Lake Otjikoto WW1 South West Africa 8X57

Hi all, I was given two boxes of what I was told is 8X57 dumped into Lake Otjikoto by the Germans so that the equipment and ammo could not be used by the South Africans. Can anyone confirm from the boxes if it is 8X57 (box length is right)

The one box is dated 1908 and other is 1911 both are sealed and you can see watermarks and the box material is very hard, any comments and opinions welcome.



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I’d love to see the insides.

I was thinking the same thing…

These are indeed military boxes for the German “Patrone S” (S = spitz = pointed bullet) rifle cartridge of the time. The boxes seem to have gotten wet at some point but I very much doubt they were under water.

By the way, 8 x 57 is a strictly commercial designation, introduced as late as 1926 in preparation of the new proof law and never used by the military.
German military from 1888 to the end in 1945 called this caliber 7.9 mm, although this figure was not part of model designations (simply Patrone S, not 7.9 mm Patrone S).

Thanks J, I am aware of the correct name. I am lazy so typing 8mm is just easier. ( I should do it correctly)

Can you perhaps tell me more about M.J.D and is there any way to find out if these boxes were sent to German South West Africa?


MJD is the manufacturer of the cardboard box. Maybe someone specializing in box codes has information about it.

As far as I know, there is no way to find out the destination of these boxes when leaving Munitionsfabrik Spandau.

These boxes were recycled, at least in the early period. I have a 15-round box of the 7.9 m/m J loading in an 1889 box which was in fact packed in 1902. All the box needed, if in sound condition, was three more clips of ammunition, and another of those paper tops held in place by the stencilled cloth tear strip. The top and its tear strip were not physically attached to the box. Jack

Thanks Gentlemen, was hoping to figure out if they ever got sent to GSWA. I like the story but would like some evidence to go with the story…

The cartridges came in Patronenkiste.
About 1970 I was corresponding with a gentleman in Windhoek.
He sends me a few copies from the box label and printing of a German box shipped to Southwestafrica.
Unfortunately they are in poor quality, I am sorry.

On the box at the front is printed,
Scharfe Patronen ???
Netto 19 KG
Bruto 25,5 Kg

At the back;
Ausfuhrgut 1913

On the right side;
Mf. Sp. 505



Not to change the subject, but have any 9x19mm German rounds been found in this area? I am currently trying to do research on the ammunition for the Luger pistols carried by the German officers in Africa before and during WWI, and am having difficulty finding any information. Any information would be a great help!

Please post anything in a new thread so not to run this one off track!



Hi Lew, I only received these two boxes and a stripper clip. See below. I will get more information on where and how he got the items tomorrow and give you feedback.

BP British Pens

Thanks Orange, when did they manufacture these stripper clips?

Dutch I found a video on YouTube Otjikoto lake of legend. Took this photo. These creates were recovered from 70m depth. Paper label still attached. One of my boxes is 1911!

So I got some info today. The friend who gave me the two boxes of 7.9x57 got them from a family friend by the name of Rob de Koning who is mentioned in various articles from the 70’s and 80’s.

I received a scan of a hand written note that accompanied the boxes he was given.

“BP” or British Pens seem to have first made clips sometime in 1916 or soon after, when they produced MkIV Enfield chargers, they were still making Mk4 chargers post-1945. The only dated BP chargers were for 7,62x51 and the last date I’ve seen on those is 1968.

The 10 round BP C-96 Mauser clips were probably made pre-1939 for supply to the trade in the UK, previously companies that sold the pistols, such as Westley-Richards had bought clips in Germany.

Strangely, British Pens still exists, as an artists supply shop in Birmingham. I contacted them a couple of years ago to see if they had any early company records or papers, but was told that everything had been destroyed in the 1970’s.


Thanks Peter. It always amazes me how much valuable history gets distorted. One mans junk is another mans treasure!!!