20x80mm RB


This was found in Kent (UK) many years ago. I believe that the P490 headstamp indicates that it was made by the Hugo Schneider A.-G. factory in Germany in 1940. Is the 10 a month or lot code? If the latter, does anyone know when in 1940 it was made? What is the significance of the fainter “h” and “54” in the bell-like symbol?


20mm German

Looks like an overstamped “hla?” original code & I think, but could be wrong 10 is a lot code. Again I may be wrong (never say never…) but the Germans at this time “never” used month dates on military production.


The “bell shaped 54” is a styalised eagle and is the acceptance stamp by inspector (or office) 54 for the Luftwaffe, similar to the Waffenamt stamp on army ammunition.



Don’t think so. I have this FFM case from the Spanish civil war and is overstamped with a “g”.


The “54 Eagle” and the lower case letter ( h or g) opposite, are in the same Bunter font, and I would assumne the letter is a subset of the “54” group WaA inspectorate, as used before the “WaA Eagle Nr.” came into use in late 1940 for large cal. ammo.

As shown by the SCW example, the Letter is part of the inspection symbol.

D oc AV
AV Ballistics


The letters stamped behind the lot are the fractions of the lot or “sub lot”. Please correct me to the correct term if anyone knows.

The acceptance stamp as said by Tony is an eagle. What looks like a bell around the figures is a “L” for “Luftwaffe” (air force).

Pete, no “hla” there.


I agree with Schneider, who along with DocAV and EOD beat me to the punch with an answer. I don’t think it is an overstamped hl- code. The small lower case letter is common after the lot number on cases larger than 7.9x57mm. I think it is a sub-lot indicator or something similar. The 3 letter codes for hla, hlb and hlc didn’t start until 1941 on 7.9mm cases. Of course this is not a 7.9mm case but the P490 (wg) code would pre-date the 3 letter codes. You will see letters following the component lot numbers on many box labels.

Since I already have this scan loaded in Photobucket, I might as well use it as an example of the use of sub-lot numbers. By the way, this is not the box for the Patronen 318 shown. The headstamp for the box is identical except for the lot/sub-lot “61h” instead of “53d”

edited to add box label


I was talking about the “h” between the “10” and the “P490” if you look at the side of the P and the edge of the 4 I see 2 marks which are of the same thin letters as the “h” and looked to me like the remains of an overstamped “hla”, but if you say no hla that works for me. Thanks. Your certainly right Phil about the 3 letter code post dating the letter/ numerical code.

However all this begs the next

schneider notes a overstamped “g” so what’s the deal with the “h” & the “g” ??? Is it a sub-lot as Phil puts forth?

Doc AV I’m missing something in your “As shown by the SCW example, the Letter is part of the inspection symbol.” line I don’t see either a h or a g in the waffenamt, I I guess you mean the letter by it’s self being part. I have seen letters in fine line like this next to Luftwaffe ammo lot numbers so that make sense.

edited one time to think through this


In municion.org there’s a headstamp from a 20 x 138B with the letter f:

P181 WaA22 36 18 f

municion.org/phpBB3/download … &mode=view


If the “g” and “h” are indicators of a sub-lot, batch or whatever the proper term is, as I think they are, there should also be cases with all the letters that precede those for the lots shown.

I mentioned before that while these letters do not appear in 7.9x57mm headstamps, they do appear in the box labels. They may be just an expression for a numerical portion of the main lot but I don’t really know.

They are most commonly found with the lot number for primers. Here are some examples.


If in fact the letter suffixes go from a through j (including i) then perhaps they represent ten decimal divisions of the overall lot. None of the example shown or mentioned here go beyond j. Just saying. Jack


Jack - interesting point! I know that the letter “i” was used. I will check to see if I can find one after “j”.


I did a quick look at my photo library and except for a couple of exceptions all the letters are from a to j.

Exception no. 1 - DWM (P28) used both lower case and upper case letters and I’m thinking that the letter that looks like a lower case l is actually an upper case i?

Exception no. 2 – The P797 Platzpatronen label is printed “S.K.D. 69. L. 63 a-k.39” and I don’t quite know how to interpret that.

Exception no. 3 – The P69 label is printed “S.K.D. 1026. K. 34” and in this case I think the K is the old year code for 1934 (5 year old primers!)


Well, not a specialist, but what i can say for sure with 20x138B cases i observed:
-no letters for 1935 (only manufacturer “P” for this year with a M inspector stamp)
-From 1936 to 1942 (last year i have), letters b c d e f g h i k q t w (various manufacturers)

And for cases of 20x80rb from 1940 (AT, BK and CK manufacturer) letters e g h j k l

hope this can help



Maybe the division of primer lots into sub-lots indicated by letters a-j was done (with certain exceptions) but this pattern doesn’t necessarily hold true for cartridge cases. Perhaps there’s a small research project trying to peck its way out of the egg shell! Jack


PLEASE be my guest!!


The label for the Patronen 318 has sub-lot letters for the loading firm lot number [1942 cdo 3 b], cartridge case lot number [1941 aux 61 h which is also in the headstamp], bullet lot number [1941 cdo 36 h] and core lot number [Kp. Br. 1940/48 d].

It would be nice to find an original document that explains how and why these letters were to be used but that is probably asking for too much.


While looking for something else I ran across this drawing that gives the German name of what I have been told is the sub-lot that has been talked about in this thread.
So, loosely translated “Lieferungs Nr. u. Ratenbuchstabe” would be “Lot Number and Sub-lot Letter”