WWI - WWII German 9x19mm blank cartridges?


#1

The Germans made billions and billions of rounds of 7,9x57mm blank cartridges (Platzpatrone 33, etc…) but what about 9x19mm? What did they use for blanks in this caliber? Surely they had something for the MP-18, MP-38 and MP-40’s…

Just curious…

AKMS


#2

AKMS - while there are pre-WWII German 9mm Para caliber blanks, the Germans did not seem to make much use of blanks of this caliber in training. I have three books on the MP 38 and 40 as an example (although one is a joke, with the other two being just o.k.), and while two mention a blank firing device for the MP40, neither book has a picture of one. I have never heard of any military contract for 9mm blanks from the Wermacht during WWII. Other books on German Machine Pistols in general sometimes mention a device, but I have never found a picture of one for any of the German MPs.

I have some “9mm Platzpatrone” items of pre-WWII German vintage, of which I will have a scan posted later, one of which is a bit of an enigma.

Firstly, and the rarest that I have, is a round headstamped “P 7 26” with a blue wood bullet. It is a known cartridge, and definitely not a fake or a later commercial product. I also have only the “projectile” for a 9mm, of the same basic ogive as a ball round, made of red paper much like a 7.9 x 57 Platzpatrone 27 “bullet” (but of an ogive more like its 9mm ball counterpart than the ogive of the PP27 7.9 is to its 7.9 x 57 ball counterpart). Since it is paper, I would guess that it dates from after the Polte round with blue wood bullet, but before 1933, although that is pure speculation on my part. I have no documentation about these projectiles.

There is a scarce (expecially in nice condition) Geco pre-War commercial blank, made for purposes that I don’t know, headstamped " -Geco. - 9m/m", with a paper bullet lacquered-over completely in red that spills over the case mouth to form a case-mouth seal. It has the commercial-style Sinxoid copper primer with an"O’ impressed on the cup.

There are also two full-length one-piece case and “bullet” blanks from Geco, have only that name as a headstamp with no other entry. They are rosebud crimped with 10 lobes (folds) to the crimp. One has a shoulder at 19mm, and is obviously for 9mm Para. The other has a shoulder at about 23mm. The box label for that one reads:

50 Platzpatronen
f


#3

These are the cartridges that I mentioned in my response above. From left to right, they are the Polte 1926 cartridge with blue wood blank; the red paper balnk projectile; the commercial Geco 9mm Blank with paper bullet lacquered red; the full-length case blank with shoulder at approximately 19mm; the full-length case blank with shoulder at approximately 23mm; and finally a full length blank with more pointed ogive and longer folds to the rosebud crimp from Geco. This last round is very, very possibly a post-war production. It is hard to tell, since the lettering of “Geco” is the same, and it has a copper primer cup, but I personally suspect that is is made after WWII, perhaps as late as the mid-1950s when the rearming of Germany really started in full swing.

John Moss


#4

I agree with John Moss. I have never seen evidence of German WW II era production of blanks in 9x19mm. I have seen and had a number of wood bullet blanks loaded German steel cases with assorted steel cases and a black wood bullet. The assorted cases indicate reloads and the black wood bullets indicate they were made to look like German mE loads. Reportedly these are French post war movie blanks.

There is a page on my web site (gigconceptsinc.com/Polte-Blanks.html) dedicated to the German blanks (excluding the one-piece blanks) from the 1920s and 1930s. It pictures the blue wood Polte blank and the Geco. / 9m/m / with the red paper tullet that John illustrates. It should be noted that the Geco blank has a HEAVY MAGNETIC red paper bullet because it is filled with powdered iron!!! This is likely to be a commercial blank intended for pistols since it occurs in a commercial style box. The iron powder is clearly an attempt to make the blank function in an automatic pistol without a blank adaptor.

The red paper bullet John illustrates is clearly a military blank and is found- in Polte cases dated 1933. There is a similar Polte red paper bullet with a blunt ogive that occurs in a 1929 dated case. Both of these blanks are so rarely encountered that they probably were single lots and approach the status of experimentals.

