W. W. I small arms ammunition, American manufactured


#1

Gentlemen [much more learned than I]:

In scouring newspaper accounts of November 1914 that deal with the placement of early orders with American ammunition manufacturers for “bullets for Europe,” one of the largest such orders describes the ammunition desired, and soon to be produced, as being comprised of “small, long, steel-jacketed bullets, the seven millimeter cartridge, and the .43 caliber bullets, non-jacketed”. There is no further identification indicated. The articles also state that just whom these bullets are being manufactured for is not known. Can any of the esteemed members of this forum enlighten me as to just which cartridges, specifically, I may be dealing with here and whom the “buyer” may be? I know, to a certainty, that this specific order/“deal” was put together through the New York banking concern of J. P. Morgan and the orders are to be filled by the Western Cartridge Company, East Alton, Illinois. If any of my fellow members have images of this same ammunition, I would also be grateful if these images could be posted. I apologize for the vague nature of the description, but this is all I have to go on.

Thanks,

Gary


#2

Don’t know if this fits but there is the WISE 7 x 57 (7x57mm Mauser) “contract”, see: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14061 Read down the page and you will see the information on the WISE 7x57mm.

Late in 1914 the French contracted WCC, Western Cartridge Company, to manufacture 11 mm (.43) Gras model 1879/83 “armoured” ball cartridges. See: histavia21.net/amaviapag/11_gras_avia.htm Page 3. French contracts with WCC for 11mm Gras continued through much of the war (mid 1917).

Hope there is clue for you here.

Brian


#3

Thank you Brian; the links are much appreciated.

Gary


#4

Gary,

Since your reference is late 1914 the WISE 7x57mm may or may not be what you are looking for because it appears Wise Ammunition Company did not begin any kind of cartridge production until mid 1915. It depends on when contract talks started, a contract was given (1914? or 1915?) and how this relates to the late 1914 press report of a 7mm cartidge “order” with production to start “soon” and production eventually getting started at the Wise Ammunition Company.

See IAA Journal #492 (July/August 2013) pages 4 to 12; part 1 of a 3 part series on 3 U.S. companies (J.B. Wise Ammunition Company, Maxim Munitions Corp. and the United States Cartridge Company) involved in WW1 ammunition production; compiled by John Moss. A very well written series which may provide some insights and info for you.

Brian


#5

Gary, there are several articles from this era mentioning millionare ammunition contract with US companies and some of them are rather vague or contain description errors. This article was published on various newspaper dated between November 17-19, 1914, so it seems too early to be dealing with J. P. Morgan & Co. contracts, the first of which is dated March 29, 1915 (.22 LR cartridges for the British government). On the other hand, there are two WCC contracts for the French Government filled before this date:

October 8, 1914: 50 million 11 mm rifle cartridges; value $1,240,000 (e.g., 11x59R Gras M. 1879-83, lead bullet, headstamp WESTERN 1914 and WESTERN 1915).
November 9, 1914: 50 million 8 mm rifle cartridges; value $2,150,000 (e.g., 8x50R Lebel, D bullet, headstamp WESTERN 1915).

The first European contract for 7 mm Mauser cartridges mentioned by J. P. Morgan is dated November 22, 1915 (Serbian contract through French government, headstamp 19 WESTERN 15 7 m/m). It was for 12 1/2 million cartridges valued $437,500.

If we sum the values of these three contracts we have $3,827,500, and if we ad the British contract for .22 LR cartridges then we have $4,047,500, both roughly amounting the 4 million figure mentioned in the newspaper.


#6

Brian and Fede:

I thank you both for your informative replies; I will read the article written by John Moss that concerns the manufacturing entities of J. B. Wise, Maxim and U. S. Co and their role in ammunition manufacturing, WW I, as soon as possible.

