1.1" USN Markings

While on the subject of USN markings…

I recall seeing somewhere that early 1.1" HE shells with plain steel body were marked with colored “dots” to indicate HE filler type and something else (SD or not?). I have yet to see a photo of this type of marking or to verify its use at all. Does this ring true, and if so, what was the color code and does anyone have a photo to post showing how they were applied?



Is this what you’re looking for?


[i]These projectiles were originally issued unpainted except for two dots below the fuze, which were as follows:

  • Yellow Dot indicating that the burster was Explosive D
  • Red Dot indicating that a Tracer was used

A color marking system was later proposed which may have been used on ammunition issued late in the war. This marking system is shown in the following table.

Type Color
HE-T Light Gray with White Band
HE-T/SD Dark Green with White Band
BL&P Red all over BL&T Red all over with White Band [/i]


Were the projectiles completely unprotected bare steel? Seems unusual for ammunition likely to be exposed to salty conditions.

Good point. I suspect that the ammunition was not unpacked from it’s sealed storage containers until just before use. Did this ammo come on clips or did it have to be “clipped” before use like the 40mm Bofors?


Thanks Ray,

That’s a great website. Interesting that it indicates that all variations were HE with Explosive D and Tracer while some later had SD feature. The same two dots in that case would be on all the loads! Still would be interested in seeing how they looked but I’ll be happy with the nice sectioned drawings.


That would be the only cannon round I can think of that I have without paint of some sort on the shell other than some early 37 x 95R that may well have been painted at one point. I would think rust would be a problem unless stored sealed as AKMS suggested.


I don’t have a clue how these were packaged but would guess they were loaded in their magazines sometime before use rather than supplied as such as the 8 round devices look pretty involved and like something to be reloaded. Just a guess…



With the time difference it may that Tony Williams has not seen this post yet, but you might contact him to see if he has more information and possibly even a photo of a loaded cartridge or two.


The 1.1 gun was fed from a large charger clip which can be seen in the photos. It was VERY HEAVY and the box which the loaded clips came in was even worse. The fuzes were quite fragile and the heavy box and clip were to make up for it. Most of the live ammo went into the Pacific ocean after the war.

Tactical HE loads are very rare. In 50 years I have only seen 4 all of which went to Woodin Lab. Most of the rounds which you see have a TP fuze plug in them.


CSAEOD has provided the definitive answer on that one!

Bare metal projectiels with lacquer coating. Never would have guessed that.



Thanks for the detailed info. What a wonderful collection the world’s oceans must have!


[quote=“John S.”]CSAEOD has provided the definitive answer on that one!

Bare metal projectiels with lacquer coating. Never would have guessed that.


The 1.1s were water cooled but still ran very hot. The paint proved to be a problem as it fouled the barrel.

Other countries used unpainted ammo with a coat of lacquer or in the case of some Soviet ammo a coating of wax or grease. This was a wartime expedient when ammo was going straight to the front.

The lacquer is fine for long term storage but the wax and grease are not.

I have several WW2 Soviet rounds ; 37 , 45 , 76 , 85 treated this way.


Thanks for the detailed info. What a wonderful collection the world’s oceans must have!


Yes, I have many photos of boat loades of weapons and ammo going out to sea in all theaters. This was especially bad in the Pacific and thousands of tons of ammo went into the water. We also sank boat loads of trucks and Jeeps and staff cars to keep them from coming on the world markets.

By now all is junk.

There is a ship load of 18inch Japanese projectiles for the YAMATO in TRUK lagoon . I have nice photos of them but have not be able to get anyone to go down and bring some up. The area is now a US protected area so there they will likely stay.

Yes , the oceans are full of treasures of all kinds.

The last 1.1s used in combat were mounted on a ship with an all Black crew. This was in 1945 and there is a current movie about it at Blockbuster. Very interesting.

The 1.1s were tactical all through the war but not on first line ships.

It was a beautifull gun but no match for the Bofors 40L60 .

USS Yorktown at Midway included the 1.1 among its armament. JG

The battleship USS Texas, as it sits as a museum (last time I was there) has the quad 1.1 mounts on board. I don’t know if it ended WWII with them as operational armament or if they were added later as it was outfitted for display.

When I was a kid, most of the gun mounts were functional (elevation and traverse) and the museum staff did not mind you playing with them. I “shot down” lots of enemy planes over the years there!

Now, the mounts are rusty and painted or welded into fixed position…


Not many of us care about this historical ordnance. Even the great museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds has foolish errors and mismatched equipment and no intention of changing it.

Doesn’t matter now as it will soon close and be replaced by a much smaller museum collection.

The Aberdeen museum’s outdoor display was heart breaking to see as what are probably the last remaining examples of some items were rotting away and sinking into the ground the last time I was there. I was even motivated to support some of the restoration projects but stopped that when they were talking of closing the facility and distributing the exibits to places unknown.

I was hoping to visit there again this spring fearing that it won’t last forever.


Do you have specific information on it closing?

The USS Slater, docked in Albany, NY (last floating Destroyer Escort?) has Bofors L60 40mm on functional mounts still if you wish to re-live some childhood memories…My daughter enjoyed tracking and “lettin’ fly” on a passing river cruise boat the last time we visited. At least the folks in charge of that museum are dedicated to its upkeep though not all ammunition displays (very limited) were quite correct and the young lady giving the tour had no clue what the fuze setting device on the 3"/50 Cal. deck gun was for. At least she was interested to learn.


It seems I posted that here earlier. As I recall the article it is to close in 10 with the major items being removed to the quartermaster museum in Virginia. Serious parties in the museum busines do not believe that will ever happen as it would cost in excess of a million dollars to move that stuff and nobody will pay it.

The actual museum building will be a smaller museum dedicated to the history of the PG .

I’ll try to find the latest article and post agin.


Thanks for the detailed info. What a wonderful collection the world’s oceans must have!


Australian soldiers supervise the dumping into the sea of ONE OF MANY Japanese ammo and weapons dumps in New Guinea. This one was in excess of 5000 tons of ammo and hundreds of large and thousands of small weapons. Captured Japanese soldiers load ammo on to Japanese landing craft for a final ocean trip.


Funny, probably a good 10 years or so ago now, I remember I was either going to or coming home from a job in Florida, driving from Buffalo, NY, I was on 77 (I think) in WV or Virginia, and I passed a flat bed truck with a complete 1.1" mount on it…I REALLY wondered where it was going and where it was coming from, as I know surviving 1.1" mounts are exceedingly rare…

ETA I did hyperventilate a bit, and mulled over the chances of success of following the truck and hijacking the load at a rest stop somewhere… ;-)

Back in the day('73-'74), I was scuba diving off the ship anchored off Souda Bay, Crete. Endless sandy bottom as far as you could see. Except for the big dark ‘‘rocks’’ scattered about. Turns out they were trucks and jeeps and bombs. Probably lots more stuff, ammo wise, in those piles, but being the wise young squids we were, the decision was made to exit the area. Sure wish I’d had an underwater camera back then. Lots of sunken ship hulks in and about the Med. Bad things happened when caught trying to filch “national treasures”. Amphora being a great prize. But I digress. Always wanted to go back there and poke around a bit.

It is interesting how after each war, there is a rush to dispose of arms and munitions. At the end of my war, the “Gulf War”, There were literally truck-loads of ammunition buried in the sand. It was easier to dispose of the items than return them to inventory. I know of a whole flat-bed trailor of 40mm ammunition for the Mk-19 that was buried in-place at the end of the war…