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WW1 British gas shells

A 18pdr gas/chemical round has a filling hole and plug in the body,the contents can be various from the obvious chemical (poisonous) to smoke (bursting phosphorous) These filler holes can be difficult to see..

18lb streamlined bursting smoke .you can clearly see the filling hole missing the plug,when this was destroyed it still contained traces of phosphorous

Hi Spotter,

Thanks for this information, greatly appreciated. But further to this are WW1 chemical shells just, for example standard issue HE rounds filled with a given chemical? Also, any idea what the plug was made of and how was it sealed?

Thanks again
Hello cirus other than the image,i cant add much more to this topic,I would have thought that originaly they adapted curent stocks then developed a shell specificaly for chemical ,which would burst rather than explode ,The plug was of tapered steel which was sealed over with solder,
i hope someone else can add more to this interesting topic

The 18pdr chem was originally a converted HE projo, there were a number of different marks with only slight differences.
They were fitted with 106 direct action fuzes and filled through the side. The plug was steel and this was covered with a lead plug.
They contained a large burster and were very poor at disseminating the agent. A 2nd problem was that the projo often buried itself in the ground before functioning. This led to the development of the 25 pdr which was base ejection and functioned in the air using a 221B time and combustion fuze.

If you want anymore info i have tons and tons as i spent 10 years disposing of chemical weapons.

V Interesting

This is a great subject,am i correct in believing that a vast amount of british chem weapons were sea dumped post ww2 in the deepest part of the irish sea? Probably the safest way to let them break down safely.Tig.:tinysmile_fatgrin_t
At the end of the war they were either sea dumped or land buried.
A lot were dumped as you say in the Irish sea in an area known as Beaufort Dyke. They were either dumped over the side or more commonly as in the Baltic the whole ship was sunk.
70 years on, this issue is getting quite alot of publicity due to enviromental concerns and also because companies want to run pipelines and cables through areas known to have been used for sea dumping of CW. Mustard for example can last for years in the sea and poses a real problem for fishermen and others hauling things from the sea.

Land buried CW is often found when building work takes place or the MOD sells off land and someone discovers legacy CW buried.

There's also areas in the UK where it's documented CW (and BW) was tested. These areas perodically yield ordnance and related items!
The fills varied between countries and calibers. The fills below are just a overview of those weaponised and used as service fills. There were many more used as experimental fills. The code for H in the UK was "Y" and there were over 20 different Y fills depending on the way the mustard was produced, what it was mixed with and what it was planned to be used for.
The German marking and code system identified the physilogical effects of the agent so you could have 2 mustard fills in different munitions marked differently. It was still mustard but one was designed to cause blistering on the skin so had a small burster to disseminate the agent and the other had a large burster so you would get a smaller droplet size and therefore the mustard could be inhaled causing damage to the respiratory system.

UK utilised H, CG, BBC, KSK, CBR, JBR, PS etc

France - H, CG,

Germany - Clark 1 and 2, H, CG, PS

Italy - DM, H, CG

Hope you find this interesting.
So basically

we filled the 18 pdrs with mustard gas in different versions. Phosgene, was that loaded in them or was the 18 pdr unsuitable for that and perhaps better suited to the Livins projectors
The 18pdr did have a CG fill in both the short (270mm) version and the long version (290mm). The mustard fill was in the long version and was HS.
The Livens had service fills of CG, CL, DP, H, NC, PG and PS and almost every experimental fill including HE and incendiary (the incendary Livens is easy to identify by the slotted cap on the ogive).
18Pr MkII, L 284.4mm, BB or CG
18Pr Mk III, III*, V, L 273mm, BB or CG
18Pr Mk VI, L 268.5 mm, BB
18Pr unknow Mark, 293mm, CG
18Pr unknow Mark, 305mm, CG
Lenght without fuze 106 or 101
Shell body CI or SS
18Pr Mk III HE converted or repaired, L243mm, Central tube and bursting chargein base shell, no used, fuze 103

Wondered where you got the info from on the different Mks of 18 pdr. As I would be really interested in getting a copy of the source info.
BB was one of the codes for (Sulphur mustard) HS
From my experience the bursting charge in the base relates to the Mk 6, 18pdr shrapnel shell.

Mustard relics

Very interesting stuff, knew a chap once who had been doing some groundwork in cornwall years ago that stumbled on a cache of 25pdr chem shells.also i know that there are areas around Porton ,Gomeldon,Boscombe on the edge of Salisbury plain that have remnants of ww1 testing of chem weapons. Makes me wonder what the mod trialled along the Dorset coast post ww2?? Supposedly linked to birth defects! Best not to know i expect,although i think i might suffer from a few side effects myself.:tinysmile_cry_t2:
18 Pounder 08.jpg

Here's a few cut away 18pdrs, smoke and chem varients.
Not sure what the second from the left is though
does anyone know the rarity of ww1 chemical shells?
I have a german 1917 gas shell unfired,with ekz fuze-original case..is this rare?
Ive no idea.
I would like to collect some more Chemical ordance but dont seem to see much about
18 pounder
The first and second 18Pr gas shells where prepared in 10/1916
The body is a HE shell Mk III with a plug filling hole
The second is repared shell with nose cone screwing on cylindrical body like 4.5 in diaphragm gas shell
There is a central tube like shrapnel shell and a bursting charge in tin in base shell
The gas is filling by the charging hole around the central tube
The first N103 fuse (hold N100 modified) is screwing on only two thread to have a good bursting gas and fuze
There is a cylindrical ring between the fuze and the eye shell
These two shell seem no use but the second type are charging after with HE composition and i've found one in North France
I've found the two gas shells (with no Mk) and the Mk III and III*
difficult today to see the Mk on these all rare shells
German Gas shell are curently pick up in France every days from 7.7cm to 21 cm, also 7.6 to 25cm Minen