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German ammo box

TMO

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Trying to work out whether German ammo boxes have a capacity of 250 or 300rnds. Any ideas, I've come across both amounts.

Regards

Tim
 
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Trying to work out whether German ammo boxes have a capacity of 250 or 300rnds. Any ideas, I've come across both amounts.

Regards

Tim
I suspect it varies depending on the size of the round and whether the rounds are linked for machinegun use or delivered in bulk for field reloads of small arms, standard rifles or replenishing linked strings.
 

TMO

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Hi Jim, I think I've worked it out. Take a look at the cut-away drawing in:

https://www.mp44.nl/equipment/patronenkasten.htm

To pack a German mg ammo box with 300 belted rounds is rather awkward, some of the rounds point the wrong way, but can be done. I suspect it was easier to pack the box with 250 belted rounds all pointing in the same direction with the consequence that it was easier to use them in combat as you didn't have to flip the last two belts over.

Regards

Tim
 
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GoodGuy

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Hi Jim, I think I've worked it out. Take a look at the cut-away drawing in:

https://www.mp44.nl/equipment/patronenkasten.htm

To pack a German mg ammo box with 300 belted rounds is rather awkward, some of the rounds point the wrong way, but can be done. I suspect it was easier to pack the box with 250 belted rounds all pointing in the same direction with the consequence that it was easier to use them in combat as you didn't have to flip the last two belts over.

Regards

Tim

This kind of packing was actually a standard procedure for the MG 34 which can be found in quite a few field manuals. The goal/idea was to get as many rounds in that box as possible. If I am not mistaken, this was a prewar or early war directive to be followed when handling ammo for the MG 34.
One 199-rounds belt with insertion piece on top - all bullet tips pointing downrange, and two 50-rounds belts linked together on the bottom of the box, pointing in the opposite direction but just containing 97 rounds.
Since the long belt on top had an insertion piece 2 rounds at the top and 1 round at the end were missing, the 2 belts at the bottom had no insertion piece and i am guessing that those two "50"-rounds belts were already linked, so they only contained 97 rounds.
I am guessing that the assistant flipped the lower belt (first 2 links and last link empty) so it could be inserted without the piece right away, or he linked the belt to the last rounds of the large belt - between bursts or when the MG had to be realigned. I am not sure how that was handled, though.

So the cumbersome "300"-rounds idea was rather meant for transport, to get more rounds into combat. Early in the war, MG teams consisted of 3 men (gunner, assistant and ammo guy), so while the assistant was feeding the current belt, the ammo guy could have flipped and linked the belts in the next ammo boxes. The gunner used to carry the MG 34, and many gunners used to carry a 47- or 97-rounds belt over their shoulders/necks, in order to be able to setup their guns quickly when surprise attacks or ambushes came up. The assistant and the ammo guy used to carry 2 boxes each, so they carried a total of 1,184 rounds as initial loadout.

MG 34:
Single drum mag (belt inside): 50 rounds.
Double Drum mag from the MG-15 (rare use, no belts inside, just rounds, IIRC): 75 rounds.
The DD mag was used on navy vessels, frequently in some bombers (either with the MG-15 or the MG-34) and - if i am not mistaken, with (some? of) the AA MGs (MG-34?) on German submarines.
Steel belt: 250 rounds. (I tend to think that this belt had slightly differently shaped steel links and that it was tailored as one-piece belt - that's just my guess, though)
Regular cartridge belt consisting of 6 linked "50"-rounds belts (with all tips pointing downrange after setup, with inserter piece): 296 rounds fed from ammo box.

MG 42:
Single drum mag: 50 rounds.
(Steel?) Belt: 250 rounds fed from ammo box.
 
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