Here are some aluminum tins with 9mm ammo and first aid pack. Any idea what it is?
Here is a picture of the tins or cans.
The boxes are from the United Kingdom or a country who makes a box like the UK (India, Pakistan). I can’t read the markings to tell the country and since there is no information about the markings on the tins, I can’t tell if they were originally intended for those boxes. They seem to fit well the way they are placed in the tins, so perhaps they are.
Headstamp, we are told, is broad arrow and ‘44’ -nothing more. Curious.
Please check on that headstamp if possible. In 50+ years of collecting 9mm, and time in the UK looking hard for 9mm I have never heard of a 9mm headstamp that is just the Broad Head Arrow.
Please get a photo of the headstamp if possible.
What are the packets labelled “Field Dressing” that is shown in the packet. Were they inside the ammo cans???
Check the original thread at BOCN forum - more pics and info.
It was found in Denmark - may be airdropped for resistance troops.
May be the best would be to contact Anders in Denmark via BOCN
Definitely British, WWII ( the “Arrow” HS was one of the Early ( 1941) headstamps for one of the “New” ROFs established 1941. The HS then changed to a Letter code by 1942/43 ( There is also a “two Arrow” headstamps as well (Mostly seen on .303, both HS).
IN this context, probably used as a “Covert” Source ID, but the presence of the Field dressing sort of Gives the game away.
Shell/Field dressing made in Chesterfield, England.
Canister Strapping latches…same design as those used on Plywood Outer Lined Combat Soldered-top Tins ( 288 Boxed ammo, 300 Rnds Bandolleer, 250 Rnds Vickers Belt).
Aluminium Canisters, resealable; Most Likely Airdrop items, usually packed in a “Arms Container” ( Long Tube with side opening Door).
Doc - The .303 with single and double broad arrow as the primary feature of their headstamps are well known. I do not believe, however, that any such headstamp in 9 mm Para was produced, and will not unless a picture is produced.
Prior to mid-1941, the UK had no pressing need for 9 mm Parabellum-caliber ammunition. The first contracts for the Sterling-Lanchester Mark I were not let until June 13, 1941, although prototypes were made as early as late 1940. Ammunition requirements for these first 9 mm Machine Carbines (SMGs) were filled by a 100 Million round order, I believe to Winchester, in 1941. The first contract for the Sten gun was awarded to the Canadian Long Branch factory in August 1941.
The earliest known British headstamp specific to WWII came in 1941. Canada and Australia did not begin production of the round until 1942, with the Canadian pilot lot having the heastamp DC 42 9mm. The British headstamp was R^L 41, with no “caliber entry” or any other entry at the 6 O’Clock position of the headstamp. This round is known more in dummies and proofs than it is in ordinary ball, to my knowledge. A second headstamp appeared in 1941 from Royal Lab, Woolwich, the maker of the first rounds also, and was R^L 41 9 M/M. The other British factories began production in 1942.
I agree with Lew Curtis that is is highly unlikely that a headstamp in 9 mm Para exists with nothing more than the broad arrow property mark and a date on the headstamp. The proof will be if a picture can be acquired of the headstamp of the ammunition prompting this thread.
By the way, I am speaking above in context with WWII. We all know that Eley made 9 mm very early in the 19th Century, perhaps before WWI, and that Kynoch made various contracts and commercial loadings before WW II. They are not relevant to the question at hand.
Reference: 9mm Headstamp and Case Type Guide, by Lew Curtis, all Volumes
Reference: The Sten Machine Carbine, by Peter Laidler, pages 31-40
Reference: The Guns of Dagenham, Lanchester-Patchett-Sterling, by Peter Laidler and David Howroyd, pages 3 -21
EDITED TO REMOVE SILLY TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS SUCH AS A REFERENCE TO PRODUCTION OF 9MM AMMO IN THE “10TH CENTURY” (PROPERLY THE “20TH CENTURY”), BUT MOST IMPORTANT TO CORRECT THE EGREGIOUS ERROR OF REPORTING THE EXISTENCE OF A 1940 DATED ROYAL LAB, WOOLWICH, HEADSTAMP. THIS ERROR WAS MADE TWICE, BUT THE DATE OF THE SPECIMENS IN QUESTION IS ACTUALLY “41” AND THERE IS NO KNOWN “40” DATED ROUND. I APOLOGIZE TO ALL FOR THE CONFUSION THIS MAY HAVE CAUSED, SINCE THAT DATE WAS CRITICAL TO THE THE ENTIRE DISCUSSION OF MY POSTING. I THANK LEW CURTIS FOR SPOTTING IT. HE SHOULD HAVE LAMBASTED MY CARELESSNESS ON THIS THREAD, BUT HE WAS A GENTLEMAN, AS USUAL, AND NOTIFIED ME OF THE ERROR AT MY HOME.
I forgot to mention that in the case of the bandages found in the cases, while someone may have used them solely for packaging, if this ammo was packed specifically for air drop to Partisans in Europe, they may have been another requested item. Truly sterile wound dressings don’t come easily in the field. It is my impression that mixed packing of items urgently requested by Partisan groups being regularly supplied by the allies by air drop were not unknown.
