Rheinische Metallwaaren u. Maschinenfabrik AG & AEP Belgium


#1

I’m looking for ammunition specific information on Rheinische Metallwaaren u. Maschinenfabrik and their relationship with AEP during WWI. I know that before WWI they had factories in both Düsseldorf (where they were registered and had their corporate office) and in Sommerda where they bought the old Dreyse arms and ammunition plant in 1901. Before WWI all their 9mmP (and I am assuming other ammo) was headstamped RMS. I have no evidence that the Düsseldorf plant produced 9mmP before February 1917 (where they used the H headstamp). In fact from my only three boxes of “H” headstamped 9mmP all have cases and bullets produced by RM Düsseldorf but were loaded by AEP in Belgium (code Pi) http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=13732.

Questions:

Is there any reference on Rheinische Metallwaaren u. Maschinenfabrik AG like the ones that Brandt has in the back of his book on pistol cartridges??? Or, any other reference on the company from an ammunition prespective???

Any idea of the significance of the code “H” used by the Düsseldorf plant??? Did they actually load other calibers or where they only a producer of components as they appear to be for 9mmP. Note that the boxes containing RM S headstamped 9mmP showed the manufacturer as “Hs” which is consistent with the “H” code being used by the Düsseldorf plant.
Is there any evidence either plant continued to produce ammunition after WWI??? I have one RM *S * headstamped that appears to me to, perhaps, be post WWI production.

I have a photo of AEP loaded 9mmK and 9mmBL boxes from 1918 with cases and bullets also shown as code Pi. Does anyone know what the headstamp was for the rounds in this box? There is also a 9mmK box loaded by AEP (Pi) in 1917, but the case manufacturer code is “S”, apparently Spandau.

There is an interesting relationship between between these two companies during WWI. Does anyone have some insights?

Cheers,
Lew


#2

Lew - I don’t have anything specific to RMS in general, that is, on the Sömmerda factory, but I do have to sources on Dusseldorf:

Original company-published history from 7 May 1914, entititeld “Rheinische Metallwaaren-und Maschinenfabrik Düsseldorf-Derendorf 1889-1914.”

Patronensammler-Vereinigung e.V. (The German group of ECRA) Monograph by Hans Techel, published in 1986, titled "Werkgeschichte Rheinische Metallwaaren-und Maschinenfabrik Düsseldorf.

Unfortunately, in the this case, they are both in German. There is some information about Sömmerda in the second one, and perhaps in the first. The first title is, despite being a hardback book, is only 81 pages and is primarily pictures, although there is text in the front of the book, and just looking at it, I see that there is a section of Sömmerda 1901-1914.

I do not read German sufficient to the task of understanding much of the text, but I will, if I can find the time in the next day or so, kind of scan over it quickly to see if I can spot anything at all about Ancien Établissements Pieper.

My first look while I was digging these books out would indicate there is not, but I will look more carefully.


#3

Regaarding the contents of the 9 mm Kurz and 9 mm Browning Lang cartridge boxes, these rounds have trinomial headstamps that are “H” plus the month and year of case manufacture.

The use of the letter “H” has always puzzled me, as has the code “Pi” which appears on both boxes for various informational portions of the contents. Original, official German documentation shows “Pi” as be for Hirtenberger Patroenfabrik. My xerox copy of a document from 1926 includes a note at the bottom from Josef Mötz, but unfortunately, my photocopy does not have the entire note.

Is the use of “H” on the headstamp, and the information that “Pi” is Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik simply coincidental? I just don’t know. I just can’t grasp why Hirtenberger would make the cartridges, or even major components, and not just have them in their own boxes, since Germany and Austria were allies in WWI. Further, I can’t figure out the use of any code like “Pi” in WWI, when while pretty nondescript headstamp letters were used on German ammunition, they really were not normal codes, but rather simply initials pertaining to the case maker, such as “S” for Spandau, “Ge” for Gustav Genschow, etc. Not only that, the early codes were generally numerical, I believe.

Again, unfortunately for us, the best works on these various symbols, I will chose to call them here, are in German and hard for a gringo like me to get at the core of anything. My German is what I would call here “Caption German.” I can read some of the brief language used in photo captions, but not any complex text.

Maybe Peelen or EOD can sort this whole “H” and “Pi” question out for those of us who are linguistically challenged.


