9 mm Shortened Capped Cases by ROF Radway Green

I’m wondering if anyone has any idea as to what this is.



I have some of these with various headstamps. Reportedly these were used with the Shaubly flares-apparently as an ignitor-or so I have been told.

I couldn’t find Shaubly Flares on the internet so likely have the spelling wrong at least.

Someone else likely has more insight into the use of these.


Lew, thanks for the help. I wonder if the correct spelling would be “Schermuly”, although I can’t find a flare cartridge that may have used this as an igniter.

For what it is worth, the only other British use of a shortened 9 mm Para case that comes to my mind is the No. 14 Switch used to fix “limpet” mines, but this was a WW2 design that used US contract cases cut down to about 8 mm long.



My original note was based on a phone call and my guess at the spelling and never corrected the note. When I saw Schermuly in your email I recognized this name. I think I have it in other notes I have. I think Schermuly is correct.

Here are the ones I have. The case length is about 7.7mm. The headstamps are “RG 64”, “RG 67” and “K 9MM2Z”. All have been fired. My recollection is that someone may have told me they were initiators in a line-throwing cartridge. Anyway, I believe they were for Schermuly gear.

Your comment on “the No. 14 Switch used to fix “limpet” mines” is very interesting. I have the two “projectiles” below that were with a “gun” used by SOE divers/frogmen to attach “Pinup-Girl” limpet mines to the bottom of enemy ships in the Med during WWII. The gun is now in a British Museum collection. it originally had another “projectile” which had a shortened case headstamped WRA 9M-M in the base chamber which is sealed by the copper cup seen on the base of the two below. This “projectile” and the WRA hst case are in the Woodin Lab Collection.

Both have a chamber machined into the lower part of the projectile. The book OSS Special Weapons and Equipment by H.Keith Melton has a drawing of one like the two piece one illustrated below. Reportedly, one of mine was intended for steel hull ships and the other for Wooden Hull ships. The two have different case lengths in the internal chamber. The 2-piece has a 11.2mm chamber and the 1-piece has a 11.4mm chamber. There may be others with 8mm chambers.

Do you have more information on these projectiles? I have never heard the term “No 14 Switch” used with these items. Note that Melton is describing OSS equipment, but the source of these says they were used by the SOE in the Med.



Take a look here: http://www.bocn.co.uk/vbforum/threads/92352-Spike-for-Limpet for a description and diagram of the No. 14 Switch. The 2 items (projectiles) in your picture are called “nails” in the diagram and picture on BOCN.

Schermuly is a company which still makes Maritime signalling and Line throwing equipment. ( Britain). Their standard LIne throwere (for Oiling at sea, Bosun’s chair transfers, was a Rocket tube, with about a 37mm Rocket cylinder, and steel wire trace linbe to connect the initial light line to be thrown, fitted to a “Webley” style break open Mechanism, and using a 12gauge short Igniter Blank, to ignite the solid fuel rockets. The Item looks like a “Modern Blunderbuss” ( Pistol grip, birds-head style, and handle on rocket Tube. Rocket is Cylindrical, no fins, flat nosed, and just a U-shaped stirrup to clear the Exhaust, and a steel braided wire trace. Fired “From the waist”.

They also made smaller ones, for Launching Radio Antenna wires over trees
( in Australia, we used a spool and a fitted weight which was used with an Energa Launcher tube and Blank, to set up HF radio antennae in tall Gum (Eucalyptus) Trees…I have a couple of the spools and weights).
The Schermuly model was probably a smaller “Pistol” type version, for use by Linesmen in difficult terrain, and by the Royal Signals Corps of the British Army…the smaller propellant charge would only necessitate a small Pistol/rifle Primer in a cut down 9mmPara case. The Use on “Official” Defence Cans and Labelling indicates an “Issue” item.

Doc AV

I once came across a hand held rocket parachute flare, which I had no real use for or interest in. On November the 5th (Guy-Fawkes Day here in England) I fired it into the air from my garden, a pretty firework. The following day I disassembled the spent aluminium launch tube and found that it had one of these shorty 9mm cases to initiate the launch of the rocket.


Gravelbelly, Great info!!! Do you have the identification or markings from the flare, and a photo? It would be useful to know what these initiators were actually use in.

What was the headstamp on your cut down 9mm case?

Many thanks for the information.


Someone is sectioning some Schermuly type line throwing impulse/ignition cartridges and we will see them if they use a shortened 9mm case.

Doc AV may be in error in saying that a 12 GA short blank was used for ignition of the Schermuly line throwing rockets. However, other brands such as Smith & Wesson and probably others may have used them.

The Schermuly cartridges are normally about 25 x 30mm with a very thick rim. Some are drawn brass single piece cases and others are two piece brass or aluminum or metallic head and paper walls like shotshells.

These were not intended for reloading, so it is doubtful if the RG shortened cases were for that purpose.

No shortened 9’s here but to perhaps add to the thread?
The head on these is 1.071" / 27.21mm, and they are 1.257" / 31.93mm long plus the unusually thick rim.
The label has a faint “JAN 1943” rubber stamp just above the “FOR”

I’ve no idea if this is relevant but there surely can’t be too many purposes for cut down 9mm cases.

These entries came from a Ministry of Supply ledger SUPP 4/348 which is a list of "SAA Experimental Order for DDSAA (J) which initials stand for 'Design Department Small Arms Ammunition.


Thank everybody for the help.

I find out that a shortened 9 mm case was used to ignite the priming charge of the smoke and flash unit of different models of British practice bombs, like the 4 lb and 8.5 lb.



In these shortened 9 mm cases, I have the following:

K 68 9MM2Z (Fired case, copper primer cup)
K 9MM27 (copper primer cup)
K 62 9MM2Z (Factory dummy with hole in primer revealing the Berdan-type anvil
and absence of any priming compound. The primer cup is brass)
RG 69 (fired, decapped case)
No headstamp (copper primer with three square primer crimps)

Then, I have this final one, which is a mystery to me. The work (cut) appears factory, and
is the same length as all the others, and from the same source in England. (I got all mine
together, in one group). The mystery is the headstamp:

  • FNM-71-1 (the “•” represents the NATO mark that is actually on the case; unprimed
    empty case of the Berdan-priming type).

I understand the factory dummy, as it could have been made for display purposes of the unit
and its components, or for training in loading the apparatus if the cartridges were loaded
separately by the end user in reloading the apparatus. I don’t understand the Portuguese one.

John Moss

Shortened 9mm cases were/are the standard igniter for the majority of British service pyrotechnics since WWII. Items include parachute flares, hand held day/night distress signal, trip flares, etc., etc. A number of items were also Department of Trade approved for maritime use, so they would have been also used in civilian pyro’. Apparently, Radway Green hasn’t made 9mm since the mid 90s, so I suspect the pyro’ manufacturers have had to source their 9mm cases from foreign manufacturers.