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JensF.

WW1 German 76 mm Leichte Wurfmine

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Gentlemen,

I just bought one of these shells (or trench mortar rounds) which wasn't in the best condition. Someone painted it red, partially rusty etc. Now I restored it and added a nice fuse. I will post here a couple of pictures of the shell and the fuse, their parts, how they work etc. At first some old pictures showing the launcher (Leichter Minenwerfer).

Two Leichte Minenwerfer seen in museums:

Edited by JensF.

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And the shell as I got it in the mail.

All items shown here are completely inert according to current german laws!

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After removing the red paint and painting it fieldgrey, as this type of Leichte Mine was originally painted. There were no other markings on it. The bottom could be removed and then the propellant charge was inserted. It consisted out of discs of smokeless powder in different charges like you have for an howitzer. Depending on the considered range. Then some kind of primer was attached to the bottom. This one shown here is the early type with only 4 gas holes in the bottom. Later models had 6 or 8 and through these holes the gas escaped and throw the mine out of the barrell of the launcher.

Edited by JensF.

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The copper driving band was pre-cut and had to be inserted with its six grooves into the rifling of the launcher. Here the empty bottom:

Edited by JensF.

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Complete with bottom. The brass thing in the middle is the primer.

Edited by JensF.

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Thats the fuse for the Leichte Mine. The "Leichter Wurfminenz?nder 16" was a fuse with double effect. Impact and time.

Edited by JensF.

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Another view of this masterpiece of mechanic and pyrotechnic. It is now 90 years old but still looks like fresh from the factory.

Edited by JensF.

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The "LWMZ 16" completely dismounted. Yes, I was able to assemble it again without any parts left. :cheeky:

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Technical data (Leichte Sprengmine and Leichter Minenwerfer 16 n/A).

Type of round: High explosive

Caliber: 76 mm

Weight: 4500 g

Filling: 560 g of Pertit or Donarit

Range: ca. 1300 m

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Hi Jens, that was a fascinating series of posts and information. What is the string & wax seal in the final assembled photos??

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Jens,

Very nice that you could recontruct this piece. I especially admire you getting the fuse apart. A large number of medium Minenwerfer fuses were found and appeared here on the collector market in the 1980s. Unbeknownst to everyone handling them, they were still live and the gains were full of powder! A well known militaria auction house had one in storage waiting for sale and it somehow ignited starting a fire.

These were brass M.u.S.W.M.Z. produced by Rhein Metal, dated 1917. They are still around in collections, so if you see one, take care.

I have a round similar to yours, which was captured during the war and sent back to the States as war booty by the government. Over the years I have seen several of these Nachtrichten rounds. They are painted Feldgrau and have zinc driving bands and combination zinc/aluminum fuses. They have four dark blue stencilled letter "N" painted around the body of the shell. The fuse is marked "L.W.M.Zdr.2." and dated "1918". Inside is a capsule with a protected compartment for the message. I have searched in vain for years to find an H.E. round such as the one you have. Nice job!

Chip

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That light Minenwerfer auf Lafette must be in Brussels. It sure looks familiar.

Chip

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Thanks guys! :beer:

Stogie: The fuses together with their safety pins for transportation (in german "Vorstecker") were sealed. because after removing the pin the fuses weren't "transport safe" anymore. The lead seal you see here is original (the string not); it is just possible to read the letters "G. B. N." on it which is the stamp of the company "Gebr?der Bing, N?rnberg", a company which build medal toys before the war und during the war fuses, mess tins etc.

Chip: I think the Nachrichtenmine is the most rare one you can get. Interesting story about the fuses; I think the most dangerous part is always the detonator, because of the filling with picric acid it can explode when you beat it, drop it etc. after 90 years. The rest of the fuse is filled with very slow and constant burning black powder for the time setting and two primers which should be quite safe, but according to the laws in different countries, they can be illegal too. The example you see here is completely empty. This disc here was once filled with black powder and was called "Tempierring" to set the time. You can see a scale of seconds on the outside. When it was set to lets say 16 sec. this part of the ring was turned over a hole in the disc below it and the flame could slip through it so light the detonator.

Edited by JensF.

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After the description in the data sheet shown above I rebuild the propellant charge out of paper and twine ;) I am not sure if they looked like this but I think I am close...

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Jens,

Here is a wafer that I found inside the propellant chamber on the bottom of my round. It looks like old cellulose film, very thin and yellowed. The inner circles match the holes of the bottom cap and might just be impressions from being rested on the cap for so many years. Could this be some sort of solid propellant?

Chip

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Chip, this IS indeed a disc of propellant. It is made out of smokeless NC powder, so you are right with (nitro)cellulose too. Very interesting! How many of them were inside of yours? If you light it, it will burn away quite slow btw.

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Is there anything stamped on it and what is its diameter (disc and hole in the middle). Many thanks for showing it!!! :beer:

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