I have a brass WW1 shell. It has many markings on the base.
I have no idea what any mean apart from a big 1918 mark on the bottom which I guess is the year.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here is a photo:
The head-stamp of these particular shells displays the British broad arrow and the initials ‘EOC’ indicates that they were made at the Elswick Ordnance Company, England; the initials ‘CF’ signal that the charge was loaded with cordite, a standard propellant.
I think the little diamond is a quality assurance mark from an inspector. btw it is a cartridge case, not a shell. The fuze, probably from a different factory, has its own set of marks. Elswick was I think part of the Vickers empire in the NE. Broad arrow says Government Property. Allegedly originally the armorial of a particular Master of the Ordnance way back.
Primers and cartridge cases were made separately, and a lot were made in USA and Canada. I believe they were mated along with shells and propellant at ordnance depots in UK before being shipped to operational theatres, but willing to be educated on that!
The 13 and 18 pounders had what is known as "fixed" ammunition.. the shell and the case were fixed together at manufacture and were not interchangeable. Before the 1920s UK artillery was divided into "guns" and "howitzers" - guns had fixed ammo and howitzers had separate ammunition. At the beginning of WW1, the normal projectile was an airburst shrapnel shell which was good against troops in the open, however by 1918, this had changed to HE shell as it was more effective against trenches..
Post 1920.. most artillery became gun/howitzers with separate ammunition - the 25 lbr had a separate loaded shell and cart case. the 5.5 and above had a separate loading shell and bag charge. This allowed the charge to be varied and allowed the guns to shoot at varying trajectories to reach into dead ground..
Agreed on all you say HE, but I remember reading about component parts being manufactured all over and then being assembled in UK. Did I confuse ordnance depots with ordnance factories, or was I thinking of another ammunition type?