A shell is a payload-carrying projectile that, as opposed to shot,
contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes
includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot.[not verified
in body] Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or
spotting charge is used. Originally, it was called a "bombshell", but
"shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context.
All explosive- and incendiary-filled projectiles, particularly for
mortars, were originally called grenades, derived from the
pomegranate, so called because the many-seeded fruit suggested the
powder-filled, fragmenting bomb, or from the similarity of shape.
Words cognate with grenade are still used for an artillery or mortar
projectile in some European languages.
Shells are usually large-calibre projectiles fired by artillery,
combat vehicles (including tanks), and warships.
Shells usually have the shape of a cylinder topped by an ogive-shaped
nose for good aerodynamic performance, possibly with a tapering base
(boat-tail); but some specialized types are quite different.
1.1 Early shells
1.2 Shrapnel shell
1.3 Modern shell
1.3.1 Rifled breech loaders
1.3.2 Percussion fuze
1.3.3 Smokeless powders
1.3.4 High-explosive shells
1.3.5 Armour-piercing shells
Anti-tank explosive shells
1.4 Other shell types
3.1.1 Mine shell
3.2.1 Armour-piercing, discarding-sabot
3.2.2 Armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding-sabot
3.2.3 Armour-piercing, composite rigid
3.2.4 Armour-piercing, composite non-rigid
3.3 High-explosive, anti-tank
3.4 High-explosive, squash-head or high-explosive plastic
3.5 Shrapnel shells
3.6 Cluster shells
3.8 Non-lethal shells
3.8.5 Proof shot
4 Unexploded shells
5 Guided shells
6 Range enhancing technologies
7 See also
10 External links
Solid cannonballs ("shot") did not need a fuse, but hollow munitions
("shells") filled with something such as gunpowder to fragment the
ball, needed a fuse, either impact (percussion) or time. Percussion
fuses with a spherical projectile presented a challenge because there
was no way of ensuring that the impact mechanism contacted the target.
Therefore, shells needed a time fuse that was ignited before or during
firing and burned until the shell reached its target.
See also: History of gunpowder
The 'flying-cloud thunderclap-eruptor' cannon from the Huolongjing
The earliest record of shells being used in combat was by the Republic
of Venice at Jadra in 1376. Shells with fuses were used at the 1421
siege of St Boniface in Corsica. These were two hollowed hemispheres
of stone or bronze held together by an iron hoop.
Written evidence for early explosive shells in
China appears in the
Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Chinese military manual Huolongjing,
Jiao Yu (fl. 14th to early 15th century) and Liu Bowen
(1311–1375) sometime before the latter's death, a preface added by
Jiao in 1412. As described in their book, these hollow,
gunpowder-packed shells were made of cast iron. At least since the
16th Century grenades made of ceramics or glass were in use in Central
Europe. A hoard of several hundred ceramic grenades were discovered
during building works in front of a bastion of the Bavarian City of
Germany dated to the 17th Century. Lots of the grenades
contained their original blackpowder loads and igniters. Most probably
the grenades were intentionally dumped in the moat of the bastion
before the year 1723.
An early problem was that there was no means of precisely measuring
the time to detonation — reliable fuses did not yet exist and the
burning time of the powder fuse was subject to considerable trial and
error. Early powder burning fuses had to be loaded fuse down to be
ignited by firing or a portfire put down the barrel to light the fuse.
Other shells were wrapped in bitumen cloth, which would ignite during
the firing and in turn ignite a powder fuse. Nevertheless, shells came
into regular use in the 16th Century, for example a 1543 English
mortar shell was filled with 'wildfire'.
A mortar with a hollowed shell from the Boshin war
By the 18th Century, it was known that the fuse toward the muzzle
could be lit by the flash through the windage between the shell and
the barrel. At about this time, shells began to be employed for
horizontal fire from howitzers with a small propelling charge and, in
1779, experiments demonstrated that they could be used from guns with
The use of exploding shells from field artillery became relatively
commonplace from early in the 19th century. Until the mid 19th
century, shells remained as simple exploding spheres that used
gunpowder, set off by a slow burning fuse. They were usually made of
cast iron, but bronze, lead, brass and even glass shell casings were
experimented with. The word bomb encompassed them at the time, as
heard in the lyrics of
The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner ("the bombs bursting
in air"), although today that sense of bomb is obsolete. Typically,
the thickness of the metal body was about a sixth of their diameter
and they were about two thirds the weight of solid shot of the same
To ensure that shells were loaded with their fuses toward the muzzle,
they were attached to wooden bottoms called sabots. In 1819, a
committee of British artillery officers recognised that they were
essential stores and in 1830 Britain standardised sabot thickness as a
half inch. The sabot was also intended to reduce jamming during
loading. Despite the use of exploding shell, the use of smoothbore
cannons firing spherical projectiles of shot remained the dominant
artillery method until the 1850s.
Main article: Shrapnel shell
Original Shrapnel design (left), and the Boxer design of May 1852
which avoided premature explosions (right)
By the late 18th century, artillery could use "canister shot" to
defend itself from infantry or cavalry attack. This involved loading a
tin or canvas container filled with small iron or lead balls instead
of the usual cannonball. When fired, the container burst open during
passage through the bore or at the muzzle, giving the effect of an
oversized shotgun shell. At ranges of up to 300 m, canister shot was
still highly lethal, though at this range the shots’ density was
much lower, making a hit on a human target less likely. At longer
ranges, solid shot or the common shell — a hollow cast iron sphere
filled with black powder — was used, although with more of a
concussive than a fragmentation effect, as the pieces of the shell
were very large and sparse in number.
In 1784, Lieutenant
Henry Shrapnel of the Royal
the shrapnel shell as an anti-personnel weapon. His innovation was to
combine the multi-projectile shotgun effect of canister shot, with a
time fuze to open the canister and disperse the bullets it contained
at some distance along the canister's trajectory from the gun. His
shell was a hollow cast-iron sphere filled with a mixture of balls and
powder, with a crude time fuse. If the fuse was set correctly, then
the shell would break open, either in front or above the intended
target, releasing its contents (of musket balls). The shrapnel balls
would carry on with the "remaining velocity" of the shell.
1870s cast-iron RML 16-pounder "Boxer" shrapnel shell showing limited
space for bullets
It took until 1803 for the British artillery to adopt the shrapnel
shell (as "spherical case"), albeit with great enthusiasm when it did.
Shrapnel was promoted to
Major in the same year. The design was
improved by Captain E. M. Boxer of the
Royal Arsenal around 1852 and
crossed over when cylindrical shells for rifled guns were introduced.
Lieutenant-Colonel Boxer adapted his design in 1864 to produce
shrapnel shells for the new rifled muzzle-loader (RML) guns : the
walls were of thick cast iron, but the gunpowder charge was now in the
shell base with a tube running through the centre of the shell to
convey the ignition flash from the time fuze in the nose to the
gunpowder charge in the base. The powder charge both shattered the
cast iron shell wall and liberated the bullets.
