A German born frequenter of a local gun shop told me the following. When he was a child living in Schwedt, Germany in 1957, he fished out a Degterev machine gun out of Oder river. He removed and opened the magazine and took ammo out. He opened the ammo by hitting the projectiles repeatedly against the marble steps of the house. He poured still dry gun powder out and burnt it. It burnt slowly. Then he melted the lead bullets, and since he put the tracers there too, the whole pot lit up with hissing flames. The primers made a sound like .22 being fired. He sold the lead and empty cartridges for scrap metal and eventually bought a bicycle. Degterev with the magazine went back into the river. He said that the town was defended by SS units supported by Danish and Romanian SS volunteers. If you swim in Oder and step on something cold, remember this story.
Vlad, I recently had the pleasure of shooting a P08 that was fished out of the Neckar river and restored to function. It had spent some 25 years in the river, was fitted with new springs and a barrel liner and grouped great. It’s still going strong after 30+ years.
- @ sksvlad: Many accidents happened after 1944-45 in Romania because the WW2 ammo lost in the field [all calibers and from various manufacturers like Romania, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Russia, UK and USA]. I knew a guy in Romania who had lost at least 3 fingers from the left hand by exploding [by mistake as a young man] some small caliber cartridges. Another persons were crippled for life and many died because didn’t know how to handle the old ammo lost in the field. Accidents like this happen even in our days according with the Romanian newspapers and it could be old ammo from WW1 not only WW2. Liviu 06/14/09