An overstamped German 20 x 138B from 1936


#1

Here’s a german 20 x 138B with some strange features.

It probably dates from the Spanish Civil War.

The case is brass, with brass primer and black primer annulus.

The projectile is painted dark green, looks solid (no visible fuze) and has the following tiny stamped letters: Rh S and the Waffenamt eagle with number 147.

The case neck looks like the projectile has been re-crimped, I mean as if the original projectile was removed and then this green one was put in place and crimped.

The headstamp is (P Waa107 36 48), but it has been re-stamped with “L lg”. These letters seem to be of the german style.

Does anybody know if the dark green paint on this projectile is genuine, and the meaning of the “L lg” overstamp?

Cheers,

Schneider.


#2

Schneider, this is the cartridge for the MG C/30L, the air force version of the C/30. It was tested as an aircraft gun but did not succeed since it was too heavy. The cases got special marking since the have a different priming system which has a short inner “tube” filled with powder for better ignition. The same was done with 20x105G cases which were tested with the MG 204.

Actually the He 112 which saw service in “Legion Condor” had such a gun installed inside the prop shaft, so it is entirely possible that this cartridge made it to Spain those days. Hard to find in Germany nowadays.


#3

I forgot, the double crimp is likely from a reloading process since these cases were modified and not standard ones anymore. So fired brass was likely reused, not uncommon with German aircraft gun ammo which underwent testing.


#4

Thank you for the identification. Is it known what the “L lg” letters mean?

Cheers,

Schneider


#5

Just guesses and nothing confirmed.
“L” might be for “Luftwaffe” (air force)
“lg” might be “lang” (long) for the long primer insert inside the case

As said, nothing confirmed.


#6

Very cool piece, how come it has no “20” headstamped for the calibre?


#7

German WWII 20mm ammunition never had its caliber indicated on the case…

Chris


#8

Tony Williams says this about this cartridge case type:

20x138B

“This was the second of the 20mm cannon cartridges developed by Solothurn in the 1930s, and is known as the “Long Solothurn” round. It proved far more successful than the 20x105B, being primarily used in the highly successful FlaK 30 and 38 AA guns which were extensively used by German forces in WW2 (and remained in service in some nations for decades after the war). It was also used in the KwK 30 and 38 light AFV guns, and in the Solothurn S18-1000 series anti-tank rifles.
As well as being used in these German and Swiss weapons, it was used in the Finnish Lahti L39 anti-tank rifle and L40 AA gun, and in the Italian Breda M35 and Scotti cannon. A very wide range of ammunition was developed for this gun, including M-geschoss shells and Pzgr 40 tungsten-cored AP”.

I have also heard that this is not correct as the cartridge was developed by Rheinmetall in Germany
and licensed to the Swiss.
What are the facts ?


#9

The cartridge got developed (started in about 1927) even before Solothurn was founded (1929).
Not to forget that Solothurn was a subsidiary of Rheinmetall anyways.

By the way, the Breda M35 was also a Rheinmetall development and licenced to Italy.