#4

John,

The link I posted above (http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=13732) takes you to a three page thread. beginning about the middle of page 2, you and JPeelen and Dutch discussed the Pi code. About the middle of page 3 Dutch introduced a new (new to me) idea that Pi was the WWI code for Pieper, Anciens Etablissements, Herstel and quoted the Bavarian Military Archives as the source. I thought we had long concluded that the Nov 1926 letter identifying Pi as Hirtenberger referred to a post-WWI set of codes assigned in the 1920s and had nothing to do with the use of the Pi code on the WWI pistol cartridges. On page 3 we discussed my preception that AEP had some relationship with the German Military since all of the Bayard 7.65 pistols from the period that I have seen carry German markings on the slide and frame. We also discussed that Herstel was in the German occupied zone during the war.

I thought that the 9mmK and 9mmBL boxes were probably yours. The fact that both show cases made by “Pi” yet the headstamps are “H” seems to reinforce that Rheinische Metallwaaren u. Maschinenfabrik AG Düsseldorf had a relationship with AEP during WWI.

Cheers,
Lew

Please don’t spend your time scanning the German books. I’m confident there are Forum members who can answer most of these questions off the top of their heads.


#5

John, your trust in me is for no reason as this is way off anything I may know about (if I do at all).

As for the “H” we need to keep in mind that it also appears on Rheinmetall made 20x70RR “Erhardt” cases (often wrongly referred to as Becker type 3) made in 1918. This makes me believe that the “H” should not stand for Hirtenberger here - and as usual I may be wrong.

So I am curious too to hear more about the “H”.


#6

There is an activity of AEP during the first war that may touch upon its connection (if any) to RWS and certainly touches upon its general relationship to German war industry. This is the manufacture of model 98 Mauser rifle receivers for the German arsenal at Spandau. These rifle components were produced in considerable quantity from some point in 1916 down into late 1917 or early 1918, when Spandau discontinued rifle manufacture to concentrate on machine guns. Jack


#7

Lew - I thought there might have been a discussion about this before on the Forum, but did not recall the conclusions drawn during it. I have been 100% unsuccessful in using the search engine on this Forum. I know some get great results with it, but I have NEVER to my memory found anything I was looking for with it. I guess I just don’t have the knack of what to ask for.

All I recall ever knowing about the Pi code is that it always puzzled me, and all I had for documentation was that mid-1920s document I mentioned, which from its date, and the fact I can’t read much of the text, I felt it could relate to terminology from WWI.

When I mentioned “scanning” the references I gave for any connection to AEP, I meant a quick look-over of the text for words that might suggest discussion of an AEP connection. I simply don’t have enough time to scan a complete 81-page document on the computer, as in make a copy of it. If I was to do that, I would xerox it which I can do in about 1/10th the time it would take me to scan it.

The era of the Great European War was so fraught with “below the radar” dealings throughout all of the countries involved, that I would not automatically dismiss any connections between companies in the belligerant nations. After all, it seems America was saving royalties to Mauser for every M1903 Springfield made, and that the British were doing the same for some sort of Krupp-patent ordnance they were shooting at the Germans. An entirely bizarre situation in a world gone mad!


#8

John, in WWI the British used a Krupp time and impact fuze patent in their No80 fuze series.
Something similar happened in WWII with a mechanical time fuze with used a Junghans clockwork (as per a doc stating this but I think it was a Thiele clockwork) used in their No214 (also made in the US), but there I doubt Germany has ever seen any payment for.


#9

EOD - I could be way off - my 20th Century European Studies work, my “minor” to my major in school in History - was 55 years ago, and other than as it relates to firearms and ammunition (small arms ammunition) I did not pursue the studies much after that. I was too busy raising a family, I guess, and I never became the teacher (thank God) that I was studying to be.

I seem to recall that the British did pay, at least to a point, the royalties due Krupp. I also believe that I read that the US stopped paying royalties on the Springfield, which after all, is only a modified Mauser (some modifications, like the two piece firing pin, being pretty silly in my view) but stopped them with the beginnings of WWI, even before we were a belligerent in that totally tragic and unnecessary conflict. I seem to recall that the Lusitania incident was part of the excuse for stopping the payments, but I could be wrong. Probably someone more learned than I (that’s about everyone) knows the facts. I probably only remember anything about it at all because it had to do with guns and ammunition. The information is likely in my books on the Springfield and the one on the Krupp family, but no time to dig into those now. Would welcome any scholarly repudiation of my memories on this, because I am just as likely on this subject to be wrong as to be correct.

