Shell (projectile)

Some sectioned shells from the First World War. From left to right: 90 mm shrapnel shell, 120 mm pig iron incendiary shell, 77/14 model - 75 mm high-explosive shell, model 16–75 mm shrapnel shell
US scientists with a full-scale cut-away model of the W48 155-millimeter nuclear artillery shell, a very small tactical nuclear weapon with an explosive yield equivalent to 72 tons of TNT (0.072 kiloton). It could be fired from any standard 155 mm (6.1 inch) howitzer (e.g., the M114 or M198)
155 mm M107 projectiles. All have fuzes fitted
Some shells displayed in Taipei

A shell is a payload-carrying projectile that, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot.[1][not verified in body] Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used. Originally, it was called a "bombshell", but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context.

All explosive- and incendiary-filled projectiles, particularly for mortars, were originally called grenades, derived from the pomegranate, so called because the many-seeded fruit suggested the powder-filled, fragmenting bomb, or from the similarity of shape. Words cognate with grenade are still used for an artillery or mortar projectile in some European languages.[2]

Shells are usually large-caliber projectiles fired by artillery, combat vehicles (including tanks), and warships.

Shells usually have the shape of a cylinder topped by an ogive-shaped nose for good aerodynamic performance, possibly with a tapering base (boat-tail); but some specialized types are quite different.


Solid cannonballs ("shot") did not need a fuse, but hollow munitions ("shells") filled with something such as gunpowder to fragment the ball, needed a fuse, either impact (percussion) or time. Percussion fuses with a spherical projectile presented a challenge because there was no way of ensuring that the impact mechanism contacted the target. Therefore, shells needed a time fuse that was ignited before or during firing and burned until the shell reached its target.

Other Languages
العربية: قذيفة مدفعية
azərbaycanca: Mərmi
беларуская: Снарад
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Снарад
български: Снаряд
bosanski: Granata
Deutsch: Granate
eesti: Mürsk
Ελληνικά: Γρανάτα
فارسی: خمپاره
français: Obus
한국어: 포탄
Հայերեն: Արկ
hrvatski: Granata
Ido: Obuso
Bahasa Indonesia: Selongsong (proyektil)
italiano: Granata (arma)
עברית: פגז
қазақша: Снаряд
lietuvių: Sviedinys
Nederlands: Granaat (munitie)
日本語: 砲弾
norsk nynorsk: Granat
occitan: Obús
română: Obuz
русский: Снаряд
shqip: Predha
Simple English: Shell (projectile)
slovenščina: Granata
Soomaaliga: Madfac
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Granata
suomi: Kranaatti
svenska: Granat
தமிழ்: எறிகணை
Türkçe: Top mermisi
Tiếng Việt: Đạn pháo
West-Vlams: Obus
中文: 炮彈