Imperial German 7,92 Label Question

I am a little confused by the imperial era German 7,92 and M88 labels. Can someone explain what each of the areas on the label represent? Here are some examples from my collection;

Dave, I likely can’t add anything to what you already know and sure that the likes of Dutch and others can give you all the answers. But just wanted to say that they are some mighty fine looking boxes! Is that a 20rd box at the bottom right?


Just to give the basics, lets take the top right label as an example:
First line, from left:

  • Cartridge type: Patronen S (S=Spitzgeschoss, pointed bullet)
  • Manufacturer: Pmf = [Bavarian] Pulver- und Munitionsfabrik at Dachau
  • Date: 3rd September 1918.
    Then follow:
  • manufacturer of the projectile (G = Geschoss): also Pmf in this case
  • boldface description of the propellant maker and lot: Rottweil, 37th lot of 1918 (note that using boldface for the propellant data continued through WW2)
  • maker of the primer (Zündhütchen).

The designation 88 only refers to the original round nose cartridge, its primer and the first German military rifle for smokeless propellant.
The designations of the cartridges in the boxes shown are S, sS (top left, schweres Spitzgeschoss, heavy pointed bullet) and SmK (Spitzgeschoss mit Kern, steel core armour piercing). No model year, just “Patrone S” for example.
The caliber is not mentioned on the label. German army called it 7,9 mm, the popular 7,92 mm figure originated in Czechoslovakia after 1918.

Looking at the bottom right box;

Does that mean that Spandau made the powder?

Who made the cases? What should the head stamp be?

Who made the projectiles?

Who made the primers, and what model are they?


We are now entering the details, which could easily fill a book. The important thing is to abandon all illusions of us Germans being systematic.
Maker of the cartridges is “Mf” for Munitionsfabrik, implying the [rifle] ammunition factory at Spandau, the center of Prussian military technology at the time.
Maker of the bullets (G for Geschoss) is M, which is the bullet code for Munitionsfabrik Spandau.
Maker of the propellant is “S”, indicating the propellant factory (Pulverfabrik) at Spandau.
Maker of the primers is “Sp”, indicating the pyrotechnics laboratory (Feuerwerkslaboratorium) at Spandau. 13 here is the year of manufacture of the 88 primers. Variations of primer design only popped up during WW1. (Top left label with “Pp” indicating the primer mix being covered by paper instead of a tin foil, for example.)
By the way, there were several other state military factories located at Spandau, in particular for artillery barrels and carriages, including one for tinned food (Militär-Konservenfabrik).

Ok, I’m not feeling so bad for not being able to figure it out!

If you look at the two on the lower left, they are both full of 1918 Polte headstamped SmK. Is that a stylized “P .1” after what looks like “mf” at top center if both SmK boxes?

Who is “R” for the projectile and powder?

Last, it looks like “mfc” at the top center of the.sS box. That would match up with the “C” headstamped heavy ball rounds in the box.

Unfortunately, the Spandau ball box is empty, and I was trying to figure out what cartridge belongs in it. Apparently, it is 1913 ball ammo. Would it be lot 4 to match what looks like a 14.4.13 manufacture date?

Thanks for the help!

Here a list with the last known manufactory codes.
It`s in German but you can easely read the codes with behind the factories.


Fraktur is difficult, even for those who had a taste of it in school.
What your read as “P. 1” is “F. 1” and the exact meaning is unknown. Has probably to do with different sets of machinery in use at Munitionsfabrik Spandau.
The “R” is a “K”, the usual letter in connection with SmK. Its meaning is also undocumented as far as I know.