Help with reading the shell casing engravings please



I’ve been given the end of a shell casing for a birthday gift I’m just wondering if someone can help me read what the engravings mean, I’d love to know where it’s from and what it was fired from.

Thanks in advance.


I’m certainly no expert on these but I happen to have what I believe is the same case. I was told it was for a British 6pounder anti-tank gun. The US and a lot of other countries have used it also. This appears to have a British primer. I’m sure some one on this forum will provide all the correct info.


As it has an electric primer it must be something else than for the AT gun. A side view of the case and the exact length would sure help here.


It was converted into an anti-submarine projectile impulse cartridge.


Hence the A/S ?

And would that not be the Hotchkiss case then?


Here is a side view of the shell and it is approx 10 inches long and 2-3 inch in diameter.


Furthermore here is a shot looking inside.


Ok, so this was a Hotchkiss 6pdr then and no AT gun 6cwt case.


As I’m a complete amateur I’ve just googled and found that the hotchkiss was mostly 19th century, but the shell has 1945 and 1960 date stamped on it? Could you kindly shed some light for me? Apologies!!


This is a 6 Pounder Hotchkiss naval case converted to an anti-submarine mortar impulse cartridge as Fede says. The “A/S 5” Indicates anti-submarine mark 5. This cartridge case may have been used with the Squid anti-submarine mortar system.

These were fitted with electrically fired primers, as can be seen from the insulating ring in the photo.

The case was originally made by Vickers Armstrong Engineering Ltd in 1945. The “VAEL” maker’s mark and date can be seen struck out. This case would have originally been 306mm long with a reduced diameter neck to hold a 57mm projectile. The gun was originally a 19th century design, but they were used by the Royal Navy in both the first and second world wars.

It was cut short as part of conversion to an anti-submarine mortar case in 1960 at Royal Navy Ammunition Depot Trecwn, Wales. This is shown by the “TRE” mark and date.


Thank you kindly to all of you who have contributed this evening.

I am astounded that through the 3 photos provided you have been able to provide such a detailed description of what the shell is and where it’s from.

It holds so much more significance once one knows the origins of it. Thanks again


The Squid anti-submarine mortar was the second UK designed “ahead thrown weapon” (AHW) for anti-submarine use. The Hedgehog was the first AHW which greatly increased the probably of destroying a sub. Previously depth charges were the only way but as they were dropped in the ships’ wake a significant time elapsed between the last asdic contact with the target and the explosion of the depth charges. This delay allowed a sub to take evasive manoeuvres as the ship passed over it and escape the centre of the charge pattern.

As the asdic (sonar) was still in contact with the target when Hedgehog was fired the time for the sub to escape was greatly reduced. and the “kill” probability went up from about 5% to 15%.

The squid had a range of about 300 yards and this increased the number of sub kills even further. The Squid mounting has three barrels of differing lengths and also lateral deviations. The lengths gave three different ranges which, combined with the lateral offsets caused the three bombs to fall in a triangular pattern. If the ship had two Squid mountings, the second one had opposite offsets so that the two triangles formed a hexagonal pattern, hopefully with a submarine inside it.

The later Mortar Mark 10 (also called Limbo) fired bombs similar to Squid but had three long barrels of equal length and used a much bigger charge to fire the bombs. The maximum range was increased to 1000 yards.

I have got 2 A/S Mortar mark 10 cases, one converted from a 1948 77mm Mark I and one from a 3" case. For practice lighter bombs were fired using the old Squid charge in a chamber adaptor in the breech.