Has anyone ever actually seen the OJ headstamp?
Ammo.pdf (2.3 MB)
I have it in my collection. It is not a manufacturer’s
code - “rfo” is the code on that headstamp - the last
lot of 1945 from Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken A.-G.,
The “OJ” replaces the numerical two-digit date “45” so I assume
it is a date code. The “why” of it is a mystery to me.
I found what I think was the first one documented in a small box of ammo at an outside flea market in Washington Courthouse Ohio in about 1968. The old barns were dark and I picked it up because I couldn’t make out the date and was amazed when I got outside. I immediately wrote Steve Fuller who was one of the great 9x19 experts back then and he told me I’d been drinking. Eventually i sent him a photo. Later I learned that there are some guns from late in the war marked with letter coded dates.
Heidler describes the codes on page 49 and says it originated in 1943 and used by all MG 42 manufacturers. Steyr used it on MP 44 production during 1945. His list of companies using these codes does not include DWM Berlin or the OJ code. It appears that DWMB was the only ammunition manufacturer to use this code,
The OJ code was introduced during lot 4 of 1945 and cases in this lot have both the “4” and the “OJ”. I have never seen the box for these rounds but the code occurs as “OI” (I and J were the same letter in German) on boxes from Lot 7 of 1945 with cases headstamped “rfo St+ 3 45”
Now I will admit to a great degree of frustration. I have just spent an hour looking for my OJ load to post a photo, and the spot where it should be in the collection is vacant. It isn’t even in the WWII German drawer as far as I can tell. My collection is a bit packed tight but the spot is vacant! You will have to do with the B&W image from my headstamp guide.
One really wonders what “OI” was intended to achieve. After “44” a given manufacturer is observed to use “OI” (or OJ if you prefer). Considering that 1945 has arrived, it would not exactly require seasoned code-breakers to realize that OI, used in the positions on the label -and the headstamp- that identify the year, might mean “45”.
A nice example of secretiveness as an end in itself, totally ignoring that the opposite side also may have people who are able to add 2 plus 2.
Anyone have a duplicate for sale?
Peelen - I agree with your analysis! :-) A classic
example of the rather silly things done with codes at
the end of WWII are the very late 7.65 mm Walther PP
pistols. The have no markings on the left side of the
slide, where the full Walther markings were until then,
and on the right side of the slide, they have the code "ac"
put there to keep the point of manufacture a secret. These
pistols have rather crude checkered wood grips on them,
instead of the nicely molded plastic grips used on most
Walther PP and PPK production, but right at the top of the
wood grips is a quite decent rendition of the "Walther Banner"
trademark. So much for secrecy!
By the way, in this case, I think it is best to use the “J” form of
the second letter, as that is how it appears on the headstamp, as
can be seen in Lew’s photograph.
There is labels on German 15 round WWII 7.9 boxes that have codes galore and then give away the manufacture.
By the way, there is another odd “rfo” case. Case lot
3 of 1945, with normal “rfo St+ 3 45” headstamp has only
one flash hole, despite the absence of the dash on the
headstamp that identifies cases with this feature.
Lew - I have the same box with the “OI” date codes on it
and contain “rfo St+ 3 45” rounds. However, the one and only
difference is that in the primer information, while showing the
"1943 eem" does not have the lot “63” after it, or any other number.
It also does not have the abbreviation of bullet (Gesch.) on the label,
but in that case, there is a roughness to the texture of the paper so
it may have just been scratched off, although it doesn’t appear to be.
The “: -” are quite clear after where “Gesch.” should be. My label,
like yours, is also Provisional and so-marked.
Now how in the world would you know this. let me guess… You shot some of it?
Joe - I don’t recall what prompted me to do it, but I had
a very few rounds of this that came in a box very much
like the one Lew posted a picture of. Perhaps it was the
OI (OJ) marking for a couple of the entries on the box
label. At any rate, I pulled one apart and thereby discovered
that it was a single-flash hole primer pocket despite the
absence of the dash on the headstamp that usually defines
Because the Germans were afraid the allies found out with factory had a particular code some codes were changed starting in 1944.
This happened by DWM Berlin between the 34th and 35th lot of 1944 by the 9mm.
There are other examples of factories who were told to do that.
By “asb” the 7,9 Mauser the production stopped in 1941 with the 5th lot.
They still reworked and loaded fired cases to blank 33.
The label of these blanks also changed in 1944 to “rfo”
DWM Lübeck Schlutup also changed from edq to tko. To my understanding in 1945 or is there a tko known from 1944?
That’s a really interesting 7.9 x 57 label since it uses three different
codes assigned to DWM factories:
Loading factory - rfo - DWM Berlin-Borsigwalde. This code replaced
the old code of “asb” which had replaced the numerical code of "P131."
To my knowledge, this code never appeared on the headstamp of a
7.9 x 57 mm cartridge case. All three did appear on 9 mm Parabellum
Case maker - edq - DWM Luebeck-Schlutup. This code was replaced
by “tko”. The older numerical code was “P413.” All three of those codes
appeared on 7.9 x 57 headstamps, but were never on 9 mm Parabellum (Patr. 08)
Primer - faa - DWM Karlsruhe i/Baden. This code, which replaced “P28” and then
was replaced itself by “suk,” did not appear on 7.9 x 57 headstamps, nor did "suk."
of the three, only “P28” appeared on 7.9 x 57. However, all three versions appeared
on 9 mm Parabellum headstamps.
On my computer screen, I cannot read the bullet-maker information as to what factory
code is shown on the label.
John, DWM Schlutup was basically making only ammo for the air force and there for aircraft guns of which most were medium caliber.
So maybe no real surprise they made no 9x19.
EOD - Right. Was no surprise to me, either. Luebeck also
produced a lot of 7.9 x 57.
Alex, the change was between the first and second lot of 1945
John, I know about 7.9 but it was basically all air force loads.
Willem, thanks, so early in 1945 one would guess and you are speaking of 7.9mm I assume.
In 1945 they must have made quite a lot as I have seen very high lot numbers on 20mm cases with tko code.
Alex - yes, I know about that too. During the actual
war years, they made a lot of loads that would fit in
with the Air Force (but also in many instances with
ground troops as well). Before the war years, they
made type s.S. ball as well. Not sure how much of that
was used by the Air Force, who I think used more SmK
types than ball. Also, not sure how much steel case ammunition
they made. Some of the CWS rounds are ordinary ball, and they
made in LS a lot of SmE with the “edq” code.
In the thirties, Luebeck made a lot of type SS ball for Portugal,
and perhaps other uses, with the L DWM L J headstamp. No
mention on the Portuguese boxes, mostly 100 round boxes, about
Portuguese Air Force use.
I think the point is that while, especially during the actual WWII years,
Luebeck did make more types that would likely be used by the Air
Force than they did of types used mostly by ground forces. We both
agree completely on that. Earlier loadings were of types used by all
of the Wermacht, as well as contract loadings for Portugal and perhaps
In the absence of the invoices or other paper work for every delivery of
7.9 x 57 mm ammo made at Luebeck, I don’t think more can be said of that.
John, of course you are right!
When it comes to 7.9mm the plant might have made deliveries for all purposes.
Maybe I got biased by the fact that everything else than 7.9mm was air force and they had airforce acceptance inspectors and also the air force deciding about the capacities of the factory.
I will leave the details to the designated researchers.