Welcome to the Inert Ordnance Collectors.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts

    Help identifying odd 3.1 inch projectile, 78mm?

    Hello Guys,
    I got this projectile recently thinking I was going to be getting a 3.2 inch American projectile, but when it arrived the in person evaluation of it is puzzling. It is certainly not a 3.2 inch, as the diameter the base of it is 3.0940 inches (using dial caliper to remeasure multiple times with same result). This translates to about 78mm with some change, which was certainly not what I had expected. Checking 3.2 inch projectile diameters in archived documents shows they would have had a diameter of 3.15 at the very least, making me doubt it is that. Other odd features to me include its interior cavity (which i can't show a picture of as its too dark). When I looked inside with a light I noted that it is not a flat or recessed flat bottom as I would expect for a shrapnel shell of this early time period. However, it has a rounded interior and curved base, making me think it is more likely to have had a explosive charge. Black powder charge maybe? The ogive is odd as well, as its too narrow for any American fuzes I know of from the pre 1900 time period, and appears to more likely have taken a French "beehive" pattern fuze. I do know that the United States utilized copies of beehive fuzes on their shells, but the projectile's size matches no gun I can find that feasibly would have fired it in the U.S. inventory (when looking in old archive documentation). The only U.S. gun of 3.1" was a Civil war Confederate gun, which is simply too old to have been firing this pattern of projectile. The only other potential small lead I have is finding 3.1 inch guns listed among captured Boer guns by the British during the 2nd Boer war. However, I couldn't find much more information on this as it was mentioned briefly in a british source. When searching for photos of captured Boer projectiles, in general, I did notice that some projectiles (although different sizes from mine) did share somewhat of a similar profile in addition to taking french pattern "beehive" fuzes. Information on Boer artillery though seems rather sparse, so I was hoping someone here could help me to shed some light on this projectile (or point me in the correct direction). Also, the maker mark is odd. It appears to be shaped like an ace of spades, and then the letters SJ. Opposite of these marks are what appears to be another lightly stamped ace of spades (sorry this is only way i could think to describe it).

    One thing I did note however, is its condition tells me that it had been picked up by someone almost immediately after being fired as it has ZERO pitting on it. Or it was in a very very arid environment.

    Dimensions: 3.0940 inches in diameter, 8.5 inches in height almost exactly.

    (Feel free to shoot down my idea of it being Boer maybe if you have any good ideas)

    (also sorry ahead of time, I am trying to rotate the photos upright, they were upright when I uploaded them)
    Nose pic.jpgBase pic 2.jpgBase pic 1.jpgSide pic 4.jpgSide pic 3.jpgSide pic 1.jpgSide pic 2.jpg

  2. #2
    Premium Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    4,434
    Thanks
    700
    Thanked 1,254 Times in 722 Posts
    Does the ogive unscrew from the main body?
    ___HAZ/
    _____/ORD Hazardous Ordnance Recognition
    ________Saving Lives Through Education

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts
    nope its stuck on there, but theoretically, yes it should.

  4. #4
    Premium Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    4,434
    Thanks
    700
    Thanked 1,254 Times in 722 Posts
    Penetrating oil, some tapping with a hammer to break it loose?
    Last edited by HAZORD; 13th July 2020 at 01:24 PM.
    ___HAZ/
    _____/ORD Hazardous Ordnance Recognition
    ________Saving Lives Through Education

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts
    I honestly am not sure im willing to do that, as much as I'd love to remove it, as i don't want to damage the projectile. If we can prove that they are a mismatch then I am certaintly more open to the idea, but I appreciate the help hazord!
    If it helps anyone, the length from base to the base of ogive is about 6 and 7/8 inches exactly.
    Last edited by frijoles108; 13th July 2020 at 10:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts
    3.1 inch.jpgAlso, to show the source describing the boer artillery, here it is:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xu...%20war&f=false

    I also am including a photo of the exact page I am looking at, where it lists various artillery pieces in the Boer inventory. Like I said, however, I cannot find any more descriptions of what exactly the 3.1 inch guns were/looked like.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts
    Here is what I am certain is the actual identity of the gun that fired this projectile. It is a C73 8cm Krupp Field gun, developed in the immediate aftermath of the Franco Prussian War. Read more on it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_cm_Kanone_C/73
    Here is a list of nations that I found that operated it, including Germany, that could have made my projectile. As you will notice in the sources below, they will vary between calling the gun a 8cm, or a 7.85cm in size. Both are, confusingly, correct. The German military would call these guns 8cm in their terminology, rounding up the actual size, despite it actually being of 3.09 or 7.85cm in size.

    German colonies operated these guns as seen by this source: http://s400910952.websitehome.co.uk/...the%20lake.htm This is a set of guns recovered from a lake in South West Africa, they were dumped there by German forces during ww1 before surrendering to the British. This website in general is fantastic and I highly suggest reading its other entries.
    Foreign countries also purchased these guns, such as Chile as seen by this book on the War of the Pacific from 1879-1883 (sorry if it does not take you to the specific page that mentions it) https://books.google.com/books?id=d3...%20gun&f=false

    In conclusion, I still have a lot more investigating to do as I am not certain as to the specific nationality of the projectile I have is. I am pretty certain now that it is a mismatched ogive, however I am not certain that the projectile was made by Germany. Possibly it was made in one of the German colonies or a country that had purchased the gun. I will post more as I find it.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to frijoles108 For This Useful Post:

    doppz92 (14th July 2020)

  9. #8
    Premium Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    66
    Thanks
    29
    Thanked 92 Times in 30 Posts
    Why are you so certain that it's for c/73 field gun? At least the Prussian projectiles look totally different - starting with lead coated c/73 and c/76 Ringgranate, followed by c/82 with two copper driving bands.

  10. #9
    Premium Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    276
    Thanks
    2,203
    Thanked 141 Times in 62 Posts
    Hello frijoles108, thank you very much for the very interesting links to the German guns from South Africa, I was in Windhoek a few years ago and had the chance to see some artillery there (at the Alte Fest), I'll have to dig out the pictures I took at the time, but I didn't know about the Schutztruppe artillery dumped in a lake and now on display in a museum. I will have to return and pay a visit to this museum. However, like nachtwuensher, I don't see your projectile being German at all, the shape is wrong and also the two indentation on the ogive make me think of a French shell or at least French "style" shell.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to doppz92 For This Useful Post:

    frijoles108 (22nd July 2020)

  12. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    204
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 29 Times in 17 Posts
    I agree the prussian ones are different, i am suggesting it may be one produced by someone else for the gun they purchased. I cant seem locate any other alternative guns that would match this dimension, but maybe there is another. Nothing american matched its unique diameter, with only the c73 being the match. Would they always use lead banded projectiles even when they reused this gun at times in ww1? Would they have not updated the projectile style at all?
    the projectile is definitely not cased (fixed) maybe it is separate loading, either bag or casing. But like I said, the ogive may not be original to the body. So I am more just considering the body dimensions for now, while trying to identify it. Also im hoping someone will recognize the unique maker mark or initials.
    Doppz92, I do think the ogive is of a french style shell for sure, but i wonder of it was a mismatch. Also I cant find any French gun that is of this diameter, but I'd be open to suggestions as i could be looking in the completely wrong place. When researching obscure items before that I managed to identify, it was often times in unexpected locations id find the document showing it.
    Last edited by frijoles108; 14th July 2020 at 05:54 PM.

 

 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top