Blitz Cartridges

I searched around the forum and could not find any information on these. Can anyone shed some light on when they were made, and what their purpose was?


Think there was a mention in the IAA journal, did you look through the index-> 435/43, 436/42

If your going to break the boxes please save me one of each

I’m not familiar with the index.



Vic Engel had the same question. Might ask him to see what he may have found out.



He probably saw them when I picked them up at the NH show. I’m still hoping someone here can help.


Dave, Pete means the IAA journal index. Journal 435 & 436 have something in them, but I am not at my computer with the actual journal archive and can’t check if those are too recent to be on the current archive CD.

Are they a special purpose round(s). ?

Would assume so

If so… I need to run one of each down!!!

Here are a few links to past auctions showing images, but no real info. I included a link to an old auction for “Propeller shells”, since there was a notion of these being for testing against aircraft propellers circa WWII to gauge the propellers’ strength versus flak or just the quality of the finish?:





Propeller shells are not these. Bltiz cartridges. I’m pretty sure the propeller shells were in a past journal also. As far as I’m aware the propeller are loaded with sand / stones to test wear in desert conditions

Use the below mentioned index.

Dave on this site Chris has an index he updates with each issue. Go to the home page & put “index” search in the search box.

Then click the appropriate link.

These cartridges are definately blanks of some sort. There is no shot in them.

It would be interesting if someone actually had some related documents.


Why different loads for “SHOULDER” and “TRIPOD” guns?

“Tripod” and “shoulder” gun designations with 65 and 45 noted on the top wads respectively reminds me of line throwing applications, but I am pretty sure that is not it.

“Blitz” probably became a popular term around the start of WW2, and the box printing looks about right for that period, and seems similar to WW2 British contract packaging from Winchester.

Could these be for some sort of grenade projector type rig, perhaps contemporary with PIATS and other more or less improvised anti armor weapons. Or some sort of rig for throwing grappling hooks or scaling ladder lines?

Strictly guesses, but the heavy and medium loads for tripod gun and shoulder gun sort of head off in that direction. Is there a “Light” load also, since there are heavy and medium?

Here is what appeared on page 42 of journal 436, in response to a question with photos which was posed by Vic Engel in journal 435 on page 43. Vic’s question was the same as Dave’s, showing the 2 boxes, the 2 topwad types, and also an X-ray of both. Martin’s response below describes that the “medium” load with a stamp of 45 contained 49gr of circular holed flake powder and 6 felt & card wads of various thickness. No indication as to their purpose.

I think that the Winchester shown as a division of Western Cartridge Company puts it at pre-1945. Right?

A well known member, and former long time WRACO employee told me they were made to propel sand and rocks at propellers for durability testing at military aircraft production facilities during the war. The problem was that debris was damaging the propellers on take off and landing on low quality runways.

It would be very cool to find amy documents to substantiate this!


From IAA journal 497 pg 33 and a Winchester Ranger brand shell, which as noted, has a pie crimp There are two variations known to me, both the same shell, but out of different boxes. These were also written up in the Shotshell Review, but I don’t have the issue/page noted & no index was ever done, to my knowledge.

propeller shell_zpsgwgtvoxu

Here is another version of the Winchester propeller load in a red box. The old auction listing where the image is from did not show shells:



I may be wrong here, my memory is crap. but I thought I had read that these were for bird scaring on military airfields during WW2.
The two types were for use in a normal shoulder fired gun or the stronger ones in a permanently mounted tripod gun on the airstrip.
Could also explain why the two wood boxes turned up over here, possibly left behind by you guys at a US used airfield when the war ended.
Bird strike was a danger to aircraft taking off and landing.

Jim Buchanan

Thanks Matt for finding that box. On my pair of shells I’ve noted yellow box & red box, but I hadn’t see this red box.

The shells are identical, but for perhaps weight?

Seems pretty elaborate for a blank to scare birds. Why would you need a supported gun to shhot a blank. It seems to me they were meant to propel something.

Dave, not knowing the length of your Blitz cartridges, the bird scare cartridges in current use hold a M-80 firecracker which when shot up in the air lights the fuze to explode far away from the shooter.

I’m only guessing here but if the gun was on a fixed mount then the shooter wouldn’t have to draw a gun from supply to start scaring birds & the cartridges could be stored with/on the mount, & perhaps the barrel was longer, which I’d think might project or focus the sound? All pure conjecture.

How long are those shells?