WW1 RUSSIAN FUZES GALLERY

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Russian fuze
Russian fuzes characteristics

Percussion fuzes
1884 concussion fuze
Nr 6 GT percussion fuze

Time and percussion fuzes
12 seconds time and percussion fuze M 1891
22 seconds time and percussion fuze
30 seconds time and percussion fuze
45 seconds time and percussion fuze

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Main characteristics or Russian fuzes

Turkish time and percussion fuze


Until its collapse in 1917 at the Revolution, the Russian Empire was a major actor of WW1, mainly facing both Germany and Austria-Hungary on the eastern Front. Equipped with its own weapons industry, it also benefited from important technological assistance before 1914 from the French and German industrials, whe were fighting to get shares of this huge market.

This history is illustrated in the panel of the WW1 Russian fuzes, including systems from an entirely national design, systems born from the collaboration of Russian companies and the French company Schneider, as well as French designs provided by this ally during the war. The 'native' WW1 Russian fuzes system seems to have lollowed a rationalization will with a relatively low number of models both in percussion or time and percussion types.

There is nowadays pretty little documentation existing on their technology. The nomenclature of the 'native' Russian fuzes was based on simple conventions :
  • Percussion fuzes : "G" = head fuze; "D" =;bottom fuze; "M" = Melinite;"T" = TNT
  • Fusées fusantes et double effet : named by the maximum combustion time






Percussion fuzes


Fusée 1884
1884 type percussion fuze

The 'native' Russian fuzes percussion system was composed of two main types of devices. The first one was proposing a very classical design, such as the one integrated in the 1884 type percussion fuze. This system presented in the upper part of its body a classical concussion arming system with locking staple, taht was moving at the shot departure the tip of the percussion pin through a window, in the reachable range of a mobile percussion inertia block housing the primer, but still kept protected by a safety spring preventing the shell from an accidental explosion on its trajectory.

At the impact, the mobile primer block was projected frontwards and compressed easily this spring, bringing the primer in contact with the percussion pin and igniting a flame at the rear the fuze tail. This flame was communicated to a separated detonator gaine, filled with TNT nasd placed just under the fuze tail (but not screwed to it), provoking the explosion of the old gunpowder shells.

Thes fuzes were associated with the old gunpowder shells of the :
  • 3 inches fieldguns (76.2 mm)
  • 42 lines guns (107 mm)
  • 6 inches guns (152.4 mm) M 1877
  • 6 inches fiel howitzers (152.4 mm)
This classical system was alxo found in the "1 GM", "2 GM", "14 GT", "15 GT", "13 GM" and "17 GM" head percussion fuzes, and after the needed adaptation in the "11 DT", "5 DT" and "5 DT 2" bottom percussion fuzes, all of them being associated with several kinds of detonators screwed onto or placed under their tail to trigger the explosion of gunpowder or TNT loaded shells.

1884 type percussion fuze.
1884 type percussion fuze. This specimen head was slightly flattened by the impact
1884 type percussion fuze. Rear view on the flame communication hole. This fuze type tail does not have any thread to fix the detonator
1884 type percussion fuze. View from above
1884 type percussion fuze. Zoom on the head, having a hole machined through it to allow the insertion of a safety pin blocking the concussion system
1884 type percussion fuze. Wartime scheme



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6 GT Fuze
Percussion fuze type 6 GT

The other main families of the 'native' Russian percussion system was designed on the basis of a different prociple, but also present in some German fuzes such as the GrZ 96/04, built around a detonator integrated in a median position of the fuze body, and a safe detonation room housing the primer at rest.

This 6 GT type percussion fuze, was composed, from head to tail, with a inertia concussion arming system with locking staple and safety spring, a hollow massive mobile cylinder housing a long static percussion needle, positionned axially through an integrated detonator and bearing at its lower extremity the primer cap that was kept at rest inside the safe detonation room preventing the effects of an unwanted premature triggering.

  • At rest, the central tube was maintained in lower position by the locking staple pressed against the base of the large tubular inertia block, keeping the primer in the safe detonation room
  • At the shot deperture, the large cylindric inertia block was moving backwards under the effects of the inertia, pressing the locking staple fixed to the central hollow tube and running over it to form a solidary block with the tube
  • In flight, the safety spring was the only device preventing the newly formed central tube / cylindric inertia block to move, still keeping the primer in safe position in the detonating room
  • At impact, the mobile assembly was propelled to the front size of the fuze, easily compressing the safety spring. This movement was moving the primer cap in the center of the central integrated detonator, meeting the tip of the static percussion needle, triggering the explosion.
These fuzes were equipping the projectiles of
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 120 pouds M 1877 guns and 190 pounds guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 190 pouds M 1877 heavy guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) M 1909 howitzers
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) M 1910 howitzers
This design with interated detonator could be found in the "3 GT", "4 GT" and "6 GT" type percussion head fuzes, as well as, in an adapted version, in the "7 DT", "8 DT" and "9 DT" percussion bottom fuze, and were only used with TNT loaded shells.

An interesting fact about the particular fuze shown in the pictures is that this one has been observed on a western front WW1 battlefield, proving the German Army was using captured Russian guns and ammo in France.


Percussion fuze type 6 GT.
Percussion fuze type 6 GT. Steel and brass body. No markings visible.
Percussion fuze type 6 GT. Front view.
Percussion fuze type 6 GT. That fuze has been observed in Massiges, Champagne (France). It is certainly a munition shot by the German Army with a Russian gun captured on the eastern front
Percussion fuze type 6 GT. Wartime scheme



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Time and percussion fuzes


12 time and percussion fuze M 1891
Russian 12 seconds time and percussion fuze type 1891

At the start of the great war, the '12 seconds time and percussion fuze type 1891' was the device with the shortest combustion time. It was exclusively dedicated to the shrapnell shells of old XIXth century.

Its inner system was based on a single revolving disc time pyrotechnic device graduated up to 12 seconds with 0.2 seconds steps, equipped with a fumes escape vent and ignited by a classival inertia concussion mechanism secured at rest by a safety pin and a small staple.

The persussion system was identical to the one of the percussion fuze M1884 described in ths same page. It was triggered at the impact on the target, or in flight by the time system. In this latter case, the explosion of the gunpowder room located at the end of the circular gunpowder track was projecting the percussion pin into the primer situated in the fuze tail.

This time and percussion fuze was used with the shrapnell shells of the :
  • 3,42 inches (87 mm) M 1877 light fieldguns
  • 4.2 inches (42 lines - 106.7mm) M 1877 battery guns


12s time and percussion Russian fuze, transformed in a trench souvenir.
12s time and percussion Russian fuze, zoom on the graduations and the fumes vent
12s time and percussion Russian fuze, view from the top
12s time and percussion Russian fuze, wartime scheme

22 seconds P or G fuze
Russian 22 seconds aluminium time and percussion fuze (campaign or mountain)

Developped with the help of the French company Schneider, this time and percussion fuze was the most famous member of a family of similarily-shaped fuzes of 22, 30 and 45 seconds. Despite its Russian name '22 seconds aluminium time and percussion fuze', the two rotating discs and the main body part and base were in aluminium but its top part was made in brass.

Under the chinese hat typical shape on the top of the fuze was located the concutor inertia system, classically made of a mobile primer and a static percussion pin only separated at rest by a safety spring and a soft metal protecting sheet. This device allowed to ignite the compressed gunpowder time tracks at the shot departure in the barrel. These tracks were located in the two discs, the upper one being static and the lower one rotating. The rotating disk was graduated from 0 to 140 distance units (unknowned value) with 1 unit steps, but it could also be set on a 'yD' mark for a pure percussion behavior.

The percussion system was located in the fuze tail. It was also pretty classical with a mobile graze pellet containing the primer and a static percussion pin on the bottom side, separated by a strong safety spring. The arming system was made with a safety block preventing any contact at rest between the percussion pin and the primer, that could be masked under the effect of the shot departure inertia forces by compressing a weaker safety spring, and remain such with the help of 'staples'. The tail percussion system could be activated either under the action of the explosion of a gunpowder room located behind the percussion pin and projecting it towards the mobile primer cap when ignited by the time system, and in any case at landing on a target under the action of the shock inertia.

My understanding of the schemes is that holes under the 'chinese hat' also acted as exhausts for the fumes of the concussion and time systems.

This 30-s fuze existed two versions : the 'P' version was dedicated to the field guns ('p' as 'polevaya' - field - in Russian), and the 'G' version to the mountain guns ('g' as 'gornaya' - mountain). It was the typical time and percussion fuzes of the shells of the 3-inches guns of various types :
  • 3 inches (76.2mm) M 1902 Putilov-Schneider field guns
  • 3 inches (76.2mm) M 1904 Obuchov mountain guns
  • 3 inches (76.2mm) M 1909 Putilov-Schneider mountain guns
  • 3 inches (76.2mm) M 1910 mountain guns


22s time and percussion Russian fuze.
22s time and percussion Russian fuze, zoom on the graduations of the lower ring
22s time and percussion Russian fuze, zoom on the top 'chinese hat'
22s time and percussion Russian fuze, one nice condition item seen on 'Delcampe' bidding website
22s time and percussion Russian fuze.
22s time and percussion Russian fuze.
22s time and percussion Russian fuze.
22s time and percussion Russian fuze, wartime scheme
22s time and percussion Russian fuze, technical data - translators welcomed...



