Cartridge (ammunition)

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Cartridge of a 120 mm field howitzer
Inside view of a 120 mm cartridge after firing, in the middle of the ignition distributor

In weapons technology, a cartridge (also known as a grenade cartridge ) is a container (case) that holds the propellant charge of a projectile and seals the charge space to the rear, but, unlike the cartridge case, does not contain the projectile itself. Such artillery cartridges are used for large-caliber guns because the effort to load the heavy projectile and then the heavy cartridge is less.

On torpedo high- speed boats in particular , cartridges were / are also used to drive the torpedo out of the torpedo tube (torpedo cartridges ). The functionality is similar to that of artillery cartridges.

Cartridges are usually made of metal, with brass being the most common. But there are also types that partially burn during the shot, here only the cartridge base is made of metal, the cartridge case is made of cardboard or plastic based on cellulose nitrate .

According to the German Weapons Act, any ammunition that does not contain a projectile, including the popping cartridge , is defined as a cartridge. In military terms, however, the term is only used for cases which contain the propellant charge for projectiles for large-caliber guns.

Cartridge pouch

Before the development of breech-loading -Geschützen the propellant charge has been since the 18th century in Kartuschbeuteln placed in the barrel. These were cylinder-shaped sewn containers made of linen, parchment, paper or raw silk. After being inserted into the barrel of the muzzle loader , the cartridge pouch had to be pierced through the ignition hole so that the propellant charge ignited safely. But even with modern breech-loading guns, cartridge pouches are sometimes still used, especially with larger calibers such as ship guns. One advantage is that in this way the strength of the propellant charge can easily be adapted to the desired firing range, for example - with a greater range, more or larger bags are simply used.


  1. Appendix 1 to the Weapons Act, definitions
  2. Jürgen Gebauer, Egon Krenz: Marine Encyclopedia. 2nd revised edition, Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-89488-078-3 .