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"Live Anti-Tank Round Discovered!" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian25 Jul 2018 5:21 p.m. PST

Border agents patrolling near the U.S.-Mexico border fence last week came across an unlikely sight: a live, unexploded World War II-era ammunition round…

link

Mark 125 Jul 2018 6:12 p.m. PST

Not sure if I'm playing Mr. Picky here, or just protecting my potential progeny as Mk 1.

The agent, who was assigned to the Brian A. Terry Station in Bisbee, Arizona, found an unexploded MKII 37mm ordnance round, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

Kinda leaves me wondering who came up with the idea that this was a "MkII" round. Was that what the USCBP said? Was that the pronouncement of the Air Force EOD person they called in? Or was that just something the reporter made up?

Far as I can tell US Army Ordnance never produced anything for any US gun that was called a Mk Anything. US Arm Ordnance labelled things M1 and M2, not Mk I and Mk II.

And, for the 37mm Gun, the accepted projectiles were the M51 APC-T round, and the M63 HE round. The drive band clearly has rifling marks, so we are looking at a down-range projectile, one that has been fired, not one that somehow was never used.

There was also an M2 round, and I suppose it is possible that's what they are referring to with the whole "Mk II" bit, but that was a canister round. How and why an EOD guy would detonate a canister round escapes me. But then also how one could come upon a fully enclosed canister round downrange is also not obvious to me.

To my eye it looks like an M51 round. The ogival nose looks like an AP round that has had it's ballistic cap sheared off by impact (perhaps with the ground, perhaps with some target somewhere). As it did not have an HE filler, I'm still not sure why an EOD guy would detonate an innert shot. If the tracer didn't burn when it came out of the barrel, I don't know what you are going to do to get it to burn now.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2018 7:00 p.m. PST

If the tracer didn't burn when it came out of the barrel, I don't know what you are going to do to get it to burn now.
Fresnel lens? It's in the desert….

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2018 7:58 p.m. PST

Two (inert) grenades found in Mississauga -- the city to Toronto's west.
link

advocate25 Jul 2018 11:14 p.m. PST

It's hardly the "iron harvest" that French farmers have to deal with from WW1, or the bombs that each year the British and Germans find from WW2.

bsrlee25 Jul 2018 11:36 p.m. PST

Slow day in the news room.

witteridderludo26 Jul 2018 1:20 a.m. PST

Mark 1

Maybe US Army ordnance never made a MkII round, but given the Mk designation, the Navy probably did. Anyway, the MkII round did exist:

link

link

Mobius26 Jul 2018 6:00 a.m. PST

If it was a naval projectile it probably wasn't anti-tank.

Garand26 Jul 2018 6:51 a.m. PST

I have an inert M63 round & that doesn't look like an M63 FWIW…

Damon.

Mark 126 Jul 2018 8:25 a.m. PST

Witteridderludo by gum you are right. It never even occurred to me that this might be a WW1-era round!

It's from an M1916. LOL. That's remarkable. Probably from an M1917 / M1918 tank (US-built version of the Renault FT).

That makes it far more interesting, at least to me. And explains why it was necessary to detonate the round. Kudos to the EOD guy for figuring out what he needed to do.

Doesn't say much for the headline describing it as a WW2 AT round, with the picture of the M3 AT gun, and all that.*

Amazing what a touch of research comes up with.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)


*Doesn't say much for my rather under-researched assertion that it couldn't be a "Mk II" either. Oops. Gave some thought to mentioning US Army, but hadn't considered a foreign designation.

Mark 126 Jul 2018 9:32 a.m. PST

And, having read further on the Wiki link provided by Witteriddurludo, I see that the Mk II projectile for the M1916 37mm gun may well have been used for M3 guns as well.

Hmm. Even more interesting.

So it may well have been fired from an M3 AT gun. As the Mk II was probably just a case of using up stockpiles of otherwise obsolete materials, I would guess it was viewed as a training ordnance rather than a combat round. Easily explains why it was found in an area where training might have taken place (and partly why it didn't explode properly when used -- old ordnance tends to be less reliable.)

Still I feel like the headline missed it. But less so. Even if it was used in WW2 era training, it would have been seen as a WW1 era round at that time. So if the headline had flagged it as a WW1 era round I think it would have been as accurate, and more interesting. But that's just me.

-Mark
(aka: not quite WW2 era Mk 1)

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2018 11:55 a.m. PST

It is very possible that it is a USN piece. The USN
contracted for USMC weapons and ammunition. The 37mm
used on USMC Stuarts which fought on Guadalcanal may
have used such a round and it is clear that USMC
37mm guns used cannister rounds in different areas during
the Pacific war.

That doesn't answer/address that it seems to be a WWI
artifact, though, save that it could be leftover from
a WWI issue, re-issued to the USMC during WWII.

