Mystery head stamp from German occupation


I know a couple of collectors who has this „ak“ box in there collection.
Unfortunately all, inclusive mine are empty.

There is a head stamp known “ak S* 1 43 with a brass case as Platz 33 (blank model 33)

Because all components are Czech it could be the cartridge had a “SB” head stamp.
I only know a M31 with a “Z” head stamp from 1942.

Who could help?




Nobody ?


The headstamp list shows ak as being:

Munitionsfabriken (formally Sellier & Bellot), Prague with factory in Vlasim, Czechoslovakia, (Manufactured under German occupation)

I have no idea if that is correct but the date would fit, as would the Czech flavour…


He knows what the ak headstamp is in general- his question I believe, is asking what were the original cartridges (and their headstamp) which would have originally went in the box shown in his first photo.


I reluctantly decided to post, even though you and most other Forum members know that I know very little about 7.9x57!

So here goes!!! This is a VERY STRANGE cartridge for a lot of reasons. First, the case is brass. As far as I can tell, by 1943 brass was scarce enough that it’s use on 9mmP08 was strictly limited. it was usually found in non-military 50 round boxes, which I strongly suspect was reserved for senior SS officers who liked to carry Luger pistols which, because of the stepped chamber did not handle steel case ammunition well. There are a few Army type 16 round boxes with brass case ammo made by Geco in '43 & '44, but only three case lots in '43 and one case lot in '44. Again, this was probably for senior officers who preferred the Luger pistol.

One obvious question is, who was making brass case 7.9mm in '43 and why? I seem to remember that the Luftwaffe used brass case ammunition in some guns because it was more reliable in cold weather, but I don’t know who made this ammunition, or exactly why.

Could this original cartridge, which apparently was an SmK load with a Nickel bullet (Sounds like a Czech load to me), have been intended for aircraft use with a foreign (probably Czech) machine gun???

The box leads me in this direction. I have no idea what an “M31” load is, but the powder appears to be dated 1931 (or 1937) and the primer is apparently a 1923 design. The Czechs had a ZB30 light MG which was used in quantity by the SS and perhaps this ammunition was intended for that weapon.This weapon was also produced in Romania and used during the war so this may have been for them. This weapon was used on some Czech aircraft like the Aero A.304, some of which was captured and used by the Luftwaffe. A bomber version, the A.300 and the earlier A.100 also used this MG and were used by the Slovak AF until 1945.

Your box reminds me of a 9x19mm box I have that is by dou in 1943 but uses a Czech powder, not the German powder. It seems very likely this was made for the ZK383 Brno submachine guns used by the SS, the Slovak police and Romania during the war. Details at the link below.

The box is also interesting because of the marking in the lower left corner. I understand these identify the printer of the label. The "c"with an inverted “^” over it is not typically German! When I checked, it turns out to be a character in the Czech alphabet!

I looked for a M31 Machine gun in 7.9mm but couldn’t fine anything.

Bottom line! I have no idea what you have, either the cartridge or the box, which I agree probably goes with the headstamp you illustrate. This would be a good question to post in the Czech Bulletin. I would be happy to post it for you!



Lew: The German AF used 7.9 m/m MG 17s as its standard synchronized MG into 1943 and the ammunition for these was in brass cases, tho guns and caliber were gone from this application before the year was out. Jack


Thanks Jack! None of the Czech applications of the ZB30 (vz30) MG were synchronized applications.

The MG17 application must have been for the Bf109Es. I couldn’t find out when the 109Es were withdrawn from Luftwaffe service, but late 1943 would be about right. However, the Slovak Air Force also operated Bf 109Es during the war and I could find no indication that they were upgraded to later versions of the 109. The Slovak Air Force (SVZ) took part in the invasion of Poland and operated on the Eastern Front through Stalingrad and the Caucasus campaigns, then for the rest of the war protected Slovakia from US and RAF bombers. Later in the war, the SVZ also operated Bf 109Gs.

I would not be surprised if the loads above were intended for the Slovak 109Es. It is a possibility, but of course there is no evidence to suggest that.

Thanks again Jack!



Lew: The early subtypes of the Bf109G still used the MG17; wikipedia sez the G6, introduced in Feb. 1943, was the first with the MG131. This subject had lodged itself in my mind recently because I was pretty sure the MG17 had gone away a good deal earlier than in fact it had. Jack


Jack, The Slovak AF were equipped with the G6 according to the info I could find, so if this ammo was made for the SVZ it would have had to be the 109Es.

Thinking about this, I am beginning to doubt use on the 109Es and MG17s. In this application, I would think they would use a German powder and primer where timing was so critical. The label implies to me that this ammo was intended for a non-German weapon! The Slovak AF operated quite a few Czech aircraft equipped with vz30 MGs

I have now convinced myself that I have no idea what this ammo was intended for!!!

Somebody, please help!!!



My problem is that after the occupation in Sept 1939.
The German codes were used on ammunition ordered by OKH. Ch. H Rust. were; Sellier and Bellot P90D/ak and Waffenwerke Brunn P14A/dou.

But they still made ammunition Czech style with the pre WW2 code in the head stamp.
Perhaps this happened because the SS was a part of the management and let this ammunition made for there own organisation.

Here an example from P90D. The lower box, Czech style has “SB head stamped cartridges.

Lew, the M31 is a cartridge with a hard core bullet. I think the rounds in this box were also made for the SS.


The first box label shows Powder 31p/37 ???
A nickel plated bullet Lot ???
A primer M23 Lot ???
All written in German, but with a Czech production lot number printed on the label.
I only know the “ak” blank and no 1943 SB head stamped cartridges.
It would be nice if you could ask our Czech friends for help.

Best regards


if you have connections in the Czech Republic, please use them to ask their opinion on the box in question.

