View Full Version : Can anyone identify what this is?

20th Aug 2010, 22:23
Found in a display cabinet in a restored village house in Dorset. I think I know what it comes from but rather than post my suggestion I'll see what ideas people have.





20th Aug 2010, 22:25
Does it tick if you twist it?

Sir George Cayley
20th Aug 2010, 22:27
I'd evacuate the village and call the Bomb Squad.


Grabs Hi Viz and Safety Gogs

20th Aug 2010, 22:28
Does it tick, let me try ...........

It doesn't twist, but I also think it was a timer of some kind.

tony draper
20th Aug 2010, 22:29
Altitude setter for a AA artillary round?:eek:

20th Aug 2010, 22:29
Probably pretty benign in its current state but attached to the rest of its components.....it could be a bang up party popper! Best use now is a door stop or paper weight.

20th Aug 2010, 22:33
An Introduction to Collecting Artillery Shells (http://cartridgecollectors.org/introtoartyammo/introtoarty.htm)

Looks like the WW2 Mk25 mechanical time fuze Artillery Shell (or very similar).

Juliet Sierra Papa
20th Aug 2010, 23:45
Personally I think its a bit too complex for an airborne or proximity fuse, but hell knowing my luck recently......Pray please advise us of your opinion Mr Capetonian.

21st Aug 2010, 00:51
Bloody luvly thats what it is. I'll give you £20 for it! Nice bit o brasss that.

Pugilistic Animus
21st Aug 2010, 01:05
if the cap and booster [I'm guessing PETN or Tetryl] have been removed it would be perfectly safe..


21st Aug 2010, 02:18
Altitude setter for a AA artillary round

Exactly. One came through the roof and a bedroom ceiling in my Aunt Ina's house in Glasgow, 1941 or 1942, the night of the Clydebank raid.

21st Aug 2010, 05:37
Apologies if this is too much thread drift.

My parents told me that the principal reason they accepted the opportunity to evacuate Mum and the infant Wod to rural Gloucestershire from a house near the Filton Bristol Aircraft Company plant was not so much the bombs but the risk of roof fires from descending, red-hot shrapnel from the Ack Ack.

Sounds plausible to me, but I've never researched it.

21st Aug 2010, 07:35
Looks like the dunce cap I had to wear in metallurgy class after getting busted for doing alchemy. KaZOTTTT!

tony draper
21st Aug 2010, 08:24
One undestands during air raids people where in as near as much danger from falling bits of our own AA shells as from the Sausagesider visitors above.

blue up
21st Aug 2010, 08:49
Prorotype of the CRP-1 Circular Slide Rule?



21st Aug 2010, 10:29
Hmmm.......goes back nearly 50 years....Royal Artillery.....YO's course...

It's definitely a fuze for a shell.

Beyond that the scale could be
timer for airburst shooting
height setting/timer for AAA shooting
arming setting (ie for arming the shell after it is fired)memory's fading away.................................gone. Sorry I can't be more help.

Brief flash of memory - - - airburst fuzes used reflected radio to measure height, not a timer --- didn't they?

Lon More
21st Aug 2010, 11:16
Capot, Wiki on fuzes HE shells can be fitted with other fuzes, airburst fuzes usually have a combined airburst and impact function. However, until the introduction of proximity fuzes, the airburst function was mostly used with cargo munitions—for example shrapnel, illumination, and smoke. The larger calibers of anti-aircraft artillery are almost always used airburst. Airburst fuzes have to have the fuze length (running time) set on them. This is done just before firing using either a wrench or a fuze setter pre-set to the required fuze length.

Early airburst fuzes used igniferous timers which lasted into the second half of the 20th century. Mechanical time fuzes appeared in the early part of that century. These required a means of powering them. The Thiel mechanism used a spring and escapement (i.e. 'clockwork'), Junghans used centrifugal force and gears, and Dixi used centrifugal force and balls. From about 1980 electronic time fuzes started replacing mechanical ones for use with cargo munitions.