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30 seconds fuze
Russian 30 seconds aluminium and brass time and percussion fuze

While the 22 seconds time and percussion aluminium fuze was dedicated to the 3 inches field and mountain guns, the 30 seconds one was designed for the use with the higher calibers of 4.2 inches and 6 inches. This '30 seconds aluminium and brass time and percussion fuze' was deserving this name since, unlike the smaller 22 seconds aluminium time and percussion fuze, it was made with aluminium static and rotating disks assembled on a brass base and body. The top part and hat were still in brass.

The inner organisation of this fuze was similar to the one of the 22 seconds fuze, with a concutor inertia system located under the 'chinese hat', a two discs (one static, one rotating graduated from 0 to 30 seconds with 0,2s steps) time system, and a percussion system located in the fuze tail.

Important differences although were the presence of pyrotechnic amplifiers in some flame transmission channels, and a two needles safety system that was inserted inside both the top concussion system and the tail percussion system.

The lower cone mounted below the item showned at left and transformed as a trench souvenir inker demonstrates that this fuze was equipping a shell whose caliber was higher than 95 mm, probably a 4.2 inches gun.

This fuze was in use with the shells of the :
  • 42 lines (106.7mm) M 1877 battery guns
  • 42 lines (106.7mm) M 1877 siege and fortress guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 120 pouds M 1877 guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 190 pouds M 1877 heavy guns


One of the items displayed at the left has been mounted as a trench souvenir inker on a marmor plate, the inner concutor and percussion mechanisms being removed, and the brass top part could be opened thanks to the addition of an opening hinge.


Russian time and percussion fuze graduated to 30 seconds.
30s time and percussion Russian fuze
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, opening hinge added for inker mounting
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, detail of the cyrillic markings
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, upper view
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, trench souvenir mounting on a marmor plate
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, old piece seen on an Eastern front battlefield
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, old piece seen on an Eastern front battlefield, dismantled
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, wartime scheme
30s time and percussion Russian fuze, technical data - translators welcomed...



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45 seconds fuze
Russian 45 seconds aluminium time and percussion fuze

The last variant of the Russian time and percussion fuzes series was a consequence of the need to accompany the increase of the range of the corresponding weapons. The flight time offered by the 30 seconds fuze was found insufficient, and a 150% increase of it was reached with this new model. In order to achieve this, the '45 seconds aluminium time and percussion fuze' was added a supplementary disk, making it a 3 disks time and persussion fuze. Thanks to this device, the range of the 152mm guns could progress from 5700 to 7800 meters with shrapnell shells (representing 30% of the ammunitions stocks).

The internal parts and action principles of the 45 seconds fuze were almost identical to the ones of the 30 seconds one, including the presence of the double safety pin (for concutor and percussion systems), with the exception of the 3rd disk addition. As indicated by the fuze name, this formula was back to the materials choice of the 22 seconds fuze with the 3 disks and the fuze body and bas all in aluminium, the lower being graduated from 0 to 45 seconds with 0.2 seconds increments, while the top part remaines in brass.

Most of the Russian fuzes were produced in the Petrograd Pipe Factory that was greatly expanded in 1915 and raised their productivity to very high numers : some non verified sources report in 1916 the incredible numbers for a daily (?!?) production of 25000 22-sec fuzes, 3500 45-sec fuzes, 2000 3GT fuzes and 1500 4GT fuzes

According to the wartime booklet copy I own, these 45 seconds fuzes were used with the shells of the :
  • 42 lines (106.7mm) M 1877 battery guns
  • 42 lines (106.7mm) M 1877 siege and fortress guns
  • 48 lines (122 mm) M 1909 howitzers
  • 48 lines (122 mm) M 1910 howitzers
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 120 pouds M 1877 guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 190 pouds M 1877 heavy guns
  • 6 inches (152.4mm) 200 pouds M 1904 long guns



45s time and percussion Russian fuze.
45s time and percussion Russian fuze. Zoom on the brass top and the large 'Chinese hat'
45s time and percussion Russian fuze, detail of the 3 disks and the brass staple fixing them together (unidentified function)
45s time and percussion Russian fuze, rear view with the sawn tail in the context of the transformation of this fuze into a trench souvenir inker
45s time and percussion Russian fuze, an opening hinge has been added for inker mounting
45s time and percussion Russian fuze, wartime scheme
45s time and percussion Russian fuze, technical data - translators welcomed...



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