7,9 Mauser from DWM for Greece

Perhaps I am wrong.

As far I am informed, England imported in 1939, 8mm Mauser cartridges from Greece for the BESA MG.

In the UK a new factory was build to make this cartridge.

Now here is a DWM round from 1939 made for Greece.

They exported and imported at the same time?

Can somebody please explain?

DWM (2)

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Just a thought, but perhaps they bought some rifles or MGs at that time from Germany, and the contract required the purchase of a certain quantity of ammunition?

Germany at the time was in dire need of any type of foreign currency. I believe the Germans would have been keen to supply the Greeks with anything they would be willing to pay for, far from imposing on them any pressure.
In my view it could be the Greeks knowingly acted as an intermediary for the British. The British could get the desired German standard 7.9 mm ammunition for testing in the Besa without losing face due to buying from an increasingly aggressive Germany.

I have no idea why Greece bought 7.9 ammunition from DWM in 1939, but I do not think this was the ammunition supplied to England by Greece. The DWM headstamp for Greece seems to be very rare. I had never heard of it until this thread, and I had a pretty fair “Greek Collection” of 7.9x when I collected that caliber.

The ammunition supplied to England, I believe, was that with the P C H 39 and 40 headstamps and with PC 39 IZ and PC 40 IZ headstamps. These are fairly common rounds found in ball with purple primer seals, Tracer with red primer seals and AP with green primer seals and a green tip. These are all British ID colors. There is even an AP with a W added in front of the “IZ” marking, evidently done in England after the fact.

I cannot provide photos as I no longer have the cartridges. The information is from my collection catalog of 7.9 x 57, which I retained as part of my library when I sold the collection.

John Moss

Agreed since England was at War in 1939 with Germany I really do not think England “Back Doored” this ammo. They would not give Hitler even once Pence while fighting against Germany and could have made themselves. I think the foreign currency is a reason, as well as Hitler was likely trying to buy off Greece to sympathize with the Axis powers. Opinion only of course.

Willem, thanks for sharing. Please, can you post a side picture of the cartridge?

Greece had a balanced relationship with both England and Germany until the Italian attack on Greece on October 1940, that placed the country in a strange position, because it was not an ally of England, nor at war with Germany, who actually offered to mediate between Greece and Italy.

Greece was allied to England only as long as she fought against Italy, so this determined the future of the Greek-German relations and culminated in the German Invasion of April 1941.