Sunday, September 04, 2016

Hot round, handle with care

I found this bullet among my late father-in-law's effects. Capt. Phil Kroon served with the 144th Field Artillery Group in World War II and ended the war in Austria. He brought back a lot of stuff.

I asked Facebook folks in several WWII interest groups if they could identify this 13mm, 1.2 ounce, 2-inch-long bullet. The results were eye-opening and a little worrisome.

It's a round from a MG131, a machine gun used on several types of Luftwaffe aircraft. It was installed in the Messerschmitt Bf 109, Me 410 Hornisse, Fw 190, Ju 88, Junkers Ju 388, He 177 Greif bomber. The markings indicate it's a high explosive tracer round that has not been fired - just removed from its shell casing. The clean copper band indicates it hasn't traveled down a gun barrel. So it's still very dangerous. Now to decide what to do with it.

Color marking Explanation
Yellow Explosive and explosive incendiary round (HE)
Black Armour piercing round (AP)
Blue Incendiary round (I)
Grey Training round
Red band, light Tracer (T)
Red band, dark Night tracer
Green band Self destruction
Yellow band Armour piercing explosive round (APHE)
Blue band Armour piercing incendiary round (API)

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