Proximity fuzes have been of two types: photo-electric or radar. The former was not very successful and seems only to have been used with British anti-aircraft artillery 'unrotated projectiles' (i.e. rockets) in World War II. Radar proximity fuzes were a big improvement over the mechanical (non-proximity) fuzes which they replaced. Mechanical time fuzes required an accurate calculation of their running time, which was affected by non-standard conditions. With HE (requiring a burst 20 to 30 feet above the ground), if this was very slightly wrong the rounds would either hit the ground or burst too high. Accurate running time was less important with cargo munitions that burst much higher.

The first radar proximity fuzes (called 'VT' for variable time as an obfuscating security measure) were initially used against aircraft in World War II. Their ground use was delayed for fear of the enemy recovering 'blinds' (artillery shells which failed to detonate) and copying the fuze. The first proximity fuzes were designed to detonate about 30 feet (9.1 m) above the ground. These air-bursts are much more lethal against personnel than ground bursts because they deliver a greater proportion of useful fragments and deliver them into terrain where a prone soldier would be protected from ground bursts.

However, proximity fuzes can suffer premature detonation because of the moisture in heavy rain clouds. This led to 'controlled variable time' (CVT) after World War II. These fuzes have a mechanical timer that switched on the radar about 5 seconds before expected impact, they also detonated on impact.

The proximity fuze emerged on the battlefields of Europe in late December 1944. They have become known as the U.S. Artillery's "Christmas present", and were much appreciated when they arrived during the Battle of the Bulge. They were also used to great effect in anti-aircraft projectiles in the Pacific against Kamikaze planes as well as in Britain against V-1 flying bombs.[9]

Electronic multi-function fuzes started to appear around 1980. Using solid-state electronics they were relatively cheap and reliable, and became the standard fitted fuze in operational ammunition stocks in some western armies. The early versions were often limited to proximity airburst, albeit with height of burst options, and impact. Some offered a go/no-go functional test through the fuze setter.

Later versions introduced induction fuze setting and testing instead of physically placing a fuze setter on the fuze. The latest, such as Junghan's DM84U provide options giving, superquick, delay, a choice of proximity heights of burst, time and a choice of foliage penetration depths.

WWII PROXIMITY FUZE (FUSE) From the Museum of Technology site

During the raids of WW2 a gunner issued complaints against our methods of defence, it was said, that shooting down an aircraft at night was ‘‘like shooting a fly in a darkened room with a pea shooter''. The Marconi Osram Valve Company amongst others, were given the task of solving the problem. Guided Missile technology was not an option at this time (the Germans astounded the world, later in the war with their V1 & V2). It was decided that a shell fuze, which triggered when an object was in the proximity of the shell (such as an aircraft), was the solution. The biggest problem was how to protect the amplifier section of the fuze from the blast of the gun. Special valves were developed to solve the problem; these can be seen in the 2nd section of the display. On leaving the gun at 20,000g and spinning at 3,000 rpm together with the vibration of the barrel, the success of these fuzes was no mean feat. Tests fired the fuze 8 miles into the sky vertically. On returning to the ground it had to be dug from under 8 feet of Salisbury Plain, amazingly it was still working. The amplifier is in the base, this was connected to the battery which was made of ring shaped plates around an ampoule of acid, upon firing of the gun the ampoule shattered and soaked the plates turning them into a charged battery. The top is a pointed cone and a plate embedded in plastic, this formed a capacitor which oscillated at 100mghz, if an object came close to this (up to 30ft) the oscillation was disturbed and the final valve triggered the detonator. The valves are oscillator, amplifier and trigger valve. Although the final product was produced and tested (over the channel so if it failed to explode it could not fall in to enemy hands), it needed to be produced in vast numbers; our manufacturing capability was saturated with weapons and planes at the time so the project was passed to the Americans. At the same time Radar was now becoming a reality and this unit was scrapped in favour of a device that used the new technology. Many of these and the new version were instrumental in bringing down the V1 ''Doodlebugs'' during the war.

