Sectioned, French 105mm FL105F1 APFSDS-T Projectile

This unique projectile was mentioned in another thread, Unknown projectile filler - #14 by EOD , discussing, “Unknown Fillers.” That being said, I finally completed sectioning its unusual windscreen design and figured that I would start a dedicated thread.

Been after a inert example of this, French 105mm APFSDS-T projectile for years ever since I saw a dissected example in a photo about 10 or more years ago. The tungsten pellets contained under the sub-projectile’s windscreen have always been a source of wonder for me. This is an engineering design that may be unique to this projectile, as I have never seen examples of their use in any other large bore, APFSDS-T design.

In all my studies on the subject, I have seen only a few kinds of under windscreen designs and have always read that these various designs were developed by, Engineers and Physicists, to, “Prepare The Target In Advance Of The Main Dart Core & To Minimize Deflection.” It was mentioned elsewhere, that these tungsten pellets may have other functions, like possibly extra shrapnel??? Regardless, I am thrilled the way this one came out. I also must confess, that once I was able to remove the windscreen, I took it to a local, Machine Shop and had them use their, Milling Machine to cut out the section and also to repair the inward facing, forward threaded tip that was broken when I received the specimen. Past my skill level :slight_smile:

Jason

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Very nice item too - especially those pellets. Hope to hear what they are for.

Here’s a little GIAT spec sheet on, among other things, your OFL 105 F1:

Ole

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In the other thread there was discussion regarding the ridge on the pellets and i think i might have an answer, bear with me!

In the mid 80’s there was a large group of ANTIFAS in Copenhagen Denmark and they fought with teeth and claw against the police. Amongst their arsenal was slingshots and now for the finale: They found that nuts was way better than steelballs against car doors and windscreens because the edges on the nuts “bit” the metal and helped cut clean holes when shot at an angle, balls would just deflect.

But these here are not meant to bite much, they are just “anti personnel”.
As said before, it is easier to manufacture in my view.

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A one piece design would have more mass and penetrate better.

Options:

  1. I have heard of other materials to lubricate the penetration hole to give greater penetration?
  2. I don’t think its anti-personnel, however the 2 inner points could project pellets outward - to what end?
  3. It is possible that there is some sparking or incindary effect?

Jay

The French manual is stating (sorry for the Google translation):

The warhead of this “shell” contains small balls to ensure a rear effect against personnel who might be on or around the tank.
With the exception of the tracer, it contains no active ingredient.

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Interesting, I assumed the pellets were there to provide some sort of normalization assistance.
Thanks for the manual snippet.
Is the manual available somewhere online?

Ole

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The French manual is stating (sorry for the Google translation):

The warhead of this “shell” contains small balls to ensure a rear effect against personnel who might be on or around the tank.
With the exception of the tracer, it contains no active ingredient.

So my posture still stands, the design is for scattering and added penetration on “soft” targets.

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Pellets of this design are sold in several alloys and sizes (tungsten, bismuth , etc) for use in loading waterfowl shotshell loads. Extremely expensive , $25-$30 + per pound. Spherical and belted . Ballistic Products in Minnesota sells the stuff.

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It is my impression that tank duels basically happen without infantry attending at close ranges.
The amount of additional “fragments” in the small tip of the penetrator is in my view extremely small compared to, say, a hand grenade with its already very limited effective radius.
Whatever the manual may say even without one of the notoriously wrong Google translations, I do not buy the anti-personnel explanation.

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Jochem, admittedly my bad French is good enough to understand that the translation of Google is pretty correct.
But you may need to look at the Soviet doctrine of infantry accompanying armor and in particular MBTs.
This was a hard lesson the Soviets had learned from the early days of the war (as did the Brits in WW1).
Means heavy armor needs infantry to cover as otherwise it will be lost in minutes (we saw that from plenty of footage from conflict zones).
Hence the typical photos from WW2 and decades later where Soviet soliders were crowding MBTs and so did many other countries.

And remember the old German saying:
A bad ride is better than a good walk!

