German WWII Red Base Small Arms Ammunition


I started a thread to identify known 9mm P08 Green base proof loads, but was unclear on the title. The discussion drifted into rounds with red bases which some believe could also be proof loads.

This topic was addressed some time ago and I will post a link to it later-am committed this morning.

Below are the posts related to the red base 9mm rounds. It would be particularly interesting to know if any other German WWII calibers occur with red bases.

[quote=“Lew, post:6, topic:29223”]
On the red base rounds. I have found too many of them, in too many places, many in old collections to believe they are fake. The some German collectors have some theories on them, but the most logical, to me, comes from an old Austrian who had three red base hla rounds he got 40+ years ago from an WWII Ordinance guy. He says that this guy told him they were field made proof rounds. The green base rounds were made for factory proof work, The field shops that did overhauls and repairs were authorized to make their own proof loads to a spec they had, and these were marked in red! Logical, but only a second hand story. All the guys who would have known are dead!


[quote=“JohnMoss, post:7, topic:29223”]

I still have questions in my mind about the absolute match of colors to a Hungarian proof load in my collection, that once again, came from an almost indisputable source; indisputable in the sense that the man had no connection to anything to do with cartridge collecting as we know it, but as an ex-ordnance high-ranking officer, left behind at death a house full of ordnance stuff, including an attic full of light machine guns. My P 40 black plastic dummy came from what was left, as did the red base 9 x 15 proof taped together with a normal Hungarian ball round. I also acquired four or five German Wall charts from the estate.

That said, in 9 mm Para, in 55 years of collecting including two European shows, I have never seen any other red-base German 9 x 19 rounds except two of the Kam -headstamp that both Lew and I got from the same source years ago.

You would think that if repair shops (of which I am only slightly familiar, since I visited several times the weapons repair facility (Army) at Ladd AFB, Alaska, since I was their Personnel Specialist in Yukon Comd. Hq.) did any actual proof testing, likely people would have had more access to them than to the small arms factories proofing weapons they made (or the proof house serving those factories). I would expect to see more red-base ones than the green base ones. Further, they would have had to have had documents establishing the specifications for the actual proof testing as well as specifying the correct loads and loading
procedures. The only red base one I have, is the “kam” round, and the cartridge itself looks absolutely factory made. It does not have the appearance, to me as a very careful
handloader, of a “locally” assembled cartridge. In the absence of documentation (and I hope there IS some and that someone has access to it to share with us) the whole scenario of local assembly of proof cartridges in individual field shops is, to me, anecdotal.

Just the way I look at it. Some stories about other strange and exotic 9 mm rounds from the source of the “kam” rounds also made me dubious, but I certainly cannot rule out anything, because I don’t have any documentation to prove that the rounds are NOT legitimate. One of the quandaries of trying to do scholarly studies of war materiel items now 73 or more
years old, especially from a country where the “war machine” was almost totally destroyed.

Age, by the way,has not too much to do with something being legitmate of fakes. There were fake cartridges being made to deceive when I first started collecting a half-century ago. In fact, many of them we saw here were produced in California by a single “collector.” One of the first collectors I met when I started was Sal Guarini, one of the Early Presidents of what is now the IAA, and when I first saw his collection, he showed me a drawer full of fakes - many of which had been disassembled revealing big problems with the expertly, but home-made projectiles. It was an early education for me that I have not forgotten.

For the record, lest I be misunderstood, I am not myself convinced at all that the red base
rounds, at least the “kam” ones, are fakes. I go back to their identical color-tone and application as on an absolutely genuine Hungarian proof load. I am simply showing my skeptical side, brought on by the number of rounds I have purchased or traded for over the years that later were found to be absolutely fakes - not replicas, not someone fooling around, but absolutely made to deceive for monetary profit or to obtain trains of good
original cartridges.

John Moss.


The Red base or red primer WWII cartridges have been discussed as part of at least three previous threads:

I think all the rounds I have relevant to this discussion are illustrated on one of these threads.


German WWII Vintage Green Base 9mm P08 proof Loads

Copied from another thread

Always fun and pleasure to help. Proof rounds WWI, will they be next?
I know you like the colored 9ers, so here’s one, before I go to bed




This one is identical to mine and I believe to John Ms. Do you remember where you found it? Was it in the US or Europe???



The color showed in Rolf’s excellent picture is the same as mine, a rather orange-tinted red color, and also the same as that on my 9 x 25 mm Hungarian proof load.

John Moss