RWS & Geco 9mm Parabellum boxes

John, I in fact made a mistake. The SE bullet with the white tip is unheadstamped. There are two white tip C-43 loads, one with a black mE bullet and one with a GM mE bullet and the Fiocchi bullet I mentioned.

All came from Alessio Grimaldi many years ago and were described as production late in the war with German bullets. Alessio also had a more extensive set of these in his collection when I went through it in Milan in 1974.

I do not consider them experimental loads and was told they were production loads. I think the arguement that we would see them if they were production is weak. There are other examples of production ammunition which few or no examples are known. The classic example is the 7.92x33mm Tracer! Well documented as a production round I’m told, but no examples were known as far as I have heard.

Given the source and the timing, I am very comfortable accepting these as production ammunition. The SMI and qrb headstamped cartridges in 9mm you mentioned (particularly the steel case qrb) are by all indications production rounds, yet are known by one or two specimens.

The world is not as simple and tidy as collectors would like it to be!

I don’t consider the argument that we would have seen more than one or two rounds in one or two collections if these things were full scale production as being any weaker than making assumptions to fit the idea of what these cartridges are. The fact seems to be that there is zero documentation to support either view, although I personally think, of course, being a pissant, that logic supports my view, even though logic is not always neat and tidy. The rounds like qrb and SMI 944 were made under German control and may have gone to front lines in countries inaccessible after the war , much as was the case with a whole bunch of P25-code 7.9 x 57 lot numbers, which only showed up after a huge importation from a previously communist and closed country (I suspect Albania, but it could have been Bulgaria. The most I got out of Val Forgett was “the Balkans”) right after the wall came down. I advanced the hyopthesis that they had gone to Russia, Bulgaria, albania or somewhere else totally outside of collector access years before the importation, and was proved correct. My assumption that the late 9mm headstamps may have gone to another front, since they were not for the Italian forces which had already changed sides, is no weaker than the assumption, without documentation, that these were production rounds, or even that they are factory loaded at all. As you say, everything is not so tidy and neat in collecting.

They could not have been loaded by Capua “late in the war” regardless of bullet type, because Capua was under American control late in the war, That’s why the last wartime date on 9mm for Capua is 1943. Why assume that the Italian factories of the north that were then under German control and still able to produce cases, primers and probably powder, could not produce enough bullets to fill those cases? Documentation for that belief? Further, would it make sense for the Germans to be shipping components from German, Austrian and Czech factories to Italy when they probably needed all their own production to fight the Russian onslaught in the east? We pretty much controlled the air over Northern Italy towards the end of the Italian campaign, when these rounds would have been loaded, and trains and truck convoys traveled at great peril. The Germans had enough trouble finding transport to get their troops out of Italy before the Italian Partisans chewed them up. Good logistics would demand production of components be as close to the loading factory as possible. These were not loaded in 1940 or 1941, when German military traffic was at little risk compared to late 1944 and early 1945, when the Thunderbolts and Mustangs were attacking single soldiers on bicycles for want of other targets. My friend, Dr. Fletcher Craig, who flew thunderbolts finished his last mission over Germany with three-forths of his ammunition still in his guns, and his last mission was over a month before the capitulation.

Sorry, for me, doesn’t wash. Each to his own belief, but I haven’t seen any documentation or argument that convinces me. Grimaldi was a great source of cartridges and information, and was the person I was alluding to. I knew they came from him. However, I ask again, were his sources as good and true as he was? I don’t know - just a rhetorical question.

It would be more logical to assume that these loads, if factory loaded in Italy, were simply a clean up of a hodge-podge of salvaged ammunition and components done after the war. But then, we would even be more likely to see them turn up occasionally.

Maybe some of the Italian collectors know of some documentation for these white-tiped rounds with foreign (to Italy) bullets in the cases. They are not covered on their website, though. I wonder if any Italian records survived. Judging from the great stuff that EOD, Genkideskan and others post here, it is a wonder how much of the German documents survived, considering Germany was in a state of almost total destruction by May of 1945.

Pivi - do you know of any Italian Archives, that are open to individual research, on wartime arms and ammunition? Maybe a project for the Italian collectors to sort out. I would welcome bing wrong if we could get documentation of Italian small arms ammo production. It would answer more questions than this.

Gentlemen, thank you all for your well argumented response!
With regards,
Jaco