M2 Tracers

They say that bad things happen in sets of 3. I’m a believer. First the Forum went down, then my PC crashed, and now my $500 digital camera quit. The camera Geek said to simply trash it and get a new one. Even $500 cameras have become disposable in this 21st Century world. So, I went to WallyWorld and bought a package deal for less than $100. So far, the Geek has been right. It appears that the new one will do all the same things as the old one. All the buttons and knobs look the same. Even the old software to process the photos on my PC works. So I took a photo to test it and see if I could still download from Photobucket.

Guy’s thread on the funny looking '06 headstamp and the response that the Arsenals did some strange cost-saving things during WW II reminded me of three boxes of SL 43 M1 Tracers that I have. The only thing is, they are M2 Tracers. Chris P says that he has never seen a box of SL M2 Tracers even though they made millions of them. It seems that SL simply boxed them in M1 boxes that they had on hand, and that was good enough.

Makes you wonder what the guys shooting them must have thought. And you would think that someone at SL could have walked over to the local Five-and-Dime and bought a rubber stamp with a “2” on it.

Anyway, here’s the box. Looks as though the camera will work.



Gald you worked out your camera issues. Your nice picture leads me to ask questions…The white tip on the M2 Tracer was the early version of ID to distiguish it from the M1 and later changed to an extra cannelure with a red tip, no? Does not your example have a white tip and extra cannelure and was this typical? Also, one could see using mis-marked boxes early on in a new application, but were there SL red tip M2 Tracers also packed in boxes marked M1?

Asking pesky questions as usual,

You coulda been a PH. Yea, these new cameras are awesome.


The ID on the M2 Tracers is muddled at best. I think even HWS said as much. AFAIK they can be found with 4 variations.

  1. White tip
  2. White tip w/ second cannelure
  3. Red tip
  4. Red tip w/ second cannelure

I have numbers 1, 2, and 4 but have not seen a number 3. Of course, it’s possible that I have seen a number 3 without knowing it. The only way to tell for sure would be to pull the bullet. The M2 bullet is different than the M1.

I can’t say if the M2 red tip SL were also packed in M1 boxes. Chris P may know. Of course, if you have any SL boxes of M1 you could open them to see. The only reason I bought the boxes I have is because they were opened and I could see the cartridges. If they had been sealed I probably would have passed on them as being plain vanilla M1.


I was too manly to be a PH. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

My new camera is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. I don’t know how they get all those squirrels and treadmills in such a small package.


Speaking of tracers, you can also find M1 Tracers with two different shades of red and with GMCS bullets. I never looked into it to see if there’s any significance to the paint shades but it would be an interesting research project for someone. The GMCS ones are well documented as M1 Tracer (Alternate).


Speaking of PH’s. One day long long ago in a sea far far away I had deserted my post to go up on the flight deck to watch the airplanes land. By sheer coincidence there was a horrific crash. A big fire. Pieces of airplanes flying everywhere. My first priority was trying to find something to hide behind to keep from being de-capitated by pieces of airplane.

A few years ago I told my story on the ship’s web site and said that I was really sorry that I didn’t have any photos. Well, a few days later I get an e-mail from an ex-PH who said that he had photos to share. It turns out that we were standing right next to each other when the fit hit the shan and he had the gonads to film it while I didn’t. So those Ph types were manly too I suppose. What’s the odds that we were right there together, didn’t know each other, and yet would meet over the internet 50 years later!



Can you share those photos? Via email would be fine.
On a sea-story note, had a couple PHs in our compatment. Attached to the helo crew. 6th Fleet Flag. Manly men, they were. Hangin’ arses out of helos to take pics. Standing in the downwash for the right angle. Got to hang in the photoshop on occasion. Nice stereo. A cultured group, in comparison.


When my PC crashed I lost most of my photos. This is the only one I’ve been able to find. I’ll ask around to see if I can get others.

This is the moment of first impact. The AJ-2 (the big plane in the middle) continued forward taking out 14 or 15 Banshees in all. Fuel poured out of all the planes and ran down through the forward elevator into the hangar deck and then ignited. The flight deck guys grabbed their hoses and ran right into the middle of the inferno. Braver sailors you’ll not find anywhere. Would you believe that everyone survived!

Here’s my PH shipmates note - K20 handheld aerial camera using B/W HS film at 1/500sec. Typical of a PH to remember the camera details!


BANSHEES!?!?!?!? Man, you’re old, Ray.

There are guys on the Forum older than me. Not many and not much older but they’re lurking out there.

The ironic part is that all of the Banshees were moved as far forward as possible to keep them safe when the AJ-2s were landing. Big mistake to use AJ-2s on a WWII era straight deck carrier.

All of those parked planes had guns and were loaded with cartridges. Just to keep this post legal.

Just a tweek Ray, just a tweek.

I know Rick. My comment was sorta to see if those really old geezers could be lured into identifying themselves. No shame in being an old vet.

30-06, 9mm Para, 7.62x39. Anybody collect these??


heh…collect?..i hord em…several yrs back i ‘found’ an apple box full of 30-06…close to 1,000 …still cant id a bunch of em…most of em in ctns of different descriptions…an that doesnt count the full wrapped boxes of match…or…45.70’s an 50-70’s…or or or…


Thank you for setting straight my overly simplified thinking of M2 tracer ID. Great info for future use.

Great picture from that flight deck. Crazy work landing planes on a little patch like that where so many things have to go very right so that many things don’t go really bad. Don’t listen to that Rick about being old…hey, those are jets not bi-planes!