BOF - Boulet Ogival en Fonte. Exercise (training) projectiles.

Douille - Brass cartridge

Gargousse - Bagged powder charge

OEA - Obus Explosif en Acier. High Explosive projectiles.

OEcl - Obus Eclairant. Starshell.

OI - Obus Incendiare. Incendiary shell.

OPf - Obus de Perforation. Designation for an Armor Piercing shell - SAP - but was also commonly used for APC and SAPC.

OPf RC - Obus de Perforation de Rupture Coiffé. Designation for Armor Piercing shell with an AP cap - APC and SAPC.

OPfK or OPf(K) - Obus de Perforation dispositif 'K'. Armor piercing shell with dye bag. Unlike many nations, French dye shells included a nose fuze and a small explosive charge to disperse the dye. This made it possible to not only color the shell splashes but also to color hits.

Mélinite - Shell burster made from French picric acid, roughly equivalent to British Lyddite.

Mélinite fondue dinitronaphtaline or Mn.F.Dn - Shell burster used in 33 cm OPf Mle 1935 and 38 cm OPfK Mle 1936. Consisted of 80% picric acid and 20% dinitronaphtaline, roughly equivalent to British Shellite.

Poudre B - Poudre Blanche or "white powder." The original French nitrocellulose, adopted by the French Navy around 1890. The name was to distinguish the new propellant from gunpowder, which was known as Poudre N for Poudre Noire "black powder."

BM - Poudre Boulanger marine, named after the Minister of War, General Georges-Ernest Boulanger. This was an improved French nitrocellulose adopted in 1906. This was followed by a number which indicated thickness, such as BM15. This number was somewhat arbitrary, but a larger number did indicate a thicker strip. This propellant was pure nitrocellulose to which amyl-alcohol had been added as a stabilizer. Although this mixture was resistant to heat, it could deteriorate in storage and become unstable. The battleships Iéna and Liberté were lost to magazine explosions caused by this deterioration.

SD - Solventless double-based propellant adopted in the 1930s. Followed by an arbitrary number, although a larger number indicated a larger grain size.

Mle - Modèle or "Model" followed by the design year. Used in designations for shells, cartridges, guns and mountings.


ACAD - Automatique Contre-Avions Double. Automatic AA Twin Mounting.

CA - Contre Avions. Anti-Aircraft.

CAD - Contre-Avions Double. AA Twin Mounting.

CADAM - Cadence Améliorée. Improved firing. An modernization program for French guns such as the 100 mm/55 Model 1968 intended to increase their firing rate.

CAQ - Contre-Avions Quadruple. AA Quad Mounting.

CAS - Contre-Avions Simple. AA Single Mounting.

SMCA - Sous-Marin Contre-Avions. Submarine AA Mounting.

Page History

29 November 2009 - New datapage
25 February 2012 - Added SMCA definition
01 April 2013 - Minor changes
27 March 2018 - Added definitions for Douille and Gargousse
23 November 2019 - Added to definition for BM propellant
19 February 2021 - Added definition for Mélinite fondue dinitronaphtaline
14 February 2022 - Improved definitions for OPf and OPf RC projectiles