German WW2 7.92mm Headstamps – How To ID Them & Manufacturer Lists

The German army used the 7.92mm cartridge extensively in WW2, with many of their front line smalls arms utilising the cartridge, as well as being used in the MGs of some aircraft of the Luftwaffe.  Those weapons using this cartridge included the Fallschirmjägergewehr 42; Gewehr 41; Gewehr 43; Gewehr 98; Karabiner 98k; Maschinengewehr 08; MG 15; Maschinengewehr  30; Maschinengewehr 34; Maschinengewehr 42; MG 81………

The 7.92×57mm Mauser is a rimless bottle-necked rifle cartridge, produced by a number of different countries and first adopted by the German Empire in 1903-1905. It is such a versatile and effective cartridge that it is still in use today, being produced by factories in both Europe and the US.

Want to know more about cartridge case terminology and how to identify headstamps of other nation’s WW2 cartridges? Click here!

This article will concentrate on the headstamps of the WW2 cartridge cases, not only giving an explanation of the headstamp components, but also listing all the manufacturers, plating firms and steel producers recorded in the headstamp.

SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM IF YOU JUST WANT TO IDENTIFY A MANUFACTURER!

Early brass cased cartridge cases

The Treaty of Versailles severely limited the number of weapons and ammunition the Germans could produce, restricting the production of the 7.92×57 cartridge to one factory, Polte. This factory used the headstamp ‘P’ as a manufacturer identification mark and, in 1924 when the Germans began producing ammunition at other factories in secret, the ‘P’ prefix was retained. From 1926 until 1940, (with a few factories still using a P number into 1941), there were 34 distinct manufacturers of the 7.92×57. The headstamps for this period, (and indeed throughout the war), were made up of 4 distinct pieces of information.

Brass case headstamp diagram

At the 12 o’clock position is the manufacturer code, brass alloy info at 3 o’clock, lot number at 6 o’clock and year of manufacture at 9 o’clock.

The brass alloy code was simply either an ‘S’, (showing it is brass with 67% copper), or an ‘S*’ (72% copper). The star was either five or six pointed, but this is believed to just be a variation among manufacturers and doesn’t denote anything.

P code five star brass
P249 = Finower Industrie G.m.b.H., Finow/Mark. S* = Brass with 72% copper (five pointed star). 9 = Lot number. 38 = 1938
P code six star brass (2)
P69 = Patronen-, Zündh.- u. Metallwarenfabrik A.G., vorm. Sellier & Bellot, Schönebeck/Elbe . S* = Brass with 72% copper (six pointed star). 14 = Lot number. 36 = 1936
P code six star brass (3)
P379 = Metallwarenfabrik Scharfenberg & Teubert GmbH, Breitungen-Werra, Thüringen. S* = Brass with 72% copper (six pointed star). 9 = Lot number. 38 = 1938
P code six star brass
P635 = Gustloff-Werke, Otto Eberhardt-Patronenfabrik, Hirtenberg Niederdonau. S* = Brass with 72% copper (six pointed star). 37 = Lot number. 39 = 1939

 

The lot number assigned to a manufacturing run could be found on anywhere between 180,000 and 3,500,000 cartridge cases, with the size of the lots increasing as the war progressed. It was purely used to identify a batch of cartridges should any problems arise with them during use.

Early steel cased cartridge cases

The second type of headstamp system used by the German factories identified copper-washed and lacquered steel cartridge cases. This system not only identified the steel mill used to manufacture the casing, but also the plating firm that applied the copper ‘wash’ (through electrolysis), and the precise make-up of the steel used. It was used from 1936 to 1940/41 before being replaced for the remainder of the war with a ‘universal’ system.

Steel case headstamp diagram

The steel information headstamp was made up of three components.

Roman numeral – The steel mill that manufactured the casing

Lower case letter(s) – Plating firm

Number – Steel composition

Examples of this system can be seen below.

P code steel brass wash (2)
P379 = Metallwarenfabrik Scharfenberg & Teubert GmbH, Breitungen-Werra, Thüringen. X = Steel mill (Klockner-Vilerke AG.,Marienwerke Osnabruck), f = plating firm (Manzfeld AG f, Bergbau und Huttenbetrieb„ Hettstedt/Harz), 1= = Steel composition. 5 = Lot number. 40 = 1940
P code steel brass wash
P131 = Deutsche Waffen-u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Werk Berlin-Borsigwalde. VII = Steel mill (Bochumer Verein fur Gusstahlfabrikation Bochum). C = Plating firm (Verein._ Deutsche Nickelwerke Witte & Co_ Werk Schwerte/Ruhr). 1 = Steel composition. 5 = lot number. 37 = 1937
P code steel mill
P25 = Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Sebaldushof. IX = Steel mill (August-Thyssen-Hutte, Hamborn). c = plating company (Verein._ Deutsche Nickelwerke Witte & Co_ Werk Schwerte/Ruhr). 1 = Steel composition. 109 = Lot number. 40 = 1940

 

Each lot was usually made up of 10,000kg of steel which was enough to manufacture around 750,000 cartridge cases. If any problems with quality were experienced during one manufacturing run, the steel would be mixed with other lots to complete the batch. It is therefore quite possible to find a headstamp with the manufacturer, lot and year the same, but the steel code different.

