Allied soldiers filling artillery shells with leaflets

The shelling method

For short range combat propaganda, another technique was used. The shooting of leaflets with artillery grenades. This method was often used in North-Africa (1942/43) and after D-day on the front in Europe.

German special artillery shell for spreading leaflets. 'Weiss-Rot Geschoss'. Photograph: 'Koninklijke Landmacht'.
For the purpose, smoke artillery shells were used. The smoke-cartridge was removed and replaced by small roles of up to 400 leaflets.

The british used a lot of 25 pounder grenades. See the picture of a unit filling grenades with leaflets (The picture was taken in the vicinity of my hometown in the south of the Netherlands; I also know what leaflet is being filled here).

The Americans used lots of 105 and 155 mm howitzer shells in a similar way.

The Germans designed a special shell only for spreading leaflets by artillery. The shell was called 'Weiss-Rot Geschoss' after the color coding applied to it. In the pictures you see a photograph of such shell recovered by the Dutch EOD. It is stilled filled with leaflets aimed against American GI's. You can see a close view of this leaflet in this school assignment.

In the drawing you see an allied explosion view of the German design.

A time fuse caused the grenades explosive charge to expel the leaflets in air over enemy trenches. The firing of the gun often "pushed together" the leaflets in the grenade what causes a very characteristic folding pattern on the leaflets. Also the expelling charge often burned parts of the leaflets. That's why those leaflets are most in a bad condition if seen on expositions.

Nowadays still sometimes unexploded leaflet grenades are being found filled with readable leaflets.

German special artillery shell for spreading leaflets. 'Weiss-Rot Geschoss'

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Translations of example leaflets
Wartime opinions and law
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Leaflet campaigns Italy:
"A typical souvenir"

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Propaganda leaflets of the second World War

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