The Wooden Labortary has a set of Polte red paper bullets in 9mm that are probably for 9x19mm loads (also illustrated at gigconceptsinc.com/Polte-Blanks.html)

My website also illustrates three other blanks:

  • A DWM blank with a red wood bullet
  • An unheadstamped blank by RWS with a plain wood color bullet that is filled with MERCURY!!! A partial 16 round box of these cartridges was found in RWS and are now in a museum. The box was unmarked.
  • Another RWS blank with a distinctive pink paper bullet and headstamped 9m/m.

I know of two other German blanks from the 1920s-1930s period. that I don’t have photos of. Both are now in the Wooden collection and both originated from RWS factory collection. They have lacquered red paper bullets and are loaded in German WW I cases indicating that they date from the early 1920s, when there were restrictions on the manufacture of 9x19mm ammunition in Germany.

I have the same three one-piece blanks John illustrates and have nothing to add to his material.

Finally, the cosest I can come to a photo of the MP40 blank firing adaptor is Tom Nelson’s Vol 1 on World SMGs. On page 260 he illistrates a German training chart on the MP40 showing gun, a cutaway and all the seperate pieces. His caption on the photo says that the chart shows a blank firing adaptor, but the scale of the photo is so small I can’t locate the part he is talking about.

Sorry for referring you to the website, but I am still under the weather and not up to moving the photos and posting them directly on the forum.

Cheers, Lew


#5

Lew is recovering from some surgery.

I should have mentioned the magnetic properties of the Geco commercial blank with red-lacquered paper bullet. I knew about them. Good catch Lew!

While I do not have the French-assembled blanks with black wood bullets, I do have a small group of French cinema blanks on various cases - different headstamps, different case materials, different lengths, but two of mine are rosebud-crimped, and another has a cone-shaped mouth that retained a cork over-powder wad. Two are from 9mm Para cases of lacquered steel, while a longer one was made from a brass-cased P635-code 9 x 25mm Mauser round. The fact that all are the length of the original empty cases provides a good indication, even without the documentation I received with them, that they were not originally blanks. Factories making blanks from scratch are not bound by the limitations of the proper case length for ball ammunition, and blanks that do not have substitute-material “projectiles” are usually made longer than normal to allow for proper feeding, the roll-over of the various crimps used, etc. A good indication in my group that they were not German blanks at all is that I have one from the group on a W.R.A. (Winchester) brass military case of the WWII period that is identical in all other ways to one of the ones on a German lacquered-steel case. The steel-cased one with cone-shaped mouth is a French case from 1947. All of these rounds have the primer and, where originally present, the primer seal, of the original ball rounds indicated they were made from disassembled live ammunition, not from fired brass. That fact, of course, would make them even harder to identify as NOT being a product of the factory that made them in their original form.

I did not mention this group or show them as I considered them irrelevant to the issue at hand. I should have engaged my brain - Lew has always been good at making me do that, failing only occasionally when I decide that “my mind is made up, do not confuse me with the facts!”. While all are French cinema blanks (mine all came from France, followed by an explanation of what they were), the average collector who had never encountered either the cartridges or descriptions of what they were, would think the ones on German cases were German blanks, making them VERY relevant to this discussion. thanks again Lew, for setting the record straight on that issue.

Regarding the original German chart pictured on Page 260 of Nelson’s book on submachine guns, the Platzpatronenger


#6

Hi!

The French blanks with German cases and hollow wooden bullet came all from the same place. They were manufactured by hand in the late 50ies by REGIFILM, 60 rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, a company hiring weapons and blank ammunition for thr movie industry. At the time, there was a big trend towards war and black movies in France.

Regifilm was the only one on the spot to possess a special authorisation from the Police in order to detain and rent functional weapons, with only a de-rifled barrel and a blank firing device screwed at barrel internal end.

Their armory was quite impressive, with four full-time workers day-long on the job, and installed under their premises in an uncredible bunker , 3 stories under the ground level…very close to the “Metro” (Underground)

As I knew well the owner, Mr. ALEXANDRE, who was one of my patients (!) I got the possibility to rove around the ammo dump and found some interesting stuff, as having been created in 1946 they did recuperate many ammunition left over by the German trops after the war. They also were authorized to buy from the Defense Surplus Administration.

