In the mid-1970s I was given an interesting 9mm cartridge by a very advanced, Swiss collector of Parabellum cartridges and aircraft cannon ammunition, Werner Schaltenbrand, a very good friend and mentor. This round was headstamped “P 24” and he had the box which he said came from Solothurn. The box had a simple white label and was covered in black tissue paper like many early Swiss boxes.
A few years later, I discovered another “P 24” headstamped cartridge but the letter style was very different, particularly the “24”.
The cartridge from Werner had a much higher vertical bar and a serif at the bottom of the vertical bar while the second round had a very short vertical bar, and the “24” was identical to the date on a cartridge in my collection with a Cartoucherie Belge headstamp. The rounds themselves were very different. The Solothurn round has a CNCS magnetic bullet and a flat primer, while the Belgian round has a CN non-magnetic bullet and a domed primer both typical charactics of Belgian 9mm Para cartridges of the period. So, I identified one as Swiss and one as Belgian.
Then things got complicated. I found Belgian cases with a Swiss primer and magnetic bullet and occasionally a Swiss case with a Belgian non-magnetic bullet. Note that the Belgian case shown above has a flat, Swiss style, primer. In addition, I received reports of a variety of German boxes with these “mixed” loads along with Polte loads from the period including a Polte box (lot 10 of 1925) which contained Polte cases dated April and July of 1925 as well as the two rounds identical to those shown above.
Eventually, I wrote an article which appeared in issue 332 (1st Qtr 1986) of the predecessor of the IAA Journal. I identified the Belgian loads as being probably a product of Cartoucherie Belge and the Swiss as probably being a product of Solothurn. I concluded that the rounds were probably a product for a third country, and that that country was probably Germany. Although I didn’t specifically state it, the article implied that Germany may have loaded the “mixed” loads.
Since then I have acquired a number of boxes with these loads and have had others reported to me. In addition, documentation on this contract had been made available. Four things are now clear:
- The “standard” Belgian loads, and the Belgian components are a product of FN, not CB.
- As suspected, the Solothurn ammunition was actually made by Thun
- The ammunition was a contract by the Prussian Police with Solothurn and delivery of the ammunition was forbidden by the Allied Control Commission.
- It is extremely unlikely that any of the rounds were loaded in Germany since none contained the German powder in use in the 1920s.
Since most of the documented boxes of this ammunition were found in Germany and are marked in German, it is obvious that this ammunition eventually found its way into Germany, probably in the mid-11920s.
I have decided it is time to update my 1986 article, however there are a lot of questions unanswered. The first ones are about the rounds in some of the images I have been sent.
The first box in question had nine rounds with “P 24” headstamp. Seven were FN headstamps and two were Swiss headstamps. The other 7 rounds were without a headstamp. I would like to know:
- How many of the FN headstamped rounds have magnetic bullets.
- How many of the Swiss headstamped rounds have magnetic bullets
- Are the bullets on the unheadstamped rounds magnetic?
The second box has a different style label and also contains a mix of the two “P 24” headstamps, as well as a few unheadstamped cartridges. I would like to know the actual mix of cartridges in this box as well as the number of each style that have magnetic bullets and whether all have flat primers. If any have domed primers, I would appreciate the details on these rounds.
The second box has a different style label and also contains a mix of the two “P 24” headstamps, as well as a few unheadstamped cartridges. I would like to know the actual mix of cartridges in this box as well as the number of each style that have magnetic bullets and whether all have flat primers. If any have domed primers, I would appreciate the details on these rounds. Note that the 16 round boxes these rounds are found in are all reused WWI German as far as I can tell.
If anyone else has a box of these “P 24”, I would greatly appreciate a photo of the box and a description of the cartridges, including the number with each headstamp type; whether they have a flat or domed primer and whether the bullet is magnetic.
Any further information on these cartridges would be greatly appreciated.
Finally, these cartridges are listed as being in the inventory of the Portuguese military in an Ordnance Bulletin published in early 1946. It seems likely that this ammunition was provided to Portugal by Germany before or during WWII. No examples of this ammunition, nor any boxes, have been found with a Portuguese provenance. Any information on these cartridges with a connection to either Portugal or Spain would be greatly appreciated.
Any thoughts, opinions or information is welcome. Please post here or send me a PM or email me.
All assistance is appreciated.