The not so secret German codes on 7,9 Mauser rounds and boxes

It was all started to identify the plants that made the „secret“codes for Spain.
Some companies did not know what the meaning of this “Tarnkode” was.
Perhaps it became that in the beginning cases from the normal production were used for export to Spain. They were not made at German specs, like primer crimp and annulus colour.
The picture shows an example from P131 and P413 head stamps, how to recognise these rounds.

The first example is a box from DWM Lübeck P413 with the Code AI on the label.
We found out that the character “A” was given to the DWM concern and the “I” was given to the plant Lübeck.


The Polte concern became the character “B” In 1938 the left over’s were used in the SmK 4th lot of 1938. Polte Magdeburg BI

By making the export order there were always some left over’s. They did not throw them away, but used them in the normal production like the P186 (Metallwerk Wolfenbuttel “Polte”) made with BII cases or the P315 who get D3 cases to make blanks of them.

Sometimes we were lucky because it did not matter witch head stamp a practice cartridge had.
Here an example from a Polte box with a 7,92 head stamp, packed in a box of lS rounds with left over cases from 1937. and a B IV in a box from P154.


Picture from the net.

After the export order to Sweden was cancelled, the cases were used for ammunition for the “Wehrmacht” . Only the cn plated bullet was changed to a Tombak bullet, so it is easy to identify this cartridge.



There were also a few so called “Munitionsanstalten”. These were facilities were ammunition was checked on damage and functionality. They repacked the ammunition in boxes were the facility was printed open on the label.
Perhaps they thought that these boxes never leave German territory.



any additional information is welcome



Brilliant post! You provides insights into German SAA production that I have never seen before. The repack by the Munitionsanstalten also occured with 9mm P08 ammo, however most of the boxes did not identify the facility which is a shame for collectors.

Thanks for the info.


Willem, great piece of work and nice compilation!
Indeed a little documented area!
Could this maybe something for a good article?

Very rare information. Thanks a lot for sharing. Like Alex, I think it would make a valuable article.

Dutch, Michael Heidler in his book on armament codes lists the Munitionsanstalten but does not describe their function as best I can determine. Nor have I seen any information on which of these handled which ammunition. I have been told that many of these “H. Ma.” received ammunition form the various manufactures and repacked them into unit loads of ammunition (a mix of ammunition expected to support a unit for a set number of days in combat). I have no idea what a unit consisted of in terms of size. I assume there were different types of units, Armor, Infantry, Anti-Tank, Artillery, etc. I understand the same trains that brought the ammunition to the front also brought some back for repacking, etc. I assume the repacked ammo came from other places as well. Did these H.Ma. specialize in repacking particularly calibers. This whole area seems very gray and ill understood. I agree that your material deserves an article, or even two seperate articles.


Waffen Revie issue 122 on 41 pages reproduces a document describing the tasks Munitionsanstalten (Muna in WW2) had to fullfill. The document is from Versailles Treaty times, around 1930, when only one per military district was allowed.
Basically, the task was to receive ammunition components from manufacturers, store and keep them in good order, if required load them, assemble complete rounds and issue these to the troops.
Contrary to the predecessors (Artilleriedepots), no machinery to manufacture small arms cartridges was part of any Munitionsanstalt.
What you call unit load in my opinion was called a Munitionszug (ammunition train) in German. This was a set of railway cars, loaded with a well defined mix of ammunition from large caliber to small arms cartridges that a typical regiment (division?) consumed when in combat.
I agree with you that there are a lot of areas of WW2 Muna operation which are still unknown territory.

Great post Willem. Thanks for sharing. -Ger

I just got this box. So what does “B1” indicate on this label?

This has nothing to do with B1…in this case it is a capital letter B and the second is a lower case L… of the wording Nz Gew.Bl…and this means Nitrozellulose Gewehrblättchenpulver (Flake rifle powder)

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This is also a very nice part of the German code System.
Also during WW1 the Germans checked and repacked Mauser cartridges in Artillery depots.

After WW1 they grounded “Munitionsanstalten” in sometimes existing facilities, as JPeelen already explained.

There were several “Wehrkreisen” in Germany with a particular number.


The “Munitionsanstalt” could be found in;

I Köningsberg
II Stettin
III Jütebog
IV Zeithahn
V Kassel *
VI Hannover
VII Ingolstadt.

  • Notice that Kassel was changed to Wehrkreis IX.

Here are a few examples from box labels from cartridges made in these “Munitionsanstallten”.
Components used to make the cartridges were normally several years on stock.



The only company who was allowed to make 7,9 cartridges after WW1 was Polte.
New secret plants were setup because the Germans wanted to make more ammunition that was allowed by the allied control commission.
The idea was to make a small character behind the P from Polte. The code they used was Pi, Pö, Pu and Ps. This small character was the second character from the factory name that made the cartridges. Pi = Hirtenberg, Pö = Böhme, Pu, Burgsmüller and Ps = Sweden (Bofors)


In 1926 this system was changed and P (Polte) became a number behind the “P”
For example the new code from Böhme was P25.
This was also happening by other components. The only plant who was allowed to make powder was Reinsdorf, shortage “Rdf”. Who cares about the number “128” behind Rdf. Well this was the code from the Pulverfabrik Walsrode, an other plant who was not allowed to make powder.
To understand this label you have to know the Reichswehr character year system.


Several companies used this code, sometimes more or less
Now I hope you all be able to identify the codes on the next 7,9 Mauser label.

Patr. SmK Lspur
Cartridge SmK tracer
P. 69. 14. L.E.
Patr, Zdh und Metallwarenfabrik AG (former Sellier & Bellot) Schönebeck. 14th lot of 1931
Nz. Gew. Bl. P (2-2-045) Rdf. | 128 3. L. 29
Nitrozellose Rifle flake powder (size in mm) Pulverfabrik Walsrode 3th lot of 1929
Patrh.: P. 16. L. 1931*
Case brass Polte 16th lot of 1931
Gesch.: P. 69.14. L. E.
Bullet; Patr, Zdh und Metallwarenfabrik AG Schönebeck. 14th lot of 1931
K.: P. 14. L. 31
Core Polte 14th lot of 1931
Satz: P.69. 14. L. E.
Tracer element; , Zdh und Metallwarenfabrik AG Schönebeck. 14th lot of 1931
Zdh Dc 176. L. B
Primer; Dreyse & Collenbusch, Sömmerda 176th lot of 1930


Willem, I am looking forward to your article! :-)

Willem - I am not longer collecting 7.9 as you well know, but regardless, to me, your explanation here is one of the most important answers on a thread that I can recall. I suppose there are likely other sources for this information, but put in almost perfect English and in a way that even a dummy like me can fully understand it answers many, many questions I have had about this whole subject. Thanks for posting this, my friend!

John M.


Many thanks for the flowers.


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