is set for height by means of an indicator on the parachute release mechanism.  On release from the plane, the vanes of both the release mechanism and the nose fuze rotate; the fuze arms, and, when the parachute release mechanism functions to cause the parachute to open, the jerk is sufficient to operate the nose fuze.  The resultant explosion blows away the light metal nose, with the fuze from the cardboard magnesium container, setting off the ignition powder, which, in turn, ignites the magnesium.

Parachute Flares (Cardboard)
(No Picture Available)

Overall length: 12.5 inches
Body diameter: 1.45 inches
Wall thickness: 0.19 inch

Type of filling: Unknown
Weights: Unknown
Fuzing: Friction igniter in nose

Color and markings: Overall bright red
Description: This flare is contained in a cardboard tube the same thickness throughout its length.  A corrugated cardboard 3.9 inches long surrounds the tube near the center to form a grip.  Below the grip the tube is constructed to fit into the groove in the wooden plug at the nose and is held by a wire.  The open ends of the tube are sealed by paper gummed over.  In central hole of the wooden plug is a friction igniter.  This consists of a friction composition attached to the end of a short length of string impregnated with a phosphorus composition.

The flare operates by breaking the seal at the nose end and pulling the string, which ignites the friction composition.  This, in turn, ignites the safety fuse, which gives approximately two seconds before igniting the powder charge located below the candle.  The charge ignites the candle and at the same time ejects the candle and parachute from the tube.  The resistance to the expelling charge is provided by a felt washer and waste packing at the top of the tube.

Next Time: Italian Projectiles

Monday, 11 July 2016

Italian Explosive Ordnance - Bombs (Part 4)

Italian Explosive Ordnance

100kg Special Bomb Combination Anti-Personnel Bomb and Bomb Container

Overall length: 53.2 inches
Body length: 29 inches
Body diameter: 10.7 inches
Wall thickness: 0.07 inch
Tail length: 20.8 inches
Tail width: 10.7 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Total weight: 113 kilograms or 82.1 kilograms

-Nose: Type X
-Tail: Type Z
Color and markings: Overall reddish brown; red nose

Description:    This is a composite which comprises: (1) 32 small Spezzine bombs; (2) a central bomb; and (3) a nose charge which acts as an anti-personnel bomb.  If Spezzine bombs are filled with H.E., the bomb is called 100kg Sp. I. in the latter, the 32 small bombs (1-kg I) may be replaced by 16 (2-kg I) bombs.

Nose fuze (Type X) functions at a preset height and causes the conical nose portion, carrying a length of burning safety fuze and an explosive charge enclosed in concrete, to fall away and explode subsequently; small bombs thus released fall independently.  The main body continues its flight, containing the central bomb, which explodes on impact under the action of the tail fuze.

The container part consists of two concentric sheet-steel cylinders, the outer 0.08 inch thick and the inner 0.04 inch thick, held together by four strips and the end plate.  The tail is attached to the outer cylinder by four threaded studs; in the inner cylinder is fitted the central bomb, of the "Mitroglia" type.  The nose protrudes and is attached by a steel adapter and locking-ball device to the central bomb.

Spezzine bombs are packed, with safety pins removed, in eight columns of four; each column has a conical spring to keep it in compression.  Under one spring is a spring-loaded plunger, protruding through the end plate and acting as a safety pin for the Fuze Type Z of the central bomb.

15kg Gas Bomb

Overall length: 31 inches
Body length: 20.7 inches
Body diameter: 4.7 inches
Tail length: 13.8 inches
Tail width: 6.3 inches

Type of filling: Diphenyl Chlorarsine
Weight of filling: 3.65 kilograms
Burster used: TNT
Weight of burster: 1.7 kilograms
Total weight: 16 kilograms (approx.)