21st Aug 2010, 11:18
To my blurry eyes, it looks quite like the timing appliance on the WWI shrapnel shell fig 31 in the excellent introtoartyammo link...


On t'other hand, the finish-work closely resembles the timer fuse in fig 42:


21st Aug 2010, 11:32
Yes, it's a wire-wrapping tool....oh sh*t, we've done that one.

Not a low-consumption fridge.

Something worn by bare-breasted girls standing by an ATM machine ?


Must be part of a bomb, then.

Chesty Morgan
21st Aug 2010, 11:36
Is it a speed regulator from the conveyor belt...

tony draper
21st Aug 2010, 11:55
Got a couple of 20mm cannon shells, unscrewed the brass cap on one then tried to unscrew the wee brass bit in the middle (detonator?) of the cap,sneaky buggas had employed a opposite thread, one had to turn it to the right to unscrew it,of course being the owner of a shed one sussed it,:)

21st Aug 2010, 12:15
Them Dodgy Deutchlanders used to employ things with
tricky L/H threads to trick the unwary Bomb Disposal types.

21st Aug 2010, 14:48
Thank you all for your contributions, the witty, the sarcy, and especially the serious ones as it was a serious request for information.

The item is not for sale or disposal as it belongs to the houseowner, but it was an interesting conversation piece. I thought it was the nose cone of a torpedo with a device for setting the direction and range, but I feel humbled after seeing some of your learned contributions and getting what seems to be a more accurate answer.

Union Jack
21st Aug 2010, 17:07

Well that was fun! You may wish to have a look at British Torpedoes after World War II (http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WTBR_PostWWII.htm) which gives a reasonable rundown on British torpedoes in use since WWII.

The comment I like best is the one in the section about Spearfish which states that:

"the guidewires for this torpedo are currently made from a copper-cadmium alloy. As cadmium is environmentally unfriendly, a proposed program to change over to a fiber (sic) optic system was started in 2004."

How very considerate, albeit only marginally less environmentally unfriendly than 300 kilos of Torpex?:eek:


21st Aug 2010, 21:20
Not sure on the type of munition, certainly not a bomb fuse though. The numbers stamped on the nose look like the manufacturers date and lot number. So my guess is it's Brit of WW1 vintage and was made on Jun 1916....unless that is more than a heavy scratch making it a poorly stamped 46.

Just editing this to add that the 'HA' or 'RA' stamp on the base of the fuse is probably the manufacuring company mark. One would expect to see the maker, date and lot stencilled or stamped on any shell or munition.

21st Aug 2010, 22:43
Royal Arsenal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Arsenal)?

21st Aug 2010, 23:21
Them Dodgy Deutchlanders used to employ things with
tricky L/H threads to trick the unwary Bomb Disposal types.

Was that not also a fiendish way of avoiding the fuze unscrewing itself as the shell disappeared into the distance?

22nd Aug 2010, 11:57
Had something similar sitting on our mantelpiece for years when I was a kid. My old man was in the RN so I assumed it was it was a piece of naval artillery.

tony draper
22nd Aug 2010, 13:37
We had a spiffing brass shell case as a poker stand when I were a nipper,hmmm, wonder what happened to that.
That's the kind of thing you miss out on wi central heating.

22nd Aug 2010, 14:38
Well its Danish the HA on the bottom tells you that its the Danish Arsnel that made it.

The D could be the bloke that filled it/inspectors mark Same with the P

Or the P demotes phosophrous ignition or percussan cap fitted.

Fill date is 6/46

Burn time could be 75.7 or it could be the lot number

Its been used.

The soft tope with teep's on I have seen before on illum rounds for both pack howitzer and L101.

The timer is for when the illum round is ignited the spinning of the rifling triggers the timer like it does with HE rounds arming them and then it counts down to when they want it to illum. The front bit continues on its merry way leaving the light behind it once it triggers.

From the location where it was found I suspect its an illum round fired from a Danish Warship. Illum rounds mean you have to calculate 2 target spots one where the illum is meant to take place and in peace time the second one is where the front bit of the shell is going to land. Failure to do so in the UK would result in first of all the SMIG not giving you "down safety" closely followed by a bollocks, BSM's boot connection.