The “famous” 9 mm Parabellum came all from dismantled German Ball ammo, the bullets were made of lathe-turned box wood (from a local worker two streets away) and the powder was taken from dismantled 8 mm Lebel wooden bulleted blanks. This load of so-called EF (for Exercice Fusil) was extremely approximative and quite hot, with lolts of unburnt particles and debris often dangerously sent in the face of actors!!!

First, uncolored wooden bullets were used, and later on, in order to be less visible, the projectiles were blackened. The owner told me that he had ordered around 10 000 bullets, but when I was there, only a small bunch was left., Other 9 mm P blanks were also altered at casemouth to a conical shape, over a cork wad, a method later adopted on other calibres, like the 7,65 mm Bwg (32 ACP).

REGIFILM was also responsible for 250 000 rounds of 45 ACP, headstamped ARF 73 (=Alexandre Regie Film 1973), ordered from GEVELOT S.A., obtained from cut down light alloy French short Range 7,5 mm cases.

They also were behind the making of “golden” plastic movie blanks, made on the regulation models in 9 mm Para, .30-06 and 7,5 mm Mle 29C (MAS), labelled "Fabrication Sp


#7

Here is the blank firing device for the MP 38 or 40. The barrel is threaded at the muzzle normaly secured by a knurled nut. The nut was unscrewed and the rod was inserted into the barrel and the device was screwed on the thread. So the blanks must be folded- Paper or wood would fill the barrel.
There are two gas ports and the spuare screw head was painted white.
There are silencers for MP using the threaded muzzle too.
I havent found closer informations about the Platzpatrone 08.
There was a propelling cartridge for german copies of STEN MP. A rifle grenade discharger cup couldt be fitted to the barrel. No closer information.
For pistol training a bunch of insert barrels in .22 or 4mm M20 caliber where used. Even in police manuals no hint for a blank cartridge - except for MP 38/40.


#8

Genkideskan - thanks for posting the picture. I didn’t think the picture from Nelson’s book, which I assume is where this came from (it is the same) would scan and post so well.

I tried my best to describe it accurately, but a picture is worth a lot of words!
I am glad we agree on the blanks that would have had to have been used with it, and I am happy that I held open the possibility of gas escape ports. I have never seen anything about this device, other than the picture you posted. However, I have a fair acquaintance with the general idea of blank-firing adaptors in general.


#9

Philippe, mon ami - thanks for the great info on the blanks from France. I had all that years ago, but over the years (and it was before I started a real file system in my library) some of my notes on things like that got away from me. I got all those rounds that I have from you about a jillion years ago. Never have seen, to this day, the ones with the wood bullets, though.

Happy New Year, my dear old friend, and the same for all the great bunch that uses this Forum!

John Moss


#10

Hello John,

this scan is from the armourers manual - listing the interchangeable parts of MP 38 and MP 40.
The device is well described in the army manual and in the police manual.
So it was in use.
The 1940 police manual didnt mentioned about MP 38/40 but the 1943 edition did. To that of course the blank device and a blank cartridge - but no closer word about the cartridge - let alone a pic or drawing.
Neither the police nor the army small arms ammunition manual mentioned about a blank cardridge.

Lothar


#11

Whilst I have never come across any pre-1950s German-made Blanks, the “BFA” (Blank Fire Adaptor) shown in the above quoted books does lead to an idea that the Blanks themselves must have had a very small charge of Powder. The Inner tube serves to reduce the gas volume of the barrel, possibly allowing only a very small vent, so that there was initially a very small amount of gas produced by the Blank’s charge. If the barrel was only restricted at the muzzle (as is normal in today’;s BFA (Movie) Guns and Modern Military BFA), the gas pressure would dissipate in the relatively large volume of the (MP) barrel, and there would not be enough back-pressure to drive the heavy bolt of a MP backwards.

Nowadays, all Military and Commercial (read Movie) Blanks in 9mm have a substantial charge of Fast Burning Powder, sometimes more than that needed to drive the normal ball projectile, and sealed behind a plastic Cup bullet shape (RWS & GECO & BakelittenFabrik) or by a multi-petal brass neck crimp (“Star crimp”) which is also lacquered shut to prevent moisture intrusion.
The parent case of a full profile blank is usually bottlenecked to form the “19mm Mouth” by a shoulder, and the rest of the Bullet profile consists of the crimp itself, or by a short section of “neck” with the crimp on the End.

