32 round boxes?- 303


#1

Why was .303 Britt packed in 32 round boxes?


#2

What’s a BREN mag capacity?


#3

Nothing to do with the Bren Gun, everything to do with “Rules of Musketry” in Infantry training.

The Infantryman’s course of fire was Ten Rounds Application, Ten Rounds
Moving Target,( or “snap shooting” ) and Ten Rounds Rapid, plus two initial “sighters”…Totals 32 rounds. Each man collected one packet of ammo and then proceeded to shoot his course of fire, under the supervision of the Sgt Major…according to the sequence of Targets.

It also had to do with the design of the Existing Wooden Ammunition Chest in service.
The standard chest would hold 768 cartridges in 32 round, nested packets ( see Pakistani POF chests with tin liner) or 1248 in 48 round loose -pack packets. (The 48 round packet was used by RAF and Infantry Bren Gun supply–Brens were also supplied from clipped ammo in bandos, there was NO “particular” packet for Bren Guns.

The Combat tin & plywood can could hold 288 in 32 round packets, or 300 in 50 round, clipped in Bandoleers.

Although WW II .303 ammunition packaging is fairly standard ( 32 round, 48 round, and 50 round Bandoleers) there existed also 20 round packets ( US Contract) and 15 round wedge-shaped packets ( Battlefield salvage,& repacks the packets were WW I 7,62 Russian empty packets left over from the Tsarist contract).

WW I packaging is an unknown country, as very few packets have survived…Most ammo was in “Wrappers” ( ten rounds, paper tied with string) but clipped ammo was issued in cloth bandoleers once the war was underway.
Australia packed Mark VI in wrappers throughout WW I ( didn’t make Mark VII until very late in the war ( 1918-1919). US contract ammo was supplied in 20 round flat packets ( 2x10).

Australia also packed in a 35 round nested box for some years in WW II ( uncommon)
Vickers ammo was usually belted “in the Field” when using the “stripped” belt ( traditional Vickers/Maxim type belt) but by 1942-43, Vickers ammo was supplied pre-belted in the woven “stripless” Belt ( use and lose) ( 1x 250 round belt per Plywood-tin liner can, two cans per steel chest.

The arranging of ammo packets to match MG magazine capacity is not a British characteristic, outside of the 10 round wrapper for the Lee-Enfield 10 round magazine it is better seen by the French ( 8 round Wrapper for the Lebel Tube loader, wrapper of several 3 round clips for Berthier) and the Germans: 5 round clips ( 15) in carton, or loose; Carton fitted into ammo pouch. Same for the Italians: 18 round (3 clips) fitted the ammo pouch.
The Germans went the other way, their 16 round 9mm Para carton ( 2 Pistol mags) became the basis for the Magazine capacity of SMGs ( 32 round Snail drum, and then 32 round Schmeisser M28 and later types of SMG ( but for jam prevention, 30 rounds usually loaded)…and the Brits copied the Sten mag from the Germans, (nominally 32, but 28 usual filling…and British 9mm packets were usually 35???or 64 rounds. I know that Aussie 9mm Packets were 35 nested packets in the 1960s and later.
British revolver packets were 12 rounds. ( just like Italian M34 9x17 packets were 7 rounds ) …Swedish packets of 9mm were one 36 round clip.

SO there is no hard and fast rule over the past century. Some countries happened to use a standard package which matched a particular magazine capacity, or was a sub-multiple of one ( ie, a BAR 20 round mag could be filled from 4 rifle clips, or one 20 rd. Packet; etc. The German MP44 could be filled from 2x15 round packets, or two magazines from 3x 20 round packets ( both types were made during WW II.
The Russians were much more practical; 7,62x25 for PPSh 71-round drums was packed in a paper wrapper hoilding 71 rounds ( of course, if you had stick Mags for your Pepeschka, you had loose ammo everywhere.)

But by and large, in properly made packages (not counting “paper wraps”). it was the magazine which usually followed the Package, and not the other way.

Regards,
Doc AV


#4

Doc to you have a link to “Rules of Musketry”?
Thank you.


#5

I believe ( although its a chicken and egg question) the 32 rnd boxes fitted nicely into the ammo pouches of the 37 pattern webbing

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937_Pattern_Web_Equipment


#6

As did Mills Bombs (Grenade No.36), a folded up and tied bandoleer of 50 rounds (two of these) and other soldier’s items.

The Pattern 37 Web Pouches (Normal narrow Infantry ones) were designed from the items to be carried, not the other way around.
BTW, Bren Gunners had a Wider Pouch ( about 30% wider) for the Curved magazines and Possibly the 48 round (Loose) ammo packet, which happened to fit. Happily, this wide Pouch also fitted the standard double set of mess tins ( one inside the other, handles folded flat).

regards,
Doc AV


#7

And the later (58?) webbing ammo pouches took a house brick nicely in each as I learned to my cost in my TA days. Six miles every morning with full kit and two full water bottles.


#8

In the Netherlands we used a truck. -:)


#9

[quote=“DocAV”] …plus two initial “sighters”…Totals 32 rounds…
Regards,
Doc AV[/quote]

Depending on who was running the Range, sometimes at the start of the days shooting the command would be “2 Rounds… Warmers into the Bank”.


#10

[quote=“Armourer”][quote=“DocAV”] …plus two initial “sighters”…Totals 32 rounds…
Regards,
Doc AV[/quote]

Depending on who was running the Range, sometimes at the start of the days shooting the command would be “2 Rounds… Warmers into the Bank”.[/quote]

A practice still common with target shooters


#11

[quote]A practice still common with target shooters[/quote]That’s right, except we use them for establishing the cold bore offset. Nowadays some british precision matches have a “cold bore starter”.
Soren