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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Don't Mess With Texas

Don't Mess With Texas

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Texas discharging ammunition." The Navy battleship nicknamed "Old Hoodoo." 8x10 glass negative by Edward Hart. View full size.

 

Blunt End First

The projectile at left is a "capped" armor piercing shell. Literally, the nose had a blunt cylindrical cap on it that helped in penetrating armor plate on the side of a warship. It seems counter-intuitive, but the extra metal on the tip distorted the armor for a fraction of second before the point hit. This stretched the armor and gave the main body of the projectile added penetrating power.

Here's an illustration from a 1910 Coast Artillery textbook showing several of these capped AP projectiles. (Couldn't find a USN illustration.)

Barefoot sailors

Both of them must have been stokers. Were their shoes not allowed on the main deck?

Odd man out?

The shell on the far left appears to have some sort of blunt attachment on the nose. Considering that all of the other shells lack ballistic or armor-piercing caps, could it be an experimental cap?

Pointy End First

If those are armor-piercing rounds, the fuses would be in the bases. They were delayed-action projectiles, so the fuse had to protected from the force of impact.

By contrast, high-explosive rounds were designed to explode on impact and featured nose fuses.

Either way, you didn't want to be on the receiving end.

Fuseless shells

I think that those shells in the foreground may be armor piercing rounds

Sister ship

Texas was rated as a second class battleship and was a sister to the Maine. She mounted 12 inch guns, and the shells seen are practice rounds. Live shells would have the fuses in the nose. Texas fought alongside others at the battle of Santiago in 1898 where the Spanish fleet was wiped out.

Work safety, again

850 pounds per shell, roundabout. Fancy to have your bare toes rolled over by that.

What are those shells without a fuse? Blanks for target practice? Or is the fuse mounted in the back?

 
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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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