WWII German ammunition

Hi. I’m new to this forum and have a small collection of German WWII era ammunition and was wondering if any of these might be rare or unusual?



Three of the boxes on the right are marked “16 pistolenpatronen 08 §”. Is the § an abbreviation for pistol or polish or something else?

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Hi, welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing pictures of your collection.

Please, can you post pictures of the date codes found on the 7.65 mm Browning and Parabellum boxes?



The p in “Pistolenpatrone 08 §” no doubt means “polnisch” (Polish).
Exactly why this was used (it should be reserved for cartridges/components manufactured for Polands military) is unclear to me. Cases (Patrh) and bullets (Gesch) were manufactured under full German control in 1941 in Poland (kam = Kamienna), using German propellant (from Hasloch 1939) and primers (from DWM 1940).
The “oeldicht” (oil tight by laquer on primer and case mouth inside as well as outside) ammunition was introduced in 1935 according to an article in hunting journal “Wild und Hund” of that year.

If possible, please post pictures of the side walls of the 7.65 [Browning] cartons.

P.S. The P.m.K as well as B-Patronen contain white phosphor; the B-Patronen also a small explosive charge. Best to keep them in a cool place where they cannot start a fire or hurt anyone. I once witnessed pyrotechnics (not small arms connected) unexpectedly go off. I would not trust any PmK or B.


You have some nice ammo boxes. Congrats on them. They are all nice, but the best two would be the B-Patrone and the PmK -v Trop boxes. The 7.9 Kurz boxes are quite good as well. -Ger

Hi. I will post some pictures of the markings on the inside of the boxes tomorrow…

In my view, as a collector highly prejudiced in favor of auto pistol cartridge boxes, would be the two military 25-round 7.65 mm Browning boxes in the upper left corner of the first picture. You find the military 9 mm and 7.9 x 57 boxes, in my own experience, as well as the other commercial pattern German 7.65 mm Browning boxes, much more often than those. Again, that is simply in my experience, as a collector in the US who has not been to Europe since 1985.

John Moss

JPeelen, just to have it said - no nitpicking. WP is no pyrotechnics as such and reacts only on contact with air at certain temperatures (normally above 20° C). Also when combustion created a layer of oxide it will stop itself from burning if nothing is changing.
When WP is kept away from oxygene and stays sealed it can stay in it’s original state for decades if not centuries.

Pyrotechnics in the original sense are materials (mix) which are getting chemically unstable (i.e. dangerous as for self ignition and then not burnung anymore but detonating) after a certain time when the components are reacting with each other. This is why pyrotechnics have a rather short shelf life and are considered to be one of the most dangerous things. For this reason in military pyrotechnics are a high prioroty issue when it comes to stockpiling, storage, handling and disposal (the latter being a whole own universe when done in “non-field conditions”).
So no connection to WP here.

How does one date these boxes?


Thanks for posting the box photos! Very interesting!!! I collect 9mm Luger/Parabellum cartridges and boxes, but am very interested in all boxes and the date codes used by the various companies. You can see my recent Forum post on Peters boxes where I am searching for information.

First, Your red and black DWM boxes. The DWM code is unknown! I have accumulated a lot of examples of this code but the structure of the code varies quite a lot and it is very difficult to pin down a format to begin to analyze. I have about 50 codes documented. Most of these have undated headstamps so it is hard to pin any of them down as a starting point.

Your DWM Red & Black boxes are very interesting. I suspect they are from the late 1930s and early 1940s. Three of the four boxes have a new code format which could have been introduced about 1940. I have two similar boxes with codes 351 WT and 378 WE.

After WWII IWK used a code of six numbers ### ### that converted to Day-Month-Year. The prewar code may have been a variation of this code, but the number of characters is not constant.

I have tried to talk some senior members of the German Group of the ECRA into taking on the DWM code as a project, but no luck so far. If anyone is seriously interested in this. I can send them some of the work I have done and the codes I have documented.

Your RWS 7.65 Para box is easier. First, Geco and RWS entered an agreement in 1927 for Geco to produce the pistol ammo for RWS, and RWS would make the rifle ammo. I have done some work on the Geco/RWS codes on pistol boxes and I believe I have had some luck. An earlier version of the material below was published by the ECRA about a year or more ago as I remember.

The code on the Geco-RWS boxes appears to be simply Year-Month code using two letters. This is supported by there being 11 known 2nd letters and probably also N on known boxes.

The year codes were based on the dated ammunition with Geco codes (P405 & dnh) dated 1940 through 1944. Then from these codes U through Y, the earlier codes were just a simple projection of the letters. They seemed to fit the box styles. In fact, these codes were projected back to 1921 and 1922 where they seemed to fit two Geco 6.35mmB boxes with the codes AE31 and BR27 that looked like they could have been made in the early 1920s. The two numbers are likely the day of the month.

Below are the presumptive codes from 1930-1945. Box examples are known for all the codes except L. Q, W & Z. Box and code images to expand this database would be greatly appreciated.

As mentioned above, the second letter is probably a month code. A number of manufacturers have used words to select code letters and it is possible Geco did this also. I am not sure the N is actually a correct month letter since the source was difficult to read. JPeelen was clever enough to identify the letters geco in the group so I listed them first, and the others are in alphabetical order. Any guesses on the correct order would be greatly appreciated.

Based on this, your RWS box with RE could date from Feb 1937 if GECO is actually the beginning of the month codes.

I would greatly appreciate inputs, additional samples/data or any other contributions to this effort.


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Wow! I’d never thought this kind of knowledge existed on German ammunition. Thanks! Of all the 9mm Parabellum boxes I have all but one have a similar box, namely this one. Is this an unusual type of ammunition?

I guess because the last box is filled with different lots and manufacurers, you can see kam, emp as well as hla headstamps. Thats according the label, “Provisorisch bezetelt” means “Provisional labeled”, thus the label is not completely according whats inside.


Thanks for the pictures!

Please, if If it’s not too much to ask, can you post a picture of the back of the cancelled ak 7.65 mm Browning box?

What do you mean by cancelled?

Sorry for not being clear enough, I mean the back of the box with 7.65 mm Browning SBP cartridges, where on the front you can see the code “ak” covered with a black ink stamp. It seems that some of these “ak” boxes, if not all, are post-war repacks.