Fuzing: Tail - Unknown
Color and markings: Overall yellow; Geneva cross stenciled on the body
Description: The bomb is thick-walled with a steel body and nose cast in one piece, to which a dome-shaped base it attached.  Sheet-metal tail fins are attached to a metal band clamped around the body.

Remarks: This bomb is thought to be the same as the 15kg S.A.P. except for filling.

25kg Gas Bomb (Furretta)

Overall length: 32.7 inches
Body length: 30.1 inches
Body diameter: 6.3 inches
Type of filling: Lachrymator
Weight of filling: 10 kilograms
Total weight: 25 kilograms

Fuzing: Tail - Type K
Color and markings: Overall yellow; Geneva cross in red
Description:  The bomb has a blunt nose and parallel sides, but no tail or stabilizing fins.  This is a percussion bomb; but it functions as a tear-gas generator.  There is no burster charge, but the casing is pierced with small holes through which the lachrymator is emitted.

40kg Gas Bomb C40P

Overall length: 32.3 inches
Body length: 21.4 inches
Body diameter: 9.9 inches
Tail length: 16.1 inches
Tail width: 9.9 inches

Type of filling: Diphenyl Chlorarsine
Weight of filling: 6.5 kilograms
Weight of burster: 13 kilograms
Total weight: 47 kilograms

Type of filling: Mustard Gas
Weight of filling: 14.7 kilograms
Weight of burster: 0.18 kilograms
Total weight: 40.6 kilograms

Fuzing: Tail only - Unknown
Color and markings:
-Diphenyl Chlorarsine: Overall yellow; Geneva cross stenciled in black
-Mustard Gas: Overall yellow; red nose; red stenciled marking (see below)

N 2226
Lorpo KG 359; Tara KG179

Description: This bomb is similar to 40kg G.P.-H.E. bomb in size and appearance.  The burster tube contains TNT and is about fifteen inches long.  Other information is lacking.

55kg Gas Bomb and 100kg Gas Bomb (C100P)

Overall length: 32.3 inches
Body diameter: 9.8 inches
Type of filling: Phosgene
Weight of filling: 20 kilograms
Weight of burster: 18 kilograms
Total weight: 55 kilograms

Overall length: 50.2 inches
Body length: 32.5 inches
Body diameter: 10.7 inches
Tail length: 20.8 inches
Tail width: 10.7 inches
Type of filling: Diphenyl Chlorarsine
Weight of filling: 14.3 kilograms
Weight of burster: 28.7 kilograms
Total weight: 101.9 kilograms
-55kg: Unknown
-100kg: Tail only; probably C-1 or Y-1
Color and markings:
-55kg: Overall yellow; Geneva cross stenciled in white
-100kg: Overall yellow; Geneva cross stenciled in black

Description: These bombs are similar to same weight G.P.-H.E. bombs.  Little information has been found on them.

250kg and 500kg (500T) Gas Bombs

Overall length: Unknown
Body length: 57.5 inches
Body diameter: 18 inches
Wall thickness: 0.12 inch
Type of filling: Mustard Gas
Weight of filling: 214 kilograms (approx.)
Total weight: 264 kilograms (approx.) without tail

Overall length: 96.6 inches
Body length: 54.3 inches
Body diameter: 18 inches
Wall thickness: 0.12 inch
Type of filling: Diphenyl Chlorarsine
Weight of filling: 210 kilograms
Total weight: 298 kilograms

-250kg: Nose - Unknown
-500kg: Nose - Type T

Color and markings:
-250kg: Overall light blue-grey; yellow nose plug
-500kg: Overall grey; Geneva cross, probably in green, above the lettering S.C.M. 1-37 C-500T

Description: These two bombs are thought to be the same except for the slight differences in length of the body, which could have been measured erratically.  Two different illustrations are shown; one is made from recovered bomb and the other is from Italian drawings.

-250kg: The casing is of thin sheet metal and is of welded construction.  Inside the body casing is a baffle for the chemical filling.  The tail unit was not recovered, but could take the alloy tail unit which is used in the C500T.

