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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Post subject: Star shells  Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Hello,

I have a question regarding star shells.

- Was every gun type able to fire star shells or were they limited to secondary armament?
- How well did a star shell illuminate the area? Were ships able to shoot at daytime ranges when firing at ships illuminated by starshells?

Thanks!
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PostWed Jan 28, 2015 8:49 am
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'Warspite'

 

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Generally speaking star shell was restricted to the smaller gun calibres - say 12-pounder/3-inch up to about 6-inch.

I know that British 6-inch guns was supplied with star shell as the rear turrets of HMS Achilles at the Battle of the River Plate suffered a hoist breakdown and only charges were reaching the guns. Baulked of any other ammunition, the largely New Zealand crew grabbed the spare rounds clipped up inside the turret/gunhouse and these included practice solid shot and star shell. Quite what the Graf Spee made of the pretty star shells bursting around her is unknown but one of the practice shot is known to have scored a hit and punched through several areas of the ship like a pin-ball before exiting on the far side and damaging an AA gun.

I am doubtful that any RN guns of 7.5-inch calibre or above fired star shell but I will check my books and come back with an answer. Practice in other nations may have differed.

Barry
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Last edited by 'Warspite' on Tue May 12, 2015 9:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
PostThu May 07, 2015 11:18 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


Joined: 31 Aug 2009
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Thanks for the reply Warspite. I can work with that Smile
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PostTue May 12, 2015 2:45 pm
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'Warspite'

 

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I must apologise, my spelling and punctuation were awful. I have fixed those.

Still checking my books and I WILL come back with a better answer  Smile
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PostTue May 12, 2015 9:23 pm
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'Warspite'

 

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Availability of WW2 star shell.

As promised… information on star shell in WW2. My source is John Campbell's book 'Naval Weapons of World War Two'

UK:

"Star shell was available for 5.25-in to 12 pounder (76mm). At the end of the war the policy was to design star shell for guns over 4-in which could be fired with full charges".

However note my comment about HMS Achilles firing 6-in star shell in daylight during the Battle of the River Plate.

US:

6-in illuminating:  "not certain if it was in war-time service…"
5-in "illuminating was available.."

Japanese:

Rather different to the above:

"Illuminating shells were originally simple star shells without parachutes but later types, said to be copied from a US 5-in had them [parachutes]. These shells were supplied to guns from 8-inch to 4.7-inch."    Ranges for this shell varied from 24,700 yards to 15,400 yards).

"Major calibre (illuminating) shell was designed to overcome the lack of adequate radar and some 16.1-inch was in service but seems to have suffered from inadequate stability in flight. Maximum range was 24,200 yards. 5,300,000 candle power compared with 1,700,000 candlepower for the 8-inch."

Germany:
nothing listed by Campbell but note that Italy's was developed from a German WW1 type.
EDIT:  this link (below) suggests that 4.1-inch and 3.5-inch German starshell was available:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/1775646...-die-Kriegsmarine-Artillerie-1941

France:
"star shell was apparently available for guns from 6-inch to 75mm"

Italy:
Star shell derived from First World War German was available from 4.7-inch to 76mm/3-inch but was inadequate. Improved shell for calibres up to 6-inch and apparently 8-inch were under development but it appears that nothing above 5.3-inch was in service."
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Last edited by 'Warspite' on Wed May 13, 2015 1:20 pm; edited 3 times in total
PostWed May 13, 2015 1:00 am
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Post subject: Reply with quote   (Liked by:1)  Like this post
Thanks!
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"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

PostWed May 13, 2015 7:56 am
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'Warspite'

 

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Ecclesiastes wrote:
Thanks!


You are most welcome. I have edited to include later information confirming German starshell on 4.1 and 3.5-inch guns.

I will keep this thread live and will add any more as and when it becomes available.

In addition to star-shell be aware that many nations used other illuminants such as Very pistols. British ships in the Atlantic made much use of 'snowflake' to illuminate the area around them. It was a rocket type projectile with a parachute flare.

I also half remember that some US PT boats in the Pacific carried an Army-type 60mm or 81mm mortar to fire illuminating bombs.


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PostWed May 13, 2015 1:28 pm
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