I suspect the ship didn't bother with the second impact point and invertantly it arrived on british shores.

And they say that all that KG6 training was a waste of taxpayers money.

22nd Aug 2010, 16:44
Looks like a No.80 mkIVA have a look underneath, they are often marked there with date, maker and no. and Mk no. 2pr

Here is the full monty PDF description:Scroll right to the bottom of the page and there is a PDF for it.

British Fuzes - Ammunition Pages (http://www.ammunitionpages.com/categories.php?cat_id=162)

Loose rivets
22nd Aug 2010, 18:40
I'm afraid of bangs. Real ones, like.

I was going to school in about 1953* when Bramble Island blew up. It was right across the Walton backwaters and very quickly a small mushroom cloud appeared - just like the big ones we'd seen on Pathe news.

*So odd. I'm sure about the date withing a few months, but one in 1913 was mentioned in Parliament, and another in 56, but I'd left school by then and the bloke I was with was long gone.

Lon More
22nd Aug 2010, 18:50
Mum and Dad got engaged in Cairo during WWII.
Mum's present to Dad was a tankard made from a 25 pounder shell case with a map of the North African campaign etched on it. I still have it in the display cabinet

22nd Aug 2010, 19:54
I don't think it is one of them Jim.

Its definately been used so to speak.

It doesn't have the screw thread which I would expect it to still have if it had been defused.

You could post it on arrse one of the lads from Rochester should be able to tell you what it is.

Lon More
22nd Aug 2010, 20:20
You could post it on arrse one of the lads from Rochester should be able to tell you what it is
and no doubt heap abuse on you for being a Walt :ugh:

22nd Aug 2010, 22:38
Nah they only get wound up if you claim to be something you ain't.

If you go on and say your Auntie Mary has this in her sitting room and you were wondering what it actually was you will get.

1. Someone saying you need a FFE cert for that.
2. Sometelling them where to go to get a life.
3. Someone who knows what they are talking about who will more than likely tell you the name of the bloke that filled it.
4. Someone saying thats beadwindow or stainglass window or some such pish
5. Then everyone will will have a go at them for being a walt because it was made in 1946.
6. Someone will have story about when he was setting up a fire solution for one of them on NBC exercise when he dropped a fart but managed to grandslam his combats which he then had to live in for then next week until endex.

I will go and post and see what turns up.

tony draper
22nd Aug 2010, 22:45
Always strikes me as how well made and with what expensive materials things that go bang are made from, if they made fridges tellies and washing machines with as much care and attention they would last forever.
Of course the manufacturers of fridges tellies and washing machines do not want them to last forever they want em used up as they wish you to go out and buy new fridges tellies and washing machines at regular intervals, whereas the bods in the armaments industry wishes, ere just a minute, hmmm,exactly the same.

Loose rivets
23rd Aug 2010, 06:54
That can't be right, or they'd make fridges tellies and washing machines explode.:}

23rd Aug 2010, 09:44
My MIL has had two of artillery shell fuses, almost identical to the one shown, as ornaments on her fireplace, for decades.

I just take it as a warning.... :ooh:

23rd Aug 2010, 10:04
A little help Identifying an old shell fuse. (http://www.arrse.co.uk/sappers/139957-little-help-identifying-old-shell-fuse.html)

Well they are just throwing ideas around just now but it seems a bloke called Sandy is a bit of an expert on these things so hopefully he will make an appearance soon.

Lon you will notice I was completely wrong in my statement about what would happen. Trust the sappers to go straight to number 3 on the list.

23rd Aug 2010, 11:02
Damn! I thought it was a Mk4 Thronomister Graunching-Lever Escapment Mechanism - which I need to complete my collection of working models of Thronomisters. Then I realised I'd already got one.

The remotely-operated ones with elevation resolvers to one hundredth of a degree are much harder to find!

