SS, Babyi Yar and Heer's ammo


In Michael Verhoeven’s documentary “The Unknown Soldier”,, a movie which tries to establish if the entire German military machine were to be blamed for WWII murders (or just SS), there is a historian talking about Babyi Yar. He tries to link this SS mass murder to Heer by saying that SS “with 2 tons of ammunition, ammunition from the German Army, the 35,000 people who showed up… were shot and killed”. SS ammo is brought up occasionally in this forum, and, if my memory and understanding are still with me, I am under the impression that SS had their own ammo supply, separate from Heer. So, could SS just take ammo from Wehrmacht or this historian is wrong?


“The First Casualty of War is Truth…”

At the time of Babi Yar massacre( 1941) the SS still used its own supply lines, and its ammo supply was separately sourced and marked from the Wehrmacht supply chain.

SS supplies came from DWM and its subsidiaries ( “SS-TV” Marked ammo, coded secret supplies ( leftovers from Spanish Civil war supplies), captured Polish and Czech ammo, new made “S&B” headstamped ammo from Sellier and Bellot, FN made ammo ( from Baltic States and Belgium) > >>> a lot of the Fired cases found have characteristic ZB26 firing pin marks…the ZB26 was standard issue to the SS, but not to the Wehrmacht, at least after Dunkirk.

This has been ascertained from official records on the SS supply system, and also from battlefield relics found in the locations of SS 1941-42 battles on the Russian Front, (Army Group North) in the movement thru the Baltic states, Ukraine, Byelorussia, towards Leningrad. In the late 1990s, quantites of repacked “S&B” and “Z” marked 7,9mm ammo came out of Ukraine stores for Milsurp sales into Western Europe.

Only in 1943, when Albert Speer became Hitler’s Minister of Munitions and Production, was this wasteful dichotomy of supply eliminated, and the SS (Waffen branch) was treated the same as Regular Army (Heer) as far as weapons and ammo supplies went.

Before that, the SS, as a NON-army ( being a strictly Party) organisation, could not legally obtain supplies from the Army directly. And the Wehrmacht could not stand the SS anyway…

So that commentator had it all wrong. Whilst there was alot of involvement of the Wehrmacht with the SS “special solution” activities, they drew the line at supplying them directly with ammo until the 1943 Changeover. A lot of Heer Officers were “passed over” for promotions or given early retirement because of not following SS directives on the “Special Operations”. In anycase, by 1943, the Waffen SS was fully involved with Combat activities, and thus simple Field imperatives required a unified Supply system.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics
Brisbane Australia


Thanks, Doc, that explains the SB, Z, polish etc 7,9 mm that was unloaded at the border by german troops going home this month, 65 years ago.
The rifle (and two crates of czech ammo) found in the lighthouse keepers’ quarters at Blåvand north of Esbjerg still exists, and is still used for some plinking now and then.


Soren –

A query about the two crates of Czech ammo you mention that were left behind in Denmark by the Germans – was it loaded in chargers? If so were they the brass three-piece, spring-and-platform chargers the Czechs used before the war, or were they the usual two-piece Mauser type they changed to when making ammunition for the Wehrmacht during WW2?

I ask this this because I have seen a pre-war type Czech 7.92 three-piece charger found as a battlefield pick-up from Normandy, and wonder if it could have been from captured Czech ammunition that was still being used by some SS units as late as 1944.

John E


The czech 7,9 found at the keeper’s house were not in clips, sorry. It looks like this:

Cartridges from the same lot has been found in other places in Jutland and still turns up in small batches when some widow of a resistance man turns her husband’s old rifle and ammo in to the police or the local home guard depot.
I tested some of it a year ago and it is quick: just under 850 m/s with the light (154 grains) bullet.



isn’t that green primer annulus ammo in those boxes? The label says so (7,92 mm ball heavy / Cartridge model 34)



It has no recognizable color, I do not think it has a lacquered PA at all…
The charge/lot number three places down has a faint green color to the PA sealant. (SB1938/IV) I’ts much easier to see with a magnifier then to take a picture of it. Alle the rest of the SB I have samples of, SB1933/I, SB1933/IX, SB1937/I, Z1939/VIII and IX have black annulus’
I’ll ask my friend who supplied it, he has some opened boxes.



Hans is correct. The Czech Vz 34 loading was their equivalent to the German sS heavy ball round with a bullet weight of approximately 198 grains (total cartridge weight of about 420 grains) and a green annulus (sometimes very, very light). The Vz 23 was the Czech equivalent to the German S round with a bullet weight of approximately 154 grains (total cartridge weight of about 325 grains) and a black annulus.

It could be just the angle that the picture was taken at but the bullet looks like a Vz 23 to me. Were they taken from a box with the label shown?

Nice boxes! While Prewar Czech boxes are not scarce here in the U.S., unopened boxes are getting harder and harder to find (in my experience at least).


It is interesting that Czech pre-war ammunition was available in such quantity until the end of the war. Daniel Kent, in his “German 7.9mm Military Ammunition”, also reports that quantities of Vz.34 were found in a German ammunition dump in Normandy in 1944. This, and that found in Denmark, was by that time presumably for general reserve use and not specifically for the SS.

Kent says that the Vz.34 cartridge was usually found packed loose and not in chargers. Because of the greater accuracy of its sS-type bullet over that of the flat-based Vz.23 round, it was at first intended mainly for use in machine guns, eg the Vz.37 (the forerunner of the UK BESA gun).

However in addition to making ammunition for the Wehrmacht with ak or dou. headstamps, S&B and ZB continued making Vz.34 7.92x57 cartridges until at least 1943 (essentially sS Ball, with green primer annulus) but with Czech “pre-war” type headstamps. I wonder if these were made for SS use or for export?

John E



For a discussion on this subject see:
its mixed in a thread about 8x63mm Swedish


The lot I chronoed at 830 m/s a year ago was the SB1937/I. Definitely Vz 23:

Weighing the different lots, to show Phil is right:
SB1937/I = 386 grains
SB1933/IV 385 grains
Z1939/VIII 381 grains
All with black PA
SB1938/VII 424 grains
SB1938/IV 423 grains
both with very thin green PA, i.e. Vz 34.


The total cartridge weight I gave for a Vz 23 round was the result of a clumsy finger, sorry. As Soren points out, a closer average is in the 380 grain range +/-.


Phil –

Thanks for the link to the earlier thread – a very useful survey.

John E


Just to finish my rantings about czech 7,9 in boxes here’s one of the boxes opened. The lot number doesn’t fit with the label, but I don’t think that’s significant:

The green colour to the PA sealant is almost not there. Photo was made in as close to white light as possible (moderate sunshine from an almost overcast sky)