7.92x57 "Z St 34 42"


#1

My understanding is that WWII German ammo plant letter codes are meant to hide factory identity. Since Zbrjovka Brno used “z” before the war, how is using “z” during the war confusing to the enemy?


Mystery head stamp from German occupation
#2

This wasn’t, in my view, done to confuse the enemy. Rather, at least a goodly part of the production of 7.9 x 57 and 9 x 19 mm 08 ammunition was a contract for Sweden. It probably was done so that a neutral country ordering ammunition from a Czech firm would not become privy to the identity of the German military code they were using, de facto.

There are box labels (Swedish) for the “Z” rounds with German military headstamp format, as well as for “SB” (Sellier & Bellot) using the same format, and they appear on a wall chart of 8 mm (diameter) ammunition used in the Swedish service. I have this chart, and I used to have boxes for Z and SB 7.9. I have never seen the box for the “Z” headstamped 9 mm P-08 (Patrone 08 in this case, not “Pistole 08”), but most of the specimens I know of were originally found in Sweden. It is much, much scarcer than the 7.9 equivalent. I have only seen lot 1 of 1942 on the 9 mm, as I recall. That is not a claim that it is the only existing lot, although I don’t know of others.

Other sources have claimed use of this ammunition by the Czech and Slovak police, for internal use only, and with the German SS, but I have seen no documentation to prove either case. Again, virtually all of the ammo in both calibers, and with both Z and SB headstamps, that I have been able to track to its source came out of Sweden, with the box labels and the paper trail (wall chart in this instance) to prove it.


#3

John, who ever claimed these to be for internal police use is guessing and has too much “SS” on his narrow mind (we all know there is too many of such people).

It was an official order that ammunition exported to countries not being war allies had to bear the commercial factory markings (certainly to keep the German military codes secret as the buyer would know who the manufacturer in Germany was).
This was also done with exports to Spain.


#4

So this ammo was made in German controlled Brno (Brunn) for export to Sweden. Why would the Third Reich be wasting precious resources on a country who was neutral right in the middle of a difficult war?


#5

Vlad - simply a matter of money, I am sure. By the middle of the War, Germany was running out of money - that is, their gold supply was getting low. Also, they were getting a lot of products from Sweden, as were allied countries as well. For Sweden, selling to Germany was probably a case of self-defense. As long as they took a fairly neutral posture, and were of any use at all to the Reich, Germany was happy to leave them alone. Sweden had a strong, well trained and well armed, by the standards of the day, military establishment, even though it was basically a Reserve force, with only a small nucleus of “professional” military to act as cadre. They are a fairly large country as well. Germany was spread plenty thin during the war, and expecially as late as 1942 did not need another country to attack.

In short, trade with Sweden helped establish a two-way flow of goods and therefore reduced the strain on Germany’s budget. I suspect ammunition imports by Sweden were probably small potatoes compared to other products. They had, as you know, a very large ammunition manufacturing establishment, with at least five factories supplying small arms ammunition (perhaps more - my experience with WWII Swedish factories is pretty much limited to production of the 9 mm m/39
cartridge, produced at factories 24, 26, 27 and 32 in those years. I know Factory 25 produced 6.5 x 55 ammo, but that’s about as far as I can go without more research than I have time for right now).

Remember, both Sweden and the Third Reich were capitalistic societies to a point, although both countries had some aspects of socialism in their governments - National Socialism in the case of Germany.


#6

John, let me correct you a bit.
Sweden and Spain were not regular customers but delivered vital goods and in particular ores.

Spain had tungsten and was the sole German source for it, later in the war the Allies managed to corrupt the Spanish to cease deliveries and the German industry had to develop special steel alloys for
AP cores etc. - also a reason why existing AP ammunition was withdrawn and the tungsten carbide cores were regained for more vital purposes.

Sweden delivered iron ore and was Germany’s main supplier.

Means Spain and Sweden were very important for the German industry and their “wishes” had a very different status compared to many others which tried to obtain German arms at that time and had nothing to offer but money. As often in times of shortages trade is going back to basics, means swapping one good for another.


#7

In the beginning it was an export order to Sweden. If I remember well, about 40 Million rounds. The order should be made by two factories. (Z and SB)

Somewhere in 1942/43 Berlin decided stopping the shipments. The rest of the cases were loaded for using by the Germans. This is the reason why I consider it as a German head stamps.

Please note the case ID in the label.

Rgds
Dutch


#8

As to the use of “Z” and “SB” ammo by the SS, there is proof both in dug-up cartridge cases and single rounds of “live” ammo found in the Northern sector (Armee Gruppe Nord) of the Campaign in Russia(1941-42) and also in Milsurp 7,9mm ammo sold by the Ukraine in the Late 1990s ( full cases, typical Czech manufacture labels).

