.256 Arisaka Drill

As the troops using the Japanese rifles and carbines were either new recruits or unfamiliar with the weapons, there was a great need for drill cartridges with which to practice loading drills and handling. 

Four principal types of drill cartridge were introduced, a Japanese issue type, a Mark I and II of more or less standard British pattern and one more unusual type.

 The Blanch “J” Pattern dummy

 Soon after the outbreak of war, the firm of J. Blanch & Sons Ltd. of 20 Cullum Street, Fenchurch Street, London, E.C.3, approached the government with a new type of .303” dummy drill cartridge.  They considered the new round to be a cheaper alternative to the existing types with the added advantage that it saved strategic materials.

"Cartridge (Tin) S.A. Dummy Drill .303 inch" was not formally approved for service or shown in Lists of Changes. Five million rounds were ordered in February 1915 from J.Blanch and Sons of London under contract. Details are on the .303 page here.

In addition to the .303 inch rounds, the War Office ordered 500,000 rounds of a similar .256 inch drill round, the "Cartridge Dummy Drill "J" Pattern" under Contract 75/3/2500 dated 23 February 1915. 

The round was constructed in a similar fashion to the .303 inch version and the headstamp was "BLANCH No.15".

Very few examples have survived.

Japanese Service Dummy

When the Japanese rifles and ammunition arrived it appears that a number of Japanese service dummy rounds were included in the shipment. No mention is made of these in the records but examples are known to have been used.

The case was a standard service case without cap but with anvil and fire holes. There were two heavily knurled cannelures around the lower half of the case and no headstamp.

The bullet was an empty brass jacket soldered to the case which also had two deep knurled cannelures around it.

It is not known how many of these were supplied for British service.

Dummy Drill Mark I

"Cartridge S.A. Dummy Drill .256 inch Rifles or Carbines (Mark I)" was approved to design CIW 1983 in June 1915 but was not shown in Lists of Changes. The original drawing showed it was for Land service but this was later extended to Naval service. It was endorsed as obsolete for Naval service in September 1928 and for Land service in November 1928.

The case was a fired service case with four small holes drilled in the upper and lower part of the case.

The bullet was a red wood round nosed bullet to the approximate shape of the Ball Mark II round.'

Dummy Drill Mark II

Like the wood bulleted drill rounds in other calibres, the Dummy Drill Mark I proved fragile in service and so a more robust design was prepared.

"Cartridge S.A. Dummy Drill .256 inch Rifles or Carbine (Mark II)" was introduced some time in 1916 but was not shown in Lists of Changes. It was shown as obsolete in September 1928.

There appear to have been two varieties of this cartridge, one made by Royal Laboratory and the other by Kynoch. The Woolwich version had a normal service case with a blind cap chamber with anvil but without fire holes and tinned all over. There were two pairs of small holes drilled in the case. There was no headstamp.

The Kynoch version used a standard ball case without cap but with anvil and fire holes and was left in the original brass state. There were two pairs of holes in the case and the headstamp was that of the Ball Mark II round, typically  "K  17  II"

The bullet was that of the Ball Mark II. In the Royal Laboratory version it is secured by a very heavy neck crimp, but the Kynoch round used the normal ball crimp.

 Left: RL Dummy Drill Mark II without headstamp.                               Right: Kynoch Dummy Drill Mark II and headstamp.