70MM X 101MM Japanese shell case

Just got this one. Not sure what it is. Almost as interested in what the gun looks like.
Mouth ID - 70MM
OAL - 101MM
Rim OD - 80MM
Slight Bottleneck
Remains of a paper sticker surrounding the primer. Could have covered it when new/unfired. A hint of markings on the paper may identify components.
Internally, residue of unburnt sealant remains at the apparent projectile base. No JASONSTAMPS. It appears unfired.
The drawing depicts characters on the primer. The primer unscrews easily with little or no corrosion or propellent remains, hence the unfired guess.
Very well preserved. Am guessing WW2 vintage. Gotta get one of CSAEOD’s books.
Script on the side is very crisp. No longitudinal scratches denotes it has probably never been chambered.


UPDATED Appears to be for the Type 92. Still no idea what the projectile looks like.

Hi Rick,

I have two sources of information on this:

‘Japanese Ammunition Part IV 25-70mm’ produced by the Military Intelligence Division, War Department, Washington DC in July 1945 details the ammunition.

‘Second World War Combat Weapons Vol 2: Japanese’ edited by Tantum and Hoffschmidt details the gun.

There were two different 70mm calibre guns: the very short-barrelled Type 92 howitzer , and the Type 94 tank gun. Both used the 101mm case you have, but the howitzer round could be either semi-fixed or fixed (in the former case, with variable charges) while the tank gun ammo was fixed and used a single and more powerful propellant charge. They fired the same range of projectiles. There was a choice of at least six: three HE, one hollow-charge, one illuminating and a pointed steel AP type for the tank gun. The projectiles weighed 8.4 lbs (7.4 lbs for the hollow-charge, 9.8 lbs for the AP), with muzzle velocities in the Type 92 of 648 fps (howitzer firing HE - max range 3.070 yards) and 657 fps (hollow charge), while in the Type 94 the MV firing HE went up to 1,143 fps (HE - range 5,040 yards at 20 degrees elevation) or 985 fps (AP) - which could penetrate 25mm at 1,000m. The hollow charge shell could penetrate around 3 inches.

The ammunition book has drawings of cross-sections of all of the projectiles, but mine is a rather poor-quality photocopy; no doubt someone on your side of the Pond has a better one.

The Type 92, designated an infantry battalion howitzer, weighed 468 lbs, had a bore only 24.5 inches long and could elevated to 50 degrees. It had a small armoured shield and either large wooden-spoked wheels or (more commonly) wheels with a flat steel disc with eight holes around the circumference.

Hi Rick,

Tony did most of the labour in describing the various projectiles. :)
I have quite a few documents on Japanese ammo, as it’s becoming one of my specialisations. From what you’ve drawn, the primer of your case was manufactured in April 1942, and I have to look-up at which arsenal; I cannot completely make out the details of the case itself, but as far as I can see it was manufactured in May (= 5) or June (= 6) of 1943. The arsenal mark you drew is somewhat unusual, so I’ll have to cross-check it in the documentation.

If you contact me by e-mail (click on link below) I shall take a look too at what colour copies I have of projectile drawings, as unfortunately Tony’s assumption about some documentation being of better quality at “your end of the pond” is mostly not quite the case. I do have some good colour works too, so I can check to see what is (or isn’t) listed in them projectile wise.
Also, if you could post a bigger picture of the headstamp, I can perhaps tell some more details about it.


Tony - Olaf

Thanks guys


The arsenal mark is as close as I could get to what remains of that mark on the primer. It was much fainter than the others.
Here’s my rendition of the headstamp marks. The last in the line of marks was very faint and appears to be double-struck, but not certain.

Any idea what the stencil markings on the side of the case say(mean)?

Great news. The books arrived! Will be getting them in hand shortly. Thank you very much. PM to follow.


Here is a shell

and here is the gun



The mark shown to the immediate left of the arabic 5 is that of the arsenal at Mukden, Manchuria operated under Japanese control. JG

Beautiful case Rick! Definite score!!!


Hi Rick,

[quote=“slick rick”]


The arsenal mark is as close as I could get to what remains of that mark on the primer. It was much fainter than the others.
Here’s my rendition of the headstamp marks. The last in the line of marks was very faint and appears to be double-struck, but not certain.

Any idea what the stencil markings on the side of the case say(mean)?


As for what your case reads:

I can only be certain of the two rightmost characters. This text should be read from right to left. The rightmost character is the Kanji for the number ‘9’ and the second character from the right is the Kanji for the number ‘2’, hence, together forming ‘92’, the type (or rather, ‘model’, when translating it more purely) designator. If you can post a somewhat clearer picture of the two (?) leftmost characters, I can look them up for you. From the top of my head, I think they would indicate the type of load or usage, but I’ll have to check.

Headstamp (in clockwise direction):
1-‘F’: As far as I know, this indicates ‘Army’ usage.
2-‘1’: No idea.
3-1 Kanji character, drawn by you as if they were two characters: the short notation for ‘Showa era’; the base year for calculating the date.
4-’+’: Kanji for ‘10’
5-’/’: Kanji for ‘8’, together with nr.4, this forms Showa year 18, being 1925 + 18 = 1943.
6-‘5’: Month of manufacture, Western notation; in this case: May.
7-Arsenal mark: I’m not certain which arsenal this is. The suggestion of Mukden is at variance with other arsenal marks I have seen listed for that arsenal. I’d love to find out for sure!
8-Kanji/Hiragana character: typically, a short notation for the city the arsenal resides in.

