40mm L60

Mk1 Mod1 labeled. What color should it be. Was hand painted yellow and white.

it was the one on the left before I stripped the paint

MK 1 projectiles were HE. USN HE had a green body. I don’t know of any with a yellow body unless from Great Britian (the Brits have a fondness for yellow projectiles) or another country?

It’s a US projo that someone hand painted it very poorly.

Which of these is most correct? Or should I just leave it bare metal at this point?

The HE-I-T/SD is the one most often seen and one of the prettiest. (Never underestimate the power of pretty).

The HE-I-T w/o SD (the one with the black band) is also popular.

Just MHO.


Should I paint it, or leave it as is?

The black banded body only goes with the Red/White nose fuse.

The round you have, as is, isn’t anything special, so repainting it in original colors doesn’t depreciate it any.


Have some fun and paint it!

I put together the following to consolidate what info I’ve found on US Navy 40mm (WWII era):

U.S. Navy 40mm Bofors Markings

Body Color:

Green = High Explosive
Red = Blind Loaded (Inert)
Black Band (on Green) = No Self Destruct Relay in Tracer Element
Black = Armour Piercing

Fuze Tip Color:

Red = Incendiary
Same As Body Color = No Incendiary

Fuze Band Color:

White = Tracer
Yellow = Dark Ignition Tracer
Black = Non-Luminous Tracer (Smoke Tracer?)
Same As Fuze Tip Color = Plugged

Types That Likely Were Used:

Description… Body Color / Fuze Band Color / Fuze Tip Color

HE-P… Green / Green / Green
HE-SD w/NL Tracer… Green / Black / Green…
HE-T-SD… Green / White / Green
HE-I-T-SD… Green / White / Red
HE-I-P… Green / Red / Red
HE-I-T w/o SD… Green w/ Black Band / White / Red
HE-I-T-DI-SD… Green / Yellow / Red
HE-I-SD w/NL Tracer… Green / Black / Red
BL-P… Red / Red / Red
BL-T… Red / White / Red
AP… Black/ Black/ Black
AP-T … Black/ White/ Black

Note: AP rounds have a wind screen rather than a fuze.

HE = High Explosive
P = Plugged (in place of tracer element)
T = Tracer
I = Incendiary
SD = Self Destruct (feature of tracer element)
DI = Dark Ignition
NL = Non-Luminous
BL = Blind Loaded (Inert)
AP = Armour Piercing

The green body with black band and yellow fuze band with red fuze tip seems to show up a lot but I have no info on it having existed as issued ammo. It could be a HE-I-T-DI w/o SD if I have the scheme figured out.

Would be great to hear any comments on accuracy/completeness of the above info.


There’s no listing for a HE-I-T-DI w/o SD in any of my Navy manuals.

(Army and USAF used differing color schemes for their L60’s, unless they’re just shooting WW2 Navy surplus stocks. Army Dusters shot a lot of AP and APT, Black and Black with white band.)

Keith - The middle projectile in the photo is a HE-I-T-DI w/o SD. Whether it is Navy or Army I do not know. The photo caption says USN. But, I agree that it is not listed in any USN manual that I have, either.

Most WWII photos show HE-I-T/SD as the predominant ammunition.

Ray (Former USN GM2)

How did they paint them? Dip or spray?

Any suggestions for a source of the correct colors?

Spray paint. Markings were applied with a rubber stamp. Lettering on the case varied. But, AFAIK the 40mm projectiles were not marked in any way other than the colors.

Assuming you’re going to paint the body green for HE, I like Hunter Green Satin. That comes the closest to the WW II color that I have found. Red would be Fire Engine or Bright Red. White is white. Use satin for all colors if you can find it. After the paint is completely dry you can rub it briskly with a cloth to remove a little of the satin. Or, just leave it.

When finished, step back and admire your work. That’s mandatory.



I’ve never seen a live round with the Red/Yellow/Black/Green color code, only the inerted projectiles after all the ammo was demilled and sold for scrap. There’s no listing for that combo in any of the Navy manuals and the Navy BuOrd boards of this caliber don’t show such a combo.

When they started the mass demilling of L60’s, fuzes and bodies were pulled apart, fuze components/energetics removed, and the components tossed into barrels and pallet gaylords. Empty fuze bodies in one and empty projos in the other. Later these components were reassembled from the barrels/gaylords, whatever was there at the moment was used, certainly not in any particular order and the result sold as “collectibles.” At the time of reassembly, there was no concern for correct mating of the components, just a nose from one barrel screwed on a body from another barrel and repeat. So I’m pretty sure that particular combo was just the result of a surplus at that moment of Black/Green bodies and Red/Yellow fuze bodies. (Similar to Garands, Lugers, etc. selling at a premium when “matching” serial numbers were involved.)

That particular photo isn’t of live rounds, only the inerted/reassembled projos in question


One of my references (I’d have to hunt for it) refers to the HE-I-T-SD and says, as a foot note, that there is also a Dim Tracer non SD version. But, it doesn’t show or mention what the colors would be. I think it was a post WW II reference. But, maybe I remembered it wrong. I’ve been known to do that once or twice. ;-)


Sweet ! Thanks Ray. None of mine even mention its existence, let alone designate the colors.

So, I finally got around to painting this projectile. Didn’t realize it had been like 8 years.
The one on the left is a MK2 that I bought at SLICS last year. I’m almost sure it’s a repaint of some sort.

Which green is more correct?

Here is my projectile also purchased at SLICS several years ago. These projectiles are from a demill operation and all were at some point refurbished i.e. repainting the projectiles.

U.S. Navy 40mm color code chart as of June 1, 1945, an add on supplement to U.S. Navy Ordnance Pamphlet No. 4; Ammunition, Instructions For The Naval Service, May 1943 :


Remember these weren’t artists who painted them, so the colours got slapped on and with that comes over-spray and bleeding. Also, there was often variability in the shades of colours used.

Here is a photo of a U.S. Navy training aid display board showing the various types and color markings. Yes, it really is more of a forest green, and not olive drab. (From Rock Island Auction)

1 Like

And a chart: (from usmilitariaforum.com)

Repainted with “satin” green krylon