I am glad that you took the time to respond, Fede, as I have followed with great interest many of your postings on this forum. I find myself in agreement with the assessment of potential time lapse between an actual contract and physical production as it relates to ammunition orders. And obviously this is a manufacturing reality not unique to just WW I. In one instance I am currently studying that relates to the issue of contract vs production the entire process took over two years and this was during a time frame over four decades removed from WW I. This process, in turn, was/is probably only exacerbated when the manufacturing concern had to start from “scratch,” as it were, working from blueprints/design specifications dictated by those issuing the contract in the first place; at least that is in part my take on it.

If you don’t mind me asking, Fede, could you provide me with references to the two WCC French contracts that you outlined in your previous reply?

I do know from documentation recently acquired that the WCC had both a J. P. Morgan & Co. contract file and a R. A. - U. M. C. C. company contract files during WW I and this same fragmentary information indicates that these files contained, among other items, specification drawings and blueprints. What these files also reveal is that just because WCC were approached with a contract request, they did not necessarily commit to this same request. One example is from the J. P. Morgan & Co. file dated June 2, 1915, and concerned itself with a request for “.455 ctg., S. A. ball - pistol, Webley Mark II ©”. Drawings were provided as part of this contract request, but in the “Remarks” column someone in the employ of the WCC wrote; “Do not care to manufacture to these specifications.”

In closing I am wondering if any member of this forum has come across any of the following names, individuals or manufacturing concerns, who appear to have been involved in the process of presenting contracts to U. S. ammunition manufacturing concerns: L. M. Kendall; C. J. Anderson; C. J. Carson; Factory Products Export Group; and C. Mahony and Amaral. Any information would again be much appreciated.

Gary


#7

Gary
From the sounds of your information requests it would seem your interests go deep & I hope you will be publishing your findings in the IAA Journal so we can all share the results of your digging into this fascinating & important era.


#8

Gary, I agree with Pete, it seems that you have found very interesting documentation about these WWI contracts. I also hope you have this published someday.

Regarding the names you mention, I can’t be more specific without more information but C. J. Anderson had a money loaning office at 309 Empire State Bulding and C. Mahony & Amaral was an import company at Lisbon, Portugal. They dealed mostly with automobiles and motorcycles, but in 1916 they imported a single Colt machine gun in 7 mm Mauser caliber.


#9

Once again, gentlemen, I thank you for your answers/comments. And in answer to your statements, my intent is to publish later this year. In truth this particular aspect is but one component of a larger work that I have been constructing, in my spare time, over the past eight+ years. If all goes according to plan, it should be out by the fall, 2014. With permission of the IAA, I would like to construct an article for publication in the Journal, but again it will depend upon the timing.

Fede, thanks also for the information on C. J. Anderson and C. Mahony & Amaral; I will continue to follow-up on both leads. I can indicate this to you; on November 23, 1914, a representative from C. Mahony & Amaral presented the WCC with a “sample 6.5mm Portuguese Service cartridge.” Again the “remarks” in the WCC file state that this same sample was a “rimless type” and one that WCC had “never made”, at least to that point in time. On December 31, 1914, WCC apparently quoted on the production of this cartridge, specific number not specified in the slight details I have. This quote was predicated, at least in part, upon blueprints “received from the Portuguese Consul.”

Fede, when you have a moment, can you please supply me with reference details on the two French WCC contract orders of October/November, 1914 - as outline in your previous response to my initial post?

Thanks,

Gary


#10

Gary, sorry, I missed your previous question, the reference of those contracts is “Hearings, 74th Congress, 2nd session, 1936”, Washington, D.C., 1937.


#11

Gary, I wonder if this “C. J. Anderson” wouldn’t be “C. E. Anderson”, which was the agent of the small WCC facility at 1900 Morgan St., St. Louis, MO. As far as I know, it was dedicated to cartridge clips (chargers) manufacture only.


#12

This is quite possible, Fede, and I will explore this further. It could just be a typing error on the WCC WWI Contract file listing I have acquired. Thanks for the lead, and thanks also for the reference to the Hearings into the Munitions Industry. I actually am in the process of downloading this entire set of Hearings and once completed I will begin going through the various volumes, 19 parts in all as it turns out!

Gary