Given the Vo of 1525 m/s I think these tungsten balls will do a bloody job…
And there is a reason why many developments of AP ammo also include a shrapnel effect. Seen through many countries and calibers (small to large).
Means the projectile here was aiming at exactly the picture below:
infantry (1)



And the image below explains wyh the Soviets/Russians are also looking at added shrapnel effect.

Image source: internet.

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Ole, nothing online. But the paper I have is random pages of various things in a wild mix, even no front page.

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Thank you everyone so much.

I think I have a color phamphlet covering, French 90mm, 105mm and 125mm APFSDS-T rounds somewhere. I do not remember any mention to the tungsten pellets. My gut seems to side with, EOD’s beliefs on this. The photos of tanks either covered by or surrounded by personnel is very compelling too even though I am thinking it would probably be a rare occurrence to get extra targets like that. If this is indeed the case, would this be the only kinetic, sub-projectile to contain anti-personnel sub-projectiles? :slight_smile:

Youtube videos showing the fabrication of belted pellets also shows ease of manufacturing leaving the belted waists. In my mind they are either added bonus shrapnel as discussed for external target damage or aid in some way to prepare the impact sight in advance of the dart core, like denal wads do?

Regardless, it is a design feature I have never seen before, making the decision to section this engineering beauty a good one in my head lol :slight_smile:

Jason

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Alex, I know the Soviet photos very well. “Desantom na tankach” is the Russian expression, as far as I know. Particularly when armed with submachine-guns as in your third photo, they were feared by German infantry.
But I doubt they would have the nerve to stay on tank when coming under anti tank fire from 1000 m or more (today much more) against which their small arms are absolutely useless.
If the APFSDS-T in question really was designed with “desantom” in mind, it is a waste of time in my opinion, due to the lack of passengers on a tank during a tank battle.

In any case, the decision to section this very interesting design has shown us all a lot of surprising new information and is a beautiful piece of excellent workmanship.

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Jochem, indeed today this tactics are not much used anymore but the projectile above originates from the days it was an expected scenario. Today infantry is riding in APCs or IFVs which in addition tend to have active protection systems thus making rides on top kinda suicidal (besides blocking the sensors of the vehicle if so)…
And it is hard to guess what the designers were thinking tose days or what the demanded tech specs/requirements were.
As you say, a big thank you to Jason for sacrificing his projectile to the blade.

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A war story… can be deleted… On Aug 23 1968 I was riding on a USMC tank. along with 7 Marines . We,1st Plt., E Co. 2/27, were at the Cam Le Bridge just south of Danang. reactionary force responding to a major fire fight with a large NVA and VC force that had taken the bridge from the 1st MP Bn. A Co. 1/27 was already engaged and as we approached the bridge an RPG struck the tank I was on. The rocket hit a large long tool box that I was sitting to the rear of. The large wrenches inside deflected the blast and created shrapnel. 3 people were wounded. myself and 2 Marines. I tried to get the tank commander to give me one of the wrenches that was sheared in half but got a helicopter ride to 1stMed in Danang instead. May 12th '69 this happened again. Got to go home this time. Lesson ;Tanks are bullet and rocket magnets. Don’t ride on them. A google search Battle for Cam Le bridge will give details.

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I have no words to properly thank you for Your Service and for sharing this story and experience! Just an incredible bit of history and extreme bravery. To me, you all are serious HEROES that have my endless respect & gratitude! In awe of guys like you.

Jason

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Wow… I only used tanks to avoid bullets coming my way, and an occasional ride in friendly territory.

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Found my copy of a, French pamphlet they hand out at, Trade Shows, that covers their, 90mm, 105mm and 120mm APFSDS-T rounds. Sadly, no mention of the pellets. Attaching photos incase anyone is interested.

Jason

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This must be the famous “bombe surprise” then.
Or to be clear likely was a secret of it’s time.

Remember the US 120mm M829A4. Everything but new and we still have no diagrams and detailed info.
Or the late German 120mm APFSDS which have no tracer anymore and the space is now filled with pressed titanium (powder I think). Making it basically an APFSDSI.

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