Unknown "75mm" shrapnel shell nose & "beehive" fuze

I recently acquired this shrapnel shell ogive and fuze, but can’t identify it. It does not appear in any documentation on French ordnance that I have looked at.

The ogive is unusual as it has an internal thread, meaning that the top of the shell had an external thread. The ogive diameter is just over 75mm so it may have been fitted to a 75mm shell or even slightly larger calibre.

The fuze appears to be of a 25/38 type and has no markings, but is graduated to 25 seconds unlike the French variant that only goes to 22 seconds.

It has been suggested that perhaps this was made for export as it is unlike and standard French shrapnel shells.

I would be grateful for identification of the shell and country for this nose and also correct designation for the fuze.

Thanks, Graeme

Sorry, this is my first post and I haven’t worked out how to add photos yet. There doesn’t appear to be any options to add them.

Here is an example of one way to upload photos:

Here is another way to upload a photo:

Thanks for the photo upload tips, here they are:

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I’ve been told that the fuze could very well be American. Unfortunately no markings on it at all.
Given that the fuze appears original to the ogive, if this is the case then it’s likely an American shell.

Does anyone have any documentation on WW1 American ordnance to check?


I checked all of the PDF copies I have of books pertaining to U.S. WW1 period artillery ammunition and none of them mention let alone show a diagram or photo of a U.S. made version of the French style of fuze you show. But all that proves is that none of those sources covered the subject. Hopefully something will show up.


Thanks Brian.

“US-Subs” on the British ordnance forum said that the U.S. may have copied, or made under license, the French beehive style fuze until their own production got going in WW1. However the only U.S. 75mm shrapnel I have seen uses an adapter and the M1907 Scovill T & P powder fuze.

Regards, Graeme

Must be very rare if it can’t be identified?

I’ve still not found any information on this inside thread nose cone.

We used to find the beehive style fuzes with various adapters while doing commercial clearance ops on various ranges at Ft. Sill (home of US artillery). Once cleared the items went off for sale as scrap. I would then go to the scrap dealer and buy items back ($50 a ton, can’t be beat). I didn’t save every variation - we were turning over tons - and looking at a shelf shot it looks like all the ones I kept had the same adapter. The US fielded a similar appearing fuze, but with a very different construction, known as the 1915 time fuze, which appeared on the 1919 Frankford Arsenal fuze board. Sorry about the quality of the fuze pic, it is cropped from a picture of one of the fuze shelves.

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Thanks for the reply USSubs. I love that fuze board! The shrapnel nose I have has an internal thread (meaning the shell body has an external thread) - yours in the photo appear to be the more common external thread noses.

Correct, we saw lots of variations on the range, but you can’t keep them all (though I’ve tried). No idea if yours was one of them or not.

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Tell us about the oddball item on the board, bottom row, center, that looks like some sort of cover with a padlock.

Rather tell us what was inside and so special that it had to be locked away.

If I remember I’ll uncover it this weekend and take a picture. It has one of the first US mechanical time fuzes, the MKI 18 second. The explanation that I was given was that it was classified (or the equivalent) at the time, and in the classrooms that these boards were intended for, it had to be covered when not in use. It has a really cool little Yale lock from the period, I need to get on a lock collectors forum and see how to find a key.

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Nice! Looking forward to that!