23rd Aug 2010, 11:05
mad jock

Thanks for putting it up on the other board for me, much appreciated. Amazing how much knowledge there is out there. As I said earlier, I feel very humbled!

tony draper
23rd Aug 2010, 11:08
Most sprogs of my generation had a box full of such treasures secreted somewhere,bits of shrapnel a clip ot two of 303 the odd grenade shell casings a german helmet gas mask and a couple of guns (I had grandads New Service Colt chambered for .455 eley in a fine leather holster)however these were not regarded as possessions as such they were items used for swaps.

23rd Aug 2010, 12:42
Not a problem, as you might have guess in my youth I was quite interested in the engineering side of all this sort of stuff.

It always amazed me the number of SNCO's I met who were introduced to the army via local beak with the words "I am going to delay my verdict until after the break, young man the army recruiting sgt is in the front hall" "Your honour Bloggs has decided that he needs some displine in his life so has decided to join the army, but there is a slight issue with his possible criminal record" "All stand, verdict is case dismissed"

In they went without a qualification to thier name. 30 years later most had degrees and were true masters of knowledge in thier field and shit hot pratical engineers.

And when we do find out what it is I hope a wee description card can be added to the display case

Flying Felix
23rd Aug 2010, 21:44

Despite all the previous comments it is in fact an igniferious time fuze and is completely inert.

It works by having a series of internal hollow rings full of black powder. By twisting the setting ring you effetely increase or decrease the burn time by changing the rings alignment to each other.

The fuze is ignited by the hot propellant gasses on firing in the gun.

Most igniferious time fuzes were used on carrier shells (illumination, smoke, chemical shells etc) but they were used to great effect on HE shells for trench warfare.

23rd Aug 2010, 21:48
Can you explain what the fuze ignited?
I realise that the propellant would hurl the 'missile' skywards.
Would the fuze explode the HE rather than waiting for the missile to contact the target?

Flying Felix
23rd Aug 2010, 22:19
Basically, the hot gasses that send the shell flying would enter the fuze from the outside as it is launched. The black powder in the fuze would then burn (like the gun powder trails in the films) for the set time. The black powder tube ends in what is called a magazine or gain, this is a pocket of more explosive.

In the case of a base ejection carrier shell, the gain consists of more black powder, which burns producing a lot of gas. The pressure from the gas pushes the base off the bottom of the shell and throws out what ever is in the shell.

In the case of a bursting carrier shell, the gain ignites a more powerful explosive usually contained in a tube located down the centre of the shell. This bursting charge has sufficient force to shatter the shell casing spreading out the contents.

A large number of the HE shells, of this era, used gun powder as the main explosive and used the shell casing as the fragmentation or contained round metal balls as in the shrapnel shell.

Hope that helps.

edited to try and make things clearer.

24th Aug 2010, 01:23
Thanks, Felix - I think I understand now!

Flying Felix
24th Aug 2010, 08:12
Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before:

Think of the fuze having a pitot tube in its side and the gain or magazine as the ASI!

Cardinal Puff
24th Aug 2010, 08:55
...Mk4 Thronomister Graunching-Lever Escapment Mechanism...


It appears to be a later Self Graunching Thronomister. The reversed Elevation Collet indicates the more advanced design by Prof Molestrangler which led to the later Flange Wobblers.

24th Aug 2010, 11:50
I had forgotten the huge contribution the good Professor made to the design of the Mk 4, especially with regard to the suppression of third-order cavitation resonances in the downstream isolation-valve snubber-damping flange, by the innovative use of reversed Elevation Collets in the primary mixer flow-regulation governor, combined with his ground-breaking design of the flange-wobblers, considered to be a classic example of the elegant simplicity inherent in good engineering.

Even today this is still regarded as a watershed in industrial design by his peers. He never received the recognition he so richly merited.

I stand corrected.

Cardinal Puff
24th Aug 2010, 12:42
No worries. An easy mistake to make unless you're familiar with downstream flux gate variable incidence technology. :ok:

tony draper
24th Aug 2010, 12:44
Now Grape Shot! they didn't like it up em!:uhoh: