M10 Tank Destroyer Ammunition

Illustration of the shell labels and markings for the ammunition of the M10 tank destroyer 3-inch main gun. Source: TM 9-731G: 3-Inch Gun Motor Carriage M10A1, War Department Technical Manual, July 1943.




Verlinden Nebelwerfer Crew, Ammo & Gear

New Verlinden Productions release in 1/35th-scale for the German WWII Nebelwerfer: #2766 Nebelwerfer Base-Ammo-Crew-Gear, 1:35th Scale. The complete diorama kit (without the gun) is priced at $49.95 online.

#2766: Nebelwerfer Base-Ammo-Crew-Gear 1:35 Scale

#2766: Nebelwerfer Base-Ammo-Crew-Gear 1:35 Scale


M4 Sherman Tank Ammunition Storage

Diagram of M4A2 Sherman tank ammunition storage from TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, War Department Technical Manual, Washington, January 13, 1943.


Ammunition Stowage M4 Sherman Tank

Figure 8A--Ammunition Stowage

97 rounds 75 mm
     50% HE
     40% AP
     10% WP (smoke)
 15 rounds–Left sponson forward of water can rack.
17 rounds–Right sponson next to assistant driver.
15 rounds–Right sponson forward of engine compartment bulkhead.
30 rounds–On floor under turret basket to rear of escape door.
8 rounds–On turret “ready” rack floor.
12 rounds–In ready clips around turret basket step.
300 rounds caliber .50
     80% AP
     20% tracer
 150 rounds–In three 50-round boxes right sponson next to assistant driver.
150 rounds–In three 50-round boxes strapped to turret floor.
6750 rounds caliber .30
     80% AP
     20% tracer
 4500 rounds–In eighteen 250-round expendable boxes under turret basket to rear of driver.
1750 rounds–In seven 250-round expendable boxes, on turret floor under 75 mm gun.
230 rounds–One 250-round expendable box on “ready” rack of bow gun.
250 rounds–In one 250-round expendable box on “ready” rack of turret machine gun.
660 rounds caliber .45 660 rounds–In twenty-two 30-round clips in submachine gun bracket above turret radio.
12 grenades, hand
     4 fragmentation M2.
     2 thermite, incendiary. 4 smoke.
     2 offensive M3 w/fuze, detonation, hand grenade, M6.
 4 fragmentation, 2 offensive and 2 smoke in box under 75 mm gunner’s seat.
2 smoke and 2 thermite in box, left side turret wall.


37-mm Ammunition Comparison

Comparison of 37-mm Ammunition from WW2 technical manual: TM 9-1901: Artillery Ammunition, War Department Technical Manual, June 1944:

Comparison of 37-mm Ammunition Types U.S. WW2

     B – M56 H.E ROUND FOR 37-MM GUNS, M4 AND M10
     C – M56 H.E. ROUND FOR 37-MM GUNS, M1A2 AND M9
     D – M63 H.E. ROUND FOR 37-MM GUNS M3, M3A1, M5, M5A1, AND M6


60mm Mortar Practice Shell

Illustration of 60-mm mortar practice shell from the U.S. WW2 technical manual: TM 9-1901: Artillery Ammunition, War Department Technical Manual, June 1944:

60mm Mortar Blue Practice Shell WW2 U.S.

81. SHELL, PRACTICE, M50A2, W /FUZE, P.D., M52, 60-MM MORTARS, M1 and M2, COMPLETE ROUND (fig. 59), is a practice round provided for the 60-mm mortars by adapting service items for this purpose. Components of the M50A2 Practice Round are the same as are used in the M49A2 Service Round except for the high-explosive shell filler. The M50A2 Projectile has a filler of inert material (plaster of paris and stearic acid) and a black powder pellet (0.05 lb) loaded adjacent to the booster of the M52 Fuze. The M52 Fuze is a superquick fuze and shell is functioned before penetration occurs. The black powder pellet and booster charge provide a spotting charge for observation purposes. The shell is loaded to the same weight as the service round, thereby providing for the same ballistic values.


   With M52
or M52B2 Fuze
  With M52B1
(Plastic) Fuze
Weight of complete round       2.96 lb    2.80 lb
Length of complete round     9.54 in.  9.54 in.
Muzzle velocity     518 ft per sec*  535 ft per sec*
Maximum range (at 45 deg)     1.984 yd*  2,017 yd*
*–For charge 4 (cartridge plus 4 increments).

