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Military History/Can you identify this projectile?


I bought a building and this projectile was inside. I cant see any markings at all, it is big, I would say between 4 -5 ft long assuming those bricks are 8". It is very heavy, I can barley move it. Photo attached. Thank you!


I would have to venture a guess that it is probably from a coastal artillery gun.

What part of PA are you in? Near the coast at all?

Now It looks to have a fuze, that is the pointy thing screwed into the tip.  It could be a dummy round filled with filler, for use in training.

Dummy rounds were used with a loader mock up, something that allowed crews to practice loading but without pushing a round inside a gun with no way of getting it out besides firing it.

Most people don't think about it.  I only know because WWII destroyers had a loading dummy deckside for practice loading the 5" multipurpose guns.

Not was you can probably imagine this was a beast to load and needed to use equipment to load it with.

Now shells are designated by their diameter.  Is there any way you can measure the diameter, or give me an approximate width of the projectile?  You can used two sticks or rulers, one standing up next to it, another lying across at 90 degrees.  Read off the ones standing to get the thickness.

That will be the size gun it came from.

If you look closely at the projectile there should be some rings, wht are called driving bands near the base or in the widest part.  See if they have any evidence of scoring or striations.

This will indicate whether the projectile was ever fired.

It appears to have an ogive shape, that is it tapers near the base as well as towards the tip.  That means the bearing surface that which makes contact with the tube rifling is near the center.

The size in inches will allow me to tell what kind of artillery piece the projectile came from.

It is undoubtedly from a battle ship or coastal artillery piece.  The guns were loaded with bagged propellant.  The shear length if this one should make it easy to identify once I have the size in inches.

Can't tell is its live, but that is a possibility.  If word gets out, I am sure the authorities will be knocking at your door to take it and destroy it.

I don't know any safe way to tell you to verify that it does not have a charge in it.

The fuse may have some identification on it as whether it is a dummy or live round.  Does it look like you can unscrew it?  Do not do anything forceful with it like hit it.  

The base plate might have some writing on it as well, a steel brush might clean it up enough to tell.

If I could not verify just by visual observation that it is a dummy round, I would call the authorities and have it removed.

You will undoubtedly end up with your name in the papers.

It could be that the projectile was taken as a souvenir from one of a battle ship broken at a Philly shipyard or liberated from a shipment during the war.

In any case handle it carefully.

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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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