BTW, “Z” is Not ZB-Brno (Brunn) but the original Jiri Roth Factory of ?Bratislava?, and then bought by ZB in 1936, and moved to Povasky/Banska Bystrica (Slovakia) alongside the “dou” Rifle Factory ( and became, for German ordnance, also “dou” for ammunition. Please correct me if I confused the German codes… ( “Circle-M” up to 1935/6, “Z” to 1943/4 and German Code 1939-45)

AS mentioned before, Large quantities of ammo was sold to Sweden (along with the Kar98ks…M39) in exchange for SKF (Svenska Kugeln Fabrik) Ball and Roller bearings, and of course, Swedish Iron ore (which had been the preferred Ore for Krupp to make Rifle Ordnance Steel for Mauser, going back to the 1880s)…This was shipped by Narrow Gauge electrified railway (3’6") from Sweden to Narvik, and then shipped to Northern Germany along the Norwegian coast. Many other items were “traded” with Sweden for strategic resources.

Spain supplied Tungsten, and Pitchblende (Uranium) to the Reich, in return for Armaments and Technical assistance in the Post-SCW recovery…the KriegsMarine also had several U-Boot Bases in Northern Spain.

Doc AV


#9

EOD - Thanks for the added information. I am not sure it is a correction, though. I think that is basically what I said. Germany saved “hard money” (gold, foreign currancy reserves. etc.) by trading merchandise, in this case, 7.9 x 57 and 9 mm P-08 ammunition to Sweden. I think we are saying about the same thing, except your answer, and that of Doc Av, are much more detailed than was mine and again, for that, thank you.

As to use of the ammo by SS soldiers, I can’t comment on that because I don’t know the source of the information about dug-up fired cases. I have had, or do have, boxes like those Dutch shows as well as the Swediah Wall Chart showing this ammunition, albeit with a slight mistake in the headstamp drawing (four lines separating the four pie

ces of information, probably a mistake made because typical Swedish headstamps of the period had those separating lines).

Sweden made very little 7.9 x 57 mm ammo themselves, and did have K98k rifles they acquired from Germany as Doc Av said, so that was probably needed. I am not sure why they accepted at lerast one delivery of 9 mm 08 ammo, although a couple of Swedish friends have told me that it was felt that any commerce that kept Germany “friendly” was good insurance against what happened to Denmark and Norway.
That is not necessarily documented.

Well, an interesting though horrible period in World History. I am sure just the commercial dealings between neutrals and both the allies and the axis can (and perhaps have) fill many books.


#10

John, you may remember that Sweden used the Walther “Heerespistole” what was a variant of the P-38. I assume the 9x19 ammunition was for these pistols.

Sweden also imported several other larger caliber systems like 20mm AA guns (Rheinmetall), 20mm AT rifles (Solothurn), 37mm AT guns (Rheinmetall) and a 210mm gun (Skoda).
At least plenty of 20x138B ammunition was supplied to Sweden (without the WH factory codes).

Also not to forget that Krupp was a shareholder of Bofors and the Swedish manufacturer of tanks was a German subsidiary (I am too lazy to digg my files for all the names - sorry). Also Heinkel had an own aircraft factory in Sweden which was dissolved before the war due to Swedish law and arms exports etc…


#11

One slight error in Doc’s facts: The Railway bringing ore to Narvik are of the standard gauge 4 feet 8½ inces (1435mm).
Soren


#12

EOD - yes, the “z” 9 mm rounds were probly for the P39 (The Walther Heeres Pistole) delivered to Sweden in 1939 and therefore so designated by them. The initial ammunition supplied in 1939 was likely the DWM commercial rounds with headstamp B DWM B 480C. That headstamp is found on recycled brass used to make various Swedish rounds that were loaded on any available cases - Dummy rounds, blanks, gallery loads. A followup shipment with the headstamp 2 DWM 40 B was possibly made in 1940 to Sweden. The only round with this headstamp that I, personally, have ever been offered came from a friend in Sweden to me in the 1970s. I have never seen one offiered for sale at a show or offered to me for sale in trade since then. That doesn’t imply that none have been traded of course. I can only speak to its scarcity from my own experience. I have no documentation of any type, including reloaded cases in other Swedish loads, for that cartridge, however, other than mine was found in Sweden.