-500kg: Very little is known about this bomb, since it was not used in the war.  The bomb is very similar to the 500kg General Purpose, except that is has a baffle plate in the center.

5kg Vento Marker

Overall length: 17.4 inches
Body length: 8.9 inches
Body diameter: 5.2 inches
Wall thickness: 0.3 inch
Tail length: 9.2 inches
Tail width: 7 inches

Type of filling: Smoke or Incendiary
Weight of filling: Unknown
Total weight: 5.2kg
Fuzing: Nose fuze - Type S
Description: The body consists of a thin metal cylinder liner and outer concrete bomb body, which is reinforced with sheet pellets and wire.  The body liner has welded to it: (1) the suspension lug socket which is internally threaded to receive the horizontal suspension lug; (2) four metal vane support which have riveted to them four aluminum-alloy vanes; (3) two pairs of diametrically opposite wire guides for the base plug retaining wire; (4) the ends of a helical reinforcing wire, 16 S.W.G., which is coiled in three turns and passes through the holes provided in the vane support; and (5) the upper end of a second helical reinforcing wire, 8 S.W.G., which is coiled in five turns and is welded at its other end to the fuze pocket.

At the upper end, the liner is closed by a cork plug.  This bomb is used in conjunction with chemical bombs.  The purpose is to indicate the force and direction of the wind at ground level.  Two main fillings are used, a smoke filling for use in the daytime, and an incendiary filling for use at night.  The night filling is the 1kg Incendiary Bomb Type II.  Another modification of this bomb has no body liner but is all concrete and is used for practice.

Next Time: Italian Gas Bombs and Others

Monday, 4 July 2016

Imperial Japanese Army Ammunition - 120mm, 150mm, and 320mm Mortar Projectiles

Japanese Explosive Ordnance: Army and Navy Ammunition

We finish off the last of the mortar rounds, and thus complete the list of explosive ordnance for the Imperial Japanese Army. Technically, it's not the end as there is another 30 or so pages on the all the various Fuzes they used which I'll skipping over it unless there's a particular demand for it.

Type 2 120mm High Explosive Mortar

Weight of complete round: 26.5 lbs
Weight of main charge: 6 lbs
Explosive components:
-Main Charge: TNT
-Booster: RDX and wax
Overall length (w/o fuze): 22.5 inches
Maximum diameter at bourrelet: 120mm
Maximum diameter at tail fins: 120mm

Black overall with a red tip and a yellow band forward of the bourrelet

Type 100 instantaneous short delay mortar fuze

Used in:
Type 2 120mm Mortar

The body section of this shell is similar to that of the standard Army finned mortar types but the tail fin section resembles that of the Navy 81mm H.E. The 12 fins are welded to the propellant tube which is welded to the base of the body. The forward end of the tube has 42 escape ports arranged in 6 rows to allow the flash to pass from the primary cartridge to the propellant increments. The initial charge is contained in a cardboard case which fits inside the propellant tube and is held in place by a steel plug fitted with the primer cap. The main propelling charge is contained in 6 doughnut shaped silk bags which are split so that they can be slipped around the propellant tube above the tail fins and over the flash ports.

A variation of this shell has been found with the tail section threaded into the body and secured by a pin instead of being welded to the body.

Type 96 150mm High Explosive Mortar

Weight of complete round: 58.06 lbs
Weight of main charge: 12.9 lbs
Explosive components:
-Main Charge: TNT
-Booster: Picric
--Nitrocellulose and graphite: 58%
--Nitroglycerine: 7.1%
--Dinitrotoluene: 25.7%
--Diphenylamine: 0.5%
--Potassium Nitrate: 8.7%
Overall length (w/o fuze): 28.75 inches
Length of fin assembly: 7.81 inches
Maximum diameter at bourrelet: 150mm
Maximum diameter at tail fins: 149mm

Black overall with a red tip, a yellow band below the bourrelet, and a white band before the tail fin assembly.

