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Russian (made in fr) gas shell? (76,2mm)

Irod7

Active Member
Hello everyone,

A few days earlier i have been handed out a large lot of items from a collector that didn`t want them anymore. Some of them are 76,2mm Russian ww1 shells made in France, of various models (there were many variations in respect of fuzes, adaptors, etc.) I suspect one of those was a gas shell and i`m trying to get a confirmation from some more experienced members, as the evidence is a bit contradicting.

1. The shell has at the bottom of the fuze well a white gasket of unknown material (should be lead, but it`s very white and flaky, so it could some kaolin cement), and also the threads are missing the slot for the pin that fixes the fuze adapter. In French 75mm shells this is an indication of a chemical or smoke shell, so I assume it is the same for French-made shells of 76,2mm for Russia.
2. French literature mentions that French shells with liquid contents were made from steel only, therefore they should be without the soldered steel plate on the bottom of the shell, used on lower quality steel. On my shell, this plate is present, as it is on most French-made shells for Russia.
3. The shell is 286mm tall, whereas my other French-made HE shell for Russia is 288mm tall. Despite the 2mm difference in height, they both have the 47mm eye for the fuze.
4. The "gas" shell weighs 5,1kg, whereas the HE shell weighs 5,5kg.

******

Now, my question is if we can determine for sure if this shell had a liquid filling, and if we can exclude the smoke shell. Personally, i have not been able to find references about Russians buying smoke shells from France.

Russian toxic shells were split in three main categories, some of the fillings being described below:
1. Asphyxiating
-chloropicrin with sulfuryl chloride and tin chloride, CCl3NO2 + SO2Cl2 + SnCl2 (marked АЖО/ AZhO on the shell)
-chloropicrin, CCl3NO2 (marked A on the shell)
-chloropicrin with sulfuryl chloride, CCl3NO2 + SO2Cl2 (marked АЖ/AZh on the shell)

2. Poisonous with slow action
3. Poisonous with fast action
-phosgene, COCl2
-phosgene with tin chloride, COCl2 + SnCl2
-vensinite, consisting of either hydrocyanic acid, chloroform, arsenic chloride and tin , or 50% hydrocyanic acid + 50% arsenic trichloride (sources vary)
(i don`t know to which of the slow/fast action categories these fit, feel free to correct me)
 

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The details of the various toxics used in French chemical shells during ww1 can be found here:
Although the text is in French, the table speaks for itself and details the 22 subtances used, with their given appelation, chemical composiiton, and the time of their introduction in service.
 
Thank you for your reply. Of course, i know this site already. But here we are talking about what substances the Russians used in their shells, which are not always the same as those employed by the French.
 
From the official manual for 76-mm gun information about Russian Empire (earlier Soviet) chemical shell. Published in 1922.
In the manual no any technical information about shell (no weight of toxic agent or something else). Used with fuze 24/31 mle. 99-08 (on the picture, or probably it is soviet/empire copy???). No cutaway of the shell, just examples of the standard Russian Empire colour marking during the WW1.
Quality of producing chemical shells was pretty poor. When in shell appeared leakage soldiers digged it to the ground. In official reports it was not very rare. Sounds strange and maddness, but it was doing in empire. Does anyone know - the same practice was among Allies too? :eek:
 

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When in shell appeared leakage soldiers digged it to the ground. In official reports it was not very rare. Sounds strange and maddness, but it was doing in empire. Does anyone know - the same practice was among Allies too?

The official WW1 German order was the same: put leaking shells into a swamp or dig them in.
 
Does anyone know - the same practice was among Allies too?
It was the case with the British Army. Ammunition Depot Orders were that leaking chemical shell were to be buried at least 6ft (~2m). The attached page shows that a consignment of 188 2-inch Trench Howitzer bombs (so-called "toffee apple" bombs) filled CG (Phosgene) were buried in the ground at a depth of 8ft (~2.4m).
 

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