25x163 Hotchkiss Rimless with Waffenamt overstamp

I got this round today in London’s famous Portobello Antiques market for

From Rapid Fire: the Development of Automatic Cannon, Heavy Machine Guns and their Ammunition for Armies, Navies and Air Forces:

"During the 1920s and 1930s Hotchkiss conceived the need for lightweight anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons with appreciably more hitting power than the 20mm calibre could achieve but with more mobility than the 37mm guns. The 25mm calibre was selected and, rather surprisingly, two different cartridges were introduced.

The larger of these was the 25x194R for the manually-loaded Mle 1934 anti-tank gun (a shortened cavalry weapon - the Mle 1935 - and the lightweight Mle 1937 were also designed to fire this round). This was a powerful cartridge firing a 320g projectile at up to 960m/s, producing more than double the muzzle energy of the most powerful contemporary 20mm cannon, the 20x138B Solothurn. There was no doubt that the Hotchkiss, which was also fitted to light armoured vehicles, was effective against most mid-1930s tanks, although it was of course soon outclassed by the growth in tank armour thickness. The British army did acquire some in 1939 and although they were used mainly for training some saw active service in France and Norway. They were not popular, however, because of their marginal effectiveness (by then) and fragility when being towed.

For the anti-aircraft weapon Hotchkiss developed a different cartridge, the rimless 25x163, used in the fully-automatic Mitrailleuse de 25mm sur affut universel Hotchkiss. By the start of hostilities this was available in two versions with different mountings, the Mle 1938 and Mle 1939, weighing 950 and 1150 kg respectively. As described in the chapter on naval weapons, this gun was also adopted by the Japanese Navy in various mountings."

Falcon: Is it possible the German stamp is actually WaAD20? I ask because the German ordnance inspection team responsible for accepting French-made small arms early in World War Two was assigned the number WaAD20. Later in the war such inspections were carried out by WaA251. JG

No, it is definitely “WaAD22” on bath case and projectile. Sorry for being ignorant, but what does “WaA” actually stand for? Would this calibre have been classed as small arms ammunition if it was over 20mm?

On another note, was the design of the 30x170 Oerlikon KCB (Steel cased) and 30x170 RARDEN (Brass cased) based on the 25x163 Hotchkiss round? I couldn’t help but notice the virtually identical base diameter and extractor groove design of the Hotchkiss compared to the KCB/RARDEN.

Cheers EOD, that explains it.

Today I repaired the neck on this case. Not only was it belled, but it was also cracked. I got someone I know to anneal it, then hammered it round a length of 25mm round steel bar with a plastic mallet. I then soldred up the cracks in the neck from the inside using a soldering iron and soft solder. Hopefully the projectile will now stay in place.

EOD - I was of the impression for years, and from reading many documents, that the initials WaA stood for simply “Waffen Amt” as in “Heereswaffenamt.”

I know that overseeing a lot of German war production was the Heeresabnahmestelle which as far as I know was a subsidiary of the Heereswaffenamt.

Are you sure that the initials itself WaA stand for “Wehrmachtsabnameamt?” This is totally new information from everything I have read, even in German books. If it is true, what was the relationship of the Wehrmachtsabnameamt to the Heereswaffenamt and the Heeresabnahmestelle, if any?

John Moss

John, I was wrong obviously!!! I did use a vocabulary without checking.

Does anyone know who the makers’ mark “RIS” was used by?



I see that nobody answered Falcon about the meaning of the code RIS on French-German 25 mm Hotchkiss Mle 1938. As this question has been frequently asked, here is the latest :

The code RIS is encountered both on 25 mm Mle 38 brass cased and also bonderized-steel ones. For a long time, it was unidentified even here in France, as it never showed up in any official French code listing.

The so-called ATELIER DE RIS was a subsidiary of a metallurgical firm from Herouville, Normandy, related to CARTOUCHERIE NATIONALE, an important shotshell maker from the pre-WWII period, owned by a Mr. DOMME, who emigrated to Argentina in 1939 and never came back.
Cartoucherie Nationale is one of the predecessors of the TUNET shotshell producer, in Toulouse.

Mr DOMME bought in 1938 a plant in the town of Limoges, central France, in order to make 25 mm Hotchkiss ammunition for the French Army, according to the new Defense plan, but only 10 000 rounds had been delivered before June 1940, when France signed an Armistice with the Germans.

Every activity was then stopped, until 1941,when it resumed, with the authorisatin of German Authorities, not for ammunition but for spares of air motors destined to the GNOME -RHONE aircraft engines works.
In October 1942, Then the Germans authorised the making of 70 000 shells for the Vichy’ Armistice Army which had been allowed in the so-called “Free Zone”.

Occupation of this Free Zone in October 1942 resulted in a total German control of the plant, and in March 1943, a WaA controller named KLIENGERS took his duty, production being devoted to 25 mm HE , 37 mm A/P and 47 mm A/P shells for the Wehrmacht.

A C.I.O.S. report from june 1945 describes the whole process, but curiously does not say a word about case production. Nevertheless, the making of brass, then steel cases is well known in 1942 and 1943, the brass ones being the remains of a Vichy’s order, the steel ones being made for Germany, a supervisor from HAK (Hanseatische Kettenwerk GmbH, in Hamburg-Langenhorn, well known for their projects of “economical” 8 mm Lebel steel cased ammunition ,made in France for the Wehrmacht) having been named.

As quoted before, the brass-cased rounds were obviously appropriated from the Vichy’s order, but the steel models definitely correspond to a German request, with a typ

Thanks for the info Phillipe.

I finally got the fuse on this thing undone today. I just gripped it as hard as I could and twisted and it unscrewed. How does this fuse work? as it is completely hollow inside with the a hole at the nose sealed with a copper disc. The fuse screws into a second brass insert with a tiny 2mm hole in the centre. I am unsure how this insert is attached to the steel shell body. I know the shell is empty btw, as you can feel all the way down inside it through the hole with a piece of stiff wire.