Type 93 instantaneous short delay mortar fuze

Used in:
Type 96 150mm smoothbore mortar

The construction of this shell is similar to that of the Type 97 81mm H.E. mortar shell.

Type 97 150mm High Explosive Mortar

Weight of complete round: 43.5 lbs
Weight of main charge: 8.98 lbs
Explosive components:
-Main Charge: TNT
-Booster: RDX and wax
--Nitrocellulose and graphite: 58%
--Nitroglycerine: 7.1%
--Dinitrotoluene: 25.7%
--Diphenylamine: 0.5%
--Potassium Nitrate: 8.7%
Overall length (w/o fuze): 23.7 inches
Length of tail fin assembly: 6.7
Maximum diameter at bourrelet: 120mm
Maximum diameter at tail fins: 120mm

Black overall with a red nose tip and a yellow band before the bourrelet.

Type 100 instantaneous short delay mortar fuze

Used in:
Type 97 150mm smoothbore mortar

Except for its shorter size, this projectile is similar in construction to the Type 96 H.E. long round.
Note. By long round, I believe they meant the previous entry.

32cm Spigot Type Mortar

Weight of complete round: 737 lbs
Weight of nose section, loaded: 172 lbs
Weight of center section, loaded: 215 lbs
Weight of tail section, loaded: 350 lbs
Weight of main charge: 103 lbs
Explosive components:
-Main charge: TNT
-Booster: P.E.T.N.
-Propellant: Black powder and nitrocellulose
Overall length (w/o fuze): 61 inches
Lenght of nose section (less threaded portion): 13.75 inches
Length of center section (less threaded portion): 10.92 inches
Length of tail section (less threaded portion): 36.31 inches
Body diameter: 320mm
Inside diameter of tail section: 257mm
Maximum diameter of tail fins: 641mm
Length of tail fins: 21.4 inches

The projectile is painted black overall with a red nose tip and a yellow band around the rear of the nose section

Type 98 interior fuze

Used in:
Special spigot-type projector

The projectile, which resembles a bomb, is made in three parts:
-The nose section is ogival in shape and is externally threaded at its base to screw into the center section and is internally threaded to receive a steel base plate. It has a booster cup fitted with a fuze adapter screwed into the nose.
-The center section is a short cylinder, solid on the base and threaded externally to screw into the tail section. It is closed at the forward end, with a steel plate having a fuze adapter ring, fitted with a booster cup, welded in its center.
-The tail section screws onto the center section and has a gradual taper toward the rear from a point 14.5 inches below the forward end. It is hollowed out to fit over the projector tub. Four sheet-steel tail fins, each braced by two stabilizing wires, are welded to the tail section.

For convenience in handling and assembling, steel bands, each fitted with two double handles, are provided. Before the firing of the projectile, the carrying bands are removed. The propellant charge is place in a brass pot which fits into the recessed potion of the projector tube. The charge is contained in a cardboard container having a brass flash tube passing through its vertical axis, through the brass pot, and being screwed into the spigot. There is a drilled and tapped hole near the forward end of the tail section of the projectile into which the igniter tube screws. When in position, the end of the igniter tube is in close proximity to the end of the brass flash tube which leads into the propellant charge.

Italian Explosive Ordnance - Bombs (Part 3)

Italian Explosive Ordnance

15kg S.A.P. Bomb

Overall length: 31 inches
Body length: 20.7 inches
Body diameter: 4.7 inches
Tail length: 13.8 inches
Tail width: 6.3 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Weight of filling: 5.2 kilograms
Total weight: 15.5 kilograms

Fuzing: Tail - Type N
Color and markings: Overall grey; red nose

Description:  The bomb is thick-walled with a steel body and nose cast in one piece, to which a dome-shaped base is attached.

