.303 Brit. without headstamp


#1

Who is the manufacture of this .303 cartridge?

Bullet looks like English B Mk VI
Case and primer also looks English style
Blue primer anulus


#2

It is a very early B Mark VIz as you thought. I have a similar round. It seems the B.VI was regarded as so secret that early issues were unheadstamped in case of recovery by the enemy from crashed aircraft. It seems odd as an unheadstamped .303 would attract attention anyway.

Des the bullet have a very small soldered hole in the nose?

Unless there is anything stamped between the fire holes inside the case (and it is a bit early for this) it is not really possible to say who made them, although Royal Lab is a good bet.

Regards
TonyE


#3

The primer ringstack and the powder looks japanese …


#4

Boy, does it look Japanese! I agree. Are we sure this is British? Wouldn’t it be loaded with cordite if early?


#5

Some of the air service rounds were loaded with nitrocellulose powder as it was more reliable at low temperatures at found at high altitudes. TonyE also says this is a BVIZ, the “Z” indicates Nitro powder on British SAA. Sorry if you already knew that.


#6

I have some of these rounds, we refer to as De Wilde [unheadstamped 303 MK B V 1 Z ] and the primer ring and powder and the screw showing in the base of the projectile look the same as in the round that I have removed the projectile for viewing.
I have an article PM to Ministry of Supply 25-9-`1940 where Winston Churchill
refers to the De Wilde ammunition as being the most valuable and the most smitten.
And again on the 28-9-1940 where he suggests that production of De Wilde ammunition is concentrated in one factory and a single air raid results in production being seriously curtailed.
These articles have made me wonder if the lack of headstamp was deliberate to stop the enemy identifying the factory [or target]
Neither article identifies the name of the factory
Terry.


#7

Yep, this is the incendiary round commonly refered to as a De Wilde.
It is an incendiary B MkVIZ, and i think it should be refered to as a Dixon
Dead giveaway is the screw-in plug in the base of the projectile which is
just visible in one of the photos. Sorry dont know who made them though


#8

[quote=“Terry”]I have some of these rounds, we refer to as De Wilde [unheadstamped 303 MK B V 1 Z ] and the primer ring and powder and the screw showing in the base of the projectile look the same as in the round that I have removed the projectile for viewing.
I have an article PM to Ministry of Supply 25-9-`1940 where Winston Churchill
refers to the De Wilde ammunition as being the most valuable and the most smitten.
And again on the 28-9-1940 where he suggests that production of De Wilde ammunition is concentrated in one factory and a single air raid results in production being seriously curtailed.
These articles have made me wonder if the lack of headstamp was deliberate to stop the enemy identifying the factory [or target]
Neither article identifies the name of the factory
Terry.[/quote]

Excuse my childish question, but what is it De Wilde?


#9

Although Japanese 7.7 x 57R was unheadstamped towards the end of the war, most was headstamped. Remember that the Japanese rounds were almost exact copies of the Kynoch .303 rounds supplied to them throughout the twenties and thirties, and AFAIK the Japanese incendiary was a copy of the Kynoch trade pattern Buckingham. Also it is the reason the cap ringing looks familiar as it is the same as the British.

Although Cordite as well as NC was approved for the B Mark VI, NC was the norm from the very beginning of production and I don’t think I have seen a B.VI as opposed to a B.VIz. Even the B.VII is rarely found in a Cordite loading (Spennymoor 1944 and DAC 44 being the only two I can think of).
As Craig says, although usually referred to as a “De Wilde” incendiary, it was officially stated that the bullet only owed 10% to the De Wilde design, the balance being new development, mainly by Dixon.

Terry is right about security of the B.VIz, and that also applied to the B.VIIZ when that was introduced. I have the unheadstamped B.VIz and also early B.VIIz loaded into a B.VIz headstamped case.

I am still unsure who made the unheadstamped rounds. It may have been RL but could also have been RG. I have 1940 dated B.VIz from both producers.

Thinking about it, one clue may be that the unheadstamped rounds have the second type bullet without the soldered tip. Since one of my RL 1940 rounds has the first type bullet and another the second type, I wonder if RG started production with the second type bullet when they came on line in July 1940, since the second type bullet was adopted in mid 1940. Radway were also using a single arrow headstamp at that time to conceal the identity of the factory. With both a secret round and a secret factory an unheadstamped round makes some sort of sense.

Regards
TonyE


#10

There were a lot of different incendiary rounds produced at the same time.
Ive got a BIVZ dated 1941, BVIZ 2nd pattern dated 1942, a BVII dated 1944, and a BVIIZ 2nd pattern dated 1943.
There doesnt seem to be a reason behind the madness. That is marks
4Z, 6Z, 7, 7Z in a very short period of time, and not neccessarily in order!
And somewhere in there is the BVIZ De Wilde Pattern


#11

I agree the sequence of production seems odd, as the latest date B.IV I have is RL 1942. It seems RL were in continuous production of the B.IV from before the war until at least 1942, but they started making B.VI from 1940 (and possibly 1939).

