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  1. #1
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    Japanese 150 shell Ash Tray

    Here is a nice “trench art” piece; it was constructed from a Japanese 150mm shell case and seven Japanese .50 cartridges, six cut for cigarette rests and one intact in the center. The 150mm was made in January of 1943 (S 1/18), but I’m lost as to the other markings. There were several 150mm guns and Howitzers but I'm not sure which one this case was originally for.
    I would appreciate confirmation or corrections of my assumptions and any other information you could provide. Thanks for looking, hope you enjoyed seeing it.
    BKW DSC_0005.jpgDSC_0006.jpg

  2. #2
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    After digesting some information from Ken Elks book, part 1, I find out that the smaller cartirdges are from the Navy 13mm Machine-gun. The intact cartidge in the center was made at the Toyokawa Arsenal May-August, 1942. I guess nobody noticed my error. I just got Elks's books on Japanese Ammunition at the last gun show I went to and have been using them.
    BKW

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    That is a nice and very interesting peice !

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    Hi Brian,

    I haven't been much on BOCN lately, so I didn't see your questions before. Yes, the date is correct. It was manufactured at the Kure arsenal (this can be seen by the style of the anchor, with wavy cross-bars). The Kanji character below the 1/18 is the typical IJN acceptance stamp. As for the other ones: the 'K10' one is IMO almost certainly a lot number. Kure cases have the letter 'K' as a start, followed by a number. On other arsenal's casings one at times sees a three letter code, much like the lot numbers on 25mm fuzes. It has also been proposed that the 'K' number is a factory code of a factory belonging to the Kure arsenal. I put my money on the lot number being the proper interpretation. The Kanji between the 'K10' and the 'S 1/18' means "modification 1".

    If the rim of your specimen measures 196mm, the cut casing was once a 152x743R casing; a sour loss to see that converted to a mere ashtray. :S
    It was then a semi-fixed case, used in the Type 41 40 cal. gun.

    Cheers,
    Olafo

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the comments banksy! Glad you enjoyed seeing it.
    ogreve, I really appriciate the great info you provided in your response. I am curating a "Trench Art" exhibit at the Art musuem where I work. My intent is to be able to fully identify the origins of the material for this art form. I am a long time militaria collector and I do understand when you say a "sour loss to see that converted to a mere ashtray". I feel the same way when I see a "sporterized" military firearm. I suppose that if it hadn't been picked up and made into the ash tray, it probably would have been recycled years ago or be at the bottom of the sea. My thoughts are if it was done in the war time era or by the soldier shortly after he come home from service, I don't feel it is such a loss, if it were done by some one today with such an old/rare shell, then it is a real shame. We have a nice intact Japanese Type 4 Howitzer shell sent home during the war by a US Naval officer to include in the exhibit. It is not common to find the larger shells as your "holy grail" search says! I have been to your site and find it a great resource. Thanks! That is a lot of work to do that. I did fail to give the base measurments, it measures 170mm, so it is not the particular shell for the Type 41. Now that you know the base size, can you tell me what it was for? I assume this would be a semi fixed shell, used on Japanese ships. Since this was constructed with navy 13mm shell also, one could assume it was made by a US soldier (or sailor or marine, I sy US because I am in the states) who probably was on a Japanese Naval base or supply port/depot. I would assume most of the ships armed with this type gun were sunk during the war. Was this type gun ever mounted on the ground? As I aquire reference material and look at more shells, I won't have so many basic questions. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
    BKW

  6. #6
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    Hi Brian,

    You're welcome; it's my pleasure to provide information whenever I can.
    As for the explanation you give regarding trench art: I fully agree; back then these casings were certainly not rare, and collectability some 60 odd years later will have been of little concern to the soldiers back then.
    I guess one could say that it's comparable to not using your car any longer, keeping it nicely cared for in a shed, because in 50 years it will be rare and vintage.
    Anyway, in retrospect it's of course still a pity for us to see these items cut short, rather than seeing them in their full, unaltered length...
    It sounds like an interesting exhibition; just the other day in our Dutch ECRA leg's site I started a thread on trench art, asking for some pictures of rare items turned into trench art. I kicked it off with two "Japanese ashtrays"; one of which a beautifully headstamped IJN 3" casing... Some of the other contributions were really fancy. My favourite is a short German 15cm Howitzer case (not shortened) which has beautiful drawings of lions and tigers etched into them. Definitely a work of art. If you can use pictures too for your exhibition, I can send them to you.
    As for the Navy case you have: I haven't checked all the rim sizes in the TMs against a 170mm rim, but from my own collection list I already found one match for that: the 127x581R calibre. Arguably so perhaps an even more "sour loss" than a 152x743R casing; it's certainly one of the rarer tall Navy casings. :P Well... in reality, they both are. I don't know which one is the rarest of the two.

    As for the projectile you have: is that for the 150mm Type 4-year Howitzer?
    If so, that's a very good find! So far I only have four charge bags for that calibre, and I'm not 100% certain, but I think the casing is the 150x258R one. If the Aussie customs ever give us a reprieve I should have one of those incoming. Do you perhaps have pictures of it?

    Cheers,
    Olafo

  7. #7
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    Hello Olafo,
    I posted photo's of the M4 case here: http://www.bocn.co.uk/vbforum/thread...zer-shell-case
    Thanks for your information and comments!
    I enjoy your site!
    BKW

  8. #8
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    Hi Brian,

    A tiny update: this morning I received my two 120x709R casings that were previously in Germany for repairs, I measured the rim of one of them and it too is 170mm, so now there are at least two candidate calibres matching your cut-short casing.

    Cheers,
    Olafo

 

 

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