German military ammo production question

Is a high lot number an indication of increased ammo production? Like here, it is 1941 and lot is 102. Were German lots of approximately standard size? In my industry the lots are standardized. Can one deduce a buildup before Barbarossa?

Depending on calibre, German Ammo Lot sizes depended on the “wear out” time for the tooling( draw dies, etc). As the wear reached the tolerance limits for the cartridge, the tooling was renewed.
Around 180,000 to 200,000 for Rifle Cartridges, between 200- 300,000 for Pistol cartridges.
This rate is pretty common the
World over, given similar machinery and processess.
Change from brass to steel did increase the wear rate, but coatings aided production (copper, phosphated, etc.)
One would have to find original production records to get a better idea…the Germans recorded everything, and the records exist…buried in the tons of archives returned by the West to Germany in the 1980s…the Soviet capture Archives have not yet been returned…if one has the time, patience, and money to sift through them.
(BundesArchiv, Koblenz and others.)

Doc AV

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According to documents RH 8 I / 1069 through 1087 at Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, the following numbers (in millions of rounds) from adding up Heereswaffenamt wartime statistics:
2nd column: army production
3rd column: accepted
4th column: entire production [from Oct 1942 onwards, earlier numbers estimated]

1939: 26.581 29.770 31.338
1940: 194.413 217.742 229.201
1941: 353.710 396.155 417.007
1942: 432.000 496.722 522.866
1943: 615.750 687.540 723.726
1944: 525.700 579.800 610.315

Summe 2148.154 2407.729 2534.453

Keep in mind the MP38/MP40 reaching the troops were a major factor to rise production. This rise
is contrary to 7.9 mm production, which was actually reduced during entire 1941 and 1942, because Germany thought it had stocks big enough for the rest of the war.

Satistics from different German sources in my experience never yield identical numbers. Do not put too much trust in them. It would be very surprising if among rapidly growing chaotic conditions, of all things statistics would be unaffected.

Last not least I once tried to correlate the assault rifle case lot numbers to the production figures and did not find any useful correlation. The lot sizes must have changed considerably even during its relatively short time of production.

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And we must not forget, case lot was unequal to cartridge lot. Don’t have facts available right now, while case lot size may depend on varying wear of tools while cartridge lots may be a fixed number

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Hans, lot size was predicted by the “VTL” (vorläufige technische Lieferbedingungen).

Here an excerpt from 1936 VTL for 7.9 “S” steel cases.

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As @Hans already explained, is a cartridge lot something else than a case lot.
A cartridge lot could be very tiny, perhaps 1500-3000 rounds.

I would like to show a couple of box labels made by Polte.

Cartridge lot# 130 was made April 4th 1940 by the first shift.
Cartridge lot# 131 was made April 4th 1940 by the second shift.
Cartridge lot# 132 was made April 5th 1940 by the first shift.

This round was in the manufacturing very complicated and expensive.




Lot size for these items is known:

15mm cases type 38 and 39 (1941):

20mm MG FF cartridges (1938):

30mm MK101 cartridges (1940):

37mm cases C/30 (1942):

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There is a list known from the orders Metallwerk Wandhofen (P491) became for making 7,9 Mauser rounds during WW2.
Please give attention to order 3-0126/ 38 from 6.8.1938
These are CWS cases. Delivered 3 247 000 rounds on 6.9.1938.
Because there is only one CWS lot known from 1938 it means these cases with the head stamp P491 VIIc1 1 38 was one lot, over 3,2 Million rounds.

That “Stahl” lot was supposed to be 10 million, and the previous lot was also ordered to be 10 million but only 43 thousand were made. Interesting why. When Germans ordered 10 mil and got 43 thousand, somebody had to pay for short order. And that’s in 1938 before Messing shortage.

Willem, 3.2 million cases in one lot or they received cases from other factories and loaded them as well. Not all that unusual those days.
Did you check all box labels of that factory from 1938?

You find this case lot number 102 in the boxes 1941 dou 167 and 1941 dou 170 L

I add some other lot numbers.

Norbert Berg


It is not known Wandhofen ever get cases from other plants.
They had a large production and even had to put components on stock, by a so called “Einlagerungsauftrag”. They were used for example by the first Polish cartridge lot of kam; (kam 1. L. 41). They were loaded with P491 bullets.
We see us on Friday on the German show and we can discuss it with WM.


From my time in the German Civil Service my experience is that offcial files always show a “polished” view and tend to hide the real reasons for a decision.
Without knowing any Wandhofen internals why contract 0144/38 was so abruptly stopped and 0126/38 not completed, any conclusion is close to impossible.
Keep in mind that steel case production required more heat treatment at higher temperatures and parkerizing between each draw. New ovens had to be installed. Its not only a matter of available steel, but also of equipment working as intended and personnel mastering the new production steps.

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