In the 1870s, William Armstrong provided a design with the bursting
charge in the head and the shell wall made of steel and hence much
thinner than previous cast-iron shrapnel shell walls. While the
thinner shell wall and absence of a central tube allowed the shell to
carry far more bullets, it had the disadvantage that the bursting
charge separated the bullets from the shell casing by firing the case
forward and at the same time slowing the bullets down as they were
ejected through the base of the shell casing, rather than increasing
their velocity. Britain adopted this solution for several smaller
calibres (below 6-inch); but, by World War I, few if any such
The final shrapnel shell design used a much thinner forged steel shell
case with a timer fuze in the nose and a tube running through the
centre to convey the ignition flash to a gunpowder bursting charge in
the shell base. The use of steel allowed the shell wall to be made
much thinner and hence allow space for many more bullets. It also
withstood the force of the powder charge without shattering, so that
the bullets were fired forward out of the shell case with increased
velocity, much like a shotgun. This is the design that came to be
adopted by all countries and was in standard use when World War I
began in 1914.
The mid 19th century saw a revolution in artillery, with the
introduction of the first practical rifled breech loading weapons. The
new methods resulted in the reshaping of the spherical shell into its
modern recognizable cylindro-conoidal form. This shape greatly
improved the in-flight stability of the projectile and meant that the
primitive time fuzes could be replaced with the percussion fuze
situated in the nose of the shell. The new shape also meant that
further, armour-piercing designs could be used.
During the 20th Century, shells became increasingly streamlined. In
World War I, ogives were typically two circular radius head (crh) -
the curve was a segment of a circle having a radius of twice the shell
calibre. After that war, ogive shapes became more complex and
elongated. From the 1960s, higher quality steels were introduced by
some countries for their HE shells, this enabled thinner shell walls
with less weight of metal and hence a greater weight of explosive.
Ogives were further elongated to improve their ballistic performance.
Rifled breech loaders
Main article: Rifled breech loader
Armstrong gun was a pivotal development for modern artillery as
the first practical rifled breech loader. Pictured, deployed by Japan
Boshin war (1868–69).
Advances in metallurgy in the industrial era allowed for the
construction of rifled breech-loading guns that could fire at a much
greater muzzle velocity. After the British artillery was shown up in
Crimean War as having barely changed since the Napoleonic Wars,
the industrialist William Armstrong was awarded a contract by the
government to design a new piece of artillery. Production started in
1855 at the
Elswick Ordnance Company
Elswick Ordnance Company and the
Royal Arsenal at
The piece was rifled, which allowed for a much more accurate and
powerful action. Although rifling had been tried on small arms since
the 15th century, the necessary machinery to accurately rifle
artillery only became available in the mid-19th century. Martin von
Joseph Whitworth independently produced rifled cannon
in the 1840s, but it was Armstrong's gun that was first to see
widespread use during the Crimean War. The cast iron shell of the
Armstrong gun was similar in shape to a
Minié ball and had a thin
lead coating which made it fractionally larger than the gun's bore and
which engaged with the gun's rifling grooves to impart spin to the
shell. This spin, together with the elimination of windage as a result
of the tight fit, enabled the gun to achieve greater range and
accuracy than existing smooth-bore muzzle-loaders with a smaller
The gun was also a breech-loader. Although attempts at breech-loading
mechanisms had been made since medieval times, the essential
engineering problem was that the mechanism couldn't withstand the
explosive charge. It was only with the advances in metallurgy and
precision engineering capabilities during the Industrial Revolution
that Armstrong was able to construct a viable solution. Another
innovative feature was what Armstrong called its "grip", which was
essentially a squeeze bore; the 6 inches of the bore at the muzzle end
was of slightly smaller diameter, which centered the shell before it
left the barrel and at the same time slightly swaged down its lead
coating, reducing its diameter and slightly improving its ballistic
Rifled guns were also developed elsewhere - by
Major Giovanni Cavalli
Martin von Wahrendorff in Sweden,
Germany and the
Wiard gun in the United States. However, rifled barrels required
some means of engaging the shell with the rifling.
Lead coated shells
were used with the Armstrong gun, but were not satisfactory so studded
projectiles were adopted. However, these did not seal the gap between
shell and barrel. Wads at the shell base were also tried without
In 1878, the British adopted a copper 'gas-check' at the base of their
studded projectiles and in 1879 tried a rotating gas check to replace
the studs, leading to the 1881 automatic gas-check. This was soon
followed by the Vavaseur copper driving band as part of the
projectile. The driving band rotated the projectile, centred it in the
bore and prevented gas escaping forwards. A driving band has to be
soft but tough enough to prevent stripping by rotational and engraving
Copper is generally most suitable but cupro nickel or
gilding metal were also used.
Although an early percussion fuze appeared in 1650 that used a flint
to create sparks to ignite the powder, the shell had to fall in a
particular way for this to work and this did not work with spherical
projectiles. An additional problem was finding a suitably stable
‘percussion powder’. Progress was not possible until the discovery
of mercury fulminate in 1800, leading to priming mixtures for small
arms patented by the Rev Alexander Forsyth, and the copper percussion
cap in 1818.
The percussion fuze was adopted by Britain in 1842. Many designs were
jointly examined by the army and navy, but were unsatisfactory,
probably because of the safety and arming features. However, in 1846
the design by Quartermaster Freeburn of the Royal
adopted by the army. It was a wooden fuze some 6 inches long and
used shear wire to hold blocks between the fuze magazine and a burning
match. The match was ignited by propellant flash and the shear wire
broke on impact. A British naval percussion fuze made of metal did not
appear until 1861.
Main article: Smokeless powder
Poudre B was the first practical smokeless powder.
Gunpowder was used as the only form of explosive up until the end of
the 19th century. Guns using black powder ammunition would have their
view obscured by a huge cloud of smoke and concealed shooters were
given away by a cloud of smoke over the firing position. Guncotton, a
nitrocellulose-based material, was discovered by Swiss chemist
Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1846. He promoted its use as a
blasting explosive and sold manufacturing rights to the Austrian
Guncotton was more powerful than gunpowder, but at the same
time was somewhat more unstable. John Taylor obtained an English
patent for guncotton; and John Hall & Sons began manufacture in
Faversham. British interest waned after an explosion destroyed the
Faversham factory in 1847. Austrian Baron Wilhelm Lenk von Wolfsberg
built two guncotton plants producing artillery propellant, but it was
dangerous under field conditions, and guns that could fire thousands
of rounds using gunpowder would reach their service life after only a
few hundred shots with the more powerful guncotton.
Small arms could not withstand the pressures generated by guncotton.
