British Brass N°80 fuze

The time and percussion fuze N°80 was the fuze usually used with the British shrapnel shells of the famous 18 pounders field-guns in WW1. Designed by the German company Krupp in 1905 and manufactured under license in England before the war and during it, its peculiar story will feed the arguments of the believers of a war wanted by the weapons international industry since once the war over, the British company Vickers Armament Industries, who manufactured these fuzes between 1914 and 1918, had to pay Krupp £40,000 in royalties.

Although the initial models were made in aluminium, this fuse was entirely made in brass. The time system is a classical rotating disk system, with a ring graduated from 0 to 22 seconds, a departure ignition caused by an axial time pellet caused by the discharge shock momentum. The percussion system, selectable by choosing the rotating disk graduation marked with a roman cross was a very classical one as well, of graze type, with a staple safety device actioned by the shell departure shock. A gunpowder load was placed at the base of the fuze to ignite the shell (with an additional detonator if needed).

Living through 16 different marks, it will remain in service until the middle of WW2.

Known variants are :

1) the time and percussion fuzes N°80B only differed by a small difference in shape, one lip having been suppressed so that the fuze could be adapted to certain shell types

2) the time fuzes N°80/44 et N°80B/44, with no percussion mechanism, were dedicated to the explosive shells that had to detonate in flight (for instance for anti-aircraft), and needed the serial mounting with a direct action percussion fuze N°44/85 acting as a detonator. The 0 to 2 graduations of these fuzes were masked, and a blue ‘T’ mark was painted on the fuze body

3) the time fuzes N°180 and N°180B, with no percussion mechanism, were used with incendiary and shrapnel shells in anti-aircraft action. A blue ‘T’ was painted on their body.

In addition to these conversions, the N°80 fuze is at the basis of the design of N°83 and N°88 fuzes described individually later in this section. 

Initially dedicated to the shrapnel shells of the famous :

  • QF 13 pdr field guns (3 inches – 76 mm),
  • QF 18 pdr field guns (3.3 inches – 84 mm),

it was afterwards adapted for other weapons of similar power, that is shrapnel shells of the :

  • 10 pdr and 2.7-in mountain guns (2.75 inches – 70 mm),
  • QF 2.95-in mountain pack howitzer (75mm),
  • BL 15 pdr field guns (3 inches – 76 mm)
Associated place
Associated event
Associated name(s)
1914 – 1919 (WW 1), 1920 – 1938 Interwar period, 1939 – 1945 (WW 2)
Location of artifact
Case 13/14 WWI


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