I am biased of course, but in “Böhmen und Mähren” the SS was in charge and I very much doubt any connection to production for Luftwaffe. My gut feeling is, in 1943 they hit upon some forgotten stocks of Czechoslovak components from pre-German occupation, loaded and assembled these into what were effectively vz. 31 AP cartridges and gave them the designation “SmK (M31)”. The lack of any details on the case or bullet manufacture in my opinion indicates the use of existing components, not any new manufacture, which would be identified by a lot number. In my view, it is more probable that the cases had a Czechoslovak headstamp than a German one. But these are personal opinions.
Lew, please contact your Czech friends. Maybe they can add some facts to this riddle.


I can add very little to this thread and I have absolutely no theories
about why these were made, but I had three brass case “ak” manufacture
7.9 x 57 mm rounds when I was collecting that caliber. When I say “ak”
manufacture, I am speaking of only the case, since I had no box label
for any of the three, and therefore cannot know who actually loaded the
rounds. All three were Platzpatronen 33.

ak S* 1 43
ak St+ 24 43 (brass case using steel case headstamp bunter)
ak- St+ 8 45

These were the only brass “ak” marked cases I encountered in my 15 or 20 years
of collecting the 7.9 x 57.

Edited to reflect that the cases listed by me were brass. I had many “ak” headstamped
7.9 mm with steel cases in my collection.

John Moss


Sorry - I misunderstood the actual question.


Is there any possibility that the box could be for 7.9x33?
I have a 7.9x33 with an: ak, st, 7, 44, headstamp.
As I’m a relative beginner, hope you will be forgiving if this a foolish question.


JPeelen, I agree they the cartridges would not be for the Luftwaffe. My discussion was a bit disjointed, but I raised the possibility that they were perhaps sold by the S&B people to the Slovak Air Force for use in the MG 17 in their Bf 109Es or in one of their other aircraft which used the vz30 arial MG.

I will see if I can create an article on these boxes and have it translated and published in the Czech Bulletin which is an excellent work and well supported by the members. All of the boxes Dutch pictures seem related, as to the three brass case 7.9mm headstamps described by John M. There is a story here, but we need a bit more information to even have an idea where to start.

Thanks for all the input and any additional thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I believe this is the power of the Forum, to test ideas and use the information and insights of the various members to achieve understandings that none of us could otherwise achieve. Thanks to everyone and keep the thoughts coming.

Sam3, Welcome! Thanks for your input. It is not a foolish question, or rather any more foolish than any of us have asked in the past or even currently. I think the answer is that the boxes themselves will distinguish whether they were intended to hold 7.9x57 pt 7.9x33 cartridges.




when contacting your Czech friends, please help clarify if newly made ammunition for Slovak armed forces during the war was labeled in German language as assumed above. Thank you



I think the answer is probably not. Check the link I provided above on 9x19mm loaded with Czech powder. Here it is again:

In this case the box label is in Slovak, but this box and ammo were a product of dou. I frankly have never seen or heard of S&B ammunition made for Slovakia since one was an occupied territory and the other was an “independent” nation allied with Germany.

Given the German aircraft that the Slovak AF operated, but in relatively small quantities, It seems almost certain to me that their cannon ammunition (and MG131) was supplied from German production and almost certainly was not specially labeled, but that is just an opinion. Perhaps one of the collectors of this ammunition can comment!

There is one additional area relevant to this discussion where I am very weak and that is how S&B was organized and managed under German occupation. I have a book on the kam plant in Poland that goes into excellent detail indicating how it was run by the SS. Is this also true of S&B?

If anyone had information or references, please share them.From what I have read, it appears that Speer and the SS were, at least sometimes, in competition/conflict over the control of industrial facilities.Who was in control of S&B and when is clearly relevant to the discussion on the 7.9mm boxes above.




sorry, no possible connection to 7.9x33.
German rifle(!) cartridges (7.9x57), starting with the introduction of the S bullet in 1903, were identfied by letter designations which were abbreviations: S - Spitzgeschoss, sS - schweres Spitzgeschoss, SmK - Spitzgeschoss mit Kern, SmE - Spitzgeschoss mit Eisenkern, etc. No model number or caliber, simply “Patrone SmK”.

Other ammunition types had model numbers (year) like Pistolenpatrone 08. Its “mit Eisenkern” variant was identified as 08 mE.
What became the assault rifle cartridge had (during most of its existence) model year 43, for example 43 mE.

Therefore, “SmK” on the label clearly indicates a box of full power rifle cartridges. Apart from that the box would have very different dimensions which Dutch would have duly noted.

7.9x33 and 7.9x57 (the so called metric designations) are practical ways for us to identify these cartridges. But we have to keep in mind that German military up to 1945 did not use them.

P.S. The above is intended to give you a general idea. Reality has a lot of special cases.


Much appreciated and many thanks.


Here are the rounds John mentioned.
Two of them with a steel case head stamp.


Lew, you wrote;

In this case the box label is in Slovak, but this box and ammo were a product of dou. I frankly have never seen or heard of S&B ammunition made for Slovakia since one was an occupied territory and the other was an “independent” nation allied with Germany.

On December. 19th 1941, Waffenwerke Brünn asked OKH permission to export 40 Million 7,92 Mauser rounds to Sweden.
Sweden ordered the first 25 Million rounds to Waffenwerke Brünn.
Brünn decided that 10 Million of them should be made by Sellier and Bellot.
Means to me, there was a good cooperation between those two.

The head stamp used on this order was a “Z” and “SB”, but the head stamp was made in German style. These export rounds had nickel plated bullets.

Lew, If I am well informed, you have an 9mm Para with a ”Z” head stamp ( Z St 1 42) of a similar contract in your collection. :-)