After one of the Austrian factories blew up in 1862, Thomas Prentice
& Company began manufacturing guncotton in
Stowmarket in 1863; and
War Office chemist Sir
Frederick Abel began thorough research
at Waltham Abbey Royal
Gunpowder Mills leading to a manufacturing
process that eliminated the impurities in nitrocellulose making it
safer to produce and a stable product safer to handle. Abel patented
this process in 1865, when the second Austrian guncotton factory
exploded. After the
Stowmarket factory exploded in 1871, Waltham Abbey
began production of guncotton for torpedo and mine warheads.
James Dewar developed the cordite explosive in 1889.
Paul Vieille invented a smokeless powder called Poudre B
(short for poudre blanche—white powder, as distinguished from black
powder) made from 68.2% insoluble nitrocellulose, 29.8% soluble
nitrocellusose gelatinized with ether and 2% paraffin. This was
adopted for the Lebel rifle. Vieille's powder revolutionized the
effectiveness of small guns, because it gave off almost no smoke and
was three times more powerful than black powder. Higher muzzle
velocity meant a flatter trajectory and less wind drift and bullet
drop, making 1000 meter shots practicable. Other European countries
swiftly followed and started using their own versions of Poudre B, the
Austria which introduced new weapons in 1888.
Poudre B was modified several times with various
compounds being added and removed.
Krupp began adding diphenylamine as
a stabilizer in 1888.
Britain conducted trials on all the various types of propellant
brought to their attention, but were dissatisfied with them all and
sought something superior to all existing types. In 1889, Sir
James Dewar and Dr W Kellner patented (Nos 5614 and
11,664 in the names of Abel and Dewar) a new formulation that was
manufactured at the Royal
Gunpowder Factory at Waltham Abbey. It
entered British service in 1891 as
Cordite Mark 1. Its main
composition was 58% Nitro-glycerine, 37%
Guncotton and 3% mineral
jelly. A modified version,
Cordite MD, entered service in 1901, this
increased guncotton to 65% and reduced nitro-glycerine to 30%, this
change reduced the combustion temperature and hence erosion and barrel
Cordite could be made to burn slower which reduced maximum
pressure in the chamber (hence lighter breeches, etc.), but longer
high pressure, significant improvements over gunpowder.
be made in any desired shape or size. The creation of cordite led
to a lengthy court battle between Nobel, Maxim, and another inventor
over alleged British patent infringement.
Picric acid was used in the first high-explosive shells. Cut out
section of a high-explosive shell belonging to a Canon de 75 modèle
Although smokeless powders were used as a propellant, they could not
be used as the substance for the explosive warhead, because shock
sensitivity sometimes caused detonation in the artillery barrel at the
time of firing.
Picric acid was the first high-explosive nitrated
organic compound widely considered suitable to withstand the shock of
firing in conventional artillery. In 1885, based on research of
Hermann Sprengel, French chemist
Eugène Turpin patented the use of
pressed and cast picric acid in blasting charges and artillery shells.
In 1887, the French government adopted a mixture of picric acid and
guncotton under the name Melinite. In 1888, Britain started
manufacturing a very similar mixture in Lydd, Kent, under the name
Japan followed with an "improved" formula known as shimose powder. In
1889, a similar material, a mixture of ammonium cresylate with
trinitrocresol, or an ammonium salt of trinitrocresol, started to be
manufactured under the name ecrasite in Austria-Hungary. By 1894,
Russia was manufacturing artillery shells filled with picric acid.
Ammonium picrate (known as Dunnite or explosive D) was used by the
United States beginning in 1906.
Germany began filling
artillery shells with TNT in 1902.
Toluene was less readily available
than phenol, and TNT is less powerful than picric acid, but the
improved safety of munitions manufacturing and storage caused the
replacement of picric acid by TNT for most military purposes between
the World Wars. However, pure TNT was expensive to produce and
most nations made some use of mixtures using cruder TNT and ammonium
nitrate, some with other compounds included. These fills included
Ammonal, Schneiderite and Amatol. The latter was still in wide use in
World War II.
The percentage of shell weight taken up by its explosive fill
increased steadily throughout the 20th Century. Less than 10% was
usual in the first few decades; by World War II, leading designs were
around 15%. However, British researchers in that war identified 25% as
being the optimal design for anti-personnel purposes, based on the
recognition that far smaller fragments than hitherto would give a
better effect. This guideline was achieved by the 1960s with the
155 mm L15 shell, developed as part of the German-British FH-70
program. The key requirement for increasing the HE content without
increasing shell weight was to reduce the thickness of shell walls,
which required improvements in high tensile steel.
Main article: Armour-piercing shell
Palliser shot for the BL 12 inch naval gun Mk I - VII, 1886
With the introduction of the first ironclads in the 1850s and 1860s,
it became clear that shells had to be designed to effectively pierce
the ship armour. A series of British tests in 1863 demonstrated that
the way forward lay with high-velocity lighter shells. The first
pointed armour-piercing shell was introduced by
Major Palliser in
1863. Approved in 1867,
Palliser shot and shell was an improvement
over the ordinary elongated shot of the time. Palliser shot was made
of cast iron, the head being chilled in casting to harden it, using
composite molds with a metal, water cooled portion for the head.
Britain also deployed Palliser shells in the 1870s-1880s. In the
shell, the cavity was slightly larger than in the shot and was filled
with gunpowder instead of being empty, to provide a small explosive
effect after penetrating armour plating. The shell was correspondingly
slightly longer than the shot to compensate for the lighter cavity.
The powder filling was ignited by the shock of impact and hence did
not require a fuze.
However, ship armour rapidly improved during the 1880s and 1890s, and
it was realised that explosive shells with steel had advantages
including better fragmentation and resistance to the stresses of
firing. These were cast and forged steel.
An important development was the Armour-piercing discarding sabot, or
APDS. An early version was developed by engineers working for the
Edgar Brandt company, and was fielded in two calibers
(75 mm/57 mm for the Mle1897/33 75 mm anti-tank cannon,
37 mm/25 mm for several 37 mm gun types) just before
the French-German armistice of 1940. The
Edgar Brandt engineers,
having been evacuated to the United Kingdom, joined ongoing APDS
development efforts there, culminating in significant improvements to
the concept and its realization.
A shell with sabot in an 1824 Paixhans gun
The APDS projectile type was further developed in the United Kingdom
between 1941-1944 by L. Permutter and S. W. Coppock, two designers
with the Armaments Research Department. In mid-1944 the APDS
projectile was first introduced into service for the UK’s QF 6 pdr
anti-tank gun and later in September 1944 for the 17 pdr anti-tank
gun. The idea was to use a stronger penetrator material to allow
increased impact velocity and armour penetration.
A diagram of a fin stabilized discarding sabot showing its operation
The chosen new penetrator material, tungsten carbide, was too heavy at
full bore to be accelerated to a sufficient muzzle velocity. To
overcome this, a lightweight full diameter carrier shell (APCR) was
developed to sheathe the inner high density core. However, the low
sectional density of the APCR resulted in high aerodynamic drag.