My brother Bob (USMC) was always complaining about the
USN giving the USMC obsolescent equipment, weapons,
etc.

Andy ONeill26 Jul 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

It does seem strange.
The pom pom was 37mm and had a mk2 shell.

witteridderludo27 Jul 2018 1:40 a.m. PST

I have to admit when I saw the picture I found the size and location of the driving band a bit odd for a ww2 US shell but for once the reporter didn't mess up the name of the shell he got. So that did help.
But past experience has shown me that there is a near endless makes and models of munitions, the (and I counted them back in the day) just under a thousand mines, bombs, grenades, fuzes and whatever I got in training are but the tip of the iceberg.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jul 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

Years ago I lived in a twin house. The daughter of a deceased WWII vet who had lived in the adjoining house was going through his stuff and came across a hand grenade. I have no doubt it was inert, but she called the police and me and my pregnant wife were forced to stand out on the sidewalk in January weather for a couple of hours while the bomb squad came and took care of it :)

Mobius27 Jul 2018 6:29 a.m. PST

@ScottWashburn, you never can tell. The Homicide Hunter show had a case where a guy was blown in half in his garage from a grenade he discovered left behind by a previous owner.

There is property out in the desert that you can buy today but you have to acknowledge that you were warned that the area was once a military testing range and there could be live rounds present.

Mark 127 Jul 2018 10:44 a.m. PST

The daughter of a deceased WWII vet … was going through his stuff and came across a hand grenade. I have no doubt it was inert, but … me and my pregnant wife were forced to stand out on the sidewalk … for a couple of hours while the bomb squad came and took care of it :)

Heh heh. Well, some of us … um … let's just say that an abiding interest in militaria can lead some of us to collect and even showcase items which might be best left off the street.

Several decades ago, when I was young (and even more of a fool than I am today!), I used to compete in college-level speech tournaments. One time I entered a tournament with an "Expository" speech, a 10 minute event in which the speaker would give a prepared or lecture on some topic of his own choosing. I chose international terrorism as my topic, and took a satirical approach in which I explained how terrorism had risen from a local league event to an Olympic sport, described how the game was played, how it was scored, and compared how the Red Brigade had done in a recent bus bombing, compared to Black September's gold medal performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Yeah, it didn't entirely fit into the modern definition of PC.

At one point in my lecture I spent about 3 minutes on some of the preferred tools of major league terrorist teams. I described RCLs and rocket launchers, and brought out of my bag of tricks an M72 LAW (a discarded empty), which I proceeded to open up (a fairly dramatic process to the un-familiar) and "demonstrate". I also brought out a practice hand-grenade (a blue training/practice "pineapple" grenade Mk 2 (there's that designation again!)) and went through how the pin and fuzing mechanism worked, and how with such older grenades the fragments could be lethal at up to 100 yards away, while even an ace player could not throw the grenade itself more than about 30 yards, and how that complicated its use. Yadda yadda.

In the first round of the tournament the judge for Expository was an ROTC instructor at Sacramento State. He gave me the highest score in the round, with comments about how well developed my satire was, and how smooth and confident my presentation seemed.

The second round didn't quite go so well. I wound up having some interesting discussions with the local Sheriff's department. My school's team coaches also wound up having some interesting discussions with the tournament organizers. Alas, I did not get to continue on to the third round presentation. :(

For many years I still heard stories about my presentation from various folk who had been students or professors in Northern California. The legend was that I had pulled the pin from the grenade, waved it under the judge's nose and said "You should feel the pressure in this baby."

Heh heh. Yeah … um … maybe sometimes it is best to restrict discussions of one's hobby interests to those who share the interest.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 427 Jul 2018 2:30 p.m. PST

I got a US 37mm AT rd. On my book shelves. My Father or one of my Uncles brought back from WWII. I think it is inert ? huh?

We used expended LAWs in ROTC and LAWs & Dragons missiles in the Army all the time. And yes, they were nothing but the tube.

Mark 127 Jul 2018 3:26 p.m. PST

We used expended LAWs in ROTC … And yes, they were nothing but the tube.

Ah, but weren't they impressive to open? Presuming of course you also had the tension-loaded end-caps…

Pull the ring, grab the small tab on the rear end-cap and pull the cap down, and the spring bar along the whole length, and the front end cap, pop off (clang clang clatter on the floor). Hold out at about arm's length with both hands gripping firmly along the top, and pull outwards. The extension of the tube slides out with a heartly "pop", and the sights snap up to attention, and now the back end-cap is hanging below just waiting to be your shoulder rest. Pull the safetly along the top forward until it clicks, put it on your shoulder, and line up the sights.

Oh, what a toy for a teenage boy!

It's probably still in my garage somewhere.

I got a US 37mm AT rd. On my book shelves. My Father or one of my Uncles brought back from WWII. I think it is inert?

