OSS Report on 9 mm Ammunition for Swedish Arms

An interesting OSS report about 9 mm ammunition for Swedish arms:

Fede - this is a real teaser! Any more information about this? What appears to be clandestine ammunition shipments to Sweden, in mid-1944 (post-D-Day)??? I wonder who the real end user was supposed to be. Sweden made 9 mm ammunition in very large quantity all during WWII. It strains the imagination to know why they would need these very small shipments of that caliber. The Tommy Gun ammo (.45 I assume) is understandable, in so far as the whole document is understandable, which to me it really isn’t. Am not referring to the English language used, but rather why this would even exist.

The line “…we are hoping to obtain permission to send this through the American Bag.” makes it sound like this is not from the OSS, or any American service, but rather from some other intelligence service, although the English in it is perfect.

Does anyone have more information pertaining to this document and the circumstances under which it was written?

Some thoughts!

First, Like John, I suspect this is not the United States OSS but some British or Commonwealth organization like the SOE. The first clue is the word “totalling” which is the British spelling. If this were written by the OSS it would have probably been “totaling” (ref: http://answers.wikia.com/wiki/Is_it_totaling_or_totalling). In addition, the term “bag” clearly refers to a diplomatic bag which is an embassy shipment that is protected from customs or other inspection. The reference in the letter to also using the “American bag” implies that the “bag” previously referred to was from another country-which could only be the UK or one of the English speaking Commonwealth countries. Fede, since I don’t know your source for this document, I could be wrong, but if this is OSS then they were working through diplomatic channel other than the US embassy which is always possible.

I think the reference to “Tommy Guns” is a generic reference to sub-machine guns or machine pistols rather than to the Thompson. Later in the letter they seem to support this by asking for confirmation that the guns are actually Suomi machine pistols.

The shipment was being made FROM Sweden and the use of Swedish ammunition in Suomi machine pistols strongly implies the Allies (Brit, Commonwealth or American) intended to use the weapons for some clandestine purpose. All the allies had LOTS of 9mmP available by mid-1944. It is also possible/likely that these weapons were not intended for use by the Allies, but would be passed on to others in someplace where their use could not be tracked back to the Allies. This would imply one of the neutral countries (or country that was nominally an Ally, perhaps in the Central or South America or Africa. Most of the rest of the world was already pretty committed but neutrals existed even in Europe like Switzerland and Spain (where they could be going to an anti-Franco group). Portugal and Ireland were also neutral (and apparently the British had a War Plan W for the occupation of Ireland). I guess these could have been going to someone in the Balkans, but the Brits and the US were supporting different groups, and I understand both Brits and US agents were killed in attacks on their groups by the fighters supported/directed by the other side. Too many alternatives!!!

These are very small numbers of weapons and ammunition so it was not a big operation. The request that the ammo be packed with the guns implies they were going directly to an ultimate user who didn’t have a supply system or at least only a very rudimentary one.

I would live to know who “SPEX” was! Can’t find anything on internet that is relevant, but perhaps others of you can.

The last paragraph is interesting

Swedish ammunition would be in Swedish boxes and perhaps this refers to the Swedish “War Department” but it is a strange reference in any case.

Does anyone else know what this comment means?

As John said, a very interesting document and I wish I knew more of it’s background.

Thanks Fede,


My impression on the first reading was that the arms were intended for some place in German-occupied Scandinavia. FWIW. Jack

Jack, If they were being shopped in a diplomatic bag then they weren’t going directly to a German occupied country. It had to be to the home country UK or US or one of their embassies. it is possible that the weapons could have been smuggled back into a Scandinavian country from wherever they went in the diplomatic bag so you could be correct, but I missed any hint that they were intended for someplace in Scandinavia, but it would not be the first mistake I had made. But I can’t disagree with you since I have no idea where they were intended to go.

Thanks for your input. Maybe some of the Forum members from up there will have an idea.


John, Lew & Jack, very deductive thoughts! This is an unsigned copy of a telegram by the Special Operations Branch of the OSS/London that was sent to “SPEX” in Germany. This will remain a teaser for now because I couldn’t find any further documentation regarding this subject.

In 1942 they started to train Norwegian “police-troops” in Sweden. They were equipped with SUOMI’s, so this may have been intended for this force. Since Sweden was supposed to be neutral, this force was called police troops.

psg1, That is very interesting, I’d not heard it before. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were equipped with Suomi MPs.

If this letter referred to these Police-Troops, then there would be no requirement to use diplomatic bags to ship the guns and ammo out of Sweden. The use of these bags implies the weapons were going out of Sweden without Sweden “officially” knowing about it.

Fede, Wow! SPEX in Germany??? Anything dealing with the OSS that was operating in Germany in July 1944 must have been in deep cover! Still, the Brits used Swiss built special equipment to precisely measure distances on areal recon photos. This equipment was used to measure the dams for the famous Dam Busters raid. In the 1943 -1944 time frame they needed more of these machines, so they bought them in Switzerland and had them shipped across Germany to Sweden where they sent special RAF aircraft to pick them up and fly them to the UK! Anyway, you have a bit of a mystery here.