It is likely you were speaking of the WWII use of German patents by the allies, and I did not immediately recognize that in your reply. In that instance, I share your doubts that any royalties were paid. If they were, the probably would have been applied to war reparations levied against Germany on behalf of various countries, but I doubt even that was done.

Its interesting stuff - I wish I had the time to revisit my studies of so many years past. I used to have a very good memory for the “facts and figures,” so to speak, but it is withering in recent years. I guess when you get old, your memories turn to less academic things.


#10

[quote=“EOD”]John, your trust in me is for no reason as this is way off anything I may know about (if I do at all).

As for the “H” we need to keep in mind that it also appears on Rheinmetall made 20x70RR “Erhardt” cases (often wrongly referred to as Becker type 3) made in 1918. This makes me believe that the “H” should not stand for Hirtenberger here - and as usual I may be wrong.

So I am curious too to hear more about the “H”.[/quote]

During the introduction from the rifle 88 the state plants did not made enough ammunition, so private companies were also involved.

One of the factories was the “Hörder Bergswerk und Hüttenverein” in Hörde (near Dortmund)
In 1888 they became an order for the production of M88 bullets.
The aria of the plant was limited, so a new plant was built in Düsseldorf with the name “Rheinische Metallwarenfabrik Düsseldorf”.
Because the factory in Hörde became the order, the “H” was pressed in the bullet base.
Later when the Düsseldorf plant became his own state orders, the “H” was still pressed in the head stamp.

Rgds
Dutch


#11

Dutch, thank you for the clarification! I knew it should not have been Hirtenberger.


#12

[quote=“JohnMoss”]EOD - I could be way off - my 20th Century European Studies work, my “minor” to my major in school in History - was 55 years ago, and other than as it relates to firearms and ammunition (small arms ammunition) I did not pursue the studies much after that. I was too busy raising a family, I guess, and I never became the teacher (thank God) that I was studying to be.

I seem to recall that the British did pay, at least to a point, the royalties due Krupp. I also believe that I read that the US stopped paying royalties on the Springfield, which after all, is only a modified Mauser (some modifications, like the two piece firing pin, being pretty silly in my view) but stopped them with the beginnings of WWI, even before we were a belligerent in that totally tragic and unnecessary conflict. I seem to recall that the Lusitania incident was part of the excuse for stopping the payments, but I could be wrong. Probably someone more learned than I (that’s about everyone) knows the facts. I probably only remember anything about it at all because it had to do with guns and ammunition. The information is likely in my books on the Springfield and the one on the Krupp family, but no time to dig into those now. Would welcome any scholarly repudiation of my memories on this, because I am just as likely on this subject to be wrong as to be correct.

It is likely you were speaking of the WWII use of German patents by the allies, and I did not immediately recognize that in your reply. In that instance, I share your doubts that any royalties were paid. If they were, the probably would have been applied to war reparations levied against Germany on behalf of various countries, but I doubt even that was done.

Its interesting stuff - I wish I had the time to revisit my studies of so many years past. I used to have a very good memory for the “facts and figures,” so to speak, but it is withering in recent years. I guess when you get old, your memories turn to less academic things.[/quote]

John, it also depends much on what somebodie’s scope is on. I have the same issue as you just with different fields of interest and I think we both a re no exception from anybody else.
Thuis is why this forum is a valuable place for everybody as quick info on almost any ammunition subject can be found here (or to be correct the people knowledgeable in a certain field).


#13

Dutch - I did not feel the “H” was really Hirtenberger either. I am still confused on “Pi” but thank you for the explanation of the “H” on ammunition from the Dusseldorf factory. It is the first time I have ever seen it explained. I am sure it is probably in German documents and books, but I don’t think it has ever been explained to us English-speakers in any format before.

EOD - thanks for your comments. Maybe someone can straighten out the question of royalty payments to Germany during the pre-WWI and WWI periods. My comments were just a vague memory.