Instead, the British devised a way for the outer sheath to be
discarded after leaving the bore. The name given to the discarded
outer sheath was the sabot (a French word for a wooden shoe, also used
to describe the standardized wood or paper-mache wadding around round
shot in a smooth bore cannon).
Armour-piercing, composite non-rigid projectile design was a high
density core within a shell of soft iron or other alloy, but fired by
a gun with a tapered barrel. The projectile was initially full-bore,
but the outer shell was deformed as it passes through the taper,
leaving the projectile with a smaller overall cross-section and
giving it better flight characteristics.
The Germans deployed their initial design as a light anti-tank weapon,
2,8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41, early in the Second World War, and
followed on with the
4.2 cm Pak 41
4.2 cm Pak 41 and 7.5 cm Pak 41. Although HE
rounds were also put into service, they weighed only 93 grams and
had low effectiveness. The German taper was fixed on the barrel.
In contrast, the British used the Littlejohn squeeze-bore adaptor,
which could be attached or removed as necessary. The adaptor extended
the usefulness of armoured cars and light tanks, which could not fit
any gun larger than the QF 2 pdr. Although a full range of shells and
shot could be used, changing the adaptor in the heat of battle was
Anti-tank explosive shells
High-explosive anti-tank warheads (HEAT for short) were developed
Second World War
Second World War as a munition made of an explosive shaped
charge that uses the
Munroe effect to create a very high-velocity
partial stream of metal in a state of superplasticity, and used to
penetrate solid vehicle armour.
Shaped charge warheads were promoted internationally by the Swiss
inventor Henry Mohaupt, who exhibited the weapon before the Second
World War. Prior to 1939 Mohaupt demonstrated his invention to British
and French ordnance authorities.
Claims for priority of invention are difficult to resolve due to
subsequent historic interpretations, secrecy, espionage, and
international commercial interest. By mid-1940,
introduced the first HEAT round to be fired by a gun, the 7.5 cm
fired by the Kw.K.37 L/24 of the
Panzer IV tank and the Stug III
self-propelled gun (7.5 cm Gr.38 Hl/A, later editions B and C).
Germany started the production of HEAT rifle-grenades,
first issued to paratroopers and by 1942 to the regular army units. In
1943, the Püppchen,
Panzerfaust were introduced.
Panzerschreck or 'tank terror' gave the German
infantryman the ability to destroy any tank on the battlefield from 50
– 150 m with relative ease of use and training (unlike the UK PIAT).
The first British HEAT weapon to be developed and issued was a rifle
grenade using a 2 1/2 inch cup launcher on the end of the barrel; the
British No. 68 AT grenade issued to the British army in 1940. By 1943,
PIAT was developed; a combination of a HEAT warhead and a spigot
mortar delivery system. While cumbersome, the weapon at last allowed
British infantry to engage armour at range; the earlier magnetic
hand-mines and grenades required them to approach suicidally
close. During World War II, the British referred to the Munroe
effect as the cavity effect on explosives.
During the war, the French communicated Henry Mohaupt's technology to
the U.S. Ordnance Department, who invited him to the USA, where he
worked as a consultant on the
HEAT rounds caused a revolution in anti-tank warfare when they were
first introduced in the later stages of World War II. A single
infantryman could effectively destroy any existing tank with a
handheld weapon, thereby dramatically altering the nature of mobile
operations. During World War II, weapons using HEAT warheads were
known as having a hollow charge or shape charge warhead.
105 mm HESH rounds being prepared for disposal by the US Navy, 2011
Petard spigot mortar launcher and 290mm HESH round, on Churchill AVRE
The high-explosive squash head (HESH) was developed by Charles
Dennistoun Burney in the 1940s for the British war effort, originally
as an anti-fortification "wallbuster" munition for use against
concrete. HESH rounds were thin metal shells filled with plastic
explosive and a delayed-action base fuze. The plastic explosive is
"squashed" against the surface of the target on impact and spreads out
to form a disc or "pat" of explosive. The base fuze detonates the
explosive milliseconds later, creating a shock wave that, owing to its
large surface area and direct contact with the target, is transmitted
through the material. At the point where the compression and tension
waves intersect a high-stress zone is created in the metal, causing
pieces of steel to be projected off the interior wall at high
velocity. This fragmentation by blast wave is known as spalling, with
the fragments themselves known as spall. Unlike high-explosive
anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, which are shaped charge ammunition, HESH
shells are not specifically designed to perforate the armour of main
battle tanks. HESH shells rely instead on the transmission of the
shock wave through the solid steel armour.
HESH was found to be surprisingly effective against metallic armour as
well, although the British already had effective weapons using HEAT,
such as the PIAT. HESH was for some time a competitor to the more
common HEAT round, again in combination with recoilless rifles as
infantry weapons and was effective against tanks such as the
Other shell types
Drawing of a carcass shell
A variety of fillings have been used in shells throughout history. An
incendiary shell was invented by Valturio in 1460. The carcass shell
was first used by the French under Louis XIV in 1672. Initially in
the shape of an oblong in an iron frame (with poor ballistic
properties) it evolved into a spherical shell. Their use continued
well into the 19th century.
A modern version of the incendiary shell was developed in 1857 by the
British and was known as Martin's shell after its inventor. The shell
was filled with molten iron and was intended to break up on impact
with an enemy ship, splashing molten iron on the target. It was used
by the Royal Navy between 1860 and 1869, replacing
Heated shot as an
anti-ship, incendiary projectile.
Two patterns of incendiary shell were used by the British in World War
1, one designed for use against Zeppelins.
Similar to incendiary shells were star shells, designed for
illumination rather than arson. Sometimes called lightballs they were
in use from the 17th Century onwards. The British adopted parachute
lightballs in 1866 for 10, 8 and 51⁄2 inch calibres. The
10-inch wasn't officially declared obsolete until 1920.
Smoke balls also date back to the 17th Century, British ones contained
a mix of saltpetre, coal, pitch, tar, resin, sawdust, crude antimony
and sulphur. They produced a 'noisome smoke in abundance that is
impossible to bear'. In 19th century British service, they were made
of concentric paper with a thickness about 1/15th of the total
diameter and filled with powder, saltpetre, pitch, coal and tallow.
They were used to 'suffocate or expel the enemy in casemates, mines or
between decks; for concealing operations; and as signals.
During the First World War, shrapnel shells and explosive shells
inflicted terrible casualties on infantry, accounting for nearly 70%
of all war casualties and leading to the adoption of steel helmets on
both sides. Shells filled with poison gas were used from 1917 onwards.