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that the B.IV was liked by fighters for daylight as it left such a distinctive smoke trail it was unnecessary to use tracer. A lot of gun camera film proves this. For night fighters and bomber defensive guns though a tracer was needed as well as an incendiary as the B.IV smoke was not visible at night. Hence the B.VIz and B.IV overlapping.

I need to do more research on WW2 aircraft loadings, as I have spent most of my time recently on WWI air service ammo. Incidentally, I picked up a “R^L 1918 VIIG” with a red annulus - the first year of colour coded caps.

Regards
TonyE


#12

Excuse my childish question, but what is it De Wilde?[/quote

Sorry, but I overlooked answering your question.

De Wilde was a Belgian living in Switzerland who claimed to have invented a new type of chemical incendiary, based on several increments of chemical composition pressed into a drilled out bullet.

He demonstrated this to the British in January 1939 but despite early promise and much effort the design caused prematures and burst barrels. The De Wilde was abandoned but from this work Dixon at Woolwich went on to develop the B.VIz.

As it was known that De Wilde had also demonstrated his bullet to the Germans, the new British bullet was called the De Wilde, presumably to encourage the Germans to follow a fruitless avenue of development.

Regards
TonyE


#13

I know its getting a bit off track, but Ive also picked up a VIIG a while back.
TRACER S.P.G.MkVIIG.L, CN FMJ RED ANNULUS K.N.1918 VIIG
Mine is the same year as yours TonyE except mine was manufactured by Kings Norton. Its amazing what turns up down this end of the world!


#14

If my memory serves me correctly the examples that were test fired for the British in 1939 were hand assembled and had the jackets weakened significantly by hand drilling until the jacket was rediculously thin up front.
This very important fact was left out, so when rounds were manufactured using normal thickness jackets they became very unreliable.
I think the failure rate was over 50%


#15

Yes, that is correct. The original rounds demonstrated by De Wilde were hand made from 7.5 Swiss ball bullets and used three diameters of drill to hollow out the core, the smallest nearly piercing the front of the envelope. This was quite impossible to reproduce in mass production.

Similar efforts were made to increase the sensitivity of the B.VI to stop the steel sleeve sliding forward. RG tried a small shoulder on the nose of the bullet and also thinning the internal side of the envelope to form a stop for the sleeve.

The B.VII overcame these problems.

Regards
TonyE


#16

Here are some cross sections

simply click into the pic to zoom it bigger …

Find some more outstanding cuts made by PzGr(the ripper)40 at

213.147.167.60/blaze/index.php


#17

[quote=“TonyE”]Excuse my childish question, but what is it De Wilde?[/quote

Sorry, but I overlooked answering your question.

De Wilde was a Belgian living in Switzerland who claimed to have invented a new type of chemical incendiary, based on several increments of chemical composition pressed into a drilled out bullet.

He demonstrated this to the British in January 1939 but despite early promise and much effort the design caused prematures and burst barrels. The De Wilde was abandoned but from this work Dixon at Woolwich went on to develop the B.VIz.

As it was known that De Wilde had also demonstrated his bullet to the Germans, the new British bullet was called the De Wilde, presumably to encourage the Germans to follow a fruitless avenue of development.

Regards
TonyE[/quote]

Thank you! Very interesting info for me!


#18

[quote=“craigt”]I know its getting a bit off track, but Ive also picked up a VIIG a while back.
TRACER S.P.G.MkVIIG.L, CN FMJ RED ANNULUS K.N.1918 VIIG
Mine is the same year as yours TonyE except mine was manufactured by Kings Norton. Its amazing what turns up down this end of the world![/quote]

I am not so lucky. My sample is without red annulus


#19

My perception is that the cartridge case is of Japanese manufacture, not British. The bullet is a matter too complicated for me to address. I looked carefully at my group of Japanese .303s and my British incendiaries and concluded that while the primer annular crimps are of similar type, they are not identical in execution. The crimp in the Japanese rounds is very heavy and very distinctive; in the British examples the crimp is much less obvious in casual examination. I do have a couple of Japanese .303 incendiaries, but they are of pre-1942 manufacture and are obviously unlike the British Mk.6–cupro-nickel jackets and no hint of ferrous materials within. It appears to me the bullet is an orphan or that late in the war (the case is of post-1943 manufacture) the Japanese adopted some version of the mk.6. It would be very interesting to know what application of a magnet to this bullet would reveal.


#20

I am sorry but I must disagree. These are British unheadstamped B Mark VIz rounds. If tested with a magnet they show the steel tubular core. The extent of the ring crimp on the cap varies from manufacturer and from round to round.

Regards
TonyE