I have two artillery shell casings, one brass, one steel that appear identical, height 229mm/9.0" app', base diameter 91mm/3.575" app', body diameter 81mm/3.190" app, I.D. diameter 75mm/2.950" app'.

I'd like to identify them, 75mm? 77mm?
Rheinmetal manufacture?
Did Germany use steel for casings late in WWI?

I'm new here and my pictures are apparently too large to upload, so here are the markings I can read.


Jan 1917

STEEL ( much rust )


base of a shell

base of a shell

base of a shell

base of a shell

  • 1
    You can upload the photos to imgur and add a link to the album.
    – SPavel
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 17:08
  • 1
    You can also just make the images smaller. I usually use Gimp for that, which is a free (libre) image editing tool. Open the file, rectangle-select the part you want to keep, crop-to-selection, resize it down to something more reasonable, and save it to a new file name.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 18:23
  • Thank you for the high quality photos. While we prefer inline photos, for identification questions the higher quality the better; if that means linking them so be it. And thank you for the accurate measurements.
    – Schwern
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


The dimensions indicate these are likely 77 x 230R (R for Rimmed) for 7.7cm German artillery.

Steel shell

  • AEG is the manufacturer: Algemeine Elektricität Gesellschaft Berlin (English: General Electric Company of Berlin).
  • 1918 is the year of manufacture.
  • SP51 is a quality control mark.

Brass shell

"Rh.M.I." is the manufacturer's mark, and "Düsseldorf" is where it's made. I'm not aware of "Rh.M.I." in Düsseldorf, but there is an "Rh.M.F.". In the frenzy of shell production, they could have used the wrong letter. Or it could have been an asymmetrical strike and only very lightly imprinted half the letter and the rest wore off.

Compare with this almost identical mark. Note how the last digit in "191?" is almost completely worn away leaving only the left-most part. The "F" in "Rh.M.F." could have had the same fate becoming an "I".

enter image description here

Some sources say "Rh.M.F." is "Rheinische Munitionsfabrik" (English: Rhenish Ammunition Factory) of Düsseldorf which is likely referring to "Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft" which is Rheinmetall.

See the discussion in the comments for more.

  • Jan 1917 is when it was made.
  • 198 is the lot number.
  • St is for "stark" (English: "strong") indicating it has been made stronger than earlier casings.
  • SP 61 is a quality control mark.
  • seems like it's "Rh M I" and not "M F" ? what makes it look like a F is a scratch on the brass IMO.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 13:11
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    @OldPadawan Rh.M.I. doesn't make sense. I assume it's a mistake. I explain in the answer.
    – Schwern
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 19:09
  • fair enough. Much better with your explanation in the answer though (imo)
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 20:10
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    @Schwern I cannot find a "Rheinische Munitionsfabrik" in Düsseldorf in any publication dating to WW1 or just before the war. There was, however, the "Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik", headquartered in Düsseldorf (the precursor to today's Rheinmetall). This company operated an "Artillerie- und Infanterie-Munitionsfabrik" in Düsseldorf-Derendorf per this advertisement from 1913.
    – njuffa
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 5:36
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    According to artillerymarkings.com: "‘Rh.M.F’ which stands for the manufacturer Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik A G."
    – njuffa
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 6:03

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