WW1 German 7.9 x 57mm Aluminium Case?


#1

The attached pictures allege to show a WW1 German aluminium case. The case came from the Freddy Mead collection, but I cannot vouch for what is written on the card. Did the Germans make experimental aluminium cases in WW1 and is there any way of verifying this? Are there any drawings?

Thanks in advance.

Ian


#2

I have no documentation, but when I was collecting 7.9 x 57, I had a case exactly as pictured, as well as a loaded round with CNCS FMJ Type S bullet and a black primer seal. Typical WWI Type S Ball except for the unheadstamped aluminum case.

Based on those items, I would say they did. I also had a M88 round with CNCS FMJ RN bullet, with aluminum case body and steel case head, with “Polte Magdeburg” headstamp. A small quantity of these rounds came in the U.S. in the possession of a US military officer c.1907, contain in an envelope basically just saying they were German. I forget the envelope’s exact markings, but I believe it is in the Woodin collection. They were likely made some years before 1907 from the style of the headstamp. They are the earliest example of a military rifle cartridge that I know of which had an aluminum case. It would seem that the Germans were pioneers in trying to develop a useful aluminum case for full-caliber rifle ammunition.


#3

[quote=“Buster”]The attached pictures allege to show a WW1 German aluminium case. The case came from the Freddy Mead collection, but I cannot vouch for what is written on the card. Did the Germans make experimental aluminium cases in WW1 and is there any way of verifying this? Are there any drawings?

Thanks in advance.

Ian

[/quote]

The development started in 1892 by Polte trying to replace brass cases by aluminium.
In 1907 Polte tried it again. Both times it was not successful. John described this round.
The testing in 1909 was more successful with a material called “Duraluminium”.
This cartridge is known from finding a crashed German plain behind the French lines in 1915.
An airplane could take more 7,9 ammo with him with the same weight.
The cartridge made so many problems (cracked cases, ripped of bottom, oxidation between case and primer) that it the development was stopped.

About the label with your 7,9 case.
I do not think this round is from 1916/17 but from 1915.
Probably made by DWM (no proof about that)
btw. DWM Lübeck started the production of 7,9 Mauser in 1936

Rgds
Dutch


#4

Dutch, the one you are showing now is the 1915 version?


#5

That is correct.

The older one’s has Polte head stamps.

Rgds


#6

So this is apparently one reason why it is sometimes confused as being French in origin. That and the ‘look’ of the primer annulus & primer.

Thanks Dutch, for solving that mystery.


#7

Dutch, thanks again! And what is what on the M88 images?


#8

As always thanks for all the informative replies.

Best

ian


#9

I just received a PM from a trust worthy and to my opinion high skill collector.

He wrote me that the bottom Polte, showed in my post is not an original.
I will keep the picture in my posting as a warning for fellow collectors.

Rgds
Dutch