Polish plant # 21

  • If I’m not wrong the Polish ammo plant of today “ZM MESKO” is the former “Panstwowa Fabryka Amunicji” from Skarzysko-Kamienna which started to produce ammo back in 1924. Is this Polish plant the State plant # 21 ??? — Note: Hungary and Romania also used the # 21 for their ammo plants. Thanks in advance for any help, Liviu 03/04/07
Helping identify cartridge

Liviu - yes, you are correct. Today’s MESKO is plant 21.

  • Starting with late 1939 [when Poland was under German occupation] the local “National Ammunition Factory” from Skarzysko-Kamienna was taken by the German company “HASAG” [Hugo Schneider Aktion Geseltschaft Verke]. I think the ammo manufactured there during WW2 was headstamped with the 3-letter code “kam”. Liviu 03/04/07

Liviu - yes, that is correct to a degree. The first headstamp used on 7.9 x 57 after the Germans took over was “HASAG” in a “coffin” trademark. On 9mm Luger ammunition, the used only a stamping of the shape of the “coffin” trademark - I guess it was to small to put the word HASAG inside it. They then went to the code kam, which they retained until at least late 1944. There is a rare code “pae” known only in lot 1 of 1944, that we know is Polish. There is some argument as to which factory it was, but it may have been the replacement code for “kam” done at a time when a lot of the codes were being replaced, possibly over worry that they had been compromised, or perhaps just as a matter of course and good security.


Yes, there were three “21” codes.
Poland: 21 in oval or the year was stamped upside down
Hungary: 21 stamped regular and year as well
Romania: stamped “21 RPR” (Republica Popular Romana)

  • Yes, it is true that the Romanians did use the factory code “21” together with the letters “RPR” like you mentioned above “21 RPR”. Starting with the year 1966 no “RPR” mark was used, only the factory code “21”. I have fired brass cases 14.5X114 made in Romania in 1970s with the code “21” and fired steel cases 12.7X108 also made in Romania in late 1970s [the latest is headstamped “21” over “80”]. Starting with 1981 most of the Romanian headstamps have no maker’s mark, a practice which ended in early 1990s. In my opinion the Romanian factory code “21” stands for “Cugir Arsenal” from Transylvania. Liviu 03/04/07

I guess it is rather easy to determine which “21” codes are Polish due to the inverted year stamping. How does one distinguish between a Hungarian 21 and a Romanian 21, if the RPR is not present?

  • If I cannot see the ammo box and the mark “RPR” isn’t stamped [ammo made after 1965], I can make a difference [to see if the round is Hungarian or Romanian] judging according with how rough [or “primitive”] the raised headstamp looks. If the headstamp style lacks rafinement and is crude, it is definitely Romanian. — The Hungarian State factory # 21 stands for “Veszprem” [“ML” during WW2]. Liviu 03/04/07