Mid to late war cartridge cases

The third and final system used by the Germans came in around 1940 and continued until the end of the war. It replaced the ‘P’ numbers with a two or three letter manufacturer code, and the complicated steel analysis stamp was replaced with something far simpler. The cartridges still carried ‘S*’ for brass, but now, instead of the roman numerals, letter and number, a simple ‘St’ or ‘St+’ was used. The ‘St’ headstamp simply stood for steel, with the ‘St+’ standing for improved strength steel.

Case info headstamp diagram

Letter code brass
fer = Metallwerke Wandhofen GmbH, Schwerte/Ruhr, Westfalen. S* = Brass case. 12 = Lot number. 43 = 1943
Letter code ST+ (2)
cg = Finower Industrie GmbH, Finow/Mark, Brandenburg. St+ = Strengthened steel case. 6 = Lot number. 42 = 1942
Letter code ST+
aux = Polte Armaturen und Maschinenfabrik A.G., Werk Magdeburg, Sachsen. St+ = Strengthened steel case. 59 = Lot number. 43 = 1943

 

In this third system, there were two additional pieces of information sometimes included in the headstamp. The first, a dash after the manufacturer code, showed the cartridge case had a single flash hole from the primer, and not the standard berdan 2 holes. The second, two opposing radial lines, indicated the case was made from bar stock rather than the usual flat stock.

am dash steel
Headstamp showing the ‘dash’ after the manufacturer code, showing this case has one flash hole, not two
Case info headstamp diagram - radial lines
Diagram showing positions of radial lines, indicating the case was made from bar stock rather than flat stock

Variations to this third system were sometimes used to differentiate between 2 factories of the same company. For instance, RWS, (Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.G., Werk Nürnberg-Stadeln), had a factory at Nürnberg and at Stadeln, They were differentiated between via the lot number, with one factory starting at lot 1, the other starting at lot 51 within any given year. In this way, an individual factory could be identified.

Another method for showing different factories was to use a dot after the manufacturer stamp, as can be seen below.

dou dot brass

One final way of showing different factories of the same manufacturer was to put a bar above and below the Roman numerals in the earlier ‘P number’ headstamp method.

Variations

It is relatively well known that ‘SS’ stamped 7.92mm cartridges were made and stamped as such. I have no example to show you but the headstamp varied by carrying only three sets of info. Firstly was the manufacturer code, then the date (usually four digits), and finally the SS rune.

Other variations include those cartridges made outside of German during WW2. Of note are both Hungarian and Czechoslovakian factories.

SB code sectioned brass
SB = Patr. -Zundh. -u, Metellwarenfabrik AG, vorm. Sellier & Bellot, Vlasim,Czechoslovakia. 1938 = year. IX = month of manufacture

 

Another variation seen is the use of the copper content of the alloy rather than the standard ‘S’.

 

KAM 67 brass code
A variation on the use of S* is seen in this headstamp. kam = Hasag, Eisen-u. Metallwerke GmbH., Werk Skarzysko Kamienna, Polen. The lot number and year are standard, but the brass case is noted as ’67’ (for 67%) as opposed to the normal ‘S’.

 

Lastly, whilst not of German manufacture, (or any of its allies), below is shown a British manufactured 7.92mm cartridge. These were used in the Besa machine guns, found mounted in a number of British tanks during WW2.

 

British 7.92
K42 = Kynoch, UK. 1942. II = Mk 2. z = nitrocellulose fill

 

With all the above information at hand, identifying the manufacturers is the final step. Below are lists of all the P codes, letter codes, Steel mills, plating companies and steel composition headstamps.

 

P CODES

P – Polte Armaturen-u. Maschinenfabrik A.G., Werk Magdeburg, Sachsen

Pak – Patr.-Zundh.-u. Metallwarenfabrik AG, vorm.. Sellier & Bellot, Werk Vlasim. CSSR

 – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH., Werk Sebaldushof

Pu – Borgsmüller Kreiensen-Hartz

Ps – Bofors (Sweden)

P14 – Waffenwerke Brünn A.G., Werk Povaszka Bystrica

P25 – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Sebaldushof

P28 – DeutscheWaffen- u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Werk Karlsruhe, Durlach

P67 – H. Uttendörffer, Munitionsfabrik, Nürnberg, Bayern

P69 – Patronen-, Zündh.- u. Metallwarenfabrik A.G., vorm. Sellier & Bellot, Schönebeck/Elbe

P90D – Bergmann Elektrizitätswerke A.G., Berlin-Wilhelmruh

P90 – Patronen-, Zündh.- u. Metallwarenfabrik A.G., vorm. Sellier & Bellot, Werk Vlasim, Prag