31kg S.A.P. Bomb

Overall length: 31.7 inches
Body length: 22.5 inches
Body diameter: 6.4 inches
Tail length: 12.5 inches
Tail width: 7.2 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Weight of filling: 10.5 kilograms
Total weight: 31 kilograms (approx.)

Fuzing: Tail only - Type N-2
Color and markings: Overall grey; red nose.
Description: The thick-walled steel body has a heavy nose, larger than the rest of the body, welded on.  A suspension band is bolted about the body.  The sheet-metal tail is attached to a band which clamps around the body.

100kg S.A.P. Bomb

Overall length: 50.5 inches
Body length: 31 inches
Body diameter: 9.9 inches
Wall thickness: 0.5 inch
Tail length: 21.3 inches
Tail width: 9.9 inches

Type of filling: Amatol
Weight of filling: 27.3 kilograms
Total weight: 109 kilograms

Fuzing: Tail only - Type C-1 or Y-1
Color and markings: Overall grey or dull blue; red band on nose
Description:  The bomb has a single-piece casing with a base plate attached by two rows of screws.  A sheet metal tail is attached to a base plate by screws.

104kg S.A.P. Bomb

Overall length: 43 inches
Body length: 28 inches
Body diameter: 10 inches
Tail length: 15 inches (approx.)
Tail width: 11 inches

Type of filling: TNT
Weight of filling: 30 kilograms (approx.)
Total weight: 104 kilograms

Fuzing: Tail only - Type C
Color and markings: Overall grey; red nose

Description: The steel body and nose are cast in one piece.  A dome-shaped base plate receives the sheet-metal tail fins, which are attached to a metal band which clamps around the body.

12kg Smoke Bomb

Overall length: 47 inches
Body length: 33 inches
Body diameter: 5.2 inches
Wall thickness: Unknown
Tail length: 14 inches
Tail width: 7 inches
Type of filling: Smoke composition
Total weight: 28 pounds
Fuzing: Nose only - Special fuze for this bomb
Color and markings: Overall grey; red tail

Description: Body is light alloy all-welded construction (including tail unit) with longitudinal seam down the body.  Mounted to fuze body on a central stand is the smoke-producing composition. 

There are 26 smoke pellets, each 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick, made of purple composition, enclosed in a perforated metal container. Between each one and the next there is a metal spacer.  A length of safety fuze leads from the fuze to the pellets and then to a self-destroying charge in the nose.

0.5kg Incendiary Bombs Types IP, IT, and FI

Overall length: 6.1 inches
Body length: 4.5 inches
Body diameter: 2.75 inches
Total weight: 0.5 kilograms (approx.)


Overall length: 5.1 inches
Body length: 3.5 inches
Body diameter: 2.5 inches
Total weight: 0.5 kilograms (approx.)


Overall length: 4.95 inches
Body length: 3.35 inches
Body diameter: 2.5 inches
Total weight: 0.5 kilograms (approx.)

Fuzing: All - Type K

Color and markings:
Type IP: Overall light green; IP stenciled in black on the body
Type IT: Overall dark green; IT stenciled in black on the body
Type FI: Overall field grey; FI stenciled in black on the body

Type IP: This bomb consists of a thin mild-steel container of cylindrical shape whose filling consists of cotton wicks soaked in gasoline.

Type IT: Bomb is also of thin sheet mild-steel of cylindrical shape; but the main filling is thermite.

Type FI: The casing is of mild-steel and somewhat thicker than in the above two cases.  The main filling is phosphorus.

Remarks: These bombs are usually dropped in a bomb container.

1kg Incendiary Bombs Types I and II

Overall length: 6.1 inches
Body length: 4.6 inches
Body diameter: 2.7 inches

Type of filling: Magnesium and thermite mix
Total weight: 1kg (approx.)
Weight of filling:
-Magnesium: 0.084 kg
-Thermite: 0.473 kg

Fuzing: Type K

Color and markings: Overall reddish-brown; red nose

-Type I: The bomb is a tail-less cylinder made of electron metal.  On the curve surface are three small holes plugged with cork.  These act as vent holes when the thermite filling is ignited.  The thermite is in the form of a lightly pressed filling, pressed in two halves, with a central cylindrical which is filled with magnesium powder.

