Dum Dum Arsenal

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Dumdum Arsenal was a British military facility located near the town of Dumdum (near Calcutta) in modern West Bengal, India.[1]

The arsenal was at the center of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, caused in part by agitator's rumours that raised suspicion of the Sepoy employed as Indian soldiers that the muzzle loading cartridges distributed at the arsenal were greased with pig lard (a problem for Muslims) or cow fat (a problem for Hindus).[2] The paper cartridge predates manufacture using metallic / brass cartridge cases. Needless to say much mythology has evolved over time including the catch-all expression of "dum dum" to describe expanding bullets.

It was at this arsenal that Captain Neville Bertie-Clay developed the Mark IV cartridge, a exposed-nose bullet and a hollow point version designed to mushroom on striking. This was one of the first series of an expanding bullet for military use, later banned in warfare by the Hague Convention as being "too inhumane", this then resulted in the full metal jacket bullet design being adopted. This was at the same time the edge of a bayonet was to be dull, yet the tip could be as pointed as wanted.

On 7 December 1908, a serious explosion occurred by accident at the Dum-Dum arsenal, resulting in death or serious injury to about 50 native workmen.[3]


  1. ^ "DUM-DUM CARTRIDGES." (PDF). The New York Times. January 4, 1886. 
  2. ^ Charles Henry H. Wright, John Lovering Cooke (1873). Memoir of John Lovering Cooke, with a sketch of the Indian mutiny of 1857-58. Oxford University. p. 29. 
  3. ^ "Dum Dum". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.