Can you help me identify this artillery projectile please?


Hi, can anyone help me identify this shell?
I’m residing in the UK and have had this shell in the family for 10 years. It measures 80mm in diameter and approx. 230mm in length.

I have recently realised I knew nothing of its history or, in fact, it’s safety.

Could anyone please tell me more about

A) It’s history
Or
B) whether I should be calling the bomb squad?

I have more images including the base of the shell and it measured next to a tape measure.

Thanks in advance all

  • Luke

Hi Luke and welcome.

I think you have a WW1 era 18 pounder AP-T (Armour Piercing with Tracer) projectile that is missing its driveband. The distinctive profile of the driveband would have verified it for sure. The diameter of an 18 pounder is about 84mm, so I don’t know how accurately you measured the dimension. The later 25 pounder had a diameter of 87mm.
This was a fixed round, meaning that the shell (projectile) was crimped into the cartridge case.
If it is an AP shell, then it is more or less a solid steel shot, with only a small cavity in the base for the tracer. We shouldn’t give opinions on whether an item is safe or not, but I think it’s a fair bet that this shell is nothing more than a heavy lump of steel and you won’t need to call the authorities. It would help if you posted photos of the base and gave an accurate diameter measurement to make a positive ID. Photos with a tape measure or ruler in the shot are not very helpful.

Regards, Graeme

I should qualify this by saying I think it’s an 18 pounder AP shell, which should be around 82-83mm across the base. We need an accurate measurement across the base plus a photo of the base. If the measurement is closer to 76mm or slightly less and the hole is larger it could be a number of 3" shells, even a common pointed explosive shell. So base photo and accurate measurement is important.

It is an AP shot, shell is hollow!

Hi Graeme, thankyou for your detailed and prompt reply.

I have just taken a more accurate measurement with a pair of calipers and it measures literally a hair shy of 87mm, perhaps due to corrosion. Please see below for an image of the base. (I could only fit one image in the original post unfortunately!).
Im a bit concerned about the material left in the base of the shell, could this be remnants of the tracer compound?

Best,

Luke

I may as well have a guess also.
I think it is a 25Pr APT Mk11T British Commonwealth made WW2?
Mine is a few mm longer but looks similar. Weight would also help.
The extra 7mm of base diameter shows how you mis-lead potential identification with incorrect measurements. You MUST be precise for correct ID.

Hi Ron, thanks for your reply!

Apologies for the inaccurate measurement, but it is definitely 87mm in diameter. Is the 25 pdr you refer to the same one Graeme reffered to in his reply?

I’m afraid I’m away until next week, but I will try and get a measurement of its weight once I am back.

Thanks for your help

I am sure it is 25Pr as they are 87mm diameter projectile.
It weighs just over 20 Lbs (9kg). Not sure exact weight.
I wait for further comments on ID. Ron.

Luke, yes if the diameter across the base is 87mm then I’m pretty sure it’s a 25 pounder. I said 18 as that was closer to the 80mm you originally advised.