ARTILLERY IN WW1 :
WEAPONS, AMMUNITIONS AND FUZES

Version francophone
Version francophone


Introduction
WW1 artillery
Sources and links
Guns, howitzers and mortars
Artillery ammunitions and fuzes

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Introduction : contribution to the memory of the Great War artillery

The French armies went to war with a deliberately offensive doctrine, more than ever considering the unfantry as the "Queen of the battles", and giving to its 75 mm Mle 1897 fieldgun, without any doubt a remarkable and revolutionnary weapon, most of the missions dedicated to the field artillery. The other allied armies did not have very modern and performing artillery weapons...

tne confrontation with the German armies, using with talent a richer and more various artillery inventory, quickly revealed the allies lack of artillery power. The transformation of the movement war into a position war after some months only clarified all mi,ds and WW1 became a war dominated by guns. All the fighting nations developped new models durint the whole conflict.

Munitions attendant les démineurs près du Mont Sans Nom, en Champagne

The incredible amounts of shells shot by the nations in war are just out of range of a logical mind. As a consequence even today numerous projectiles of all kinds are still found on the former battlefields, naturally expulsed by earth or under the action of farmers' plows. You will see some about every time you are visiting a part of the 'red zone'.

The proportion of these old ammunitions that are still dangerous is very high, moreover most of the time it is impossible to determine the dangerosity of these objects unless you are a mine cleaner expert. Even these ones never gamble on such guesses and generally prefer to explode their findings by precaution. They know for sure a wrong choice means death or horrible mutilations. NEVER handle these old ammunitions !

I encountered my very first shell fuze during a battlefield visit in Champagne. It was a heavy German HZ14 that detonated its shell and was resting inert on a ploughed field. Deducing from its shape that it was probably a shell head, I could not help myself and shivered thinking of the extreme danger of such a massive object, whose 1.4 kg of brass has been propulsed at a high speed with the hope of hitting living flesh after the explosion of a shell of which it was a very small part only...

Motivated by my engineer technical curiosity and surprised by the rarity of available informations on these devices, I decided to take interest on these small mechanisms symbolising two faces to the human genius, vastly creative but too often made to kill...


This one fuze is the real genitor of a new side of the passion I already had for World War One : the fascination for the technical revolution of its artillery guns and ammunitions, still tainted with the compassion for these poor guys who where the terrified and vulnerable target of it... This website born without any commercial or glory ambition became; as years went by, one of the reckognized sources on WW1 artillery, together with other conributors that can often be found on my artillery links section.

You can access its different sections either using the following proposed path, or dircetly thanks to the menu shown in the right column 'Direct access' (for the frame version of this website).

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Menu for the pages dedicated to the WW1 Artillery and its ammunitions

Artillery in WW1
Main actor and killer of the Great War, the artillery deserves a page containing some historical and technical notions before going deeper in the detail of its weapons and its ammunitions
Canon 77 mm allemand à La Pompelle Artillery in WW1

Main characteristics of these weapons in WW1 : functioning principles of a gun, types of weapons, main weapons used in the different armies...
Manuel du gradé de l'artillerie Links and sources

Internet links and bibliographic sources concerning the artillery of the Great War
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Surviving guns of WW1
I chosed to present the history and the detailed characteristics of the WW1 artillery weapons on the basis of the ones that can still be observed nowadays all around the world. And believe me, there is plenty of !
Mortier Allemand survivant de 21 cm aux USA Surviving guns main menu

The origins of this project, principles ad classification rules of the inventory of the WW1 surviving guns that can still be seen nowdays in the world
Canon de 105 à Fleury Classification by nation

The surviving WW1 guns inventory classified by fighting nation and type of artillery. Access to the individual files with detailed description and technical characteristics.
Extrait de Google Map Classification by location

The surviving WW1 guns inventory plaed on a GoogleMap. Access to the individual files with detailed description and technical characteristics.
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WW1 artillery ammunitions and fuzes
'The onfly way to hurt someone with a gun is to roll on his feet ... !' Mean military sense of humor, but a true assessement : only the shells can kill.
Schéma d'obus à balles WW1 ammunitions types

An introduction to the artillery projectiles : their constituting elements, their functionning and the main types.
Schéma d'une fusée KZ14 WW1 artillery shell fuzes types

The basic notions needed to understand the detailed explanations accompaining each of the fuzes exposed in the following galleries. What is the role of a fuze, what are its mechanisms.
Fusée allemande WW1 fuzes galleries

Main entry page to the fifferent galleries of WW1 artillery fuzes. Includes the needed safety warnings that have to be read carefully !
Schéma d'un obus à balles de 75 German fuzes manufacturing markings

Learn to read the manufacturing markings of the WW1 German fuzes and decode their information.
Schéma d'une fusée KZ14 3D fuzes of Pascal Casanova

Discover the impressive work of a telented friend captivated by WW1. A portrait gallery of several famous German fuzes pictured in 3D, in a way you never seen before !
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