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Thread: Help I.D

  1. #1
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    Help I.D

    Hello,
    This device comes from Canadian War Museum, but it is not named. It visibly missing the percussion system.
    From what we see, the head has peripheral lugs, that may suggest a cap is engaged there.
    A identical assembly was invented by H. Newton for his Pippin grenades or fuze Nº107 MkII for 2 in trench Mortar.
    So would it be possible that this device is a rifle grenade or a small trench mortar designed by at the First Army Workshop?
    I have already seen a similar device bearing the name of the inventor: FOULIS.
    Thanks for your help!
    JM.
    Height approx: 30 cm, Diam:10 cm approx

    Unknow 1.jpg

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  3. #2
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    It is an experimental or trials bomb for the grenade howitzer designed by Captain Foulis. He modified or designed several bombs and adapted the howitzer accordingly; the first bombs had only a tube tail without fins. The bomb shown, with No.107 type fuze and finned tail, probably dates from May 1916, when five howitzer variants were tested in France. The variants allowed different mountings and cup attachments for launching Mills bombs, 2 1/2lb bombs and 5lb bombs to be compared. Although the trials demonstrated the howitzer to work successfully, further development was halted as by then the Mills rifle grenade had already been approved, and the supply of another weapon was considered a burden on the Ministry of Munitions.

    A description of an early design of Foulis howitzer exists, concerning trials in late 1915 in England for firing a Mills grenade with tubular tail attachment. The howitzer consisted of a thin steel cylinder about 1¼ inches diameter and 36 inches long, with a steel cup at the end. A simple bracket enabled the lightweight gun to be planted in the ground. A spring-loaded firing pin was cocked towards the rear of the tube, and released by a simple trigger to strike the base of the projectile - a Mills grenade with a piece of hollow cylindrical tubing screwed to the base plug, and which fitted inside the tube of the gun. The cylindrical tail was about 8-inches long and held a cut-down 12 bore shotgun cartridge. On firing, the grenade with tail and cartridge were propelled into the air.




    Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snufkin View Post
    The bomb shown, with No.107 type fuze and finned tail, probably dates from May 1916, when five howitzer variants were tested in France. The variants allowed different mountings and cup attachments for launching Mills bombs, 2 1/2lb bombs and 5lb bombs to be compared. Although the trials demonstrated the howitzer to work successfully, further development was halted as by then the Mills rifle grenade had already been approved, and the supply of another weapon was considered a burden on the Ministry of Munitions.

    Tom.
    Very interesting post Tom. Were the trials in tandem with the Burn Mortar / Cup trials which were probably in the same timeframe? From what you say there may be features in the Foulis Howitzer that were common the the Grenatenwerfer (and Stokes) as well?

    John
    Author of 'British Rifle Grenades of the Great War' and 'Mills Grenade Development 1915-1918'.

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    Any Live or Dug ordnance shown by me has been disposed of by EOD personnel .

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millsman View Post
    Were the trials in tandem with the Burn Mortar / Cup trials which were probably in the same timeframe? From what you say there may be features in the Foulis Howitzer that were common the the Granatenwerfer (and Stokes) as well?
    The Burn discharger cup and gun developments were later, end of 1916/early 1917. Burn arrived back in England from duty in Egypt in June 1916, after the Foulis howitzer trials had ended, and then took some leave before being attached to the Munitions Inventions Dept with his then current rank of Machinist Serjeant Major. After the war he was asked if he had ever heard of the Foulis Stick Gun, and he said he had not, i.e. he was not influenced by any design of Foulis.

    Unlike the December 1915 trials of Foulis howitzer and Mills grenades, where the cylindrical tail of the bomb was held in a tube, the May 1916 trials used a gun "in the form of a stick with a cup for Mills grenades" - hence the Stick Gun name. This was indeed similar in principle to the German Granatenwerfer, the adapted Mills bomb having a hollow cylindrical tail that fitted over a spigot of the gun - the spigot containing a firing pin within.

    Two of the other gun designs (of the five) of the May 1916 trials were described as "in the form of a stick without cup for bombs up to 2 1/2 lbs" and "in the form of a stick designed by Thornycroft for bombs of 5 lb". Either of these spigot guns might be the launcher for the bomb shown in the opening post.
    Last edited by Snufkin; 12th October 2021 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Other gun descriptions

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    Hello,
    Many thanks for taking the time to answer me, with this very interesting post!
    JM

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