I have no verification for that opinion. I know that I have read about them over the years - at one time I had a special interest in the Danish group Holgar Dansk - but I don’t have those books anymore and could not find any particular references to shipping practices in my library. As I recall, items like medical supplies, compasses, flash lights, etc. were all asked for, along with weapons and ammunition.
It is also possible that the dressings were merely packing to fill empty space and provide some cushioning, and someone wisely figured it would be best filled by something useful like a dressing instead of normal “filler” material.
For those who have read my posting on this thread that answered Doc Av’s posting, please reread it. I usually don’t write a mention or my editing of one of my postings as I am doing here, but some serious typographical errors were made that changed the entire thrust of the posting, so it should be reread by any interested parties.
John and Lew
Chapeau … you are right - heres the headstamp
Many thanks for chasing this down!
I just sent John an email yesterday saying, “wouldn’t it be nice if that British 9mm really had only a broad arrow for a headstamp.”
Anyway, the headstamp tells a lot about when the cans were used.
It’s been suggested that this is “Stay-behind” supplies, equipment and ammo that was hidden away for the day when the russians came. Until Brezhnev was “elected” as secretary, that was very much a scenario you had to plan for. Those that planned was among others, a Mr Arne Sejr of “The students’ intelligence service” fame (a wartime resistance group) who with his companions in “firmaet” -The Firm, had weapons and ammo along with radio equipment and other supplies secretely stored at mostly private properties, belonging to members of the Firm. Most of it has been removed and destroyed/used up by the Home Guard, but there is a general consensus that there are still caches waiting for the baloon to go up.
Edit: facts and spelling
I’ve spent considerable time reading this thread and I’m still at a loss to understand it! Maybe if I was a 9mm collector I would do better but since I’m not, I’m really confused as to what has been learned, or discovered, here.
When I look at the last photos I see dud ammunition with split cases so it makes me wonder how effective this ammo could be.
Regardless of what it was intended for, who really did make it?
Are the split cases due to over sized bullets, incompatable materials, undersized cases… what? I would expect ammunition to hold up for even 66 years better than that.
Shotmeister, What was interesting to me in this post was the aluminum packing cases which don’t look like any WWII British packing case to me. I think Mausernut is right on that this is post WWII packing used by someone for ammunition storage. The markings on the cases do not appear to conform with British marking of the period of the ammunition, and don’t even look military (where I would expect at least caliber markings). All I see is cartridge profiles and “65”. I’d speculate that someone packed up this ammo in 1965 for the purposes Mausernut outlined above.
The other point of interest to me was the comment that the headstamp was only a broad arrow-a great find in 9mm is that was true, but also very surprising. As you see it is the normal H^N headstamp.
I have no idea how this ammo has been stored, but temperature cycling can cause brass cracking. The 66 years since this stuff was made is a long time. I assume the round with a struck primer was a misfire, also not surprising. A friend bought about 1000 rounds of French 9x19 from the 1950s and almost none of it would fire. Almost all the primers were inert. Again, storage or perhaps just aging of the compounds in the primer caused the problem.
Friends who are machinegun shooters have been complaining over the last 5 years or so that their stock of WWII 7.92x57mm was suddenly beginning to develop misfires as primers aged out. This ammo has been amazingly reliable for 60+ years after it’s manufacture, but nothing lasts forever. In the military, we have very formal aging surveillance programs for cartridges such as those used in ejector seats, or to initiate the fire extinguisher installed on aircraft for engine fires. Each lot is tested at regular intervals to determine it’s shelf life, and occasionally we have a lot that must be withdrawn early.
I received a number of British 1943 and 1944 rounds last week, since the package of one of them needed some restoration work anyway, I scanned the package and found all rounds in overall good condition (and one Polte-round that somehow wandered inside it…).
The collector who took those pictures may have “inerted” the cartridges, which in this country is done by emptying the case and firing the primer. Collectors permits for live ammunition are almost non-existent, permits for inerted ammo are given without any trouble.
Btw: wartime .30 carbine ammo, mostly headstamped EC43, PC43 and 44 have a tendency to crack or burn through the case sides when fired. About 30% does this. I have been told it is because the brass was drawn slightly out of line when it was made. -The cases are thinner in one side. The 9 mm cases though seem to have cracked with age, or in the inertia hammer.
The broad arrow headstamp came into the discussion from the BOCN network forum where the collector with the boxes probably assumed everybody knew british headstamps and forgot to be exact about what was on those cartridges :-)
Mausernut - what is the source of information about burn-throughs and cracks on U.S. Carbine ammo? I have fired many thousands of rounds of WWII Carbine ammunition, both in service and out, and have seldom even seen a split neck. In the U.S. Service, a 30% failure rate would have caused an entire lot to have been withdrawn service-wide.
Well, now I know something, thanks all.
Looking at the pictures again, carefully, it LOOKS like the cartridges may have been disassembled as mausernut stated. Glad I don’t have to do that… yet.