Frankford Arsenal 1916 .30-40 Krag Bandoleer


#1

UNUSUAL LATE BANDOLEER OF FRANKFORD ARSENAL .30-40 KRAG BALL AMMUNITION LOADED IN 1916

Hackley, Woodin & Scranton Volume 1, pages 75-76 states that the last Frankford Arsenal production of .30 Model 1898 service ball ammunition was in September, 1907, although noting that production of reloaded ammunition continued and cite a box dated December 1, 1914.

This bandoleer is a standard bandoleer as used circa 1906, but it had four wavy lines stenciled over the usual markings, which included the date of December 4, 1906. The lines had to have been applied while the bandoleer was empty as they flow continuously across the entire face of the bandoleer, with no gaps in the dips between the pockets.

Curious as to what this was, I opened the end pocket, pulling the cloth tear strip which rips the lightweight thread securing the bandoleer at the top seam. When that was fully open, the tear strip lifted out a rectangular piece that covered the bases of the cartridges, exposing the contents. The ten cartridges exposed included eight with FA 11 06 headstamp, but the other two were reloaded cartridges with a line across the base (used at that time to indicate a reloaded case), and dated FA 5 04 and FA 6 08. These were packed in a cardboard insert with dividers.

Then I spotted a “lot card” between the insert and the front of the bandoleer. The card indicated these are “Ball Cartridges, Caliber .30, Model 1898, for Model 1898 Rifle, Muzzle Velocity 2000 feet per second, M’fd at Frankford Arsenal.”
The other side of the card reads: “F.A. BLEND, Nitroglycerine Cal. .30 Powder, Lot 23 of 1916 followed by rubber stamped date of MAR 2 1916,” followed by the loading machine, loader, gauger, inspector and packer information.

The remaining five pockets were not opened but are assumed to contain a similar mix of headstamps.

Does anyone know of later dated FA service ball .30 Krag ammo?

What was “F.A. BLEND, Nitroglycerine Cal. .30 Powder”


#2

Nice. What do wavy lines mean? Presence of reloads?


#3

I don’t know, that was the reason I decided to open it. My guess now is that they are just to show that the original stencil markings no longer apply. They did similar “XXXX” markings on M1 Garand bandoleers that were reused, and then stenciled the new info in a clean area.

Perhaps the policy for ID of ammo in bandoleers changed after 1906 away from stenciled markings on the cloth bandoleer to use of the cardboard lot cards. (Stenciling instead of lot cards was the policy after some time around 1943-44).

Reuse of bandoleers became a lot more practical after the new (and long lasting) folded over design replaced this type which was sewn shut. While the individual cost for a bandoleer was not much, it could add up over several years and the Army already salvaged cartridge cases, and I recall reading somewhere that cases and clips and bandoleers were to all be returned in the wooden crates.

Does anyone know for sure when the folded style bandoleers replaced this sewn shut type?


#4

John: I think the aspect of this bandoleer that surprises me the most is the use of a nitroglycerine-based propellant as late as 1916. I’d thought that nitrocellulose had carried the day in the U.S. by World War One, but maybe Hercules made Frankford Arsenal an offer they couldn’t refuse! It’s a neat outfit. Jack


#5

John,

any chance to post some pictures

thx
René


#6

JohnS asked “Does anyone know for sure when the folded style bandoleers replaced this sewn shut type?”

Don’t know the exact date but it looks like it was sometime between 1916 and 1918.