Highest case lot # on German ww2 9mm asb?

i.e. when did DWM change to rfo?
Trying to get some sense of my german 9mm ‘collection’.

Tia Soren

The change from asb to rfo began at lot number 32 of 1944 for rfo. However, there was overlap in the two codes, as the asb code is documented to lot 34 (32, 33 and 34 all documented). One thing to know about rfo-headstamped 9 mm. Lot 3 of 45 does not have the symbol for a single flash-hole priming system, but it does have it. I documented that by pulling bullets. Earlier 44 and 45 lots without the dash for single flash-hole are as marked (or perhaps more accurately stated, as they are NOT marked). They have two flash-holes.

Lew Curtis attributes the overlap to a change in the manufacturing facilities. I simply don’t know, but that could be correct, with the first facility finishing up production after the reassignment of codes, and the second facility, using “rfo” getting the jump on production prior to complete shutdown of the production lines at the first facility.

To my remembrance, rfo and suk are the only instances of a change of code for a specific company that occurs on 9 mm 08 ammunition.

Code faa was replaced by suk with the latter beginning, and apparently ending as well, at lot 1 of 1945.

Thanks, John. That explains why I have both lot 32 on an asb case as well as rfo. Only other lot of rfo I have is 49 of 1944.
My german ww2 ‘collection’ is a bit special by it being composed of what the germans left behind after the occupation and subsequently ended up in home guard service. The only one I’ve ever bought was a Werkzeugpatrone from Dutch some years ago.


Do you know why “rfo” changes the year code in the 4th lot of 1945 to “oj”



Because it was an official order to switch to letter year codes. Few factories managed to apply the ordered changes before the war ended.

Thanks Alex.

I tried to answer this last night and did something wrong. I think I switched off this page before I submitted the post!!! Dead gray matter!!!

I have both rfo and asb in 32, 33 and 34 of 1944.

Lot 4 of 1945 occurs with both the 45 date and the OJ date code as Dutch showed. I have a 1944 box with the white provisional label and the year code on the load lot is OI so the instruction for the new date code must have been issued in 1944. It appears that it didn’t get outside of Berlin on ammunition as far as I know. Perhaps it occurs on other calibers. Dutch???

It is interesting that DWM Karlsruhe used the faa code last on P08 in lot 14 of 1944, and the only production in lot 1945 was a single lot (1 45) with the suk code. Perhaps DWM Berlin production of P08 was much greater in this time frame than DWM Karlsruhe. Perhaps the directions from Berlin were received/implemented more slowly the further organizations were from Berlin.


Karlsruhe is close to France, from where the Allies approached. Not to mention fighter-bombers. In January 1945 the Grötzingen (SAA part of Karlsruhe factory) equipment was evacuated by rail to Nördlingen. They never got it set up again. I think this is the reason for only one single lot in 1945.


As you know I am only familiar with 7,9 Mauser rounds.
In this calibre I have never seen such a code.

They exist perhaps in larger calibres.


Making a few calls with fellow collectors who know more than I do, it seems to be that this was year code was introduced in 1942/43.
Each factory had an own year code. Meaning “oj” (1945) used by “rfo” was different as the 1945 code used by other factories. Unfortunately there exist no lists of this codes.

I also have some examples.

The case was made in 1943 by “arx” ; Collis Metallwerke GmbH.
The steel of the case came from steel plant “au” Gutehoffnungshütte Oberhausen. A.G.
Made in the year; “LC”. This could also be 1942.


The MG 42 made by “cra” was produced in the year “GH”



Dutch, that is very interesting information. Totally new to me. Thank you for sharing.


Great info! I had heard that the letter codes had been used on weapons, but had not realized that they were unique to each company.

Thank the creator or luck or the German character or the bureaucracy or whatever for this not being implemented in ammunition plants before the end of the war by one factory. Can you imagine the confusion over past years among you 7.9 guys and us 9mm guys and the rest of our world over German headstamps and how the loads all fit together. It is bad enough when we know the year, much less if we could argue about the years at each company. Sure would have made box labels complicated when emp primers and faa bullets in asb cases all used different year codes!

Great work, worth the beer I still owe you at SLICS.


The curious thing about the date code system and its use is that it was universally applied to the MG42 from some point in 1943 and continued to the end of the war. With that apparently single major exception the use of date codes was sporadic and limited to the last weeks of the war. Before seeing the pictured OJ code here I had no idea it had ever found employment on SAA. Jack

Jack, I found my rfo-St+ 4 OJ in a junk box at a gun show in Washington Courthouse in Ohio in 1967 or 1968. The building was poorly lit and I couldn/t make out the date so for a dime or so each, I took 5 or 6 of the guys German 9mms. When I got outside in the light I looked at it again and was amazed. None of the 9mm guys back then, Bill Woodin, Ted Koch, John Moss, Dick Manos, Steve Fuller, John Scott, Alessio Grimaldi and others had ever heard of it. Back then hst photos were tough to take and instead it was simply drawings. When I wrote people about it the response was often that it was a bunter error that I was misreading. It was decades before I found the box with with “OI” on it but by this time other specimens had turned up, and I learned of the use of these codes on the MG42s.

It is finally nice to know the story. Thanks again Dutch.