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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Shells: WWII

Shells: WWII

This is one of about 200 pictures that I found back in 1970 in Geissen Germany when my father was stationed there in the Army. They appear to be propaganda pictures put out by the military. They all have information on the backs but unfortunately I don't read German so I have no idea what they say. I was eleven years old at the time and immediately fell in love with them. View full size.

What they're doing

This looks like it was taken during a training exercise. Everyone is nice and uniform in their rain gear and no one is carrying a weapon. The guy in the foreground is screwing a fuse onto that shell, which is non-fixed, i.e. does not use a brass casing. After being fused, these shells are rammed into the tube, followed by whatever bagged powder charge the fire direction men deem adequate to reach the target. The breech is then locked and a primer--which looks like a rifle cartridge minus the bullet--is inserted in the breach. The pulled lanyard fires the primer which ignites the powder bags in the breech, sending the shell on its way. Any excess powder bags will be burned when the shoot is over. The shells look to be in the 150mm range.

I find the wicker baskets these were shipped in to be interesting. Ours came either in wooden crates or they were shipped pointing upright on a forklift pallet, but I served some 50 years after this was taken.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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