12,7x99 projectile with a corresponding WW2 story


#1

This is a 12,7x99 slug pulled from the entrance doors of my local church (Olavskjerka). My grandfather, today 86, grabbed the projectile himself shortly after the war ended.



The destroyed jacket was also picked up by him, however, it might not have been from the church itself, but possibly one of the wooden beams explained later.
Olavskjerka (Saint Olav’s Church) is a stone church, originally started in the late 1200s. It was finished by 1320, but for a long time, had only a semi-finished roof. It was expanded in the 1840s, and was restorated in the 1920s.

Its location is on a hill on Karmøy overseeing the Karmsund, the strait between the island and the mainland (where Haugesund is located). This is where Norway has gotten its name - in viking times, ships would sail up and down this strait when travelling along the coast, as the waters on the other side of the island were too rough and dangerous. This strait was for this reason called the “way to the North”, or “the North way” - leaving us with Nordvegen, later becoming Noreg/Norge. This is also the reason the German name of Norway is Norwegen.
The German occupying forces were growing tired of Allied bomb raids, and they concluded that with the tall church tower, standing on a tall hill, made for a navigational mark for the Allied pilots. At this point in the war, they cared little for what the locals thought, and wanted to bring down the tower. Hearing this, the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage Management would have none of it- instead, he suggested to the Germans that the local population would build a wooden shelter over the church, camouflaging it against any aeroplanes flying above.

This is what was done, as evidently;



This wooden construction stood until the end of the war. Upon its removal, the wooden beams were distributed to those who needed building materials, and very many buildings to day still have large parts of their construction consists of these.
As this is a 12,7mm projectile, it certainly makes me wonder how it ended up in the church door. The church walls still have clear marks and impacts from the war, with the southwest wall (tower wall) has large craters still very visible.

The projectile has wood from the church embedded in it, and the hollow steel (?) core has pierced through the jacket, second. I assume this is a AP-T round, maybe someone can confirm?

While this isn’t stricly just related to only cartridges, I still find it interesting, and the projectile is definitely one of themost dear objects in my collection.
The three photographies of the church belong to their original authors and I claim no credit for them.
Hope someone finds the story as fascinating as I did when I was 12 and received this great item.


#2

Tennsats, what you got there is the remains of an M1 incendiary projectile, no AP.


#3

Tennsats,

Fascinating story!

Thanks for sharing.

Brian


#4

“As this is a 12,7mm projectile, it certainly makes me wonder how it ended up in the church door. The church walls still have clear marks and impacts from the war, with the southwest wall (tower wall) has large craters still very visible.”

Most-likely from a passing US aircraft, most of which were armed with Browning .50 MGs.


#5

What a beautiful little church. Neat story.


#6

This could be from a British airplane. Late in the war the RAF operated American Mustang fighters over Denmark and Norway, probably because their range was superior to Spitfires and other available British single-seat fighters. And those Mustangs did, of course, carry .50 cal. guns. This is hardly up to the level of an assertion that it was fired by a British airplane, but the possibility should be considered. Jack