British bombs – Fuzes, Pistols and Detonators of WW2

In this blog I have collected together comprehensive information on British WW2 aerial bomb fuzes and pistols. What’s the difference? A fuze contains a charge of its own to initiate the main charge in the bomb. Pistols never contained their own explosive, being merely firing pins held inside a case. Obviously they are no ordinary ‘cases’, with a number of different types, but this is an important distinction. Fuzes contain an explosive compound, Pistols don’t. This being the case, a bomb pistol needs a detonator, and I have included pictures of these after the fuzes & pistols. Right at the bottom of the page are pictures of a few of the ones I have recovered over the years.

During filming for WW2 Treasure Hunters I had to identify a lot of relics. After so many years of recovering WW2 relics, I have built up a considerable knowledge so I found it relatively straight-forward. However, all that knowledge is useless unless shared, so consider some of it to now be shared!

I’ve been interested in WW2 all my life, and spent many years trawling through and collecting books on the subject. That built up a decent knowledge, but spending more than the last 20 years recovering WW2 relics has boosted that knowledge massively. It has also been added to by trawling the net for manuals and books from the period.

I found a copy of this 1940s book around 10 years ago now, on the internet. Shortly after downloading it, the website it was on disappeared and I’ve not seen a copy of it again! I won’t upload the pictures and descriptions of the bombs themselves, after all, if you find one of them, identifying it should be the least of your concerns. Getting a LONG way away to call EOD should be your greatest!

I make no apologies for the number of pictures on this blog, but I hope collecting them all in one place will help my fellow collectors.

Before you view them though, just a quick reminder. Do NOT mess with fuzes or detonators. They contain enough explosive to really ruin your day. Remember that unless you are 100% sure what you’re are digging is safe, leave it alone and call the authorities. No relic is worth a finger, hand, arm, leg or life.

Let the pictures commence! I’ve kept them in fuze/pistol number order, with the written detail following the individual pictures.

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Here are a few of the pistols, fuzes and components I have recovered over the years…….

 

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Brass No 28 tail pistol
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Bakelite No 28 tail pistols and caps
pistols 1
Bakelite No 28 tail pistols and caps
pistols 3
Markings on the No 28s
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Bakelite caps from No 28. These had been left on the surface by illegal diggers, (I know they were digging illegally as I was the only person the landowner had given permission to, yet there were holes all over the airfield!). Obviously whoever dug them out the ground had no idea what they were. I did!
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Stainless steel firing pins from No 28 tail pistols. Again left on the surface. Obviously whoever dug them out the ground had no idea what they were. I did!
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Stainless steel firing pins from No 28 tail pistols. Left on the surface…..

 

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Base units to either No 42 or No 848 nose fuze (could be used in either)
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Base units to either No 42 or No 848 nose fuze (could be used in either)
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Markings on base units
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Markings on base units
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Markings on base units
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Base units with ‘cap’ attached which allowed for the attachment of the arming vane. If complete, inside this cap and base unit would be the delay chain to set the base unit’s magazine off
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Various components of bomb fuzes/pistols
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Arming vane and column for No 848 nose fuze
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Arming vane and top portion of column for a No 848
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Arming vane and top portion of column for a No 848
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Arming vane and top portion of column for a No 848
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Two base units just prior to being taken apart to show the magazines are completely empty
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Base units dismantled, showing empty magazine
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Arming forks from a No 27
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Dials from No 849 fuzes
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Portions of No 860 fuze
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Bottom portion of No 860 fuze
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Top portion of No 860 fuze
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Sectioned No 860 fuze. The side not showing has been cut through in half vertically, exposing the pressure bellows and showing the workings. Probably used by trainers to show the ground and aircrews how they worked.

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