Frequent problems with shells led to many military disasters when
shells failed to explode, most notably during the 1916 Battle of the
British standard ordnance weights and measurements and List
of British ordnance terms
British gun crew preparing 155 mm shells at Vergato, Italy on 22
The calibre of a shell is its diameter. Depending on the historical
period and national preferences, this may be specified in millimetres,
centimetres, or inches. The length of gun barrels for large cartridges
and shells (naval) is frequently quoted in terms of the ratio of the
barrel length to the bore size, also called calibre. For example, the
16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun
16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun is 50 calibers long, that is,
16"×50=800"=66.7 feet long. Some guns, mainly British, were specified
by the weight of their shells (see below).
Due to manufacturing difficulties[dubious – discuss], the smallest
shells commonly used are around 20 mm calibre, used in aircraft
cannon and on armoured vehicles. Smaller shells are only rarely used
as they are difficult to manufacture and can only have a small
explosive charge. International Law precludes the use
of explosive ammunition for use against individual persons, but not
against vehicles and aircraft. The largest shells ever fired were
those from the German super-railway guns, Gustav and Dora, which were
800 mm (31.5 in) in calibre. Very large shells have been
replaced by rockets, guided missile, and bombs, and today the largest
shells in common use are 155 mm (6.1 in).
Gun calibres have standardized around a few common sizes, especially
in the larger range, mainly due to the uniformity required for
efficient military logistics. Shells of 105, 120, and 155 mm
diameter are common for NATO forces' artillery and tank guns.
Artillery shells of 122, 130 and 152 mm, and tank gun ammunition
of 100, 115, or 125 mm calibre remain in use in Eastern Europe
and China. Most common calibres have been in use for many years, since
it is logistically complex to change the calibre of all guns and
155 mm American artillery shells, March 1945
The weight of shells increases by and large with calibre. A typical
155 mm (6.1 in) shell weighs about 50 kg, a common
203 mm (8 in) shell about 100 kg, a concrete demolition
203 mm (8 in) shell 146 kg, a 280 mm (11 in)
battleship shell about 300 kg, and a 460 mm (18 in)
battleship shell over 1,500 kg. The
Schwerer Gustav supergun
fired 4.8 and 7.1 tonne shells.
During the 19th century, the British adopted a particular form of
designating artillery. Field guns were designated by nominal standard
projectile weight, while howitzers were designated by barrel caliber.
British guns and their ammunition were designated in pounds, e.g., as
"two-pounder" shortened to "2-pr" or "2-pdr". Usually, this referred
to the actual weight of the standard projectile (shot, shrapnel or
HE), but, confusingly, this was not always the case.
Some were named after the weights of obsolete projectile types of the
same calibre, or even obsolete types that were considered to have been
functionally equivalent. Also, projectiles fired from the same gun,
but of non-standard weight, took their name from the gun. Thus,
conversion from "pounds" to an actual barrel diameter requires
consulting a historical reference. A mixture of designations were in
use for land artillery from the
First World War
First World War (such as the BL
60-pounder gun, RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun, 4 inch gun, 4.5 inch
howitzer) through to the end of
World War II
World War II (5.5 inch medium gun,
25-pounder gun-howitzer, 17-pounder tank gun), but the majority of
naval guns were by caliber. After World War II, guns were designated
There are many different types of shells. The principal ones include:
"High-explosive shell" redirects here. For the material, see high
15 inch high-explosive howitzer shells, circa 1917
The most common shell type is high explosive, commonly referred to
simply as HE. They have a strong steel case, a bursting charge, and a
fuse. The fuse detonates the bursting charge which shatters the case
and scatters hot, sharp case pieces (fragments, splinters) at high
velocity. Most of the damage to soft targets, such as unprotected
personnel, is caused by shell pieces rather than by the blast. The
term "shrapnel" is sometimes used to describe the shell pieces, but
shrapnel shells functioned very differently and are long obsolete. The
speed of fragments is limited by Gurney equations. Depending on the
type of fuse used the HE shell can be set to burst on the ground
(percussion), in the air above the ground, which is called called air
burst (time or proximity), or after penetrating a short
distance into the ground (percussion with delay, either to transmit
more ground shock to covered positions, or to reduce the spread of
The first high-explosive shells were fired by dynamite guns using
compressed air, before stable high explosives became widely available
around 1900. Early high explosives used before and during World War I
in HE shells were
Lyddite (picric acid), PETN, TNT.
Projectiles with enhanced fragmentation are called high-explosive
RDX and TNT mixtures are the standard chemicals used, notably
"Composition B" (cyclotol). The introduction of 'insensitive munition'
requirements, agreements and regulations in the 1990s caused modern
western designs to use various types of plastic bonded explosives
(PBX) based on RDX.
Main article: Minengeschoß
The mine shell is a particular form of HE shell developed for use in
small caliber weapons such as 20 mm to 30 mm cannon. Small
HE shells of conventional design can contain only a limited amount of
explosive. By using a thin-walled steel casing of high tensile
strength, a larger explosive charge can be used. Most commonly the
explosive charge also was a more expensive but
The mine shell concept was invented by the Germans in the Second World
War primarily for use in aircraft guns intended to be fired at
opposing aircraft. Mine shells produced relatively little damage due
to fragments, but a much more powerful blast. The aluminium structures
and skins of
Second World War
Second World War aircraft were readily damaged by this
greater level of blast.
Main article: Armour-piercing shell
APCBC Shell Mk XXII BNT (circa 1943) for BL 15 inch Mk I naval
gun, showing base fuze
Naval and anti-tank shells have to withstand the extreme shock of
punching through armour plate. Shells designed for this purpose
sometimes have a greatly strengthened case with a small bursting
charge, and sometimes are solid metal, i.e. shot. In either case, they
almost always have a specially hardened and shaped nose to facilitate
penetration. These are known as armour-piercing (AP) projectiles.
A further refinement of such designs improves penetration by adding a
softer metal cap to the penetrating nose giving armour-piercing,
capped (APC) design. The softer cap damps the initial shock that would
otherwise shatter the round. The best profile for the cap is not the
most aerodynamic; this can be remedied by adding a further hollow cap
of suitable shape, producing the armour-piercing, capped, ballistic
AP shells containing an explosive filling were initially distinguished
from their non-HE counterparts by being called a "shell" as opposed to
"shot", mostly used in British terminology with the invention of the
first shell of this type, the Palliser shell, with 1.5% HE in the
shells in 1877. By the time of the Second World War, AP shells with a
bursting charge were sometimes distinguished by appending the suffix
"HE". At the beginning of the war, APHE was common in anti-tank shells
of 75 mm caliber and larger due to the similarity with the much
larger naval armour piercing shells already in common use. As the war
progressed, ordnance design evolved so that the bursting charges in
APHE became ever smaller to non-existent, especially in smaller
caliber shells, e.g.
Panzergranate 39 with only 0.2% HE filling.
Modern full caliber armor-piercing shells as dedicated anti-tank
projectiles are no longer the primary method of conducting anti-tank
warfare, but are still in use in over 50mm caliber artillery, however
the tendency is to use semi-armor-piercing high-explosive (SAPHE)
shells, which have less anti-armor capability, but far greater
anti-materiel/personnel effects. The modern SAPHE projectiles still
have a ballistic cap, hardened body and base fuze, but tend to have a
far thinner body material and much higher explosive content (4–15%).