It is a strange co-incidence that 7,62x25 Tokarev Blanks (steel case) will cycle perfectly in 9x19 Chambers, the shoulder of the Tokarev case being in about the same position as the Parabellum Mouth, and any minor tolerance differences are “ironed out” by the heavy bolt of the MP38/40 series of guns.

The “inner tube” volume reduction system is used by us in Movie Blank adaptation of .22 Rimfire guns (semi auto rifles and “converted to full auto” .22 guns.
This is because of the nature of .22 Blanks available commercially are either very underpowered, or the use of Tool blanks in .22 Rimfire gives the wrong sort of pressure curves. Thus to get sufficient back pressure and some flash at the muzzle, a .22 rimfire must have almost no “expansion” volume between chamber and muzzle; only a very small exit vent.
Of all the guns used in Movies, the .22 rimfire is the most difficult to convert to blank fire with reliable self-loading operation (Pistols are slightly easier, having shorter barrels).
Manufacture of .22 Rimfire blanks by a commercial factory is a very difficult operation, given the rimfire nature of the shellcase, and the forces used to crimp the case (starcrimp). It is the only cartridge in Movie use that is not loaded by the Movie supply houses, unless they have access to a commercial factory of Tool cartridges or similar Rimfire blanks.

I have seen another photo of a pre-war screw-on BFA for MP38/40 guns, it looked like a “funnel” with a locknut, and screwed onto the M16x1 Thread of the Muzzle. Whether this was a “Bullet shredder” for wooden or paper mache false Bullets, I don’t know. ( It seemed very similar to the Locking device used in 4mm Inserts for P’08 and P’08 lange conversion kits)

Going sideways to another “MP”, the MP43-44-StG44, there was a Wood bullet blank for these guns, and obviously a screw on BFA here as well;
But these blanks functioned on the same principles as the 7,9 Platzpatrone used in MG34/42 etc, the wood giving enough backpressure to allow “Port pressure” for functioning to ensue, and then be shredded by the reduced vented cone of the BFA.
One of the most notable Reloading die makers in the USA made a strange mistake in designing their dies for Blank case making for the 7,9x33 cartridge…they copied the tapered neck Grenade-launching Blank of the PP43 cartridge, and not the classical star-crimp equivalent used in all-metal blanks…with resultant difficulties in reliable manufacture and also functioning. In our manufacture of PP43 Blanks, we use the said dies up to the second-last crimp operation, which is done by a normal star-crimper, followed by a finisher ( complete closure) and lacquering.

Anyway, just a Movie Blank supplier’s take on the various types of Blanks, especially those used in 9x19 Para—we use Fiocchi Military starcrimped blanks for almost all our SMGs, although for some (Owen Guns and MP18/28 & others with very heavy bolts) we make our own from either 9mm Win mag cases or cut down 5,56 Military (Blank) cases, as the insufficient “shoulder” of the Fiocchi blank sometimes gets “pushed over” and the blank goes too deeply into the chamber to be discharged (very common in some older Owen guns).
With the in-house made ex-5,56 blank case, a more substantial shoulder is formed, by first expanding the cylindrical case to a little over the true 9mm case mouth diameter, and then using custom made “blank forming dies” to give a good shoulder to the case, replicating a “bottlenecked” case, which will seat even in a worn chamber of an SMG.

The manufacture of modern Military and Film blanks is an area of “black arts and other arcane cartucherie” ( at least to us).

Regards, & Happy New Year
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#12

Whilst I have never come across any pre-1950s German-made Blanks, the “BFA” (Blank Fire Adaptor) shown in the above quoted books does lead to an idea that the Blanks themselves must have had a very small charge of Powder. The Inner tube serves to reduce the gas volume of the barrel, possibly allowing only a very small vent, so that there was initially a very small amount of gas produced by the Blank’s charge. If the barrel was only restricted at the muzzle (as is normal in today’;s BFA (Movie) Guns and Modern Military BFA), the gas pressure would dissipate in the relatively large volume of the (MP) barrel, and there would not be enough back-pressure to drive the heavy bolt of a MP backwards.

