Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

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Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Andy H » 25 Jan 2010 18:30

The ballistic cap within the French 380mm main armament shell, housed a dye bag which served to colour the shell splashes in order to facillitate spotting when operating in company with other ships; a small burster and nose fuse ensured dispersion. The Jean Bart was assigned Orange dye, whilst the Richelieu contained Yellow.

Now this technology which was known as Dispositif K was offered to the British in 1939 as part of a two-way transfer which on the British side included Asdic. Subsequently adopted by the British for their own heavy shells.

Does anyone have any further info on the technology but more importantly on what dye colours were assigned to British Capital ships and any other French/Allied Capital ships. Also was it used by the USN?

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 18:50

Also was it used by the USN?
If not used, certainly known of by them. If you remember it came up for discussion in the recent "Oahu Invasion" WI

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 18:59

Have you seen this? For the British BL 8 inch gun Mark VIII....note the comment on the diagram about red, yellow or green dyes! That at least gives us the range of colours in use, now we just have to tighten down on particular applications :wink:

Image

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 19:19

Interesting! It would SEEM to depend on SIZE of gun vs. vessels equiped with it...http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_14-45_mk7.htm and others on that site.

For the 14" gun -
5) From late 1942 to early 1943, "K" shell was introduced which contained dyes for coloring shell splashes. These shells also had a small fuze and burster to disperse the dye. I do not have the weight of these projectiles, but I would estimate that they would have added about 5 - 6 lbs. (2.3 - 2.7 kg) to the APC weight listed above. The following colors are listed in a 20 June 1946 Fleet Order:
King George V: Yellow
Duke of York: Green
Anson: White (this almost certainly means "no dye")
Howe: Red
For the 15" Mk1 -
7) During World War II "K" shell Mark Ib K T was introduced which contained dyes for coloring the shell splashes. These shells also had a small fuze and burster to disperse the dye. These additions increased the APC weight to 1,944 lbs. (882 kg). Active ships had the following colors listed in a 20 June 1946 Fleet Order:
Queen Elizabeth: Red
Valiant: Green
Vanguard: Yellow
Renown: None
For the 16" gun -
7) Between late 1942 and early 1943, "K" shell was introduced which contained dyes for coloring the shell splashes. These shells also had a small fuze and burster to disperse the dye. These additions increased the APC weight to 2,059.3 lbs. (934.1 kg). The following colors are listed in a 20 June 1946 Fleet Order:
Rodney: Red
Nelson: None
For the 18" gun - nothing because the 18"/40 (45.7 cm) Mark I wasn't in service by WWII?

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 19:22

Andy, just found a short article on that site about shells made in the U.S. for the French Richelieu that to me WOULD confirm the Americans used dye...
French 380 mm Mark 1 AP Projectile made by Crucible Steel Company for Richelieu

These US designed-and-manufactured APC projectiles were externally identical to the French design and weighed the same, with the exact same cavity shape and percentage. The base fuze was the US Mark 21 BDF. The filler was Explosive "D", not TNT. The base plug was the standard US Navy design, as was its threaded sides and other details.
I also assume that the standard US Navy WWII-AP-projectile "Sheath Hardening" hardness gradient technique was used -- hard on the surface almost to the driving band, but getting soft as you go toward the centerline, starting near the lower nose (most of the nose was a constant high hardness all the way through like the surface hardness was down through the middle body). The centerline of the projectile completely surrounding the explosive cavity and reaching into the lower nose and the surface from just above the driving band to the base was the same optimum-toughness, medium-hardness level. This kept the projectile insides and lower body tough against internal cracking and base distortion as it penetrated, but hard in its upper area to resist nose and upper-body bending or compression from any direction, optimizing the shells for maximum penetration ability, giving minimum deformation and breakage as it tried to make a hole in the plate, and yet tough and just deformable enough to remain more-or-less intact against moderately-oblique impact against the thickest face-hardened armor, as the shell tried to force itself through the hole it had just made (these were way above most foreign specifications requirements).

The biggest visual difference in the blueprints between the US and original French APC projectiles was that the AP cap and nose shape was that of the US Navy 14" Mark 16 Mod 8 AP projectile: Oval nose under the cap and a flat-tipped-cone-faced moderately thick, moderately hard (circa 555 Brinell
maximum) AP cap with the windscreen threaded to near its softened (circa 225 Brinell) lower skirt edge just above the forward bourrelet, not at the maximum-hardness upper-face edge as with most foreign and later US Navy AP shells (even the 14" Mark 16 MOD 10 AP shells had the new-model, short-windscreen AP caps late in WWII). This odd-ball late-1930's US Navy standard cap and windscreen design allowed the windscreen-holding threads to be cut into softer metal -- less expensive -- and made the windscreen several inches longer than later designs (also slightly heavier, of course); there was a narrow gap between the inside of the lower windscreen and the slightly-narrowed AP cap side above the threaded area. The caps were soldered on with a ring of 8 (I think) shallow pits in the nose at the bottom edge of the cap having the cap edge bent into them (forming "dimples"), reinforcing the solder; identical to the US AP cap attachment method. The windscreen might have had the plugged cut-outs for an internal dye bag used in US WWII large-caliber AP projectile to allow water to ram though the windscreen on water impact and dye the splash, but I am not certain; it most certainly did not use the French "K" dye-bag design (see below).
In other words - when Crucuble made shells of a similar kind for the US Navy there WOULD have been a dye in them, but for the Richelieu there wasn't nor provision for a French style "K" dye bag.

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 19:26

Again, looking at details on FRENCH guns there, it looks to be size of gun vs. particular ship it was mounted on :wink:

152 mm/55 (6") Model 1930
4) Richelieu used yellow dye for SAP shells. Jean Bart was to have used orange dye, but this does not appear to have ever been implemented.
380 mm/45 (14.96") Model 1935
380 mm/45 (14.96") Model 1936
6) Both AP and HE shells had dye bags ("K" shell). Richelieu was assigned yellow and Jean Bart orange
EDT: just found this! For French DESTROYERS...

138.6 mm/45 (5.46") Models 1929 and 1934
3) In the spring of 1940 dye-filled OPFK (SAP) shells were issued. It was customary that the first ship in a division used green dye, the second white - later yellow - and the third red
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 25 Jan 2010 19:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Jan 2010 19:30

And finally - the U.S.! :D

14"/50 (35.6 cm) Mark 7 and Mark 11
14"/50 (35.6 cm) Mark B
3) After 1941 AP rounds had a nominal 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dye bag but this was allowed to be as large as 3.0 lbs. (1.36 kg) in order to bring underweight projectiles up to standard. Battleships were assigned the following dye colors:

New Mexico (BB-40) - Green
Mississippi (BB-41) - Orange
Idaho (BB-42) - Blue
Tennessee (BB-43) - No Dye
California (BB-44) - No Dye
14"/45 (35.6 cm) Marks 8, 9, 10 and 12
3) After 1941 AP rounds had a nominal 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dye bag, but this was allowed to be as large as 3.0 lbs. (1.36 kg) in order to bring underweight projectiles up to standard. The following colors were assigned to these ships:

Nevada - Orange
Pennsylvania - Red
New York and Texas - No dye

New York and Texas were probably not assigned dye colors because they were not upgraded to handle the newer AP projectiles.
16"/45 (40.6 cm) Mark 5 and Mark 8
5) After 1941 AP rounds had a nominal 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dye bag added but this was allowed to be as large as 3.0 lbs. (1.36 kg) in order to bring underweight projectiles up to standard. These ships were assigned the following dye colors:

Colorado - Orange
Maryland - Blue (?)
West Virginia - No dye (White)
16"/45 (40.6 cm) Mark 6
3) The AP Mark 8 had a nominal 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dye bag but this was allowed to be as large as 3.0 lbs. (1.36 kg) to bring underweight projectiles up to weight. Dye colors were assigned as follows in 1945:

USS North Carolina - Green
USS Washington - Orange
USS South Dakota - Blue
USS Indiana - Red
USS Massachusetts - Green
USS Alabama - No Dye

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Andy H » 26 Jan 2010 00:45

Hi Phylo

Thanks for the information you have provided, will take some time to digest it.

In all my years of interest in WW2 Naval matters, be they factual or fictional, I have either forgotten or never seen the 'colour' of shell splashes being described or shown.

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Andy H

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Jan 2010 01:31

In all my years of interest in WW2 Naval matters, be they factual or fictional, I have either forgotten or never seen the 'colour' of shell splashes being described or shown.
Well, if you think about it, there weren't that many gun actions that involved two or more of the said class types at the same time to REQUIRE distinguishing between their fall of shot...

...let alone IN DAYLIGHT! :lol:

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Ironmachine » 26 Jan 2010 08:33

It seems that also the Japanese used dye shells:
6) Dye was introduced in 1941 and Type 91 shells containing it were designated as Type 1. The Kongo class were issued the following dye colors for their Type 1 APC shells:
Kongo: Red
Haruna: Black
Kirishima: Blue
Hiei: None
http://navweaps.com/Weapons/WNJAP_14-45_t41.htm+

Anybody knows if they developed this technology themselves of if they acquired it somehow from the Allies?

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by mescal » 26 Jan 2010 09:23

Hello,

One may add the US 16"/50 of the Iowa class to the list:

(from naweaps)
7) The AP Mark 8 had a nominal 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dye bag but this was allowed to be as large as 3.0 lbs. (1.36 kg) in order to bring underweight projectiles up to standard. The Iowa class was assigned the following dye colors:

USS Iowa - Orange
USS New Jersey - Blue
USS Missouri - Red
USS Wisconsin - Green

Regarding the description of coloured shell splashes, you can find some in The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.
Without being definitive, it seems from this book that the IJN havy cruisers also used dyed shells.

