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Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler’s Germany is Again Causing a Sensation


Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler's Germany is Again Causing a Sensation

Model of a 155-mm artillery shell with a direct-flow air jet engine (DFAJ)

Written by Aleksandr Shirokopad; Originally appeared at Zvezdaweekly, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

For the first time in history a projectile with an air-jet engine was demonstrated in 1942

For many years now, designers have been working on any creative tricks to increase the firing range of the 152-155-mm guns if only by one kilometre. One of the novelties that caused furor at the international exhibition Eurosatory in June 2018 in Paris was the layout of a 155-mm artillery shell with a direct-flow air-jet (DFAJ) engine, presented by the Norwegian-Finnish company Nammo. The new DFAJ projectile can easily overcome both the 120 and even the 150-kilometre barrier. With it, the conventional 155-mm howitzer can solve tasks that are feasible for tactical missiles corps and even front-line command.

Historical background

Novelty? Here I remember the comical situation of 50s and 60s, as told to me by employees of at least three design offices. The director at the solemn meeting: “Our design bureau is the first in the world to create it…” A storm of applause in the hall. He is repeating the same phrase at the evening banquet. And then instead of applause there is a snide question: “Did the Germans have any?”

Alas, here the Germans were the first. Work on the active rocket projectiles began in Germany already in 1934. In 1938-1945, several types of projectiles of up to 280-mm in calibre were supplied with miniature jet engines. For example, in 1939, the R.Gr.19 150-mm active-jet projectile was developed for the 18 and 18/40 heavy field howitzers. After tests, the projectile was adopted for service.

Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler's Germany is Again Causing a Sensation

Drawing of a 150-mm air-jet engine projectile by engineer Wolf Trommsdorff

And in 1936, the engineer Wolf Trommsdorff suggested replacing the powder accelerator with a shell… with an air-jet direct-flow engine. In 1942, the shell with liquid fuel, which was a mixture of carbon disulphide and diesel fuel, was tested. The oxidiser was naturally atmospheric oxygen. The projectile flew at 920 m/s, which is about 3 mach. This is the first time in history that a supersonic jet engine flight has been demonstrated. Trommsdorff did not stop there and developed shells for 105-mm (E2), 122 (E3) and 150 (E4) calibers during the Second World War. The latter developed a speed of up to 4.5 mach, using the same carbon disulphide as fuel.

In 1943, the C1 projectile was created for a 210-mm cannon. Of the 90 kg weight of this shell, 6 kg were accounted for by rocket fuel. Thanks to the direct-flow engine, the speed of C1 reached 1,475 m/s, with a range of 200 Km.

Dr Trommsdorff’s most powerful projectile was the 28-cm C3 for the K5(E) railway cannon. The weight of the projectile was 170.4 kg, the weight of the rocket fuel was 16.3 kg, and the weight of the explosives was 9.6 kg. The straight-through motor was accelerating the projectile to a speed of 1,860 m/s. The maximum firing range was 350 km, i.e., longer than that of the V-2 ballistic missile and the V-1 cruise missile. Thus, the K5 cannon could have fired on London from France.

Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler's Germany is Again Causing a Sensation

280-mm Krupp railway tool

In May 1945, Trommsdorff found himself in the Soviet occupation zone. The Soviet authorities created two missile institutes in the deepest secrecy: “Berlin”, on the premises of the Berlin Gema factory and “Nordhausen”, at a base created by a group of Soviet specialists headed by B.E. Chertok from the Rabe Institute in Bleicherode.

The main task of Design Bureau 4, which was part of the Research Institute “Berlin”, was to finish the Trommsdorff shell. N.A. Sudakov became the head of the Design Bureau, and Wolf Trommsdorff himself became the leading designer. They were to complete the development of the technical design of the 283-mm direct-flow jet projectile, to produce working drawings of the projectile, drawings of models for bench tests and to make them, as well as to produce samples of the projectile and test them in the period from October 1946 to early 1947.

According to the staff there were to be 36 German and 21 Soviet specialists in Design Bureau 4, but in fact in July 1946 there were 17 Germans headed by Trommsdorff and 4 Soviet specialists. By mid-August, two more Soviet specialists had joined the ranks.

The author could not find out how Trommsdorff’s work in Design Bureau 4 ended. It is only known that Design Bureau 4 had performed only the following works: the technical design of the projectile with the DFAJ was developed, the drawings of the models of the projectile and three models for blowing in the supersonic aerodynamic channel were made.

Someone started a rumour that the designer was killed in a plane crash of the Soviet military transport aircraft at the end of 1946. The rumours, of course, did not go through the secular salons of Moscow, but in the secret missile design bureaus. Later, it became know that in 1956 the seriously ill Trommsdroff moved from the USSR to Germany and died the same year.

Why were shells with the DFAJ not adopted in the USSR? It took quite a long time to create them. But in 1955, Khrushchev forbade all work on the creation of long-range artillery.

Thus, for example, at the end of 1955 the production of the world’s long-distance cannon S-23 was stopped, and four years later Khrushchev shut down the leading artillery design bureau headed by V.G. Grabin.

Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler's Germany is Again Causing a Sensation

Nikita Khrushchev forbade all long-range artillery work

However, the DFAJ projectile experiments were useful in February 1958 during the design of the 3M8 (Krug) surface-to-air missile equipped with DFAJ.

It is a very promising case

And now 75 years later, the Norwegian-Finnish company Nammo has installed a direct-flow jet engine in a 155-mm shell under the Extreme Range programme. The minimum initial speed of 2.5-2.6 mach is required for the DFAJ launch, and the muzzle speed of a 155-mm shell fired from a howitzer with a barrel length of 52 calibre is 3 mach.

The direct-flow motor is a self-regulating motor that maintains a constant speed regardless of the flight altitude. The speed of about 3 mach is maintained for about 50 seconds, while the traction is provided by NTR3 fuel (hydrogen peroxide concentrate) with additives. The advertisement says that the range of the DFAJ projectile exceeds 100 km.

Nammo plans to conduct the first ballistic tests in late 2019-early 2020. Since the increased range results in an increase of an order of magnitude in the circular probable deviation, Nammo is working with a number of companies in parallel to the GPS/INS guidance system for this projectile.

Supersonic Artillery Shell: Why the Ammunition Invented in Hitler's Germany is Again Causing a Sensation

Nammo plans to conduct its first ballistic tests in late 2019-early 2020

It would be interesting to know where the Norwegians will place the homing head. Fortunately, it is impossible to place it in the nose near the air inlet.

It is clear that the weight of the DFAJ explosive will be significantly lower than that of a standard 155-mm projectile. So, Nammo said that the weight of the warhead “will be about the same as in a 120-mm shell”. In accordance with the requirements of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Nammo plans to start serial production of this projectile in 2024-2025.

The development of the corrected 152-155-mm DFAJ projectiles is very promising. However, the designers will probably have to face a number of problems. Among them is the uneven operation of the DFAJ in flight, the impact on the engine of large overloads in the barrel channel, and, most importantly, the higher cost of such a DFAJ projectile compared to standard ammunition.



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  • Miguel Redondo

    I suppose that when the authar says “metres” he wants to say “mach” .

    • Thank you for the feedback. You are right.
      Sincerely yours,
      SF Team

      • Sinbad2

        While we’re being picky, I think it’s carbon disulphide(CS2) not sulphide :)

        • Thank you for the attention.
          Sincerely yours,
          SF Team

      • Rodger

        Then also change sulphur dioxide to carbon disulphide in ‘using the same sulphur dioxide as fuel.’ :P
        Sulphur dioxide is the waste product resulting from the burning of carbon disulphide along with carbon dioxide.

        • Thank you for the feedback.
          Sincerely yours,
          SF Team

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        If you want to make sure that you always reach your donations target arrange one of the decision makers of SF to contact me. My gmail is the same as my avatar name minus the capitals.

        take care.

  • Miguel Redondo

    Isee this link with the publications made by Wolf Trommsdorf.


    Dr.Trommsdorff continued publishing in West Germany until the late sixties.

    By a view of the issues he publishes one can be pretty sure that it is the same man mentioned in the article,

    Most of the publications start in 1957 , with a pause since the thirties when he published about variations of Quarz-cristals. May be this was the theme for his Dr.-degree.

    All other publications are about issues about aerodinamics and combustion at supersonic flight.

    But what seems pretty clear is , that he didn´t die in 1956.

    • Albert Pike

      Thank’s for the interesting Easter reading…

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    Direct-flow jet engine shell’s should become the universally known “National Defense Weapon of Choice”
    Every freedom loving nations should have companies of field artillery units of these.
    If only Lebanon and Venezuela and Syria and Germany and North Korea and Ireland and Spain and Tibet had these today they could successfully fight of their illegal occupiers and the globalist threatening them.

  • verner

    remember when saddam employed a belgian weapons maker who promised saddam an artillery piece with a reach of 200 to 300 km, enough to bombard tel aviv from afar. the squatters liquidated the belgian on a street in brussels since a) they have spies everywhere and b) they kill off anything looking like a threat to the neo-hitleristic country on stolen land. just think iranian physicists, and the palestinians executed by the squatters in a hotel in one of the arab emirates.

    the world, honestly, have no use for the impostors and thus they need to be evicted and the land they have stolen, returned to the rightful owners – the palestinians (and rest assured that turkey and erdogan will be in the forefront when the axis of resistance strikes against the squatters and sends them into the sea – something to behold).

  • Sean

    A little unrelated, a few Russian bank notes introduced in 1917 after the overthrow of the Tsar in the February revolution (but before the October revolution) each feature a tilted right-facing Swastika:



    • Albert Pike

      Swastika is Freemason, or Helena Blavatsky stuff. It’s in the logo of the Theosophical Society, where the leviathian bites it’s tail, and where the Star of David is in the centre and Aten’s fake cross ankh symbol can also be seen. No wonder the Freemasons Lenin and Hitler were using it…


      • Sean
        • Albert Pike

          Sure it’s a very old symbol – but it was fairly out of fashion before Blavatsky (by the way the term ‘Aryans’ was also before Blavatsky out of fashion).
          The Finlanders where using it since 1918, and was always in Hindu and Finish/German/Viking ornaments.

