NO 7.9mm AMMO?

On page 44 of issue 456 of the JOURNAL Lew Curtis provided a very interesting declassified document which shows weapons and other supplies provided to China by the US ( Mutual Aid board) in 1945 from production in Canada. Among other things there were nearly 19,000 BREN machine guns in 7.9 caliber BUT no ammo.


Plenty of 9mm, 40mm and 6 PDRs but no 7.9s.

Possibly a dumb question, but it could this be at least a partial explanation of the relatively common Western 7.92x57 with Chinese headstamps?

Maybe they got the ammo THEN the guns. ??

Iconoclast - not a dumb observation at all. Firstly, there was the huge U.S. contract to China for this caliber. Secondly, China was a prolific manufacturer of 7.9 x 57mm. I have over 100 headstamps in my own collection, counting dates, and I don’t think my Chinese collection is all that great. I don’t see why they would have had any need to get 7.9 from Canada. Frankly, it has always surprised me that they needed any from the U.S. I suppose some of the factories making ammunition were probably along the coast, in what became Japanese-Occupied China, so they would have been out of the ball game as far as the Chinese were concerned. Even then, rounds from other countries in 7.9 x 57 were getting to China one way or another. I have several Non-Chinese rounds, including, as I recall, one Canadian, resealed in China after the war. Seems they had (got) dribs and drabs of lots of stuff.

Machineguns by the thousands eat cartridges by the millions.

Yep, having been a machinegunner in the U.S. Army, I can attest to that. However, the Chinese sure had millions and millions, judging from the amount of the U.S. contract rounds still kicking around today, and the amount of old 8mm Mauser they sent to the U.S. some years ago, thru Navy Arms, as I recall. Also judging from the amount of U.S. Ordnance material they threw back at the U.S. and U.N. in Korea.

Some years ago a firm was selling AMMO CLOCKS which came from China. These came in various calibers including 7.9. These had a ring of inerted shells which circled the clock. I bought several of the 7.9s and found many types of headstamps, some not previously documented INCLUDING WW1 and WW2 German shells.

Was any captured German 7.9 diverted from Europe to China ?

Bearing in mind that there was no land route into China after the spring of 1942 I would think ammunition made in the U.S. and delivered by air over “the Hump” that some of us of a certain age will recall was of great significance in China’s war effort. I’m in no position to prove China’s production of small arms ammunition declined after 1940 or so but I do believe it; certainly production in relationship to military need declined during the war years. China lost several factories to capture by Japan; others were moved more than once to keep them out of the enemy’s grasp.

J. Gill is right, of course, The movement of factories beyond the grasp of the enemy in China and Russia was nothing short of miraculous. Also, there is the factor, which I forgot to consider, that the expenditure of large quantities of ammunition did not begin with what we, as Americans, think of WWII. China was at war, either Civil or against the Japanese, long before we got into the war. Also, while the guys in the CBI area did a marvelous job of ferrying supplies over the hump and the Burma Road, they could not move in the amounts of ammunition on C47s, etc. that you could bring into a big port on ships.

Still, they seemed to have large stocks of 7.9 ammunition, but I can readily see what they bought from Western in the mid-years of the war (42,43 and 44). Probably that filled the need along with whatelse they could scrounge or make themselves. It still doesn’t surprise me that 7.9 was not obn the list, despite the number Of Inglis 7.9mm Brens, Czech versions of the Bren (well, yes, of course the Bren is a version of the Czech gun, not vice versa) and Mausers in that caliber, not to mention belt-fed weapons.

Glad I was too young for that war, with VJ Day being probably my first really vivid memory in life.

China get the first modern rifles from imperial Germany. It was the Gewehr M/ 1888. They get ammo plants too - so 8mm Mauser was a major caliber used in China befor 1900.
The later use of Mauser 98 rifles and czech ZB 26 MG is well documented.
Even the danish sold a complete factory to China to produce the Madsen MG the Mei Deisen like the chinese call it of course in 8mm Mauser caliber.
I think they run short in everything but may be not in 7,9 x 57 IS ammunition.

Although not directly related to this topic, it is very possible that large quantities of German ammo got to the PRC via the Soviet Union. The Russians had vast stocks of captured war materiel that was probably part of the aid they sent the Chinese before, during, and after the Korean War. In addition, the Chinese were not above skimming some of the weaponry sent by the Soviets to Vietnam. I recall reading about a lot of European wartime small-arms and ammo being found in Viet Minh and Viet Cong weapons dumps.

Some excellent points.

Has there been an actual sighting of the US made 7.9x57 with Chinese headstamps in CHINA ?