Nowadays, all Military and Commercial (read Movie) Blanks in 9mm have a substantial charge of Fast Burning Powder, sometimes more than that needed to drive the normal ball projectile, and sealed behind a plastic Cup bullet shape (RWS & GECO & BakelittenFabrik) or by a multi-petal brass neck crimp (“Star crimp”) which is also lacquered shut to prevent moisture intrusion.
The parent case of a full profile blank is usually bottlenecked to form the “19mm Mouth” by a shoulder, and the rest of the Bullet profile consists of the crimp itself, or by a short section of “neck” with the crimp on the End.

It is a strange co-incidence that 7,62x25 Tokarev Blanks (steel case) will cycle perfectly in 9x19 Chambers, the shoulder of the Tokarev case being in about the same position as the Parabellum Mouth, and any minor tolerance differences are “ironed out” by the heavy bolt of the MP38/40 series of guns.

The “inner tube” volume reduction system is used by us in Movie Blank adaptation of .22 Rimfire guns (semi auto rifles and “converted to full auto” .22 guns.
This is because of the nature of .22 Blanks available commercially are either very underpowered, or the use of Tool blanks in .22 Rimfire gives the wrong sort of pressure curves. Thus to get sufficient back pressure and some flash at the muzzle, a .22 rimfire must have almost no “expansion” volume between chamber and muzzle; only a very small exit vent.
Of all the guns used in Movies, the .22 rimfire is the most difficult to convert to blank fire with reliable self-loading operation (Pistols are slightly easier, having shorter barrels).
Manufacture of .22 Rimfire blanks by a commercial factory is a very difficult operation, given the rimfire nature of the shellcase, and the forces used to crimp the case (starcrimp). It is the only cartridge in Movie use that is not loaded by the Movie supply houses, unless they have access to a commercial factory of Tool cartridges or similar Rimfire blanks.

I have seen another photo of a pre-war screw-on BFA for MP38/40 guns, it looked like a “funnel” with a locknut, and screwed onto the M16x1 Thread of the Muzzle. Whether this was a “Bullet shredder” for wooden or paper mache false Bullets, I don’t know. ( It seemed very similar to the Locking device used in 4mm Inserts for P’08 and P’08 lange conversion kits)

Going sideways to another “MP”, the MP43-44-StG44, there was a Wood bullet blank for these guns, and obviously a screw on BFA here as well;
But these blanks functioned on the same principles as the 7,9 Platzpatrone used in MG34/42 etc, the wood giving enough backpressure to allow “Port pressure” for functioning to ensue, and then be shredded by the reduced vented cone of the BFA.
One of the most notable Reloading die makers in the USA made a strange mistake in designing their dies for Blank case making for the 7,9x33 cartridge…they copied the tapered neck Grenade-launching Blank of the PP43 cartridge, and not the classical star-crimp equivalent used in all-metal blanks…with resultant difficulties in reliable manufacture and also functioning. In our manufacture of PP43 Blanks, we use the said dies up to the second-last crimp operation, which is done by a normal star-crimper, followed by a finisher ( complete closure) and lacquering.

Anyway, just a Movie Blank supplier’s take on the various types of Blanks, especially those used in 9x19 Para—we use Fiocchi Military starcrimped blanks for almost all our SMGs, although for some (Owen Guns and MP18/28 & others with very heavy bolts) we make our own from either 9mm Win mag cases or cut down 5,56 Military (Blank) cases, as the insufficient “shoulder” of the Fiocchi blank sometimes gets “pushed over” and the blank goes too deeply into the chamber to be discharged (very common in some older Owen guns).
With the in-house made ex-5,56 blank case, a more substantial shoulder is formed, by first expanding the cylindrical case to a little over the true 9mm case mouth diameter, and then using custom made “blank forming dies” to give a good shoulder to the case, replicating a “bottlenecked” case, which will seat even in a worn chamber of an SMG.

The manufacture of modern Military and Film blanks is an area of “black arts and other arcane cartucherie” ( at least to us).

Regards, & Happy New Year
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#13

Thank you all for the wonderful information! Who knew what a response my one little question would generate.

AKMS


#14

Great info guys. Philippe, many thanks for the info on REGIFILM. I have an assortment of French movie blanks with white wood bullets, one I believe with a German headstamp. I have seen a wide varity of these blanks. I also have some of the other blanks you mentioned, but had no idea who made them. Thanks for an important part of French ammo history.

