Great Geco 9mmP and box from 1941


#1

I have to share this with you. Rolf F just sent me a photo of a sealed box he picked up. He opened it and it contained 15 of the difficult to find dnh VIIf1 1 41 rounds, and one cws case dnh * 1 41. Really stunning and clearly original. I have never heard of a dnh * 1 41 steel case load before.

My guess is that all the cases with the codes like this were all prototype/field trial ammo. The German army still requires all modifications to ammo to undergo “Field Trials” before it is approved for issue, and the boxes now have a special field trial code on them. This is to be production standard ammunition, but not yet ready for field use. I’m told this concept goes way back. I think this is one reason the case metal code rounds have always been scarce. I suspect that when Geco started working the CWS case for the military, they initially used their brass case bunters rather than making special bunters. When the troop trials were ordered they made up the dnh VIIf1 1 41 bunter, but probably had a batch of the cases from the qualification ammunition used to qualify for the troop trials with the dnh * 1 41 headstamp and these found their way into the trials ammunition.

Now I’ve told you more than I know. would appreciate thougths, expert opinions or facts (all identified as one or the other) on these cartridges, and on the whole issue of German Troop trials and how they fit into the process for qualifying ammuniton for general issue for the troops.

I think the US DOD had a MilSpec or MilStd or some-such for this process of qualifying and then releasing ammunition changes for use by troops. I know in the aircraft area there is a complex process of Development Test & Eval, followed by Operational T&E which feeds into the airworthiness certification process.

Would like to know howGermany did it in the first half of the 20th century.

Cheers,
Lew


#2

Lew, thanks for an interesting description.

It helps me to understand this little example, which I got from the collection mentioned earlier. It is magnetic from top to bottom, so clearly a CWS case. Did the roman numerals signify some sort of test/acceptance bunter, if I understand your comments correctly?


#3

Vlim - It is my opinion, and Lew and I have argued about this (respectfully), that the lesson of 7.9 x 57 mm Mauser, in which material-code headstamps appear in huge quantities, sometime with different material codes on the same numberical lot and date and manufacturer’s code, and from a fair span of time, not just a year or so like the 9 mm examples, shows us this was tactical, issue ammunition, and not just trails ammunition. In the context of 9 mm Para ammunition only, the “Trials” theory makes some sense, although I find holes in it, but in the context of the other calibers of ammunition on which material codes were used in the late 1930s and first couple of years of the 1940s (to my knowledge, not past lots 1 of 1941), it makes no sense at all to me.

JMHO, but not likely to change on this subject without solid evidence from official documents, factory records, or the like.


#4

[quote=“Vlim”]Lew, thanks for an interesting description.

It helps me to understand this little example, which I got from the collection mentioned earlier. It is magnetic from top to bottom, so clearly a CWS case. Did the roman numerals signify some sort of test/acceptance bunter, if I understand your comments correctly? [/quote]

Vlim, it is a code for identify problems with ammunition.

Steel was produced by „X“ = Klöckner-Werke A.G.,Marienwerke, Osnabrück
„Näpfchen“ coppered plated done by; „f“ = Manzfeld AG f. Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb, Hettstedt/Harz
Steel mix #1 = C 0,15 - 0,22 %, Mn 0,4%, Si 0,12%, P 0,03%, S 0,03%

In 1941 came a standard for these roundels. (St on the case) The code was still used internally.
Example a transport label for 7,9 Mauser cases of 1942.

Rgds
Dutch


#5

Dutch, thanks. Never encountered this head stamp on a 9mm before, so I was a bit puzzled.


#6

[quote=“Lew”]I have to share this with you. Rolf F just sent me a photo of a sealed box he picked up. He opened it and it contained 15 of the difficult to find dnh VIIf1 1 41 rounds, and one cws case dnh * 1 41. Really stunning and clearly original. I have never heard of a dnh * 1 41 steel case load before.

Cheers,
Lew[/quote]

Hi Lew, I have from the same lot number dnh St 1 41, also in cws…so there are 3 variants from the same lot-number…Ive sent you the pic…maybe you can show it here later…
Peter


#7

John M and I have been having a great discussion on whether the German 9mm & 7.92mm rounds with the case material codes (such as VIIf1 or IXb1 or whatever in place of the St) were for ammo intended for field trials. I floated this idea in the original post to see if anyone really knew the answer or at least wanted to discuss why these codes were used. I also knew that these codes are much more common on 7.92x57mm than on 9x19mm, and there are some real 7.92 experts on the forum one being my great friend John M. Last evening he took me to task on my assertion, with good cause and continued this morning. His points were telling, as usual, and much appreciated-to the point that I asked if I could repeat them here. I have taken them from his emails so any lack of flow is my fault.

[quote]Comments from John M:

If the 9 mms with material codes were trial rounds, than the 7.9s would be too, I would think. The huge quantity and length of time they were made makes this highly, highly unlikely. Probably 1/3 of my pre-1941 German 7.9 collection were CWS material code cartridges. By comparison, only a very small amount were CWS with normal material code (ST) headstamps.

You mention quality control of the period. The amount of defective steel cases - not suitable for tactical ammunition and turned into blanks (we don’t even know how much was simply scrapped) indicates the Germans had plenty of quality control problems in their ammunition industry. Remember, you speak of the times. Many factories with no prior experience were opened preparaing for WWII, and by 1941, there were interruptions in production, I am sure, from allied bombing (British). The steel case processes used by the Germans, I would judge, were not anywhere near a state of perfection even at war’s end. In 9mm, it was not high quality that caused so much to marked for limited use due to case-sticking in the chambers, nor limited to machine pistols only because they were not deemed of good enough quality to be reliable or even especially safe to fire in precision weapons like pistols.

While the “St” marking was known early, as proven even in the Polte 9 mms, in my opinion it simply represented a simplification of the headstamping procedures, replacing the use of the complex material code. Like many things, the Germans likely finally realized such a code for steel cases, while of seemingly high value, proved to be practically not worth the bother.

Just my take on this. We will have to agree to disagree. I think if you really studied the 7.9 x 57 cartridge, you will see the “trial ammunition” theory is not likely, and I don’t see them using the material code system for one caliber and not others.

Now, about basing opinions of quantity of manufacture on what shows up, you can’t always tell, but when you have thousands of examples of cartridges made almost 75 years ago, and only one or two examples of another cartridge of the same era and country, the chances are, in my opinion, 95% or better that you are looking at larger total production for which there are thousands, than that for which there are one or two. Again, nothing is 100%.
One factor I didn’t mention regarding judging quantity is knowing the sources of the ammunition that is showing up.
A good example is 7.9 Mauser code P25. Every major collection in the world had huge gaps in the lot numbers of 1939, 40 and 41-produced rounds from this case maker. Then, Service Armament, in the mid 1990s as I recall, imported a huge lot of mixed 7.9 from a “Balkans country.” I believe that country to have been Albania, as no one had imported anything from them yet (for commercial sale in the US) and Forgett was absolutely tight-lipped about what country they were coming from. The only other logical choice would have been Bulgaria, since they did not produce that caliber, and by the time the ammo came in, we were even getting Makarov pistols out of Bulgaria.
The shipment yielded most of the missing lot numbers for P25, missing because most of it was likely shipped to Albania, a German ally, and Albania was no accessible to collectors from the end of the War until the importation of the 1990s. By the way, these were all lacquered steel rounds with material code headstamps. Field trials in Albania (or any other Balkans country)? I don’t think so.

The earliest CWS case from any of the approximately 35 factories that made the 7.9 x 57 case (most loaded it as well, and there were a couple of factories (“cdo” comes to mind) that did NOT make cases but did load 7.9 ammo) that I could find in my records was lot 1 of 1936 from Polte, Magdeburg, with P VIIa1 1 36 headstamp. They made lots 1 - 4 that year. Most of the other companies started in 1937 or later. Now, again, for field trials? I have never been able to pin down the number of cases that constituted a “lot” but have received figures from otherwise good sources from 100,000 to 1,000,000. Polte, in 1930, made 230 lots with material codes, and in 1939, another 203 lots. By themselves, a staggering amount of 7.9 x 57 cartridge cases, and my count of the lots from only 6 of the manufacturers came out to slightly over 600 lots with material codes. I do not believe for one minute that a quantity like that represents field trials. The first lot of Makarov ammunition, made for the field trials of the pistol in 1948/49, is reported at 10,000 rounds! No more ammo was made until 1953, when serial production of the pistol began.

One maker, P14A produced 19 lots total (all that are known at least) in 1940, the first year of this code for obvious reasons, and ALL of the lots were with material code. No brass at all.

I do not see this system as identifying trials ammunition for 9 mm, and find it absolutely 100% inconceivable that it represents that in the 7.9 production, or that they used the material code for different reasons on different calibers. Of course, these codes appear on bigger calibers of ammunition from the times, as well.

I think all there is to know about the use of this code is in Dutch’s brief explanation on the Forum.

To the last question, no, each case maker did not use the same material code on all cases from the same lot, year and case maker’s code. It is actually quite common to find two or three rounds with the same case maker, the same lot number, and the same year, but with different material codes. I think Woodin has an instance of this in his collection with 7 or 8 different material codes. I can’t understand German thinking behind that at all - to me, a change of metal supplier or the makeup of the steel itself should have required a separate lot number, but it is clear that in their system, it did not.

You can readily see that the amount of CWS ammunition from Germany in 9 mm is miniscule compared to that of 7.9 x 57 mm, not only as to the number of lots produced, but also as to the number of factories turning it out.

One final thought. If for field trials, why would we find some of these cartridges (and I am not counting the Geco commercially headstamped ones which may represent the pilot lots) with both black primer seals, and red primer and case mouth seals? Concurrent trials by more than one service? That would seem redundant and wasteful, at a time when Germany was preparing for one helluva war.

I know you can argue all this down, but the fact is, you can’t prove a negative and at this time, in the absence of any hint of trials use in official documents is, to my knowledge, non-existent. The amount of cartridges made with these codes, of themselves, are documentation that speak against that theory in my view.

Just my opinion again. :-) :-*

I agree that there are some rounds (also in brass and lacquered steel, but perhaps not to the same extent, that are only found as blanks, or in some cases, where that manufacturers cases (not usually in brass, but with lacquered steel as well as CWS) throughout the lots are as often found on blanks or only found on blanks, as with tactical loads.

Something I forgot to mention. Unlike 9 mm Para, which didn’t have such loads, the CWS rounds are found as s.S. ball, S.m.K., S.m.k.L’spur, Type IS (aluminum bullet short range), as well as blanks and some dummies. Another reason why I don’t buy the Field Trials use only theory. There is even at least one P.m.K. (Incendiary) from P345 in a CWS case.

[/quote]

John’s comments and insights, as always, forced me to question my assumptions. He convinced me that what I had originally asserted was pretty symplistic. First, I don’t know exactly what I mean when I say “Field Trial” and I sure don’t know anything about the German Army’s approach to “Field Trials” and the introduction of new types of ammunition.

I do have a bit of experience with the US introduction of new items, including munitions into the inventory, and monitoring their characteristics as they age and that is the only basis I have for even posing an idea. The following is the essense of my thoughts after John shared his insights. Much of this is from my last email to him today.

I suspect others out there have more relevant insights than I do and perhaps actual documentation. Would love to hear what you have to say.

Has anyone seen the labels used for shipping 9mmP08 components, like the 7.92 case label Dutch pictured? I have never seen one from the 1930s or WWII.

Has anyone seen a German headstamp bunter from this period?

Cheers,
Lew

John, thanks for your insights!!! It is always a pleasure.


#8

We, the 7,9 Mauser collectors are more successful to find rare head stamps of trials.
The leftovers were loaded as lS or blank 33. There are a lot of unusual head stamps known.

I do not think they did anything with trial left over’s in 9mm. They were put to the scrap for reusing the metal. If the variety was the same as the 7,9, dozens of these head stamps must have exist.

John,

Please don’t forget the famous P 1 28 CWS lot


Courtesy; Woodin Lab.

But the first CWS lot was the first of 1935. (P S 1 35)
The “S” of steel, not S* brass.
Interesting is the first 7,9 lots of 1936 have a material code, later lots the S.

Known are with CWS case.

P VIIa1 1 36
P VIIa3 3 36
P VIIa3 4 36
P S 8 36
P S 9 36
P S 12 36

Would like to show you one of the first cases I know with “St” markings.

Quote

A good example is 7.9 Mauser code P25. Every major collection in the world had huge gaps in the lot numbers of 1939, 40 and 41-produced rounds from this case maker. Then, Service Armament, in the mid 1990s as I recall, imported a huge lot of mixed 7.9 from a “Balkans country.” I believe that country to have been Albania, as no one had imported anything from them yet (for commercial sale in the US) and Forgett was absolutely tight-lipped about what country they were coming from. The only other logical choice would have been Bulgaria, since they did not produce that caliber, and by the time the ammo came in, we were even getting Makarov pistols out of Bulgaria.
The shipment yielded most of the missing lot numbers for P25, missing because most of it was likely shipped to Albania, a German ally, and Albania was no accessible to collectors from the end of the War until the importation of the 1990s. By the way, these were all lacquered steel rounds with material code headstamps. Field trials in Albania (or any other Balkans country)? I don’t think so.

John, you could be right.
Interesting is, almost all these lots I found in the US. With one small difference. The P25 rounds hade no primer crimps. It started with lot 72 of 1939 and ended with lot 39 of 1940 but the lots 42, 48, 57 and 60 are also known without crimp.
As you know the WaA had the so called “Abnahmebedingungen”. I do not think they accepted cartridges without primer crimps. Export, who cares. It happened also with ammo shipped to Spain in 1937/38

B.T.W. John, P14A made 22 lots in 1940. -:)

Rgds
Dutch


#9

DEutch - I took all those lot numbers I discussed from your list, so if it was incomplete, it is your fault!:-)
Seriously, since I stopped collecting 7.9 I have not kept up with all the additions to the master list

Some of those partial headstamps and no headstamp steel-case round you pictured looked familiar. :-)