There are also reports just after the First Guadalcanal naval battle stating that green dyehad been found on Atlanta before she went down - and green was the color of San Francisco, which enabled to confirm Blue-on-Blue during the battle.
Olivier

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Ironmachine » 26 Jan 2010 11:53

In all my years of interest in WW2 Naval matters, be they factual or fictional, I have either forgotten or never seen the 'colour' of shell splashes being described or shown.
Some more mentions of "coloured" shell splash both in U.S. and Japanese use:
As the range closed, JOHNSTON opened her 5-inch battery on the nearest cruiser, scoring damaging hits. About this time an 8-inch shell landed right off her bow, its red dye splashing the face of JOHNSTON Gunnery Officer. He mopped the dye from his eyes while remarking, "Looks like somebody's mad at us!"
http://www.bosamar.com/usforces/dd557.html
As she began the run, dye from enemy shells daubed the water nearby with circles of brilliant red, yellow, and green. HEERMANN replied to this challenge by pumping her 5-inch shells at one heavy cruiser, CHIKUMA, as she directed seven torpedoes at another, HAGURO.
http://www.bosamar.com/usforces/dd532.html
Commander MIURA returned to the North PACIFIC as a member of the staff of Commander Fifth Fleet. He describes the naval battle fought south of the KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS on 27 March 1943, TOKYO date, as he witnessed it from the flagship NACHI. His impression that there were no 8 inch shell hits on the NACHI is not borne out by the fact that blue dye marked certain of the hits he describes; his impression is probably gained by the small explosive charge in the 8 inch armor piercing shells of the SALT LAKE CITY. This battle ended surface ship supply to the beleaguered ATTU and KISKA garrisons.
[...]
(Note: Commander MIURA was questioned closely about the caliber of the shells which hit the NACHI. He was very positive that all the hits enumerated above, which pierced the ship's superstructure, were 15 cm (6 inch), and was quite sure that the one which severed the leg of the tripod was of the same caliber. He stated repeatedly that there were no 20 cm (8 inch) hits. These heavy shells made many close misses, but the vast majority landed just forward of the ship's bow, drenching the bridge with water. He complained of smarting eyes, which he attributed to the dye in these shell splashes. He was eloquent on the subject of the American destroyers' gunnery, saying that their 13cm (5 inch) shells landed aboard like rain.)
http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/USSBS/IJO/IJO-21.html

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Andy H » 26 Jan 2010 16:38

phylo_roadking wrote:
In all my years of interest in WW2 Naval matters, be they factual or fictional, I have either forgotten or never seen the 'colour' of shell splashes being described or shown.
Well, if you think about it, there weren't that many gun actions that involved two or more of the said class types at the same time to REQUIRE distinguishing between their fall of shot...

...let alone IN DAYLIGHT! :lol:
Bismarck action, though dependent when dyed shells were first introduced this action may have been to early. The Battle of North Cape was a nightime action but was late enough that these shells would have been used.

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by takata_1940 » 31 Jan 2010 00:39

Hi,
During Exporter (9 June 1941), Destroyer JANUS was hit by French 138 mm shells and I do remember to have read that JANUS CO's beard was painted green for several days.

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono ... -Janus.htm
JANUS:
June: Deployed with Flotilla for support of military operations against Vichy;
9th - With HMS JAGUAR came under fire from Vichy French destroyers
VALMY and GUEPARD. Sustained damage in Boiler Room and on Bridge after being
hit by three shells. 13 of ship’s company were killed and 13 other wounded. Ship was
disabled and taken in tow by HMS KIMBERLEY. Enemy ships withdrew after arrival of
HMS HOTSPUR, HMS ISIS and threat presented by British cruisers. See THE NAVAL
WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Gree and A Massignani.

S~
Olivier

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Re: Dye capped shells used by French & British Navies

Post by Andy H » 30 Mar 2010 16:43

Well just to prove myself wrong, I have come across an instance of dye capped shells being used within a narrative :lol:

On Pg 22 of Struggle for the Middle Sea by Vincent O'Hara, he states:-
The Santon Battery also targeted the Hood and nearly hit the screening destroyers. In one destroyer which was straddled, an unexpected hazard was the dye used by the French to distinguish splashes of their fall of shot, causing white uniforms to turn green
The Santon Bty was armed with 3x7.6" guns

Regards

Andy H

PS: With the Hood ref I looked at Bruce Taylors book on the Hood, and on Pg 203 he cites one of the 'B' turret operators (Bert Pitman)-
watched the French salvoes burst in towering geysers of red and blue water, igeniously coloured to assist in spotting their fall of shot

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