Military History/Ammo box


Ammo box
Ammo box  
I came across a ammo box with the following on the front and wanted to know a little about its history or what year it was from. Any help would be great. Here is what's printed on the box: 2 CARTRIDGES 4.2 INCH ILLUMINATING M335A2

It's a large wooden box with a flat latch on the front and rope handles on each side



More info of the shell here:

They were still in use in 1977 so were used in Vietnam too.

It was used for transporting illuminating rounds, flares on parachutes, you see in the war movies from the period of WW11 to Korea.  The 4.2mm mortar was what they called a M2 Chemical Mortar also nicknamed the Four-Duce...4-2.   It was first put into service in 1943 and was still in service with allied nations in 1984.  The M2 model was upgraded to the model 30 increasing its range and allowing it to launch a wider range or projectiles.

It was called a chemical mortar because the shells were large enough to hold binary gas rounds, rounds of poison gas stored in two chambers that were inert, until the shell exploded mixing the two components and forming the lethal gas.  In your case the rounds had a magnesium flare, and parachute for illuminating the battle ground at night.  The parachute would slow the descent of the flare.

So since it is labeled for both the M2 and the M30, I would place the box as being from 1951 onward.  The M2 was gradually replaced by the M30 from that date forward, so the box was from a period when both mortars were in service placing it most likely during the Korean war or after.


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Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

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