1945 Twin Cities .30 M2 crate


Here’s one of those cartridge related items that could create a storage nightmare in a hurry if one were to develop an interest in them. Based on the markings, this crate was repacked at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in July 1945. It originally was marked for 1500 cartridges; this was painted over and remarked for 1140 cartridges. I had originally assumed the crate may have originally held boxed ammo, which might explain the reduced capacity when it was repacked with ammo in bandoleers, but the ‘5 RD. CLIP BANDOLEERS’ portion of the markings looks to be a part of the original stenciling.



Bandoleers usually had six pockets. The T1EGK SAA Box originally held 1500 rounds (25 ea 60 rd bandos). 1140 rounds would have meant fewer bandos (19) or a different bando. Maybe TW was down to their last 1140 rounds. ;)



I think Ray is correct that this was a box that for some reason had only 1140 rounds instead of the normal 1500.

All sorts of explanations are possible-
–ammo returned after partial use in training
–some bandoleers found to be damaged and removed
– some removed in order to give the 1140 number needed to fill a requisition [e.g.- x number of rounds per person authorized for training times number of people in unit = 1140 or 1140 in addition to one or more crates o 1500 rounds.

Note that this is the circa 1945 style crate with natural wood finish and black stenciling.
The previous style was a brown painted crate with yellow stencils.
Before that, they used a brown crate with ammo type stripe (red ball, blue and yellow for AP, etc) and yellow stencils.

This is the M1917 crate used for small arms ammunition of nearly all calibers (.30-06, shotgun, .50 BMG and others)

Several other types were also used for .30-06 as well as other calibers.

These crates lasted until circa late 1945 when the use of “spam cans” began and several spam cans would be placed in a crate specifically sized for the caliber and type of packing (e.g.- .30-06 in cartons or bandoleers, etc)

The spam cans and wooden crates were replaced by use of the metal “ammo cans” in .30 or .50 caliber size, packed four or two respectively in a lightweight wire bound covering.

Some sick people collect these, although therapy may help, but I have not tried it yet.


I had made the assumption that these crates would have always been packed full. The white label on the top is addressed to a shooting club in Michigan, so perhaps 1140 was the number of rounds they wanted, or possibly DOT regs limited the weight per crate.


In my thread on the 20MM cans, Guy made a comment about my storeing beer in one because it was marked ‘LITE’. As a Quality Assurrance Inspector on an IMA (Intermediate Maintenance Activity) in the Navy in the early 90’s I saw the practice of changing quanities on ammo containers quite often. Lot numbers always had to stay seperate so we could not mix them in a container so there were times when ammo would come to use from user units that were not full count. We would paint out the quanity and re-stencil the right number. The word ‘LITE’ was used too, more often in bigger containers. We had a stencil machine in our office that made templates as needed, usually out of file folder material. (Idle or empty file folders were fair game!) I see no reason why other services or maintenance level units would not do the same thing. Just a thought.

A cool box, none the less, but I agree that collecting these things would be a mind-buster if you are looking for logic in their use. (Vulcans should not try it.)


Shotmeister’s description of Navy ammunition operations is exactly true for the US Air Force, of course that only applies to after 1947. The “LITE” boxes by my involvement, 1970s, also included marking one corner with orange paint, since this box was stacked “front, forward, top” and was to be issued first from that lot. Each shop had stencil cutters in 1/2, 3/4 and 1 inch, so that any necessary number, nomenclature, etc. could be made up on the spot.



Countless thousands of rounds of ammunition are still scattered around various training bases that were never turned back in to be re-counted… It was not uncommon for soldiers to toss their blank ammunition into the bushes rather than dirty their weapon and have to clean it. When I attended the USMC NCO academy at Camp Pendleton, CA, We buried our excess blank 5.56 and 7.62 ammunition and recorded the grid location (pre-GPS, ha ha) for future classes to recover should the budget get tight and they not have any ammunition to train with. On another occasion, we burned up many hundreds of rounds of blank 7.62 NATO through an M-60E-3 to “familiarize” everyone in the unit with it’s use. Actually, no one wanted the hassle of going back to the ASP (Ammunition Supply Point) to return a mixed bag of ammunition. I’m sure the ammo techs appreciated it too. Finally, I saw literally tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition buried in-place at the end of the Gulf War (Desert Storm). Everyone was in such a hurry to get the heck out of there and go home, no one wanted to be bothered with turning in ammunition. My unit emptied all of our magazines and belted ammunition into a 55 gal. oil drum and it was buried. I wanted to cry…
Also saw a tractor-trailer FULL of palletized cans of belted 40mm grenades buried with the pallets still on the trailer! A D-7 dozer dug a trench, the trialer was backed into it and the dozer covered everything up. No doubt the ammunition was accounted for as “expended in combat” and the trailer as a “combat loss”. Our tax dollars at work…




Great story! GIs will never change. I used to test the carrying capacity of a USN seabag by seeing how many 45ACP cartridges it would hold without splitting the seams, or splitting my sides while lugging it through the gate.

We need the Chief to tell us how he smuggled those torpedoes out. Or Rick liberating an ICBM. ;)



In Pieces, One bit at a time in a sugar bag of “stray cats” ( From an Old Lithgow story)…the object was a 6-inch Lathe…the remaining stripped bed and headstock was bought by the perp. at auction for “scrap iron”!!!

Doc AV
Brisbane Australia


How’s this for a creative way to satisfy your craving to accumulate stuff (ammo crates in this case), and to keep the wife happy in the process.
These are pictures of a house/gas station made of ammunition crates in Green Cove Springs, Florida, taken just after WW2. Green Cove Springs was the home of Lee Field, a U. S. Navy training airfield. Apparently, wood ammo crates were something they had a surplus of. I suspect the termites may have taken care of this structure within a few of years of its completion.

These pictures are from the State Library and Archives of Florida web site at:
ibistro.dos.state.fl.us/uhtbin/c … Ammunition


Adjacent to the airfield was a “mothball fleet” location at Green Cove Springs where up to 600 U.S. Navy ships, primarily Destroyer Escorts, fast troop transports and LST (Landing Ship Tank/Large Slow Target) were tied up circa 1946-1950s. While many may have been mothballed elsewhere, many were undoubtedly prepared for inactive ship storage at the base by removing all non-essential materials, or fire hazards or ammo or wood. This would result in huge amounts of surplus material being sold, or in many cases just dumped as trash in the local area. Ammo crates included.

Here is a photo of the mothball fleet with some 300 plus ships. (NOTE: The entire U.S. Navy now numbers less than 300 ships, fewer than the number in this photo, although admittedly many in service are large ships like carriers or major amphibious ships or support vessels.)


I had the opportunity to prowl through some mothball fleet ships to plunder them before they were sunk as targets. All sorts of cool stuff there, but no live ammo- at least as far as I could find. They are a truly spooky place, with no lights or ventilation, no internal noise (hum of motors, pumps, etc) as with an active ship.


Yea. Storage nightmare. But they do provide some ambience to a display.
And Ray, it was SAMs, and I was only able to abscond with an orifice cover. Always liked saying that. Orifice cover. :-)