ARTILLERY FUSES AND SHELLS

Version francophone


But... what is a fuse ?
Artillery in WW1
Main types of munitions
Main types of fuses and their mechanism
Some fuses
Shells and fuses in 3D
German fuzes manufacturing markings
NEW : WW1 artillery sources and references

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Les armées françaises entrèrent en guerre gonflés d'une doctrine résolument offensive, consacrant plus que jamais l'infanterie comme "reine des batailles", et confiant à son canon de campagne de 75 mm Mle 1897, arme certes révolutionnaire et remarquable, la plupart des missions révolues à l'artillerie en campagne.The French armies went to war applying an purely offensive doctrine, using its infantry as "the queen of the battles", and giving its 75mm Mle 1897 field gun, a revolutionary and brillinat weapon indeed, most of the missions allocated to the artillery during campaigns.

Artillery ammunitions waiting for the military collecting service near the ' Mont Sans Nom', in ChampagneThe encounter with the German armies, using quite well a richer and bigger range of guns and howitzers of various types quickly revealed the insufficiencies of the French artillery material. The early transformation of the movement war into a positions one made all the belligerent agree on that point, and all the fighting countries developped new artillery weapons all along the war years, making WW1 a gun's war. .


Millions of shells were shot during the war, and as a consequence, impressive quantities of different variaeties of projectiles can still observed nowadays on the former battlefields, naturally coming back to the surface or under the action of the farmers' plows. You will not often visit an acient 'red zone' without seeing some.

Such a battlefield walk some years ago made me meet a first fuze, a heavy German HZ14, and this encounter triggered my interest for these small mechanisms that are symbolically representing two sides of the human inventive genius, impressively creative but too often dedicated to killing eachother...


But... what is a fuse ?

More than 856 millions shells have been gunned by the artilleries of all the armies, during the first world war. Between 1914 and 1918, one estimates that the German guns shot more than 300 millions shells on their ennemies... Each of these projectiles was equipped with a 'fuse', intended to make the charge explode at the right time.

Organisation générale projectile d'artillerie

Those were really precision pieces, as much in terms of mechanism than in terms of pyrotechnique. They can still be found on the former battlefields, either alone (when the shell have exploded), or still screwed on intact projectiles (DANGER !).


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Guns, shells and fuses

A journey in their world, both fascinating and frightening ...

Canon 77 mm allemand à La Pompelle

Artillery in WW1

Find in this page the main characteristics of this weapon, Queen of Death between 1914 and 1918 : mechanisms of a gun, mortars, different calibers used by the different armies ...




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Schéma d'un obus à balles de 75

Main types of munitions

'The only way of hurting someone with a gun is to pass the wheel on his feet... !' Strange military sense of humour, but this is an evidence : the projectiles only are dangerous. Shrapnel, explosive, gaz, anti-tanks, ... the shell types of WW1 are various. Let us make a quick inventory.




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Schéma d'une fusée KZ14

Main types of fuses and their mechanism

You need a fuse to impulse at the right moment the explosion of the projectile that have been shot by a gun. Let us make a journey in this world of mighty precision. Discover the main functions and principles of those devices thanks to accurate 'home made' schemes.




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Fusée allemande

Some fuses

Carefully observed the battlefields, or bought in militaria flee markets, let me show you a WW1 artillery fuses selection. Their identification is passionating. Discover for each of them several commented pictures, and a description based on the principles exposed in the previous pages.




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<Reconstitution de GrZ04

3D fuses

Discover the breathtaking masterpiece of one friend of mine, passionated with WW1 era. A portrait gallery of several celeb German fuses, as you never saw them before !




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Marquages sur une Dopp Z 92 nF

German fuzes manufacturing markings

Learn to read the German fuzes manufacturing marks, and decode their information




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Manuel du gradé de l'artillerie

WW1 artillery links and resources

Some advices to increase your knowledge on WW1 artillery through internet surfing or books reading




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