1938 Bofors 40mm cart case maker "BH" with arrow?

I recently acquired this nice early 1938 Bofors case which is assumed to be Swedish made. The Bofors AB monogram is a B with an arrow through it, but who was BH with an arrow?

Thanks, Graeme



Is that a British pheon above 102?

The primer is a British No.18 primer, so the maker of the case and primer is British (?).
Add in the British pheon pointed out by Vlad and British makes more sense???

Thanks gents, but I still think the case is not of British manufacture. The broad arrow pheon is a British acceptance mark. The 3 key slot large primer is a Bofors design, later designated as a No.18 under British nomenclature, as well as the cartridge case itself becoming a 40M/M Mk I.

When Great Britain initially purchased the M36 Bofors gun in 1937 they also purchased 500,000 rounds of ammunition. I believe that Swedish factories continued to supply 40mm Bofors ammunition to GB until local factory production commenced in the latter part of 1938. I have other 1938 dated Swedish made Bofors cases by NORMA and ADK (Arme Depot Karlsborg) and then also British made Mk I cases from late 1938.

I’ve attached a photo of another Swedish ADK made case and Bofors made primer with British nomenclature and broad arrow acceptance mark. But it’s the BH made case I would really like to identify. I thought of Bofors Halmstad of Bofors Helsinborg being several Swedish cities?

Thanks, Graeme


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Hi, you have 100% sure for this name?
I have info: Artilleridepartementet Karlskrona



You are right, ADK is Artilleridepartementet Karlskrona.

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I have the 761 page book “Bofors Historia 1646-1946”, and on page 524 there is something that might explain the “BH” with arrow. In 1938 Bofors couldn’t keep up with all the orders and in order to speed up the process they devised a new scheme. Bofors products under the Bofors name were manufactured in countries that had purchased guns. The countries Belgium, Poland, Hungary and Austria are mentioned. The book doesn’t specifically mention ammunition, but I wonder if BH possibly could be “Bofors Hungary”.
The Swedish cities Halmstad and Hãlsingborg aren’t mentioned in the 1646-1946 book, and it’s doubtful if they have anything to do with Bofors.

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What is “Hungary” in Swedish? In Hungarian it starts with “M”.

Google translate shows it as being Ungern.

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Ungern er correct. I know the suggestion of Bofors Hungary is far-fetched, but the idea that a factory in Hungary manufactured cases on behalf of Bofors to be supplied to England might be slightly plausible.


Thanks for the information. I obtained the identification of ADK as Arme Depot Karlsborg from another collector on the British ordnance forum BOCN, however I defer to greater knowledge and will amend my records.

Thanks for the information on the Bofors factory Vidar. This explanation that the factory couldn’t keep up with demand and contracted out production under their name sounds entirely plausible. Especially as the year 1938 corresponds. Whether it was Hungary or not doesn’t really matter (I will find out eventually), as it confirms that this case is of Bofors origin.

If it specifically mentions Hungary in the Bofors book as a country that bought the guns and was a potential source for the contracted ammunition, I wonder if they used BH as an indication of the source for the end user? Because of the British nomenclature and acceptance marks on the case, this one was intended for British use. Would it not make sense to use “H” for Hungary in English for the British to understand that this was Hungarian made ammo?

I’m just happy to have a fairly rare case as I specifically collect 40mm L60 Bofors stuff.

The thing is that at this time Hungary was buying 40x311R ammo from Enzessfeld in Austria.
I doubt they then had capacities to produce for others while buying needed stocks abroad.

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I have a crazy suggestion. Is it possible that BH with arrow is actually BII with arrow? Like Bofors with Roman 2, maybe to indicate a secondary source of supply.
Regardless, this piece is a great find. I’ll keep an eye on things like this. I am attending 3 gun shows in Pennsylvania tomorrow, 3 in 1 day. Who knows.

What is the V-shaped sign in a circle between 102 and BH on the Primer ?

“When Great Britain initially purchased the M36 Bofors gun in 1937 they also purchased 500,000 rounds of ammunition”
Bofors of Sweden was still delivering ammo when the war broke out.

I have seen a British document stating that 40mm ammo had to be assembled and quality assured in Sweden. But it did not rule out Hungarian components.

On the other hand Bofors and 100+ subcontractors in Sweden.
But from the top of my mind, I can only add Marieberg as producer of cases.

BTW - Do anyone know when the last 40mm guns arrived in UK from Sweden before the war?


Admittedly Just guessing here -
I understands the Hungarian export business was a way to get foreign free currency.
and thus if the trade balance with Austria was favorable it might been an idea to import in Reich Mark and export in GBP.
Hungary did export at least 68 40mm guns to Sweden in 1938 and 44 to Finland in 1939

Or that Hungarians could pull cases but not produce complete rounds in sufficient numbers?

I know that cases in 37 and 40mm was a major production bottleneck for Bofors


Maybe, but I also do not recall any Hungarian 40x311R pre 1940 cases made for own use. Means maybe they still had not the ammo production meeting own demands while gun production had worked off the own orders and was free to export what ever was possible.
Though odd to see Sweden was buying the own design from abroad then.

GraemeD, here is the page from the Bofors book. Yes, Hungary (Ungern) is mentioned here.

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Bofors letter:

Brittish acceptance:

Kind Regards


Amazing documentation John, thank-you!

I think that pretty much confirms that my BH stamped case dated 7.38 was made in Hungary as a Bofors sub-contract, and was in fact probably part of the first batch of 20,000 rounds promised for August 1938. Fantastic!



At the Time Bofors excused delays of deliveries to Swedish armed forces with lack of trained workforce.
I think the simple fact was that Export orders had harder fines for delays, while Swedish army where more negotiable. And possibly Hungarian production cost less…

And the Bofors license business was very extensive, sone 1000+ guns.
(Vidars quote says more than 100 MSEK during 38-39,
and at 85k for each gun (But not all delivered before war started) )

/John T.