By Jack W. Melton, Jr.
Published 2018.

I recently received a copy of the book "Civil War Artillery Projectiles - The Half Shell Book " by Jack W. Melton, Jr. My friend and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tech CWO4 John D. "Bart" Bartleson, Jr., USN Retired (1936 - 2016) wrote the forward for the book. For many years "Bart" was the historian for the Navy EOD Association (NEODA). Bart authored the book "Civil War Explosive Ordnance 1861 - 1865," U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972, which contains radiographs (x-rays) of Civil War ordnance (available on PDF). Many of Bart's original radiographs are used in the book as examples.

This book is the most detailed and comprehensive book on Civil War artillery ordnance that I have encountered. No light reading here. It is written from an ordnance engineer/designer perspective, with analysis of manufacturing, metallurgy, fuzing, active and non-active filler, plus historical usage of the munitions and where a particular piece of ordnance was found.


Tense Moments with a WP Round

Article by UXO Guest Author Mike Vining - EOD SGM USA (Retired)

In the August 2016 monthly newsletter, the "Munition of the Month" is a U.S. 3.5-inch, M30 WP Rocket. I had an experience in dealing with this piece of ordnance when I was stationed at the 176th Ordnance Detachment (EOD), Fort Richardson, Alaska during my tour there as an EOD Supervisor. It was in the spring of 1986, when the ranges were clear of snow and Range Control was conducting their annual range clean up. Each unit on post was assigned ranges to clean up. First, the unit representatives came to a meeting at Range Control to go over what was expected and what not to do. We gave a safety briefing that stated no one was to go into the impact areas or go forward of the firing lines. All brass and ammunition components were to be dropped off in barrels next to Range Control. Anyone who found dud ordnance or abandoned munitions was to call us (EOD).

During the cleanup we got a call from Range Control that there is a 3.5-inch rocket lying next to one of the barrels. The first thing I noticed was this was a dud fire rocket as the safety band and the bore-riding safety (ejection pin) were missing. The second thing I noticed was the groove around the forward section of the fuze where it joins the warhead. This indicated that this was a M30 white phosphorous (WP) munition. The munition's paint had deteriorated, so you could not use that as an identification feature. Another feature to tell the difference from a 3.5-inch M29A2 Practice and the M28A2 High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT)/M30 WP munition is that the practice munition has a round hole where the bore riding safety was and the HEAT and WP munition has a square hole.

Reference Image - Close Up of bore-riding pin - 3.5 Inch Rocket
3.5 Inch Cut Away WP
Reference Image - 3.5 Inch WP Rocket Cut Away


BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.5.002.