British and French artillery ammunition colors- WW1 era

Can anyone recommend a source of information for colors and markings used on British or French artillery ammunition, especially 1914-1918?


For British rounds try:

“Treatise on Ammunition 1915”. Reprint by Naval and Military Press
"Explanation of Service Markings 1918". Reprint by Cornell Publications.

I can’t help with the French though.


there is a 1918 book called:
German intelligence data sheets on WWI chimical ammunition
(british, french, italian, russian)
They give you the description of each round

For those who are budget conscious British Treatise on Ammunition 1915 is available as a scanned PDF file on Lew Curtis’ web site, the link is:

Explanation of Service Markings 1918 is available on ‘’ as a scanned PDFfile.


Many thanks!

For additional information on British colors see ‘Ammunition Pocket Book 1924’ and ‘Handbook on Ammunition, 1945’ both are available as PDF files on scribd.


You have parts of the French “manuelle des munitions” 1932, on the download section of BOCN forum.


Be warned, for the British rounds, the colours did change slightly depending on the era of the projectile. For example the Handbook of Ammunition 1945 may not be correct for a WW1 era projectile.

The German manual ‘D 50/ 8b Kennblätter Fremden Geräts, 1941’ lists captured foreign ammunition including French. Many of the diagrams in the French section are in color and also show loading and manufacturing markings on shells and casings. Some of what is shown appears to be WW1 era stocks but one has to consider the possibility of color code changes applied post WW1 to existing and new ammunition stocks.
Scanned PDF file available on line at:


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