Projectiles weighing 1070 lbs. - Powder 325 lbs. One load for the 12-inch disappearing gun, Fortress Monroe, Va
Artillery and ammunition are the most important things used in the modern battle. The late war has shown wonderful developments in heavy artillery with its necessarily large projectiles and heavy powder charges. There were used in Europe, shells weighing as much as 2,000 or 2,400 pounds. In our own 12-inch guns, which, together with the 12-inch mortars, were used extensively in our coast defenses, the weight of the shell used was 1,070 pounds, while the powder charge weighed 325 pounds. Armor-piercing shells are made of tough, dense steel, specially hardened. The walls are thick to enable them to penetrate armor without breaking up. They are usually fitted with delayed action fuses which will not fire the powder charge until the shell has passed through armor or struck some resisting object. The manufacture of explosives is one of the most important industries of the United States and this industry developed very rapidly after the beginning of the European War. During the war, the United States furnished the armies of Europe with large quantities of ammunition and supplied its own army with an adequate amount of this necessity of war. It is estimated that on October 1st, 1917, the United States had prepared for the army about 50,000,000 shells, costing about $1,000,000,000. This required nearly 2,000,000 tons of bars and steel forgings worth about $166,000,000. These figures show that the cost of ammunition alone was no small part of the expense of the war. When we consider that in firing one shell from a 12-inch gun, the projectile used is nearly as large as a man and 7 or 8 times as heavy, and the powder charge larger than a man and 3 times as heavy, we are appalled at the destruction that can be accomplished by one of these coast defense guns.