U-Boot ammo box


Came across this German U-boot ammo box for the Navy Luger.
Anyone known how the ammo was packed ( loose or in boxes )

simpsonltd.com/product_info_ … 3aa7c90938



$7,295.00 ? Wow. Is it rare because of the container type, or because of the label? If these were strictly for U-boats and since most of them are sunk, is it safe to assume that perhaps fewer than 100 of these containers survived the war intact?


How about the ammunition description given? “…however it was actually the previous truncated shaped bullets known by the allies as dum dums…


Yes, that made me smile too.

I have no doubt that Lew will be able to provide a picture of a Naval packet but I suggest the box originally held 50 x 16 round packets. How they packaged 700 rounds though I am unsure -did the German Navy have 25 or 50 round boxes?



Is there any documentary evidence this container was particular to German submarines? It reminds me of those British altimeters on Ebay that are all taken from Spitfires, never from Avro Ansons. Jack


The label reads:


Loaded cartridges
for pistol 04 08
( only for practice )
Primer ??? Powder ???
Delivered Unknown
Produced Unknown

On the first picture the case is marked with the German Marine stamp.
So It`s used by the German Navy.



But necessarily destined for sub use only? Why wouldn’t subs get ammo packaged the same as for any other naval vessel type?


That’s an amazing container! These artifacts are almost a myth in the cartridge collectors world.

I have these pictures of another one with a different and more detailed label:


Have also seen one of those years ago. It was also labeled for the P04.

The price however is the usual product of fantasy and trust in stupid (and rich) buyers.


Fede - the container you show doesn’t seem to correspond to German Navy use. It is marked for the “Pistole 08.” Admittedly, I cannot read the smeared markings after the “Pistole 08” markings. That was an Army designation. The Navy Lugers as designed for the Navy
(with adjustable rear sight on the rear toggle piece and 6 inch barrel) were designated Pistole 04. I don’t know how they designated the standard 4" barrel Luger pistols that were used in WWII (of course, some early 6" barrel Navy pistoles were used by the German Navy in WWII also).

The first container shows it for both the P-08 and the P-04. I don’t see anything on the label that indicates only for U-Boot use, although to an expert on German submarines, perhaps the type of container makes that self-evident.

The only small cartridge box I have seen, and I have one in my collection, marked specifically for the P-04 and navy use holds 16 rounds and is from DWM.


John, there is also an earlier P04 box labeled “16 Stück 9 m/m scharfe Patronen zur Selbstladepistole 1904”. Is your box dated 1911?


Fede, I have never seen the box label you describe. Could you post it for us?

Now to continue having lost a previous post—but due only to my own inept fingers.

WOW!!! I have never seen or heard of these. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas since I’m not going to be buying the one offered by Simpson.

First to the comment on “dum dum” bullets. Early in WW1 German soldiers were concerned (probably rightfully so) that the allied soldiers considered the truncated bullets as 'dum dum" bullets. There is some slight justification for this since apparently DWM/G Luger introduced them with the claim of improved wounding power probably first when he was offering the 9mm P08 cartridge to the US Army, but the first mention of this was in the German Army trials of the 9mm Luger pistol. I have a translation of a letter from the Kriegsministerium dated 22 March 1916, ordering the production of the ogival bullet in place of the truncated cone. A forwarding indorsement from the General War Department in Berlin explained that the change was “advisable because field units are partially of the opinion that the previous bullets with flattened points are considered to be Dum Dum bullets by the enemy.”

I have blown up the label on the Simpson box and it is marked 800 rds and then overstamped 700 rds. This makes sense because 800 rds is 50 of the little 16 round German Navy boxes marked “04”. I have documented 10 or 12 of these boxes and they all date between 1910 and 1914 (all are by DWM). If the German Navy quit buying this ammo after 1914, than any future acquisitions would have had to be German Army 16 round boxes or commercial ammo, for example DWM, in 50 round boxes. The overstamp “700” on the Simpson container makes sense if it was originally used with the 16 rd boxes and then later used to hold 14 50 rd boxes.

A few measurements seem to confirm this. Fifty 16rd boxes arranged 10x5 is 8 3/4" long x 6 1/4" high x 3 3/8" wide which fits nicely in the stated external size of the box 9.25" X 6.5" X 3 5/8". The 50 rd boxes arranged 5 high with 2 on the sides next to them in two stacks next to each other requires 8 1/8" x 6" x 3 3/8" so they would also fit nicely with a bit of room to spare.

The fact that Fede’s box dates from 1918, well after the Navy apparently stopped buying 16 rd boxes marked “04” strongly implies to me that the German Navy in 1918 was buying 50 rd boxes, probably with commercial headstamps but perhaps not. It is well known that the Dutch were still buying truncated cone ammunition with GM jackets in 1917 and 1918 based on boxes (I have a Dutch 1917 box and in “The Dutch Luger” Martens and Vries illustrates both the 1917 and 1918 boxes. Rounds with truncated GM bullets are known with case dates from April 1916 to November 1917 and these later dated cases could have well been loaded in Feb 1918, the load date on Fede’s label. By 1918 it is likely that the Navy had dropped the “C04” designation on their pistol so the “P08” on a 1918 box intended for Navy use would not surprise me at all. Some of the GM truncated bullet rounds may have been for the German Navy, but I have never seen or heard of a 50 rd box that would confirm this.

Fede’s box is interesting because it obviously had a prior label which had been scraped off leaving the scrapped area visible partially under the existing label. This label is also dated in the corner “12/4.41” in blue ink which probably means 12 April 1941. The 700 is underlined in blue ink and is followed by a word I can’t make out. Perhaps this box was repacked with 700 rds of ammunition in 1941 for a new era of U-Boats!

Anyone who has or wants to buy one of these boxes is invited to send it to me as a Christmas present. Well, I probably have not been that good a boy this year to deserve such a present.

In any case, Merry Christmans and a Great New Year to all who visit the Forum. And, my thanks to Chris B and all the Moderators who make the Forum work and deliver great information like these two boxes.

Holiday Cheer,


Lew, this is the only picture I have:


The Dutch stuck with the truncated bullet well into the 1930s. Much of it made by RWS.


Fede - My DWM 9 mm 04 box is dated from 1914.


Fede, I have been told the early Navy boxes by DWM had commercial headstamps. This may be one of the boxes. Any indication what load was in it.




I was just rereading this thread for an article I’m working on. A few comments and questions to add.

I suspect the “Pistole 08” on both labels (printed on one and “08” stamped on the other) would indicate the RN bullet introduced by the Army in 1916. It refers to the ammunition, not the pistol. This is not my idea but was from a very knowledgeable German source and is obvious once it was suggested, though it didn’t occur to me originally.

I have also seen some correspondence that a third container of this sort exists in the US, but with no labels. The owner (a gun collector) has made copies of the Simpson label shown below to complete his container. The box must have sold since it is no longer on the link to the Simpson website.

I also understand there is a similar container in a collection in Belgium. Does anyone know where this container is? I could really use a photo.

Finally, EOD!!! You mentioned seeing one of these years ago. Do you remember where??? I’d like to get of that one also. Just let me know where you saw it, or even give m a hint and I will try to chase it from there.

Again, thanks everyone for this very useful info.



That doesn’t necessarily follow where the German war machine was concerned. Its just as possible that they had a huge warehouse full somewhere, but if the guys on here say its rare then its rare. I would trust their judgement over the wording of an advert. It still seems like a lot of money to me.


Lew, the one I saw is today property of the German Army Museum in Dresden (when I saw it it was not).


Thanks EOD. I will try to contact them and see if I can get a photo of the label. Did it have a label as you remember???