W19 (nuclear artillery shell)

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The W19, also called Katie, was an American nuclear artillery shell, derived from the earlier W9 shell. The W19 was fired from a special 11-inch (28 cm) howitzer. It was introduced in 1955 and retired in 1963.[1][2]


The W19 was 11 inches (28 cm) in diameter, 54 inches (140 cm) long, and weighed 600 pounds (270 kg). It had a yield of 15–20

kilotons and was like its predecessor the W9, a gun-type
nuclear weapon.



The W19 nuclear system was adapted into a nuclear artillery shell for the US Navy's 16-inch (406 mm) main battery found on the Iowa-class battleships, the W23. Production of the W23 began in 1956 and they were in service until 1962, with a total of 50 units being produced.

The W23 was 16 inches (406 mm) in diameter and 64 inches (160 cm) long, with a weight given variously as 1,500 or 1,900 pounds (680 or 860 kg) in reference sources. As with the W19, yield was 15–20 kilotons.


  1. ^ Cochran, Thomas B.; Arkin, William M.; Hoenig, Milton M. (1984). Nuclear Weapons Databook: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities (PDF). Ballinger Publishing Company, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. p. 7, 12, 35. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  2. ^ Norris, Robert S.; Kristensen, Hans M. (1 July 2009). "U.S. Nuclear Warheads, 1945–2009". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 65 (4). Retrieved 13 February 2024.

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