Below the fuze is a powder pellet which is separated from the thermite by a paper disc which is glued to a cardboard ring.  Through the paper disc is looped a piece of quick-match which extends into the magnesium.

 -Type II: This type made of the same material and having the same dimensions as the Type I, differs in the internal arrangement for igniting the thermite.  In place of the quick-match, a thin aluminum tube is inserted in the magnesium filling.  This tube contains a number of holes on its surface covered by thin paper, and is filled with magnesium powder.  It is sealed at its lower end by a cork plug.

1. These bombs can be dropped singly or in a bomb container.
2. These bombs were used also for sabotage work by using the fuze Type H.

2kg Incendiary Bombs Types I and II

Overall length: 12.2 inches
Body length: 10.6 inches
Body diameter: 2.7 inches
Wall thickness:
-Upper cylinder: 0.34 inch
-Lower cylinder: 0.06 inch

Type of filling:
-Type I: Thermite and oil
-Type II: Magnesium, Mercuric oxide, and Nitrobenzone
Weight of filling:
-Type I: 0.339 kg oil, 0.66 kg mix
-Type II: Unknown

Total weight:
-Type I: 2.12 kg
-Type II: Unknown

Fuzing: Type K
Color and markings:
-Type I: Overall grey; red nose
-Type II: Overall reddish-brown; red nose

-Type I: The bomb consists of two cylinders screwed together.  The upper cylinder is the same as the 1kg Incendiary Bomb Type II, except that the base plate is drilled to take four screws which secure the top plate of the lower cylinder to the base plate of the upper cylinder.  The lower portion is of sheet steel and contains a high-boiling turpentine oil.

 -Type II: This bomb is very similar to the Type I, except for the filling in both the upper and lower cylinders.  The upper part contains magnesium and mercuric oxide powders, and the other contains nitrobenzene.

20kg Incendiary Bomb

Overall length: 34 inches
Body length: 20.5 inches
Body diameter: 6.3 inches
Wall thickness: 0.75 inch
Tail length: 15.8 inches
Tail width: 6.3 inches

Type of filling: Thermite
Weight of filling: 10.58 kilograms
Total weight: 20.17 kilograms
Fuzing: Tail only - Type E
Color and markings: Overall reddish-brown; red nose

Description: The bomb consists of nose body and tail, all secured by screws.  The body is electron; the nose as a steel plug; and the tail is alloy or sheet metal.  Fuze vanes halfway along the tail length insure limited terminal velocity for the vanes.  Five holes at the rear of the bomb casing are closed by cork plugs.  The fuze functions on impact; igniter fires thermite; corks blow out and filling burns about three minutes; then casing breaks and burns with a white heat for ten minutes.

70kg Incendiary Bomb

Overall length: 47.2 inches
Body length: 23.6 inches
Body diameter: 9.9 inches
Wall thickness: 1 inch
Tail length: 24 inches
Tail width: 9.9 inches

Type of filling: Thermite
Weight of filling: 36.6 kilograms
Total weight: 74.5 kilograms
Fuzing: Tail only - Type G
Color and markings: Overall reddish-brown; red nose

Description: Bomb casing is electron metal.  The nose is encased in a steel cap 12 inches long and 1/8 inch thick attached to the body by eight screws.  The cap insures adequate penetration without damage to the casing.  An alloy tail unit is secured to the body by eight screws.  Vent holes, 1 and 1/4 inch in diameter, are plugged with cork.  The igniter for the thermite filling is magnesium powder in an aluminum tube passing through the center of the tail into the bomb body.

Next Time: Italian Gas Bombs and Others