Destruction of Artillery Ammunition

Instructions for destruction of artillery ammunition to prevent capture by the enemy — the methods will require imagination, initiative, and ingenuity. Source: TM 9-1901: Artillery Ammunition, U.S. War Department Technical Manual, June 1944.



a. When immediate capture of ammunition is threatened by a turn of events in the combat zone and when the ammunition cannot be evacuated, it will be as completely destroyed or damaged as available time, equipment, materials, and personnel will permit.

b. The destruction of ammunition will be accomplished only on authority delegated by the division or higher commander.

c. The methods used will require imagination, initiative, and ingenuity, and should be the simplest which will accomplish the desired purpose.


a. Ammunition can be destroyed most quickly by detonation or burning.

(1) DETONATION. Unpacked high-explosive rounds, separate-loading high-explosive shell, and high capacity items such as antitank mines, bangalore torpedoes, bursters or caps, packed or unpacked, may be destroyed by placing them in contact in piles and detonating them with a charge of TNT, using with blasting cap and sufficient safety fuse to permit reaching cover at 200 yards. About 1 pound of TNT per 100 pounds of ammunition as packed, should be sufficient,

(2) BURNING. All other types of ammunition such as packed high-explosive rounds and propelling charges, small-arms ammunition, grenades, pyrotechnics, etc., packed or unpacked, can most rapidly be destroyed by burning. The ammunition may be piled in the containers (except small-arms cartridges which should be broken out) with all available inflammable material as wood, rags, brush, and cans or drums of gasoline. The gasoline should be poured over the pile and ignited from cover. Rounds that come through the fire unexploded will be in the nature of duds, that is, in a condition dangerous to handle.


M10 Ammunition Stowage Diagram

Diagram of ammunition stowage in the M10 tank destroyer, from TM 9-731G: 3-Inch Gun Motor Carriage M10A1, War Department Technical Manual, July 1943.



M8 HMC Ammunition Storage

Diagram of 75-mm and .50 caliber ammunition storage in the 75-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 from TM 9-732B: 75-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8, War Department Technical Manual, January 1944.

Diagram of 75-mm and .50 caliber ammunition storage in the 75-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M8

Releasing 76mm Shells for Active Duty

A simple trick for improving the 76mm ready racks in the M4 Sherman from Army Motors, February 1945:

Releasing 76mm Shells for Active Duty


If the 76mm, six-round ready rack or four-round ready rack on your medium tank (in the turret near the gunner’s seat) looks like the one shown in Fig. 1, here’s a simple fix to loosen the ammo.

The end clips (arrow in Fig. 1) hold the shells in the rack good and tight—too tight for fast unloading. So, loosen the top screw and remove the ammo container from the box (Fig. 2). Snap off the clips by bending them back and forth with a pair of pliers or cut the rivets with a sharp chisel. Then turn the box upside down, so the shell holes that were on top are now on the bottom, and slide it back into the rack (Fig. 3).

Repairing M4 Sherman Tank 76mm Ammunition Ready Rack

This is the important thing because inside the shell container there’s a spring that presses down on the shell, holding it firmly. That’s what makes the shell so hard to get out. When the box is turned over, the shell presses on the spring—the pressure’s gone and you can unload lots faster.

There’re several types of six-round ready racks (76mm), so be sure you work this only on the type rack that’s pictured.


NY Divers Discover Lost WWII-era Shells from USS Bennington

USS Bennington Aircraft Carrier

Aircraft Carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) in Oct. 1944

Divers in New York have found over 1,500 live naval ammunition shells in the waters under the Verrazano Bridge in New York. The WWII-era copper shells are believed to have fallen overboard during an accident offloading ammunition from the aircraft carrier USS Bennington over 65 years ago. Some of the shells now lay only 20 feet below the water. If the ammunition is still live, the shells could be dangerous if disturbed by passing ships or construction activities.

More information on the USS Bennington from Wikipedia:

USS Bennington (CV-20) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the second US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington (Vermont). Bennington was commissioned in August 1944, and served in several of the later campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning three battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an Antisubmarine Aircraft Carrier (CVS). In her second career, she spent most of her time in the Pacific, earning five battle stars for action during the Vietnam War. She served as the recovery ship for the Apollo 4 space mission. She was decommissioned in 1970, and sold for scrap in 1994.