A Blast from the Past: Antique Ammunition Discovered in Melting Glacier

WW1 Wiki shells image

A field of antique ammunition has been discovered in northern Italy.

The stash was frozen in time in a melting glacier atop the Ago de Nardis peak. The massive discovery can be seen spread across what looks to be the size of a fair-sized field. Itâ??s an amazing discovery that has historians and museum curators most excited about what they can learn and add to their antique ammunition collections.

Antique Battle-Field Ammunition

The collection of 85-100 calibre shells and explosives each weigh a rather hefty seven to ten kilos each. Explosives experts have been to the peak in Trentino to clear the space of potentially dangerous explosives and ammunition even though they are antique.

The discovery of antique weapon casings and ammunition came to light when a heat wave caused the glacier to start melting. The Police Alpine Unit were interested in the brownish appearance after the perennial glacier starting disappearing. As they approached the location they discovered antique ammunition littered across 100-square-metres of the ice top. The casings and shells are believed to be from the battle between Hungarian and Austrian forces against the Italians from 1915 to 1918.

A Little Bit of History

The story of the war between the three countries says that Italy had hoped to launch a surprise offensive that was meant to capture several Austrian cities, however things did not go as planned and they ended up fighting in the trenches more than anything. The antique ammunition is an indication of how much fighting took place.

There were plenty of alliances during the First World War but Italy did not join the war in 1914 as it felt that the aggression of just Hungary and Austria alone were enough. Italy felt they were not obligated to join the war, but eventually changed their minds and took up their first offensive at the Isonzo River, it was disastrous. Their lack of training, experience and minimal ammunition, antique or otherwise, proved to be their weakness. Their next fight was on the Trentino peak against Hungary and Austria who had strategically worked out a counteroffensive. It also proved to be disastrous for Italy as they had not prepared sufficient ammunition and forces so soldiers were rapidly pulled in from other fronts. This proved to be Italyâ??s saving grace from certain collapse.

Throughout history it appears that the Italians were often on the verge of victory but could not sustain their holdings due to a lack of their, now ancient, ammunition and experienced superiors. This ammunition find is bound to give historians some new ground for much speculation on the part of many.

Vida Denning is a prolific writer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics. The closest she’s come to fighting in Italy was when she mistakenly misplaced her husband’s Dickies workwear trousers. He was not a happy camper at all.


Image from Wikipedia

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  1. Fascinating post and the best byline I’ve ever read by far 🙂

    It just goes to show how preparation and training is the key because after all, this is the country that had such an organised Roman army in past history, where training outwitted barbarian armies and the Celts who worked in small groups – often unorganised. Then in World War 1 & 2 the Italian army was considered one of the weakest armies, because as you said, they weren’t prepared.

  2. I do metal detecting and I found a gavalot cal.45 bullet in a 1900 Boerwar concentration camp in South Africa.

    At first I though it was a unspent bullet because of the led still visible, however after cleaning it I saw a misfire. Is there any collectors internationally that would be interested in this bullet. I believe it was used on a Webley 45 of that time. The British used the revolvers.

    What would the Valeu be?



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