German Packhülse mit Tragschlaufe


Phil’s great photos of German battlepacks inspired me to go look for the only one I have. Here it is, with my luck the label is half gone. So, firstly, any idea how this label looks off the print machine? Secondly, the matter of “hla,hlb,hlc”. German codes look like randomly picked letters, how come they assigned 3 very similar looking codes to 2 ammo plants? Any meaning to this? Thirdly, is this an original tragschlaufe or a repack?



OK, I must correct myself, “tragschlaufe” is a carrying handle, the whole battlepack is “Packhülse”.


The ammunition in the “PackHulse” is 1938 dates with the “P-Code ##”
( “Patronenfabrik Nummer”) code in use from about 1934 to 1940/41.
After 1940/41, the Factories went over to the Three Letter codes( sometimes two letters). They are Not Random, but assembled according to some inscrutable Germanic system, regarding District or Kreise within the Reich, and with particular first letters indicating whether Greater Reich or “Conquered” countries or “allied” countries…(EG, All Hungarian Factories start “j**”—) and what nature of production; there is also a sequentiality of the second and third letters ( ie, dot, dou, Both are in the former Czechoslovakia, and both German controlled *** t, u*** etc.). Some times the sequence indicated the factories owned by the same company ( ie, subsidiary plants in different locations) etc.

SO the ammo could have been repacked from crates to “PackHulse” by "hla"
during the 1940/41 period or even later. What is the date on the Cardboard of the “PackHulse”? ( or its “maker” code?)

The Label ( partly destroyed) would look exactly the same as a 15 round packet label, except it would have “300” instead of “15” for the contents.
The PatronenKasten ( crate) would have a label very similar, except with “1500” for the contents…assuming all the ammo inside is the same.(Maker and lot).


My own personal favorite subset within the German code letter system is the mnemonic, like assigning the code “kam” to the former Polish government cartridge factory at Skarzysko-Kamienna. Truly grim humor. Jack


Doc, where is “Cardboard of the “PackHulse”? ( or its “maker” code?)”? This case is un-open.


The maker of these rounds are not any of the “hl” coded factories (hla, hlb, hlc) but rather factory P369, later using the letter code “oxo” and representing the company Teuto Metallwerke G.m.b.H., Osnabrück.

The greater packaging was probably reinspected at “hlb,” Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen G.m.b.H., Werk Selterhof. The code “hla” was the same company, but Werk Sebaldushof. Code hlc was assigned to Zieh-und Stanswerk G.m.b.H., Schleusingen/Thüringen. Three codes, only two companies, but three different factories.

The reason I don’t think the carton was repacked is were it, it probably would have had the main label replaced. I suspect it was merely reinspected. These cartons with a sticker like the “hlb” sticker on it are not commonly seen. Of course, it would be interestesting to see what is in the boxes within, or at least, the labels on those boxes. I seem to recall these cartons can be opened and then resclosed with no damage, if one, for whatever reason, wants to leave it full, as the strap has a buckle on it, and I don’t believe anything else (staples, glue, etc.) holds them together.


It is possible that this is a sleeve that has been reused and that the second (hlb) 300 round label has been removed leaving an older label exposed. In my experience, repack or inspection labels that are used for the end seal are very different than the factory installed originals. I have several cases (1500 round) of hlb marked sleeves with sealed ends, some of which are re-used with labels clearly visible under the new ones. Perhaps Phil Butler could add to this. JH


Sksvlad - What you have there is a Packhülse 88 with parts of two different labels. The original label was the s.S. by P369 part. The battlepack was re-used and a new label was placed over the original one. The new loading firm was hlb as can be determined by the seal at the rear of the container. The code (hlb) is the three letter type so the container was re-used after 1940 as DocAV stated.

I don’t have a 300 round label for either part but have shown a 15 round label for P369 with a fairly close lot number and a typical 15 round S.m.K. label for hlb (notice the same type font as the label part on the left of your sleeve).


This is a damned good thread. DocAV continues to amaze. Thanks Doc.


I tried to open the pack by sliding the entire outer body off the packs crowded inside, hoping to be able to re-seal it as Mr.Moss says is possible. I could not do that so I moved (in dispair) everything back to the original configuration and… a single label fell out. Now what?



OK, I am opening, I feel like Schlimann or Carter (not Jimmy, the guy in King Tut’s tomb).

And, voila!!!


Well, ain’t that crafty. Good pics, Vlad.


Interesting. So, it is not an Inspection stamp nor really what I would call a repack (meaning repacking ammunition into another case) but rather simply just the reuse of a once-used cardboard carton. Good war economy, I suppose.

The radial line across the headstamp, according to my notes, indicates the case was made from round bar stock, rather than from cups punched from a clad sheet. I think this marking is only found in conjunction with cases headstamped “hla” and “hlb” and will be found only with material code “St” (never with “St+”). Phil, am I right on that?

Edited to add “hla” to headstamps on which radial line appears, courtesy Butler and Dutch


John – Yes, as far as I know there are only the St and –St headstamps. hla also produced at least one lot of cases from bar stock. The headstamp shown is from Dutch’s collection.

I agree with you about the sleeve at issue in this thread. I wouldn’t call it a re-pack but simply a re-use of an old sleeve.


sksvlad – here is what the original label on your sleeve looked like, probably not exactly but should be pretty close.


I read the description of radial line on p.120 of Kent. The cases were made from a round bar and not from steel cups. I understand this process is different but how? Did they slice the bar like pepperoni? The cups were punched out of a sheet of steel. It is a difference but I don’t see why it cannot be easily implemented as a replacement of punching the sheet metal.


The process of cutting slugs from round “Wire” is the same as for making Bolts.

The slug is cropped by a special guillotine, and then the slug is “Headed” by a Bolt header to form a Thick “cup”. This is then drawn in the normal manner.

S&B uses this method ( saw it in 1993) with Brass Wire for making Pistol cases.

Saves a lot on Wastage from punching sheets, as all the Wire is used, with very little waste, and uses machinery already used for other Processes ( Guillotine and Bolt Header machine.)

PS, it is called “Wire” because it it supplied by the Mill in coils of a few tons each, NOT as straight “rods”.
The Heading process also makes for a more Regular “cup” for further drawing.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


The Germans did a lot of experimenting during WW2

An example is making 7.9 cases out of tubes. RWS made these tests about 1943. The picture shows the first 4 draws. They need for this type of case a boxer primer.

Picture from the book; Die Patrone 7,9 mm der Deutsche Wehrmacht 1930-1945.