Artillery: Other shells

The eighteen-pounder was a versatile gun: it also fired smoke, star-shells, and gas.

Gas was introduced to the western front on April 22, 1915 but was first deployed from large steel cylinders from which it seeped through rubber hoses.(1)  The use of guns and carrier shells came later, Canadians first firing gas shells in April 1917. (2).Star shell

Smoke shells were used to conceal an advance or other movement. Star shells provided illumination. According to the handbook of the 18 pr the interior of the steel shell is “painted and lined with brown paper,” and its ten stars in tiers of five are separated by iron discs, supported by pieces of wood, and cushioned with felt washers.(3)

(1) Cook, Tim . At the Sharp End. Canadians Fighting the Great War Vol. 1 1914-1916. 2007. 114-115.
(2) Cook, Tim. No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War. Vancouver, 1999. 110.
(3) Handbook of the 18-pr QF Gun. Land Service. 1915. 47.
(4) Bairnsfather, Bruce. Fragments from France. . nd. The caption reads “‘Oh, star of eve, whose tender beam/Falls on my spirit’s troubled dream. Wolfram’s Air in ‘Tannhäuser’.”

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”
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