I picked this box up last spring.
Picture of box, headstamp and the note below.
Box is full with 25 G.S.F. 6.35. Geco primer and brass jkt.
Can anyone take a shot at explaining the history behind a Swiss box stamped with GSF on front label.
I picked this box up last spring.
Switzerland, although Neutral (“Armed Neutrality”) during all of WW II ( it shot at anybody who flew in their airspace), still required Imports From or Via Italy, France and Germany to survive. This could include such things as Police and Civilian ammo. I assume the 6,35 (and probably also 7,65) was imported to keep local supplies sufficient.
Obviously a Swiss Gov’t acquisition, as it carried the Label of the Federal Munitions Depot of Thun, one of the Major sources of Swiss-Made ammo in Northern Switzerland ( one of the German Speaking Cantons). As German is the Majority Language in Switzerland, and although Made in France, it came via GECO (Export) in Germany and thus is labelled in German, and French, and English( end tabs)
The Circle C cross is an acceptance or Property mark of the Swiss Confederation (CH Confoederatio Helvetica) a Latin description adopted in the 14th Century, deriving from the Roman name for the Gauls of the Mountain Fastness in central western Europe (Helvetii) mentioned in Julius Caeser’s “De Bello Gallico”.
Switzerland also supplied Germany with Oerlikon AA Guns and Ammo to a small extent, and Germany supplied steel cups for drawing Steel 7,5x55 cartridge cases during WW II. Other equipment included Medical supplies, Optical Munitions, and excess food. On the other hand, coal was in short supply for Steam Locos, and Switzerland relied heavily on Electricity (Hydro) from its own Dams as well as some in both Italy and Germany. The CFF- FFS ( Federal Railways) even converted some Lightweight steam locos to electric, by placing a Heating element in the Boilers, and a Pantograph on the roof of the cab, to draw Power…they were widely used in rail yards and stations for shunting Purposes.
The History of how Switzerland, though completely cut off from the rest of the world by the Axis Powers, managed to maintain its Neutrality by Playing both Ends against the Middle, is fascinating to say the least.
The box label (top side, bottom left corner: M + F Thun) names the (Federal) Swiss amunition factory at Thun as origin. Because M+F obviously had bought these cartridges from abroad, the black G.S.F was printed on the label to show this.
Switzerland had a Federal Ammunition Monopoly through which all civilian sales had to go. The “Munitions-Depot Thun” is not the M + F factory mentioned above, but a depot of that monopoly. The sticker is proof that the box went through the monopoly, similar to a tax stamp.
I was wondering if boxes were packed in France and shipped to Switzerland or as you say, cartridges shipped in bulk from France to Switzerland and packed into GSF stamped boxes at M + F Factory.
I am surprised to see this in a Swiss box. I don’t see the German
authorities supplying Switzerland with this war-time ammunition, a joint
venture of Gevelot in Occupied France and Gustav Genschow of Durlach,
Germany. I also can see why the Swiss would need any quantity of 7.65
since they were perfectly capable of manufacturing that caliber, and did.
It is almost like the acquired a lot of it in bulk and repacked it in Swiss boxes,
with some ending up in the depository, at Thun, which contained sample boxes
of ammunition from all over the world, and dating back Lord knows how far.
Early Bergmann cartridges, DWM-made .45 Auto rounds, and lots of other
stuff not seen much or at all until the Depository let some of it go, were there.
I have three or four boxes, all foreign to Switzerland, bearing the Thun Depository
stamp, in my own collection, but all of those make sense in the context of the
box labels and the ammo in them.
Would be interesting if any of our Swiss members have specific insight into what
this box is all about.
Bob Ruebel just reminded me of this thread that I had missed. This is a very interesting cartridge. I have a single specimen from a well known French collector which he said was the SFM load. During WWII, SFM was controlled and managed by Geco, just like FN was controlled and managed by DWM. This round had a plain primer, not ringed. It appears that the SFM plant provided the cases and bullets to Geco who loaded them with Geco(RWS) ringed primers and dark red cms and pa. These were packed in Geco boxes dated 1944.
These Swiss rounds are interesting. They appear to be Geco loaded rounds that were shipped to Thun in bulk and there loaded in Swiss boxes. As I understand it, Switzerland, like Spain, Sweden and Portugal was neutral, and traded extensively with Germany for raw material. This could have been German payment as part of that trade. It looks like Thun packed them in Swiss boxes for commercial sale. Just speculation, but this is a distinct variation from the Geco and the French rounds I had seen previously.