A Polte 16rd P08 box life: 1920-1933

I recently acquired a full box of P * 1 33 cartridges, but only half the label remained, but since there was only one case lot produced in 1933 by Polte I bought it. When I bought it I knew it was a reused box and there was the residue of another label below the 1933 Polte label.

After owning the box for about 3 weeks, I couldn’t resist the urge to be an archaeologist and got out my brush and began soaking off the top label. Not too surprising was the 1929 Polte label that appeared. It was still only the right half of the label with the left tip still in place.

But there was another label under the 1929 and it looked more interesting, I thought perhaps WWI! So out came the small camel hair brush again, and soon appeared another Polte label, but this one loaded in 1925 with cases made in 1924. Very interesting, but that wasn’t the end!

There was clearly a 4th label under the first three and likely more complete than any of the others. Eventually a 1920 DWA label emerged loaded into Spandau cases!

I have never found a German box with four labels before, and these spanned the 13 years. After finding these labels, I discovered I had a very similar Polte 1925 label (lot 10 instead of 8), also with 1924 cases, as well as the DWA 1920 label (23 Dec instead of 15 Dec), but mine was worn and no longer showed the manufacturer of the cases. The cases in my box were DWA 11.20

I suspect the family reckons it is a great way to entertain a senile old man, but it was great fun so I decided to share it with you. If you agree with my family, which is likely, don’t bother to post. I already know they are right.


Indiana Jones strikes again!

Lew: This does interest me (whatever that may signify!). As far as I’ve observed (and that doesn’t mean much) the only final-user boxes for German military rifle cartridges in the period 1888-1918 that were recycled as an ordinary thing were those used in the early years for the 1888 round-nosed cartridges in which there were three clips of cartridges per box, all inserted nose down.

These boxes were of heavy and durable material, with metal clasps at the corners, so apparently the idea of just trashing them was too much for the quartermaster to endure, and so they were recycled. With these 7.9 m/m boxes, however, you don’t get the palimpsest effect, since with each re-use a new wrap-around label, complete with tear strip, was used. The only enduring evidence of their age is the maker’s name and date (often back into the late 1880s) embossed into the box.

Jack, Reuse of 9mm P08 boxes was pretty routine, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s. It was probably for financial reasons. I have in front of me a Polte 1930 box. The label is still stuck to the pull tab, but under the part of the label on the pull tab is a German WWI Cassel label.

I also have ak (S&B) boxes from 1943 which are reused. In the box at hand, the bottom label is a dnh (Geco) label from 1942 for brass case P08 ammunition. I have also found a number of different asb (DWM Berlin) proof boxes being reused by ak. I suspect these boxes were all from training locations or weapons factories in the case of he proof boxes where it is easy to collect the boxes for reuse.


Lew: The only item I have that looks like recycling is a DWM commercial-style carton that originally contained ten 25-round boxes of 1944-vintage steel case 7.65 m/m pistol cartridges. The cartridges have commercial headstamps and the 25 round boxes are also commercial type, essentially small versions of the carton. When I was given the carton it still contained several of the smaller boxes, and at least a couple of them had rubber stampings under the lift top which seemed to be multiple dated lot numbers.

My impression was it was probably of police origin and had been returned to DWM after the contents were expended in training. I suppose it’s possible the cartridges originally contained in the boxes were brass case and only this final lot was of steel. Jack

Very, very nice. Congrats on your find. -Ger