Lothar, Thanks for the info on the MP38/40 blank adaptor. Clearly this is a military/police rig, but I have never even heard a rumor of a military headstamped German one-piece blank from 1945 or earlier!!! The one-piece blanks John and I have, and all the others I have seen in looking through lots of collections, have commercial headstamps. I understand that the Nazi units did not get their ammo through the Army early in the war, but bought it seperately from commercial sources. I don’t know when this practice ended.

Given the scarcity of these blank adaptors (I have never heard of an originqal one among the MG guys I know), they clearly were not standard issue with each MP38/40. I wonder if they issue was restricted to Nazi, police and/or special units who were outside the German Army munitions procurement organization.

Another data point is that I have never seen or heard of a German ammo training chart that shows a 9mmP blank cartridge. In addition, the one piece blanks with the 19mm shoulder that John illustrated, while not rare, are still seldom encountered indicating no great production. I have never seen a box label for this blank.

We have some very smart guys out there on the net, and I’m interested in opinions on why there apparently is not a military blank to compliment the MP38/40 BFA! Thoughts???

Lew


#15

Doc Av - many times on threads, as I recall, you have alluded to the military blanks you sometimes use, as well as to the blanks that you make. When you do this about factory blanks, could you mention the headstamps involved? Better yet, show a picture? Remember, almost everyone on this Forum is not only a student of ammunition, but also a cartridge collector and it would be nice to know if there are things out there that we are not aware of.

Wouldn’t mind seeing a photo some time of the blanks you make for the movies, either. Movies blanks are a big field, and I feel an important one considering the millions of rounds of blank ammunition the movie industry uses, and that they can sometimes be confused with military blanks due to the cases sometimes used to make them.

I cannot verify this, but if your mention of steel-case 7.62 Tokarev blanks concerns those made in Russia, I have been told several times by different European collectors that most of those blanks are not military, but rather made for the Russian film industry. If so, it would not surprise me if some consideration in their design isn’t given to use in both 9mm and 7.62 x 25mm SMGs interchangeably. There must be scads of 9mm SMGs in Russia, taken during WWII. I know from photos that many of the partisans carried 9mm-caliber German SMGs of various models. One of the reasons that I believe that the Russian Tokarev blanks encountered are for cinematic use is that they are all dated, brass or steel-cased, well into the era of the Makarov pistol, and the replacemnt of the various models of 7.62 x 25 SMGs with the Kalashnikov in its various forms. My earliest dated Russian 7.62 x 25mm blank is “65” and the latest is “83.” All of mine were made at Arsenal 38 (Yuryusan).

Of course, the shoulder of the normal 7.62 x 25 cartridge falls naturally at about 19mm anyway, or close enough that, as you said, with blanks a crush fit would be provided in most SMGs due to bolt weight and acceleration.

Well, probably I am causing confusion with talk of other movie blanks on this thread on German military blanks. My original posting regarding the French ones was within the subject matter since some could be confused as being German military blanks due to headstamps. One of these days, perhaps we could start a thread on Pistol-caliber cinema blanks, or something like that. Doc AV would be the ideal guy to start that one off!!


#16

Well after some meetings with gun collectors, they told me that the blank firing device ( BFD) is common. It was stored in the little spare part bag in
the magazine pouche. But it seems to be a simplyfied BFD - simply a screw with gas port. May be there are more BFDs today than blank cartridges.
Speaking about that, a lot of people mentioned they had seen no 9mm blank ever. A device for the MP 41 was pictured too.
To that Ive found some pertinent pictures at :

germanmilitaria.co.uk./index2.htm

BFD MP 40

MP 40

MP 41

magpouch with sparepart bag

magpouch for paratroopers

No we need some boxes with labels :-)

<


#17

Well, that’s what I thought a BFA for a MP38/40 would look like…almost exactly the same as the ones I machine up for use on our MPs in the movies…ours resemble the MP41 BFA in size, but a little bit longer, to replace the Muzzle Nut.
For Re-enactments it doesn’t matter, but for close-ups in Movies, we try to keep as close to the “Firing” look as Possible. We dislike fitting “Internal” BFAs unless absolutely necessary in Rare and valuable Guns ( I had to do it to a Smooth Muzzle Late StG44, but since I already had two other “Good” MP/StG 44s with thread, what the heck?).

