Another GunBroker BESA Belt


Another BESA belt. The loading sequence appears to be: Tracer, AP, Ball, Ball. this doesn’t sound like a really odd sequence, but there are two different ball rounds (K2 43 IIZ AND K44 BIIZ). I think they are used repeatedly in sequence.

Two questions:

  1. Can anyone confirm that this is a standard load? Have you seen a can labled Tracer, AP, Ball, Ball?

  2. Did the factory belt loading machines have chutes that were fed with case lot quantities? (as opposed to the sequences being loaded manually)

BTW, feel free to bid on this, it is a bit steep for my finances.

What a bargain !

This headstamp indicates an Incendiary Mark 2 loaded with nitrocellulose powder, NOT a Ball load.

OOPS I will correct that!

John is correct. British (and commonwealth countries) used a blue annulus sealer on incendiary rounds (red = tracer, green = AP, purple = ball) in addition to the letter B on the headstamp (G = tracer, W = AP, ball has just the Mk number without a preceding letter).

Sometimes I get dyslexic. I can handle Nazi headstamps, but BESA headstamps always get twisted.

To all concerned
I have 2 rounds with the stamps PC 40 IZ Purple annulus
K41 IZ no annulus color.Are these BESA ROUNDS???

Yes, both of those are Besa Mk1 ball rounds. The Z marking indicates they were loaded with nitrocellulose propellant instead of cordite.

K41 was made by Kynoch Birmingham in 1941.

PC 40 was made on contract for Britain by the Greek Powder and Cartridge Co. in 1940.

Thank you that is indeed interesting and I will correct the books
I am honest with you I am not a good keeper of info me think
that half the time I do not really know what I all hve.

Greetings to all.

Just chipping in my $0.02 here. I have a factory crate of BESA ammo in my collection with the following linking order: 2 Ball; 2 Tracer; 3 Armour Piercing; 1 Incendiary.

Thank you for the picture of the label. I am trying to document factory linkage ratios used for BESA belts. I have photos on my old desktop computer of a metallic BESA belt and can that is loaded two tracers to five ball. That seemed like an odd ratio. Why not just link one tracer to three ball? I collect belt segments, and the seven round BESA segment stands out. I am not trying to collect every linkage ratio, I just want to be able to fill my empty segments with authentic looking cartridges.

I am trying to document BESA linkage ratios and the application that they were issued for. Belt segments found at Gun Shows and on GunBroker are suspect. I have a few labels documented from 7.92mm BESA Ball - British Military Small Arms Ammo. also.

Curtis F. Laws

I find the images behind the round/load designation to be interesting. Does anyone know the reason behind them? I cannot make out the AP one but it looks like it may be a Knights helmet, in which case makes sense for AP. The jug could be for oil in which case I can see the relationship with incendiary but a bell for tracer and what appears to be a lock for ball don’t make sense.

Oh - excellent crate btw.

This list is from “Regulations for AOS Vol3 Pamphlet No.11 Feb 1945”.

UK Pictorial Designs Boxes


Thanks Ron that is very interesting. I wonder what the reasoning was behind the pictorial designs used. For example, why was a black globe used for all 9x19 with the exception of tracer, for which a watering can was used. Why a watering can?

I know the reasoning is unlikely to be documented but I find it interesting as to why certain pictures were used. Then again, I’ve often wondered why the Monopoly pieces are what they are.

I have read before that the reason for these symbols was so that the crates could be moved by locally employed labourers in parts of the British Empire.

These workers may not have been able to read English, so could instead by taught which symbols to look for. This would ensure correct placement of similar looking crates with different contents.

Thanks Falcon. That makes perfect sense. I was wondering more about the choice of symbols. For example, when I look at the .455 in my collection, the plimsoll design doesn’t come to mind. What is the plimsoll design? When growing up in the UK a plimsoll was a shoe.

This is the answer given by wikipedia:

The plimsoll symbol (⦵ or o ) that is used as a superscript in the notation of thermodynamics to indicate a specific arbitrarily chosen non-zero reference point (standard state).

I suggest you search for Samuel Plimsoll.

Interesting. I always thought that was the Theta symbol.