Need help with Head Stamp ID Please


#1

Hi all,

Whilst digging a hole for a fish pond, my wife has just dug up a WWII cartridge possibly 7.92mm. It has been fired.
It has a lot of corrosion but still quite readable, the head stamp reads as follows.
38 P 23 S⭐️ 18
The number P 23 is hard to read, but could be P 28, the same goes for the 18, it could be 13.
The length of the cartridge is 57mm and its diameter is 12.5mm at the head stamp.

After searching this site we think it may be of German origin.
If so, it might have been fired from a Mauser K98, MG34 or MG42.

Our farm was used by the allies under Glen Walker in 1944 as part of the battle of the hedgerows prior to the battle of Mortain. We are in Lingeard, which is just outside Saint Pois in Lower Normandie in France.
Our closest town is Saint Pois, and it was liberated on 5 Aug 1944.

Any help on identifying this cartridge would be great.

Many thanks
Shane


#2

18 38 Case Lot #18, 1938; S * “S” case design, (Brass, 72/28 Alloy?); P28 Patronenfabrik (Cartridge Factory)#28…a “secret” code used before 1939-40. There is a list both here and on Gunboards which decodes all the “P” codes of Factories and Locations. Definitely "7,9mm-sS-Patrone " (German Service Cartridge, Heavy Ball Spitzer))

Could have been used during Invasion and Fall of France ( 1940) or as “Old ammo” utilised in 1944 (D-Day invasion.). Due to the Intricacies of the German Army distribution system, there is no certainty the Old ammo was used first, or that recent (Fresh)( ammo was immediately sent to Combat. Discoveries of Pre-War ammo in lots of recent “Milsurp” sales shows that a lot of Ammunition was never used “in Time”, or in order of production.

Doc AV
addendum, you mention Walker…he later served as a General in Korea (Busan/Pusan Perimeter) and was killed in a car accident there (not enemy action). He is remembered by the District “Walker Hill” in Seoul, R.O. Korea’s Capital. Some fine Hotels there (5*).


#3

Hi DocAv,

Wow what a response, we are thrilled to find out all this information.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it is very much appreciated.
Makes me want to go out and dig up the yard.
Forgot to mention that the cartridge was found just over a foot underground.
May have to run a metal detector over the property, who knows what we will find.

Best regards
ShaneM


#4

[quote=“shanem”]Makes me want to go out and dig up the yard…
…May have to run a metal detector over the property, who knows what we will find.[/quote]

First and foremost, hello and welcome to the IAA Forum.

Since you live in such a historical area, I would definitely invest in a metal detector. It is such a thrill to dig up some history, especially when you live right on the property.

There could be other types of cartridge cases, or fired bullets scattered about. Good luck, and have fun!

Regards,
-Dave


#5

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the welcome.

We have not got a metal detector YET, but we did as you said, and have had a scout around the property.

We got a very quick result, call it beginners luck. My wife found another cartridge in the same hole she is digging for the pond. This one has us stumped, it has been broken off mid length but we think it may be 57mm as well.
The head stamp is very different though, reading clockwise it is 4 5 W T The closest we found on the net was a munitions factory in Minnesota. Help on this would be great.

Also in the barn we found another cartridge wedged in between rocks in the wall, this one is in pretty good condition.
Thanks to you for you help, we figured out most of it. It is very similar to the first one we asked about.
The head stamp on this one is:
41 The year
9 The lot no
S⭐️ Brass case

Now for the tricky bit, the fourth symbol (manufacturers code) is very different to the other casing.
The symbol is 001, and the two zeros have a horizontal Line running through them.
Sorry to be a bother, but we are new to finding bullet casings, but are finding it fascinating. So much history like you said.
We knew allied soldiers were in the barn in 1944, but we didn’t expect to find German cartridges so close.

Once again, any help on these two new finds would be very much appreciated.

Best regards
Shane


#6

Shane

Does the headstamp look like the one shown below? (Except the “2” is a “5”)

If so then it is a Cal .30 (30-06), manufactured at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in 1945.


#7

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the reply, and yes the cartridge looks the same.
It’s now interesting that we have found both German and U.S. Cartridges in the same hole.

Thanks so much for the reply and info.

Regards Shane


#8

Hi again Ray,

Had another good look at the cartridge this morning, did a bit more cleaning and found that the 5 is actually a 3, which makes it 1943. It makes a lot more sense now considering our town of St Pois was liberated in 1944.

Thanks again
Shane


#9

[quote=“DocAV”]18 38 Case Lot #18, 1938; S * “S” case design, (Brass, 72/28 Alloy?); P28 Patronenfabrik (Cartridge Factory)#28…a “secret” code used before 1939-40. There is a list both here and on Gunboards which decodes all the “P” codes of Factories and Locations. Definitely "7,9mm-sS-Patrone " (German Service Cartridge, Heavy Ball Spitzer))

Could have been used during Invasion and Fall of France ( 1940) or as “Old ammo” utilised in 1944 (D-Day invasion.). Due to the Intricacies of the German Army distribution system, there is no certainty the Old ammo was used first, or that recent (Fresh)( ammo was immediately sent to Combat. Discoveries of Pre-War ammo in lots of recent “Milsurp” sales shows that a lot of Ammunition was never used “in Time”, or in order of production.

Doc AV
addendum, you mention Walker…he later served as a General in Korea (Busan/Pusan Perimeter) and was killed in a car accident there (not enemy action). He is remembered by the District “Walker Hill” in Seoul, R.O. Korea’s Capital. Some fine Hotels there (5*).[/quote]

Would like to return to the first question.

The cartridge with the head stamp “P28 S* 18 38” do not exist, so it must be 13.
The highest lot from a brass case 1938 is lot16.

P28 = Deutsche Waffen- u. Munitionsfabriken AG, plant Karlsruhe, made only sS rounds in 1933 and 1934.
After this date they made only SmK and SmK Lsp with a brass case.

Rgds


#10

Thanks for that clarification to the “Lot 13”…Also, “SmK” (Spitze Mit Kern==Armour Piercing/ SmK l’spr ==Spitze mit Kern-Leucht Spur= AP Tracer

So, Present a MG34 or an MG42 ( Infantry riflemen rarely used Tracer, but may have used AP in a Kar98k (especially "Scharf-Schutzen aka “snipers”). and if there is one MG case, there will be Hundreds more…MG42 RoF==1,000 RPM.

Tip; to clean Brass shell cases (remove dirt, corrosion: dip in warm Vinegar (wine or Spirit) and Brush with Brass or Bronze Brush…Case metal will show “pink” (de-zinced brass aka Copper colour) but headstamp will become legible.

Keep digging. You may have the Garden understory carpeted in 7,9mm shells.

Doc AV


#11

Hi all,

First of all I would like to thank you all for the valued info you have shared, it has been an amazing discovery and to have you guys respond so well has been a real bonus. I have learnt so much in such a short time.

For those who have been following this post, I have some more interesting info.
My neighbour came over and I told him about the casings we have been finding, he rushed home and bought back a clip of unused bullets he found in his barn. We prised one out and checked out the head stamp. They are all R A 41
Remington Arms, from Bridgeport, Connecticut. We were pretty excited at this find.

Thanks for you your help
Regards
Shane


#12

Shane: The General Walker Doc mentioned was Walton Walker, and as he was a corps commander at Normandy I’d think this is the person you have in mind. He is memorialized in Texas (he was born in Belton) and elsewhere in the naming of schools and streets, and the U.S. Walker tank was named in his honor. Jack


#13

“looks like 001” actually “eej” ( another German three letter code (1942-45) cartridge) again, check the Codes list for ID.

Doc AV.


#14

Shane, be aware of the German way of 7.9 mm colour marking:

Primer annulus shows the type of bullet:
green - lead core heavy ball (schweres Spitzgeschoss, sS); standard since 1930
blue - unhardened iron core ball (Eisenkern, SmE) this is by far the most frequent encountered
red - armor piercing (SmK); as seen in the photo posted by dutch

A blackened bullet tip marks the presence of a tracer. Germany made only SmK tracers; no sS or SmE tracer variants.

A (dark-)grey primer is actually made from zinc coated steel, and has a non-corrosive primer mix. Brass primers are corrosive.

These are only the vary basic rules for typical infantry use. There are many more cartridge types and countless special cases.


#15

Hi all,

I would like to thank all those who have helped me on this amazing journey into a bit of history.

Since my last post, we started looking, and have found more bullet casing pushed in between the stones that make up the barn walls, they are a mixture of German and U.S.
Because of you guys, I now how to identify them now. Thanks everyone

Cheers
Shane