Now to find any references to WW II Blank ammo, and especially Box labels.

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#18

Genkideskan, the link you gave leads to a website full of mistakes. Anyone please use it with huge care.


#19

Thanks for the info. I don’t have much practical experience with blank firing adaptors, but the small hole in these two look to me like they were intended for use with an extended case blank rather than a wood or paper bullet blank.

Would appreciate opinions/thoughts from those who have some experience in this area!!!

I have collected 9mm Para cartridges since the mid-1950s and have looked through most of the largest collections of 9mm Para in the US and Europe, and gotten lists of others, and have always found the German blanks pre-1946 to be pretty scarce to very rare. In fact, pre-1946 blanks are pretty scarce, regardless of what country you are talking about except perhaps for Finland and Sweden where reloaded cases were used and it is hard to tell if they were really produced during WW II.

The DWM case list shows both short and long case blanks (480G & 480H respectively) and both entries are pre-1918 and very probably pre-1913, but no examples of either blank has been documented. Still it shows that the Germans were trying out blanks, probably before WWI.

I wonder what the German Army used with all these blank adaptors!!! Any info, opinions, ideas appreciated.


#20

Lew,

My guess would be those 9mm full-length brass cases with headstamp only “Geco” at the top of the head, and with the shoulder of the case at 19mm. (The fourth item from the left in the picture I posted). I don’t see it being the blank we know from MP28-marked boxes, with the longer case. I am pretty convinced that was a blank made to be used, as it says on the box, with a special blank-firing barrel, which would adapt to any caliber that the MP28 was made in (except the few .45s that I believe went to Brazil), 7.65 Para, 9 Para or 9 x 23mm.

Since the MP 40 was used with a muzzle constrictor of various types, it would not need to be bulleted. The paper-bullet blank from Geco, aside from being commercially headstamped, probably would not have stood the rigors of full auto fire and feeding from a magazine in a slam-fire weapon. Then, looking at it from another angle, should the soldier forget to put on the blank-fire constrictor, a non-bulleted, rosebud-crimped blank would not have the terrible (potentially fatal) consequences of the Swedish sort of blanks (which in my opinion are very poorly thought out), and the gun would not cycle full-auto, immediately pointing out that the constrictor was not installed.

While the blank in question is certainly not common among collectors, it is in most decent 9mm collections, and could possibly have been made in some quantity, beyond just experimental or trial status. Sure wish a box label would show up for that one.

The fact that Germany made such a huge quantity of 7.9 x 57 PP33 blanks has led to comments that I have heard speculating that because of that, they must have used Machine Pistols with blanks a lot in training too. That doesn’t necessarily follow. Machine guns are used with blanks not just to train people to fire those guns, but also to get soldiers used to the idea of machinegun fire all around them in combat situations. In our Army, I saw blanks used as much for that purpose as for training individuals in the use of the weapon. They are also used, of course, in simulated combat situations. There would not be a huge need, in my opinion, for pistol and machine pistol caliber blanks for either purpose. There were pistols and SMGs issued to various people in advanced training in the U.S. Army, but although blanks in .45 certainly exist, and in quantity, I never saw a single case of them being used in a regular Army tour and almost seven years of active reserve. We saw .30-06 blanks all the time, and used them.

Basic trainees normally just train with rifles, and in their advanced training with all manner of infantry weapons. I don’t know what the TOE issue was for MPs in the German Army, but aside from tank crews and airborne troops, and perhaps prisoner of war camps and other “prison” situations, I have the impression they were primarily carried by squad leaders and junior officers, who probably would have received live-firing training with the gun, but not necessarily have had to run around training areas firing their weapons with blanks. I could be totally wrong. As I said, I don’t even know for sure what the basis for issue in the Wermacht was for the various MPs.

Still, I don’t see the requirement for the pistol-caliber blanks, especially later in WWII, to be 1/100th of that for full rifle and machine gun caliber blanks.

It would be nice to see if there is any German manual or instruction pamphlet for the installation and use of the blank-firing device, and see if the blank is pictured, as we obtained on another thread for a German granade blank, the identity of which was in question.