Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (1)

    At the beginning of this year, we talked about WW2 guns that were extremely well preserved in a swamp. These guns were found by a Russian archaeological team called “Yuri Gagarin” which publishes on its YouTube channel videos of excavations of WW2 relics from the battlefields of the war. Today, we’ll take a look at another rare war relic found by the Yuri Gagarin team – an unexploded WW2 German propaganda shell.

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (2)

    Propaganda shells are artillery shells that have a bunch of rolled propaganda leaflets instead of the payload. These shells have a small powder charge right next to the fuse followed by a wad that separates the charge from the leaflets. Upon impact (or after traveling a certain distance if they had a time fuse), the fuse ignites the powder charge which shoots the leaflets from the tail of the shell.

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (5)

    The propaganda shells were a mean of psychological warfare. The idea was to shoot these shells into the enemy territory thus spreading a propaganda material that threatened or prompted the enemy personnel and civilian population to desert or surrender.

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (7)

    It is really rare to find an unexploded and undamaged propaganda shell. This particular one had about 200 leaflets inside it which were in excellent condition considering their age. The Yuri Gagarin team members carefully pulled the leaflets, unfolded them by wetting and laying on a glass to let them dry.

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (6)

    After examining the recovered leaflets, they found out that there were five versions of these propaganda flyers. On one side of these flyers, there is a text claiming that the Red Army is in a poor shape and telling that those who surrender will find a better life in Germany. The text side of the leaflets also contains a pass that was supposed to ensure that those who surrendered and showed the pass would be treated well. The flip sides of the leaflets contain images depicting what is described in the text.

    Unexploded WW2 German Propaganda Shell Found in Russia (11)

    Below you can find the video where they show the recovery process of the leaflets. The video is in Russian, however, even if you don’t understand the language it still worths watching because most of the content is self-explanatory.


    Hat tip to Aram H.!


    Images are screenshots from the above-embedded video.

    Hrachya H

    Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience. Hrachya also writes for SilahReport.com
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]


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