Primer (in clockwise direction - starting at 1 o’clock position):
1-1 Kanji character, the short notation for ‘Showa era’; the base year for calculating the date (Note: this is the same character as nr. 3 on the headstamp).
2-’+’: Kanji for '10’
3-‘t’: Kanji for ‘7’, together with nr.2, this forms Showa year 17, being 1925 + 17 = 1942.
4-‘4’: Month of manufacture, Western notation; in this case: April.
5-Arsenal mark: again, not certain which one… definitely the same as the case manufacturer (which is not always so on Japanese cases, which often are Osaka made, with Tokyo primers).
6-Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana character: possibly, a short notation for the city the arsenal resides in, or some short notation for the usage, or material?!? Not certain…

NOTE: Hiragana is rare or none existent on Japanese ammo, as it wasn’t really used for designations back then. Yet, Hiragana is the more ‘curly’ style of Japanese characters, so I can’t rule them out from the mere drawings… Most likely they are Kanji, as they seem to be too complex to be Katakana. Also, if the case was really made at Mukden arsenal, there is also a chance that these characters are actually Chinese, rather than Japanese. I’d be very interested to see this answered for sure by someone who’s knowledgeable in these Asian scripts…
I just searched somewhat in Wikipedia, and check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukden, take particular notice of the first of two Asian characters in the 3rd line in the main article, starting with the text: "Shenyang (Ch.: 沈阳; pinyin: Shěny

Olaf: Collectors of Japanese small arms seem generally to accept the mark comprising a small circle within a larger circle with the three radial lines as identifying Mukden under Japanese occupation. Japanese rifles and carbines are found with this mark and are of an age they could have been made there, but I don’t know what documentary evidence there might be of this identification. It is, I believe, thought the division of the larger circle into three parts signifies the three provinces which comprise Manchuria. JG

The F on Japanese artillery ammo has yet to be positively identified. I would like to see anything which IDs this and is not conjecture.

I echo this.
Though I am pretty certain that the ‘F’ indeed means “something” like “army usage”, it’s exact interpretation is not known with certainty to me either.
In general, I have several documents on ammo markings, particularly for projectiles, and to a lesser extent also of text as it’s featured on the side of cases, but I have very little to none on headstamp markings. If anyone has such a document on it, I’d be very, very much interested in it!

Also, regarding the comment about the arsenal mark being at variance with what I’ve seen previously as being the Mukden arsenal mark(s), I can write the following:

John Schmitts identified the case in the following three pictures as having been made at Mukden arsenal. The case (37x112R) has a very weird style headstamp, and was manufactured in January 1940 (Showa 15.1). I don’t recognise the Kanji character that appears right before the date, and would very much like to find out its significance. Note how this arsenal mark is very distinct from the one shown in Rick’s pictures.

Then, this in turn, is at variance with the Mukden headstamps as listed in Ken Elks’ excellent book on Japanese ammunition, of which I can show a sample headstamp of a Chinese manufactured 6.5mm Arisaka case:

I would be very interest in finding out the definitive answer as to where each of these arsenal marks are from. If all three of them are from Mukden, they perhaps indicate different plants, at Mukden???




Olaf: Finally remembered Ken Elks’ new book & found a label for Japanese 6.5m/m ammo he identifies as having been made at Mukden in 1936 for the type 3 HMG. This label includes the two circles mark, tho he does not specifically identify it as signifying Mukden. Concerning the mark you’ve just posted, this one is found on the so-called “Mukden Mauser,” made (if I understand the chronology properly) before the Japanese occupation. I think your suggestion that each mark may signify a different component of an armament complex makes sense. JG

Hi Rick and others,

Now that I have been able to take a closer look at the ink markings on the side, I could have a better search for their exact meaning. I browsed through the 8 or so CD-ROMs, and finally found it on one that has the obscure title “Markings on Japanese chemical warfare munitions”, which was sold to me for a few Dollars by the late Piet Oosterveer (and which should still be available through his family).

In it, one finds a.o. the page (top row, 2nd from the left):

Well then, the two rightmost characters are indeed ‘92’ (as mentioned before), being the type indicator. Note that all characters, except from the 2nd from the right (i.e. ‘=’, being ‘2’) are slightly incomplete, making the matching process somewhat more difficult. The 2nd character from the left reads ‘HO’ and indicates ‘Infantry usage’. The leftmost character between parentheses (i.e. ‘(Z)’) reads ‘OTSU’, meaning ‘B’.
I read the meaning of the ‘B’ in a different document, I believe in OpNav 1667, and IIRC it is a somewhat rare marking on cases, meaning either a modification (in this case then ‘Mod. B’), or a specific explosive type. I shall have to research the exact meaning of this character in the context of this case somewhat further.


Hi Rick and others,

I wrote:

Today I was looking up some more info in OpNav 1667, and I came across the exact meaning of the above marking. For this case it means ‘Mod. B’, being the second type case in this calibre, which is a regular one piece case. The first type, is a two-piece case which has a thread at the base, and which could be opened to vary the propellant charge.

The “Mod.A.” case can be seen here: