Below are the headstamps on red plastic dummies in my collection. I have documented an nts Ex 43 without serifs but don’t have an example in my collection. The three producers of these rounds who were producing in 1943 converted from serif letters to non-serf letters during that year. All production before 1943 used serif letters and all production afterwards was non-serif letters. The probability of all three just deciding to use serif letters, and all three deciding during 1943 to convert to non-serifs seems remote to me.
My small sample of 7.92 red and black plastics is composed of only 40, 41 and 42 dates except for one ay from 43. Serifs are used on all the aux, ay and lpk rounds, but dnb and byw did not use serifs on their headsamps. No help here to find a pattern in 1943.
The situation on the loaded 9mmP ammunition is not nearly as clear.
Never used serifs on 9mmP headstamps:
ad, ak, am, asb including P131 and rfo (except for asb * 1 40 an the numbers only and in the case code for P131 IXb1 15 40), cdp, dnf including P151(except for the “P” in P151), dou including P14A, eej, faa including P28 and suk, hla including P25, hlc, hrn, kam, oxo and wa. This makes it pretty clear that there was never direction on loaded ammunition to use serif letters. The incidental use of serifs by DWM Berlin (asb) and RWS (dnf) were incidental.
Used only serif letters
aux including P (stopped production in 1942), fb including P334 (used serifs through 45), va (used serifs through the end of production in 1944)
That leaves emp as the only maker of live ammunition that switched styles, and did it in an seemingly,to me, organized manner. It is interesting that on 7.92 ammunition Serifs appear standard with the P120 code through 1940 and then in 1941 and later 7.92 ammunition dropped the serifs. Until mid 1944, this is exactly the opposite from 9mmP with a few exceptions. It seems likely that the shop for the 7.92 headstamps (or the machinist) was separate from the shop or machinist for the 9mmP headstamp, and shop practice differed.
It is reasonable that the work with CWS cases could have been done in one factory area and this was the 7.92 shop so the 9mmPs with CWS cases and P120 codes wound up with serifs since that is what the 7.92 production area was using at the time. It is also possible that the 7.92 shop made the bunters for the 9mmps for two P120 lots in 1936 and three emp lots in 1940. In mid 1944 the 9mmP headstamp work could have been sent over to the 7.92 shop which would explain the final transition.
Just speculation but interesting. Does anyone else have headstamps which may add to this story?
Phil, thanks for the great info on the 7.92s!
PS: John, I have 9mmP with “P.120” in both 1 35 and 1 36. These are the two earliest P120 dates I have.