Common abbreviations for modern AP and SAP shells are: HEI(BF), SAPHE,
SAPHEI, and SAPHEI-T. The primary shell types for modern anti-tank
warfare are kinetic energy penetrators, such as APDS.
Armour-piercing, discarding-sabot 
Main article: Armour-piercing discarding sabot
The armour-piercing concept calls for more penetration capability than
the target's armour thickness. Generally, the penetration capability
of an armour-piercing round increases with the projectile's kinetic
energy and also with concentration of that energy in a small area.
Thus, an efficient means of achieving increased penetrating power is
increased velocity for the projectile. However, projectile impact
against armour at higher velocity causes greater levels of shock.
Materials have characteristic maximum levels of shock capacity, beyond
which they may shatter, or otherwise disintegrate. At relatively high
impact velocities, steel is no longer an adequate material for
Tungsten and tungsten alloys are suitable for
use in even higher-velocity armour-piercing rounds, due to their very
high shock tolerance and shatter resistance, and to their high melting
and boiling temperatures. They also have very high density. Energy is
concentrated by using a reduced-diameter tungsten shot, surrounded by
a lightweight outer carrier, the sabot (a French word for a wooden
shoe). This combination allows the firing of a smaller diameter (thus
lower mass/aerodynamic resistance/penetration resistance) projectile
with a larger area of expanding-propellant "push", thus a greater
propelling force and resulting kinetic energy.
Sabot /Tracer round for 17-pounder gun
(WW2), with its tungsten carbide core
Once outside the barrel, the sabot is stripped off by a combination of
centrifugal force and aerodynamic force, giving the shot low drag in
flight. For a given caliber, the use of APDS ammunition can
effectively double the anti-tank performance of a gun.
Armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding-sabot 
Main article: Kinetic energy penetrator
French "Arrow" armour-piercing projectile, a form of APFSDS
An armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS)
projectile uses the sabot principle with fin (drag) stabilisation. A
long, thin sub-projectile has increased sectional density and thus
penetration potential. However, once a projectile has a
length-to-diameter ratio greater than 10 (less for
higher density projectiles), spin stabilisation
becomes ineffective. Instead, drag stabilisation is used, by means of
fins attached to the base of the sub-projectile, making it look like a
large metal arrow.
Large calibre APFSDS projectiles are usually fired from smooth-bore
(unrifled) barrels, though they can be and often are fired from rifled
guns. This is especially true when fired from small to medium calibre
weapon systems. APFSDS projectiles are usually made from high-density
metal alloys, such as tungsten heavy alloys (WHA) or depleted uranium
(DU); maraging steel was used for some early Soviet projectiles. DU
alloys are cheaper and have better penetration than others, as they
are denser and self-sharpening. Uranium is also pyrophoric and may
become opportunistically incendiary, especially as the round shears
past the armour exposing non-oxidized metal, but both the metal's
fragments and dust contaminate the battlefield with toxic hazards. The
less toxic WHAs are preferred in most countries except the USA, and
Armour-piercing, composite rigid
Armour-piercing, composite rigid (APCR) is a British term; the US term
for the design is high-velocity armour-piercing (HVAP) and the German
term is Hartkernmunition. The APCR projectile has a core of a
high-density hard material, such as tungsten carbide, surrounded by a
full-bore shell of a lighter material (e.g., an aluminium alloy). Most
APCR projectiles are shaped like the standard
APCBC shot (although
some of the German Pzgr. 40 and some Soviet designs resemble a stubby
arrow), but the projectile is lighter: up to half the weight of a
standard AP shot of the same calibre. The lighter weight allows a
higher velocity. The kinetic energy of the shot is concentrated in the
core and hence on a smaller impact area, improving the penetration of
the target armour. To prevent shattering on impact, a shock-buffering
cap is placed between the core and the outer ballistic shell as with
APC rounds. However, because the shot is lighter but still the same
overall size it has poorer ballistic qualities, and loses velocity and
accuracy at longer ranges. The APCR was superseded by the APDS, which
dispensed with the outer light alloy shell once the shot had left the
barrel. The concept of a heavy, small-diameter penetrator encased in
light metal would later be employed in small-arms armour-piercing
incendiary and HEIAP rounds.
Armour-piercing, composite non-rigid 
2.8 cm sPzB 41
2.8 cm sPzB 41 and Littlejohn adaptor
Armour-piercing, composite non-rigid (APCNR) is the British term and
known by the Germans as Gerlich principle weapons, but today the more
commonly used terms are squeeze-bore and tapered bore. These shells
are based on the same projectile design as the APCR - a high density
core within a shell of soft iron or other alloy - but it is fired by a
gun with a tapered barrel, either a taper in a fixed barrel or a final
added section. The projectile is initially full-bore, but the outer
shell is deformed as it passes through the taper. Flanges or studs are
swaged down in the tapered section, so that as it leaves the muzzle
the projectile has a smaller overall cross-section.
This gives it better flight characteristics with a higher sectional
density and the projectile retains velocity better at longer ranges
than an undeformed shell of the same weight. As with the APCR, the
kinetic energy of the round is concentrated at the core on impact. The
initial velocity of the round is greatly increased by the decrease of
barrel cross-sectional area toward the muzzle, resulting in a
commensurate increase in velocity of the expanding propellant gases.
Although a full range of shells and shot could be used, changing the
adaptor in the heat of battle is highly impractical.
The APCNR was superseded by the APDS design which was compatible with
High-explosive, anti-tank 
High explosive anti-tank
HEAT shells are a type of shaped charge used to defeat armoured
vehicles. They are extremely efficient at defeating plain steel armour
but less so against later composite and reactive armour. The
effectiveness of the shell is independent of its velocity, and hence
the range: it is as effective at 1000 metres as at 100 metres. The
speed can even be zero in the case where a soldier simply places a
magnetic mine onto a tank's armour plate. A HEAT charge is most
effective when detonated at a certain, optimal, distance in front of
the target and HEAT shells are usually distinguished by a long, thin
nose probe sticking out in front of the rest of the shell and
detonating it at the correct distance, e.g.,
PIAT bomb. HEAT shells
are less effective if spun (i.e., fired from a rifled gun).
High-explosive, squash-head or high-explosive plastic 
High explosive squash head
High-explosive, squash-head (HESH) is another anti-tank shell based on
the use of explosive. A thin-walled shell case contains a large charge
of a plastic explosive. On impact the explosive flattens, without
detonating, against the face of the armour, and is then detonated by a
fuze in the base of the shell. Energy is transferred through the
armour plate: when the compressive shock reflects off the air/metal
interface on the inner face of the armour, it is transformed into a
tension wave which spalls a "scab" of metal off into the tank damaging
the equipment and crew without actually penetrating the armour.