#14

Those of you who understand German may be interested to learn that a BIG 2 volume history of Rheintmetall has recently been published in Germany. It is authored by Christian Leitzbach, in charge of Rheinmetall archives.
The book is not at all technically oriented (no drawings, no technical data), but nevertheless very detailed about the company history. It costs EUR 49, obviously subsidized by the company (I estimate its regular price would be around EUR 200.)


#15

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Dutch - I did not feel the “H” was really Hirtenberger either. I am still confused on “Pi” but thank you for the explanation of the “H” on ammunition from the Dusseldorf factory. It is the first time I have ever seen it explained. I am sure it is probably in German documents and books, but I don’t think it has ever been explained to us English-speakers in any format before.

EOD - thanks for your comments. Maybe someone can straighten out the question of royalty payments to Germany during the pre-WWI and WWI periods. My comments were just a vague memory.[/quote]

John, the royalties for the Krupp fuze were paid after WW1.


#16

[quote=“JPeelen”]Those of you who understand German may be interested to learn that a BIG 2 volume history of Rheintmetall has recently been published in Germany. It is authored by Christian Leitzbach, in charge of Rheinmetall archives.
The book is not at all technically oriented (no drawings, no technical data), but nevertheless very detailed about the company history. It costs EUR 49, obviously subsidized by the company (I estimate its regular price would be around EUR 200.)[/quote]

JPeelen, last time I tried to find (spoke to the Rheinmetall folks) it it was not avilable to the public. Do you have a POC?


#17

You can order it from any German bookshop (I obtained my copy that way):

Christian Leitzbach: Rheinmetall
Greven Verlag, 2014
ISBN 978-3-7743-0641-7
EUR 49.90

(to verify, you can look it up on www.buecher.de)


#18

Thanks a lot! I took care of that now.


#19

EOD - thank you. Yes, I remember that in whatever it was that I read on this subject, that during the war itself, the British accounted for the royalties due either thru bookkeeping or actually depositing funds in some sort of escrow (is that the right word here? I am neither an accountant nor an attorney) account for payment after the cessation of hostilities between the two nations. Interesting stuff, and in the case of the Krupp example, as ammo-related as anything else to do with the subject of “cartridges.”


#20

Thru information received by Lew Curtis and passed on to me, it is clear that Lew’s notion that there was some sort of cooperation between Ancien Établissements Pieper, of Belgium and Rheinisch Metallwaarenfabriken of Sömmerda and Düsseldorf, Germany, was absolutely “spot on” correct.

In a revision of assigned abbreviations for ammunition markings from 1916, the code “Pi” represented AEP, Belgium. Whether it was changed by the time of a document published in Germany in the mid-1920s showing those initials as a “code” for Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik, Austria, a reassignment of those letters, or that list was simply in error, I simply don’t know.

Proof of the cooperation comes from box labels for 9 mm Kurz, 9 mm Browning Lang, and 9 mm Parabellum, all of which I have in my own collection, that shows the “Pi” marking for many components, and also shows the letters Hs. on the label. On the same list from 1916, the letters “Hs.” were assigned to the Sömmerda factory of Rheinisch Metallwaaren, with the letters “Hd.” assigned to that company’s factory at Düsseldorf-Derendorf. The letters “Hs.” appear on the same label for the three aforementioned calibers in addition to “Pi.”

It is interesting to note that of 28 markings assigned to various companies, only Pi appears to belong to a non-German company, AEP. Although taken from a modern book published in Germany, the list has great credence due to the fact that a major portion of the identification letters assigned are shown with companies known from literally dozens of sources to be correct. In context, there is no reason to believe that the identification of “Pi” is not equally correct.

This information is courtesy of Lew Curtis. I simply could not wait for him to put it on this forum. Thanks, Lew. Thanks also to “his friend” in Germany who supplied Lew with the information confirming Lew’s previously held belief about this connection.

I mentioned in another entry on this thread that I was not sure about the extent of German occupation of Belgium during WWI. Coincidentally, this evening I turned on the Military History Channel on TV and a program on WWI. In the first few minutes of the segment of the series being shown, it was mentioned that Germany occupied “most of Belgium,” and then mentioned the number of provinces in France they controlled as well, although I missed the number. A map shown quickly on the screen seem to show less than the 1/3 of France that I guessed at earlier, and rather appeared to be about 20-25% of French territory under German control. It was a quick glance, so I could have made a poor estimate there, also.