          ‘H.P. Blavatsky, identifying the swastika with “Thor’s hammer” or “the hammer of creation,” says:
          In the Macrocosmic work, the “Hammer of Creation,” with its four arms bent at right angles, refers to the continual motion and revolution of the invisible Kosmos of Forces. In that of the manifested Kosmos and our Earth, it points to the rotation in the circles of time of the world’s axes and their equatorial belts; the two lines forming the Svastika meaning Spirit and Matter, the four hooks suggesting the motion in the revolving cycles. (Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine, 2:99; emphasis Blavatsky’s)’

      • Sean

        Also, Hitler came to power in 1933 (33) and was in power for twelve years (12), six years (6) passed before the war started, the sixth army’s (6) defeat at the battle of Stalingrad is considered a turning point in world war two, and the war lasted six years (6).

        33 (33rd degree freemasons)
        12 (another important number in gematria)
        6 (in power for six years)
        6 (sixth army lost the battle of Stalingrad, considered a turning point in the war)
        6 (the war lasted for six years)

        • Albert Pike

          I see you are in gematria (sorry I couldn’t read your other posts – somebody killed them). THEY are also in gematria so therefore it’s not important if one believes in it or not – since THEY are using this stuff.
          Have a happy Easter…

          • Sean

            I know very little about gematria, although I know that it predates judaism.

            Seal of the Black Sun: https: // youtu. be/ W9XL r3lxeH8

        • Gregory Casey

          And 6 Million Jews died in the Holocaust??

          • Sean

            About that (in case you may not already be aware):

            10s Old Newspaper Claim Six Million Jews Died in 1915-1938 Before Holocaust:

            https: // www. bitchute. com/ video/ Bzp3UaW9MnUR/

            Jewish Gematria – The Mystical 6,000,000 Number:


            The First Holocaust – The Surprising Origin of the Six-Million Figure:

            https: // codoh. com/library/ document/4089/

            http: // holocausthandbooks. com/index. php?page_id=6

            Secret Facts of the Holocaust: https: // www. bitchute. com/video/FoW338Kqz4fg/

            The Joy of Six: https: // jewishweek. timesofisrael. com/the-joy-of-six/

            Not Even 1 Million jews Died in the Holocaust – NY Rabbi: https: // www. timesofisrael. com/ ny-rabbi- not-even-1- million-jews -killed-in-holocaust/

            5 of Ovadia Yosef’s most controversial quotations: https: // www. timesofisrael. com/5-of-ovadia- yosefs-most-controversial-quotations/

            [1) The ‘guilt’ of Jewish victims of the Holocaust:

            “The six million Holocaust victims were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things which should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone.”

            — Weekly Saturday night sermon in August 2000]

          • Gregory Casey

            Thanks for all of those references Sean. I was aware of the supposed 6 Million killed from WW I to the mid-1930’s and the peddling of that theory by the Zionist cause in Central Europe, from Hungary to Poland to Ukraine to Germany …….. a Fable peddled by Jabotinsky and others ‘pour encourager les autres’ to move from Europe to Palestine and build up numbers there from the mere 67,000 of Jewish Faith in the entire of Palestine in the years prior to WW I (according to both Ottoman and British Census-takers) representing some 6% of the population of Palestine. I had also heard of the NY Rabbi who was excoriated by the usual suspects in AIPAC and in media for saying that the numbers who died in the Holocaust were less than 1 Million but reading now again, together with all of the other references you included makes for a crumbling of the entire story of WW II. While acknowledging that very many Jews were murdered throughout WW II …… my own view is that the number is somewhere in the region of 2.5 million, total, fact is that the constant fixing of concentration by influence-peddlers on the story of the 6 Million has completely overwhelmed other equally significant issues from WW II including (but not limited to) the slaughter of somewhere in the region of 1.3-1.5 Million Serbs by the Nazi-allied Croat Ustache and their Bosnian Muslim friends , a figure representing approximately 17%/18% of the entire pre-War Serb Population of the Balkans and where, in one camp alone, 850,000 Serbs were murdered together with 125,000 Jews and another 50,000-75,000 assorted Romany Gypsies, Socialists and uncooperative Croats and Bosnians. We know that approximately 25 Million European Russians died as a direct result of WW II, a statistic that when measured against the total Russian population in European Russia, that is, west of the Urals, is staggering considering that the total of that population of European Russians was somewhere between 80 Million and 100 Million depending on how one assesses the migration flow eastwards to the Urals and beyond under orders from Stalin for purposes of the manning of the truly enormous factories the Russians built in order to construct and manufacture the tanks, heavy guns, ammo and steel and aluminium for ship-building and aircraft so that Russia and the Red Army could defend the Motherland against the Nazis. When measured against the Holocaust, and even taking the figure of 6 Million as being correct, the facts are that both Serbs and Russians suffered, at the very least equally with the Jews but these stories are never mentioned in Western media.
            Anyway …….
            For another day!!

  • JPH

    Actually a ramjet with the initial acceleration to the required operating speed provided by the cannon…