Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread and to those who sent me emails because of this thread. I now have photos of 21 different German Navy box labels. Here are some things I deduce from the specimens I have photos of. The original Navy purchase of ammunition appears to have been commercial headstamp ammunition with the DWM K 480C K headstamp with serifs packed in a 16 round box that simply refers to the Autopistol 1904. This ammunition likely dates from 1906 through 1908 and perhaps into 1909 before DWM introduced their military headstamp in early 1909.
The earliest military style German Navy box was introduced in 1909 or 1910 and introduced the three panel layout with the cartridge designation on the far left, the powder identification in the middle panel and the load date and date of primer production and the loading location, Grotsingen in the far right panel. The only documented example of this label is in the unusual label in the original post of this thread. Since then I have had reported a similar box, but with loading data and marked with a 1909 date. I have not received a photo so this box has not been confirmed, but is reported by a knowledgable collector, but from memory. These early boxes are distinguished by their use of the Old German script.
By August 1910 the third box style label was introduced. In the left panel the ammunition was identified as “16 9mm Patr. f. Pistole C/04”. The middle panel identifies the powder by both lot and date. the 1910 powder was identified as No 1657.10, the 1911 as No1804.11 and the 1912 as 1901.12. No 1913 boxes have been reported. The right panel provided the load date in the format Day.Month.Year, each as two digit numbers. The primer was identified by both month and year (examples: 6.10 and 7.11).
This box format was used through May 1914, but on these boxes had the “C/” marked out in black pen. The remander of the box followed the earlier style and the powder was No 2253.14.
Between May and June 1914 the boc format changed. In the left panel the designation of the cartridge became “16 Patr. f. Patrone 04” with the “C/” deleted. The center panel stayed the same but the powder was identified as No2369 with no year in the designation. The right panel dropped the month in the primer identification so now it only provided the year. Although this style was only used for a few months with the latest box being dated 19 Nov 1914. It appears that by the end of 1914 the German Navy stopped buying ammunition in 16 round boxes. The information in thread
on the forum indicates that the U-Boat containers switched form 50 16 round boxes to 14 50 round boxes. There is no evidence that DWM ever packed 9mm para (commercial or military) in 25 round boxes through WWII. There is also no evidence of a German Navy marked 50 round box.
The German Navy was totally seperate from the Army and there is no evidence to suggest that the Navy procured 9mm Para ammunition from the Army. It would be resonable to conclude that through WWI they continued to procure their ammunition from DWM. This is particularly true since there is some evidence early that the army had concerns with the quality of Spandau 9mm ammunition relative to DWM ammunition. Based on this, I suspect that the German Navy probably purchased DWM ammunition in commercial 50 round boxes. This ammunition may have had military or commercial headstamps.
Any information on DWM WWI military headstamps in 50 boxes would be greatly appreciated. The only examples I know of this are in boxes marked in Dutch and provided to the Dutch by DWM. It is likely that this ammunition would still retain the truncated bullet, just as do the Dutch contract loads from 1917.
Like most things in this hobby, some answers result in twice as many questions. What ammo did the German Navy buy for their ships-apparently in 50 round boxes? What 9mm ammunition was issued to Navy personnel involved in ground combat on the western front? Were they using Army ammunition are were they still supplied by the Navy? Wish I had a time machine to enable some solid answers.
Thanks again to all who contributed, and any further contributions/corrections, posted her or by email would be greatly appreciated.