I have a 30mm projectile from a German autocannon somewhere in my stuff. Always believed it to be an AP round, as it clearly has a ballistic cap, and I don't think there's a reason to put a cap on a non-AP round. Doesn't seem to have any baseplug, so I was never convinced it was filled with HE, but there really isn't too much reason for a low- to mid-velocity autocannon projectile that DOESN'T have at least a little HE in it. Have a brass case for it too. Pretty small cartridge, straight sided (hence my comment about low- to mid-velocity).

As I say, never convinced it has an HE filling, but then never convinced enough that it doesn't to risk playing around with it too much.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 428 Jul 2018 8:46 a.m. PST

Ah, but weren't they impressive to open? Presuming of course you also had the tension-loaded end-caps…
Yes, and they were well used in training by the time we got them. It didn't take long for some them to be almost falling apart, etc. Especially when they were supposed to be a one shot disposable weapon. But your description of putting into firing configuration is accurate. We also were told to destroy the tube after firing as the enemy, e.g. VC, etc. could use it for booby traps etc.

They also stressed to us that always look as the data stenciled on the tube. If it did not say, IIRC, "M72A2(or A1? old fart) with coupler" … don't use it. The first versions had problems with the warhead falling off the rocket once it left the tube … huh?

That and Always Check the Back Blast Area (!!!!) … huh?

I got a US 37mm AT rd.
Well I'm in no hurry to see if it is inert or not ! evil grin

Lee49428 Jul 2018 9:19 a.m. PST

37mm Anti-tank round. Isn't that sort of an Oxymoron? IIRC they even had trouble knocking out tanks in 1940 in France and North Afrika with it. Perhaps against early war Jap tanks … cheers!

Mark 128 Jul 2018 1:43 p.m. PST

37mm Anti-tank round. Isn't that sort of an Oxymoron? IIRC they even had trouble knocking out tanks in 1940 in France and North Afrika with it. Perhaps against early war Jap tanks …

Not quite, oh wizened one!

I won't suggest that the US 37mm was exactly the world's best AT gun, but neither was it totally helpless.

Much as a 57mm / 6pdr against Panthers in 1944, or a Pak40 facing IS-2s, you had to use some tactical smarts to get good results with it. But using 37mm and AP together wasn't an oxymoron.

For an interesting example, check out the first fight between US and German tanks in Tunisia, at Chouigui Pass, in late November of 1942, less than 3 weeks after the Torch landings.

link

Could well make for an interesting game scenario or two, provided you have a few Km of area as a game board, and don't tell either side what forces they are facing.

(Article researched, drafted and illustrated through an appropriation of one "Ghostwriter, Mk 1").

-Mark
(aka: oh nevermind…)

Legion 431 Jul 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

I won't suggest that the US 37mm was exactly the world's best AT gun, but neither was it totally helpless.
At the time it was better than nothing at times. And in many cases in the early part of WWII most AFVs were thinly armored and armed with small caliber guns, e.g. 20mm, 25mm, etc. Even many had just MGs.


I had read or heard somewhere(?) that there was a 37mm HE and/or Cannister Rd. that was useful against Infantry ? E.g. in places like the PTO against mass Japanese Infantry attacks. I don't know if that is 100% accurate ?

And of course the 37mm AT rd. was pretty useful against, most if not all IJF's light rivet armored AFVs.

Wolfhag31 Jul 2018 12:18 p.m. PST

Legion,
Yes, the 37mm canister served the Marines well especially up until 1943. It also helped by stripping away the camo on the bunkers. I don't think they were used much in 1944-45. They could also use AP rounds to fire into apertures and loopholes of bunkers. They were easy to move forward from one defensive position to another with the infantry.

On the Eastern Front, they stood a good chance of penetrating the side armor of a T-34 at 300-400m. Tankers buttoned up their hatches but normally did not lock them down. This lets an explosion vent out through the hatches rather than being contained and build up inside. The German 37mm gunners could on occasion, target that large T-34 drivers hatch. If it was not locked down the round would hit and ricochet but also pop the hatch open (it had a spring assist) and sometimes break the hinges. A few seconds later another round is going through the same spot with the expected consequences for the driver.

Just like any other weapon, employ your strengths against the enemy weakness.

Wolfhag

Legion 431 Jul 2018 4:06 p.m. PST

Yes, that is the way I understood it in both your examples … The 37mm and guns like them, e.g. 20mm, 25mm, 40mm, 47mm, etc., in many Armies had their uses. At least in the early war years …

Mobius31 Jul 2018 4:15 p.m. PST

The US 37mm was probably the best 37mm AT gun in WWII. It fired at 2600 fps and had an M51 APCBC shell. Most other 37mm shells didn't have ballistic caps.

Legion 401 Aug 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

APCBC will make a lot of difference in most situations, too. When it came to AFV killing.

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