.303 British in Polish Service


Ammo 7,7x56R mm (.303 British) was used in Polish Army in short period in years c,1920-1927 by infantry and air force.

Used type weapons:
karabin angielski typu Enfield Pattern w.14 - rifle Enfield Pattern P14
lkm Lewis wz.15 - MG Lewis model 1915
km Vickers wz.09 and wz.09/18 - HMG Vickers Mark I and Mark III ?

In years 1920 was contracted delivery from Great Britain:
50.000 pcs rifle Enfield Pattern P14
50.000.000 cartridges
other weapons was get from other sources.

Ammo was not produced in Poland but only imported by this period (war production). Probably was other contract for buying from US and French (I’dont have source for this confirm)
Ammo probably was signed like oryginal witout special headstamps and description for Poland.

But I’am confused by description ammo in instruction:

pocisk zwykły - normal ball probably was VII
pocisk przebijający A.P.X.4 - ball armor piercing -??? probably this is headstamps from french ammo
pocisk świetlny S.P.G. - ball tracer - french???
pocisk przebijająco-świetlny T.P. - ball armor piercing tracer - US production?
pocisk zapalający Buckingham - ball incendiary

Headstamps is not problem, but maybe exist some desripition pocket, box, crate ammo from this period ??? Need help for this.

Regards: JB

Dear Pan JB,
This is the first time I have heard of the Republic of Poland using British Weaponry, being pretty well informed on the Use by Poland of Austro Hungarian M95 rifles (8x50R); Imperial Russian Mosin M91 Rifles (7,62x54R; French Lebel and Berthier Rifles ( 8x51R Lebel) and German Mauser Rifles (7,9x57).
Most of Britain’s post WW I deliveries were to the Baltic States, Finland, and consisted of Rifles, MGs and ammo for the Baltics, and Aircraft5 MG and ammo for Finland.

as to the ammunition you have described:
Pocisk zwykly Mark VII Ball, both waerime manufacture and Contract supplied in 1920 ( depends on headstamp)

Pocisk prz.APX 4 Ball armour Piercing: French made cases ( Puteaux Arsenal, Paris) loaded with British Made "Mark
VII W projectiles, supplied by Greenwood and Bately, for use by French Airforce in Lewis Guns.

Pocisk swietlny S.P.G Ball Tracer, by Sparklets Ltd., a British supplier of Tracer ( SP=Sparklets, G= Tracer) Also called when officially adopted by Britain, “Tracer Mark VII G”

Pocisk prz-sw_ T P Unknown maker: there were no makers of combined AP-T in either US or Britiain during WW I.
TP could stand for “Traceuse-Penetrant” ( French for “Tracer-(Armour)” Piecing)…Possibly a post 1918 development.???

Pocisk zap. Buckingham: Buckingham Incendiary, Mark VII B .

It would be interesting to see a Print of this Instruction. Have you asked on the Main Polish Website for Military Rifles and MGs…that is very informative.

I don’t Speak Polish, but I can recognise it in Print, especially the Military Ordnance Terms ( as with the Other Slavonian Language Countries of Eastern and Southern Europe.)

I wonder what happened to all the P14 Enfield Rifles when Poland settled on 7,9mm as its standard calibvre ( at least on the Ground…they kept 7,7 for some Aircraft, both from Czechoslovakia and France, although the Czechs also offered Aircraft with 7,9 guns in them.
Did they get sold to Republican Spain by SEPEWE in the Spanish Civil War?
Were they sold to the Baltic States still in .303/7,7??
Were they taken by the Soviets in 1939 ? ( many of the Baltic States P14s endded up on the Defence of the Ladoga Ice Road,( Leningrad siege) and the Civilian Militia defence of Moskow (1941-42)

You have made an interesting find…thansk to the Internet, this information will go to Collectors and students of the Fate of the Millions of P14s made by the US for Britain, and hardly used during WW I by them…and of course in WWII they were considered a “Second Line Rifle”.

if you wish to discuss further directly,

Brisbane Australia.

This would have been dealt with at Cabinet level within the British Government and thus far I’ve not found any records pertaining to Poland in the relevant minutes or correspondence held at the National Archives in Kew. Records do exist for shipments of munitions and supplies to Finland, White Russian forces and the Baltic Republics so it might be that I’m not looking in the right folders, the catalogue is often less than helpful.

There is a 1920 dated circular, held in the Labour History Archive and Study Centre in Lancashire, about an International Railwaymen’s Conference to discuss the blocking of war materiel to Poland, held under the auspices of the International Transport Workers Federation.

Given that the Poles were fighting against Soviet Russia and that most of these “Labour” organisations were under Communist leadership or influence, this is hardly surprising. It looks like an interesting field of study, I’ll have a poke around when I next get to the Archives.


Not really related other than being British too. In the 1920s Poland also used British made 40mm Vickers AA guns in their navy.
And here the ammo was not WW1 surplus but newly made and did not have British army markings like the broad arrow or the typical “No” designations.

About delivery free equipment from GB

“Transport do kraju sprzętu wojennego przyznanego Polsce przez Wielką Brytanię w 1920 r”
“Transport to the country’s military equipment granted to Poland by the UK in 1920”

Enfield Pattern P14

Was used in years 1921-1924 in 30 Dywizja Piechoty (30 Infantry Division) when was replased by Mauser rifle.

Caliber rifle was not changed

Later rifle P14 was exchanged with :
Latvia in years 1924-1925 - 19.500 pcs
Estonia in years 1928-1929 - 12.500 pcs

others was given for :
Police - 7130 pcs (1925)
and… for KOP (Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza) and military training civil (Przysposobienie Wojskowe)


(1925) Uzbrojenie płatowców i synchronizacja km

photo:Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego

(1939) Widok ogólny strzelnicy podczas zawodów. Rezerwiści strzelają w pozycji leżącej z karabinów Enfield P14
General view of the shooting range during the competition. Reservists shoot lying down with guns Enfield P14

photo: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe



I found info about packing ammo made in France and Great Britain from period WW1 and little later.

But I can’t find info about packing american made ammo from period WW1. Is was similar to english packing???
Little help for this???

Reading the French Article III, it is obvious that French 7,7mm Ammunition was directed entirely to Airforce Use,
by the description of a “98 cartridge Packet” That is the complement of a Lewis Air service MG ( 97 round Pan) or the Darne Air MG ( also a 97-98 round Pan) Used by France during and after WW I, till the introduction of the Mitrailleur M31(?) pour Aviation (Belt Fed.) in 7,5 M24/29 cartridge.

The Footnote describing packets of 20 and 24 rounds of 7,7mm would be for use with all types, as AP etc would be “added” to the Pans, and also for intermingling on Vickers Belts ( still in use in France Aviation after 1919…
There was also a variation mentioned of the types of wooden Packing crates used…these would have been adapted from the standard 8mm Lebel Crate of the 1880s…and the design still used Post WW II for both 7,5mm, and .30 cal ( with differeing contents of course.)

Instruction sur la mitrailleuse Lewis d’aviation. Approuvée le 25 août 1925

page 67-69


1 Like