HESH is defeated by spaced armour, so long as the plates are
individually able to withstand the explosion. It is still considered
useful as not all vehicles are equipped with spaced armour, and it is
also the most effective munition for demolishing brick and concrete.
HESH shells, unlike HEAT shells, can be fired from rifled guns as they
are unaffected by spin.
In American usage it is known as high-explosive plastic (HEP).
Main article: Shrapnel shell
World War I
World War I shrapnel round :
1 shell bursting charge
3 nose fuze
4 central ignition tube
5 resin matrix
6 thin steel shell wall
7 cartridge case
Shrapnel shells are an anti-personnel munition which delivered large
numbers of bullets at ranges far greater than rifles or machine guns
could attain - up to 6,500 yards by 1914. A typical shrapnel shell as
World War I
World War I was streamlined, 75 mm (3 inch) in
diameter and contained approximately 300 lead–antimony balls
(bullets), each around 1/2 inch in diameter. Shrapnel used the
principle that the bullets encountered much less air resistance if
they travelled most of their journey packed together in a single
streamlined shell than they would if they travelled individually, and
could hence attain a far greater range.
The gunner set the shell's time fuze so that it was timed to burst as
it was angling down towards the ground just before it reached its
target (ideally about 150 yards before, and 60–100 feet above the
ground). The fuze then ignited a small "bursting charge" in the
base of the shell which fired the balls forward out of the front of
the shell case, adding 200–250 ft/second to the existing
velocity of 750–1200 ft/second. The shell body dropped to the
ground mostly intact and the bullets continued in an expanding cone
shape before striking the ground over an area approximately 250 yards
× 30 yards in the case of the US 3 inch shell. The effect
was of a large shotgun blast just in front of and above the target,
and was deadly against troops in the open. A trained gun team could
fire 20 such shells per minute, with a total of 6,000 balls, which
compared very favourably with rifles and machine-guns.
However, shrapnel's relatively flat trajectory (it depended mainly on
the shell's velocity for its lethality, and was lethal only in the
forward direction) meant that it could not strike trained troops who
avoided open spaces and instead used dead ground (dips), shelters,
trenches, buildings, and trees for cover. It was of no use in
destroying buildings or shelters. Hence, it was replaced during World
War I by the high-explosive shell, which exploded its fragments in all
directions (and thus more difficult to avoid) and could be fired by
high-angle weapons, such as howitzers.
Cluster shells are a type of carrier shell or cargo munition. Like
cluster bombs, an artillery shell may be used to scatter smaller
submunitions, including anti-personnel grenades, anti-tank top-attack
munitions, and landmines. These are generally far more lethal against
both armour and infantry than simple high-explosive shells, since the
multiple munitions create a larger kill zone and increase the chance
of achieving the direct hit necessary to kill armour. Most modern
armies make significant use of cluster munitions in their artillery
However, in operational use, submunitions have demonstrated a far
higher malfunction rate than previously claimed, including those that
have self-destruct mechanisms. This problem, the "dirty battlefield",
led to the Ottawa Treaty.
Artillery-scattered mines allow for the quick deployment of minefields
into the path of the enemy without placing engineering units at risk,
but artillery delivery may lead to an irregular and unpredictable
minefield with more unexploded ordnance than if mines were
Signatories of the
Ottawa Treaty have renounced the use of cluster
munitions of all types where the carrier contains more than ten
155 mm artillery shells containing HD (nitrogen mustard) agent at
Pueblo chemical weapons storage facility – Note the colour-coding
scheme on each shell.
Chemical shells contain just a small explosive charge to burst the
shell, and a larger quantity of a chemical agent such as a poison gas.
Signatories of the
Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention have renounced such
Not all shells are designed to kill or destroy. The following types
are designed to achieve particular non-lethal effects. They are not
completely harmless: smoke and illumination shells can accidentally
start fires, and impact by the discarded carrier of all three types
can wound or kill personnel, or cause minor damage to property.
The smoke shell is designed to create a smoke screen. The main types
are bursting (those filled with white phosphorus WP and a small HE
bursting charge are best known) and base ejection (delivering three or
four smoke canisters, or material impregnated with white phosphorus).
Base ejection shells are a type of carrier shell or cargo munition.
Base ejection smoke is usually white, however, coloured smoke has been
used for marking purposes. The original canisters were non-burning,
being filled with a compound that created smoke when it reacted with
atmospheric moisture, modern ones use red phosphorus because of its
multi-spectral properties. However, other compounds have been used; in
World War II,
Germany used oleum (fuming sulphuric acid) and pumice.
World War II
World War II 4-inch naval illuminating shell, showing time
fuze (orange, top), illuminating compound (green) and parachute
Modern illuminating shells are a type of carrier shell or cargo
munition. Those used in
World War I
World War I were shrapnel pattern shells
ejecting small burning 'pots'.
A modern illumination shell has a time fuze that ejects a flare
'package' through the base of the carrier shell at a standard height
above ground (typically about 600 metres), from where it slowly falls
beneath a non-flammable parachute, illuminating the area below. The
ejection process also initiates a pyrotechnic flare emitting white or
'black' infrared light.
Illumination rounds fired from a M777 howitzer
Typically illumination flares burn for about 60 seconds. These are
also known as starshell or star shell.
Infrared illumination is a more
recent development used to enhance the performance of night vision
devices. Both white and black light illuminating shells may be used to
provide continuous illumination over an area for a period of time, and
may use several dispersed aimpoints to illuminate a large area.
Alternatively firing single illuminating shells may be coordinated
with the adjustment of HE shell fire onto a target.
Coloured flare shells have also been used for target marking and other
The carrier shell is simply a hollow carrier equipped with a fuze that
ejects the contents at a calculated time. They are often filled with
propaganda leaflets (see external links), but can be filled with
anything that meets the weight restrictions and is able to withstand
the shock of firing. Famously, on Christmas Day 1899 during the siege
of Ladysmith, the Boers fired into Ladysmith a carrier shell without a
fuze, which contained a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the
message "compliments of the season". The shell is still kept in the
museum at Ladysmith.
Aerial firework bursts are created by shells. In the United States,
consumer firework shells may not exceed 1.75 inches (4.4 cm) in
Main article: Proof test
A proof shot is not used in combat but to confirm that a new gun
barrel can withstand operational stresses. The proof shot is heavier
than a normal shot or shell, and an oversize propelling charge is
used, subjecting the barrel to greater than normal stress. The proof
shot is inert (no explosive or functioning filling) and is often a
solid unit, although water, sand or iron powder filled versions may be
used for testing the gun mounting. Although the proof shot resembles a
functioning shell (of whatever sort), so that it behaves as a real
shell in the barrel, it is not aerodynamic as its job is over once it
has left the muzzle of the gun. Consequently, it travels a much
shorter distance and is usually stopped by an earth bank for safety
The gun, operated remotely for safety in case it fails, fires the
proof shot, and is then inspected for damage. If the barrel passes the
examination, "proof marks" are added to the barrel. The gun can be
expected to handle normal ammunition, which subjects it to less stress
than the proof shot, without being damaged.