Regarding the overall situation of business between the third Reich and Sweden, I probably did not make clear in my original postings that since the subject of this thread was the Czech rounds from c.1942, my answer was based only and completely on that time frame. I was well aware of the 1939 and 1940 contracts for small arms and ammunition. Sweden even had, at the beginning of the war, some Thompson SMGs, designated by them as the Kulsprutepistol M40, and covered in the Swedish Military Manual “Vissa Vapen.” I am also aware that the financial situations were quite different just those few years earlier. Also, by 1942, Sweden was producing large quantities of their own 9mm m/39 loading in factories 24, 26, 27 and 32. Hence my idle and speculative question, more to myself than anybody, about why they needed to buy any 9 mm ammo in 1942.

As I get older, I am poorer and poorer at explaining myself and making answers that are complete and understandable. I apologize for that.


#13

Mausernut, you are correct…by the 1940s, the railwayline was standard Gauge (4’8-1/2") but as Originally Built in the 1860s by a Scottish Engineer, it was 3’6"’…the economy of construction in NG was noted in the planning for the Queensland Gov’t Railways, in 1864-65, which also adopted the 3’6" gauge as the best solution for a large, decentralised Colony with little resources in Cash – when the Colony was declared in 1859, the Treasury held 3d (Three-pence)…and we (the Tax Payers) have been paying the cost of the original railway ever since…

Back to the Narvik railway, I think they upgraded the gauge to standard when it was electrified in the 1920s or so. We should ask some of our Norvegian colleagues about it…BTW, the ill-fated “Narvik Raid” in 1940, by a combined British and French Force was to destroy the Railway and the Port Facilities of the Iron Ore… a rather Pointless exercise, as the Germans soon rebuilt what damage was caused.

Doc AV

PS, most of the evidence on “Z” and “SB” ammo on the Eastern Front has appeared on Gunboards over several years along with the infamous “DWM SS-TV” headstamped cases and ammo and other ammo from FN etc; also the Photos of Czech standard ammo crates of “Z” and “SB” ammo from Ukrainian sources in the 1990s shows that large quantities of this ammo was to be found on the Eastern Front in the 1941-43 Period, in areas known to be used by the SS Polizei and the Waffen SS…and some of the fired cases have the Oval ZB26 firing Pin mark , a gun typically used by SS troops.


#14

The cartridges headstamped dou. were made at Povaszka Bystrica. The place having a name beginning with “Banska” is somewhere else and not a part of this story. Jack


#15

The plants came in March 1939 without any damage in German hand. The weapons and ammunition they found was mostly took by the SS. The ammo plants came under Heeresverwaltung. The priority was Army, Air force, Navy and at the end SS. The theory is that these plants made ammo to Czech specifications so they don’t have to give them to the German OKH.
You must make a difference between Czech and German style head stamps.

@ John, Unfortunately I have never seen a 9mm export “Z” label. It could be made for Sweden for the Pistols delivered, The M39 was a little heavy loaded for a pistol.
Anyway, the cartridges made with a “Z” head stamp was made with the old technology. ”St”
The Germans became the round with the new case. “St+”

Rgds
Dutch


#16

Dutch - Thanks for the picture of the “Z” and “dou” headstamps for lot 1 of 42. It is nice to see them together. I have the “Z” headstamp, but as you know, other than in Makarov, I don’t collect lots and dates generally speaking, although I have cheated in a few places in my collection. I honestly don’t know if I have a lot 1 of 42 with “dou” headstamp or not. Not important for me to have one, but nice to have the picture.

Was lot 1 of 42 the only lot known for the 9 mm in question (Z ST 3 42)? Unlike the 7.9 x 57, with many lots, I don’t recall seeing any other with the 9mm.


#17

[quote=“DocAV”]Mausernut, you are correct…by the 1940s, the railwayline was standard Gauge (4’8-1/2") but as Originally Built in the 1860s by a Scottish Engineer, it was 3’6"’…the economy of construction in NG was noted in the planning for the Queensland Gov’t Railways, in 1864-65, which also adopted the 3’6" gauge as the best solution for a large, decentralised Colony with little resources in Cash – when the Colony was declared in 1859, the Treasury held 3d (Three-pence)…and we (the Tax Payers) have been paying the cost of the original railway ever since…

Back to the Narvik railway, I think they upgraded the gauge to standard when it was electrified in the 1920s or so. We should ask some of our Norvegian colleagues about it…BTW, the ill-fated “Narvik Raid” in 1940, by a combined British and French Force was to destroy the Railway and the Port Facilities of the Iron Ore… a rather Pointless exercise, as the Germans soon rebuilt what damage was caused.
[/quote]

Just for the record; ‘Ofotbanen’ between Kiruna and Narvik was originally built with standard gauge from the beginning.

morten