Main article: Unexploded ordnance
Modern 155 mm artillery ammunition – these shells are unusual in
having two driving bands. The shell on the right is a modified M107.
The fuze of a shell has to keep the shell safe from accidental
functioning during storage, due to (possibly) rough handling, fire,
etc. It also has to survive the violent launch through the barrel,
then reliably function at the appropriate moment. To do this it has a
number of arming mechanisms which are successively enabled under the
influence of the firing sequence.
Sometimes, one or more of these arming mechanisms fail, resulting in a
projectile that is unable to detonate. More worrying (and potentially
far more hazardous) are fully armed shells on which the fuze fails to
initiate the HE firing. This may be due to a shallow trajectory of
fire, low-velocity firing or soft impact conditions. Whatever the
reason for failure, such a shell is called a blind or unexploded
ordnance (UXO) (the older term, "dud", is discouraged because it
implies that the shell cannot detonate.) Blind shells often litter old
battlefields; depending on the impact velocity, they may be buried
some distance into the earth, all the while remaining potentially
hazardous. For example, antitank ammunition with a piezoelectric fuze
can be detonated by relatively light impact to the piezoelectric
element, and others, depending on the type of fuze used, can be
detonated by even a small movement. The battlefields of the First
World War still claim casualties today from leftover munitions. Modern
electrical and mechanical fuzes are highly reliable: if they do not
arm correctly, they keep the initiation train out of line or (if
electrical in nature) discharge any stored electrical energy.
Guided or "smart" ammunition have been developed in recent years, but
have yet to supplant unguided munitions in all applications.
M982 Excalibur. A GPS guided artillery shell.
M712 Copperhead approaches a target tank
SMArt 155. An anti-armour shell containing two autonomous,
sensor-guided, fire-and-forget submunitions.
Range enhancing technologies 
Extended range shells are sometimes used. These special shell designs
Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP) or base bleed to increase
range. The first has a small rocket motor built into its base to
provide additional thrust. The second has a pyrotechnic device in its
base that bleeds gas to fill the partial vacuum created behind the
shell and hence reduce base-drag. These shell designs usually have
reduced HE filling to remain within the permitted weight for the
projectile, and hence less lethality.
Bombshell (sex symbol)
^ "Etymology of grenade". Etymonline.com. 1972-01-08. Retrieved
^ Hogg pg 164
^ a b Needham, Joseph. (1986). Science and Civilization in China:
Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 7, Military
Gunpowder Epic. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd. Page 24–25,
^ Franzkowiak, Andreas; Wenzel, Chris (2016). "Explosives aus der
Tiefgarage - Ein außergewöhnlicher Keramikgranatenfund aus
Ingolstadt". Sammelblatt des historischen Vereins
German). 125: 95–110. ISSN 1619-6074.
^ Hogg pg 164 - 165
^ Hogg pg 165
^ Marshall, 1920.
^ a b c "Treatise on Ammunition", 4th Edition 1887, pp. 203-205.
^ "The action of Boxer-shrapnel is well known. The fuze fires the
primer, which conveys the flash down the pipe to the bursting charge,
the explosion of which breaks up the shell, and liberates the balls".
Ammunition 1887, p. 216.
^ Marshall J. Bastable (1992). "From Breechloaders to Monster Guns:
Sir William Armstrong and the Invention of Modern Artillery,
1854-1880". Technology and Culture. 33: 213.
^ "William Armstrong".
^ "The Emergence of Modern War".
^ Hogg pg 80 - 83
^ a b Hogg pg 165 - 166
^ Hogg pg 203 - 203
^ Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading National Rifle Association of
America (1981) p.28
^ a b Sharpe, Philip B. Complete Guide to Handloading 3rd Edition
(1953) Funk & Wagnalls pp.141-144
^ Davis, Tenney L. The Chemistry of Powder & Explosives (1943)
^ Hogg, Oliver F. G. Artillery: Its Origin, Heyday and Decline (1969)
^ Hogg, Oliver F. G. Artillery: Its Origin, Heyday and Decline (1969)
^ a b Brown, G.I. (1998) The Big Bang: a History of Explosives Sutton
Publishing ISBN 0-7509-1878-0 pp.151-163
^ Marc Ferro. The Great War. London and New York: Routeladge Classics,
^ "The Amazing Huascar"
^ "Shells and Grenades". Old Town, Hemel Hempstead: The Museum of
Technology. Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved
^ Jason Rahman (February 2008). "The 17-Pounder". Avalanche Press.
Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved
^ a b Drawing below photograph on the referred page illustrates the
APCNR principle: Popular Science "Tapered Bore Gives This German Gun
Its High-Velocity" p. 132
^ Shirokorad A. B. The God of War of the Third Reich. M. AST, 2002
(Широкорад А. Б. - Бог войны Третьего
рейха. — М.,ООО Издательство АСТ, 2002.,
^ Donald R. Kennedy,'History of the Shaped Charge Effect, The First
100 Years — USA - 1983', Defense Technology Support Services
^ Ian Hogg, Grenades and Mortars' Weapons Book #37, 1974, Ballantine
^ a b "The Bazookas Grandfather." Popular Science, February 1945, p.
66, 2nd paragraph.
Nicolas Édouard Delabarre-Duparcq and George Washington Cullum.
Elements of Military Art and History. 1863. p 142.
^ Philip Jobson (2 September 2016). Royal
Artillery Glossary of Terms
and Abbreviations: Historical and Modern. History Press.
^ Hogg pg 171 - 174
^ a b Hogg pg 174 - 176
^ Popular Science, December 1944, pg 126 illustration at bottom of
page on working principle of
APCBC type shell
^ I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British
Artillery Weapons &
Ammunition. London: Ian Allan, 1972. Page 215.
^ Douglas T Hamilton, "Shrapnel Shell Manufacture. A Comprehensive
Treatise.". New York: Industrial Press, 1915, Page 13
Douglas T Hamilton, "High-explosive shell manufacture; a comprehensive
treatise". New York: Industrial Press, 1916
Douglas T Hamilton, "Shrapnel Shell Manufacture. A Comprehensive
Treatise". New York: Industrial Press, 1915
Hogg, OFG. 1970. "Artillery: its origin, heyday and decline". London:
C Hurst and Company.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
"What Happens When a Shell Bursts," Popular Mechanics, April 1906, p.
408 - with photograph of exploded shell reassembled
World War II
World War II propaganda leaflets at the
Wayback Machine (archived 30
September 2007): A website about airdropped, shelled or rocket fired
propaganda leaflets. Example artillery shells for spreading
Artillery Tactics and Combat during the Napoleonic Wars
5 inch 54 caliber naval gun (