P94 – Kabel- u. Metallwerke Neumeyer A.G., Klingenhofstraße, 72, Nürnberg

P120 – Dynamit A.G., vormals Alfred Nobel & Co., Werk Hannover-Empelde

P128 – Wolf & Co. K.G., Walsrode/Hannover

P131 – Deutsche Waffen-u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Werk Berlin-Borsigwalde

P132 – Draht-u. Metallwarenfabriken GmbH, Salzwedel, Sachsen

P151 – Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.G. (R.W.S.), Werk Stadeln bei Nürnberg

P154 – Polte Armaturen-u. Maschinenfabrik A.G., Werk Grüneberg, Nordbahn, Schlesien

P162 – Presswerk GmbH, Metgethen/Ostpreußen

P163 – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Selterhof

P168 – Pulverfabrik A.G., Koln-Rottweil

P169 – Pulverfabrik Hasloch, Hasloch am Main

P181 – Hugo Schneider A.G., Lampenfabrik, Hugo Schneider Straße, 87, Leipzig O 5, Sachsen

P186 – Metallwerk Wolfenbüttel GmbH, Halchterstraße, 21, Wolfenbüttel

P198 – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Röderhof, Belzig/Mark

P207 – Metallwerk Odertal GmbH, Odertal

P249 – Finower Industrie GmbH, Finow/Mark Brandenburg

P315 – Märkisches Walzwerk GmbH, Strausberg Bez. Postdam

P316 – Westfälische Metallindustrie A.G., Lippstadt, Westfalen

P334 – Mansfeld A.G., Metallwarenfabrik, Werk Rothenburg an der Saale

P340 – Metallwerke Silberhütte GmbH, St. Andreasberg i/Harz

P345 – Silva Metallwerke GmbH, Genthin (avu)

P346 – H. Huck, Metallwarenfabrik, Gostenhofer Hauptstraße, 61/63, Nürnberg W, Bavaria

P369 – Teuto Metallwerke GmbH, Klosterstraße, 29, Osnabrück, Hannover

P370 – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Berlin-Köpenick

P379 – Metallwarenfabrik Scharfenberg & Teubert GmbH, Breitungen-Werra, Thüringen

P398 – Theodor Bergmann & Co. K.G., Werk Velten

P399 – Theodor Bergmann & Co. K.G., Werk Bernau

P413 – Deutsche Waffen-u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Lûbeck-Schlutup, Schleswig-Holstein

P442 – Zieh-und Stanzwerk GmbH, Schleusingen, Thüringen

P490 – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Altenburg

P491 – Metallwerk Wandhofen GmbH, Schwerte/Ruhr; Westfalen

P635 – Gustloff-Werke, Otto Eberhardt-Patronenfabrik, Hirtenberg Niederdonau

P797 – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Meuselwitz

HASAG – Hasag Eissen-u.. Metallvverke A.G., Werk Skarzysko-Kamienna

Rdf – Pulferfabrik Reinsdorf

 

LETTER CODES

ad – Patronen-, Zündh.-u. Metallwarenfabrik A.G. vormals Sellier & Bellot, Schönebeck/Elbe

ak – Munitionsfabriken vormals Sellier u. Bellot, Werk Vlasim, Prag

am – Gustloff Werke, Otto Eberhardt – Patronenfabrik, Hirtenberg, Niederdonau

asb – Deutsche Waffen-u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Berlin-Borsigwalde

arl – Bergmann Elektrizitätswerke A.G., Berlin-Wilhelmsruh

aux – Polte Armaturen und Maschinenfabrik A.G., Werk Magdeburg, Sachsen

auy – Polte Armaturen und Maschinenfabrik A.G., Werk Grüneberg, Schlesien

avu – Silva Metallwerke GmbH, Werk Genthin

ay – Alois Pirkl, Elektrotechn.- Fabrik, Reichenberg

bne – Metallwerke Odertal GmbH, Odertal

bnf – Metallwerke Wolfenbüttel GmbH., Wolfenbüttel

byw – Johannes Schäfer, Stettiner Schraubenwerk, Stettin

cdo – Theodor Bergmann & Co., Waffen- u. Munitionsfabrik K.G., Werk Velten

cdp – Theodor Bergmann & Co., Waffen- u. Munitionsfabrik K.G., Werk Bernau

cg – Finower Industrie GmbH, Finow/Mark, Brandenburg

ch – Fabrique Nationale d’armes de guerre S.A., Herstal/Liège (Lüttich/Belgien)

dnb – Borck & Goldschmidt Mechanische Werkstätten, Berlin

dnf – Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.G., Werk Nürnberg-Stadeln

dom – Westfälische Metall-Industrie A.G., Lippstadt, Westfalen

dou – Waffenwerke Brünn A.G., Werk Povaszka Bystrica

eba – Metallwarenfabrik Scharfenberg & Teubert GmbH, Breitungen-Werra, Thüringen

edq – Deutsche Waffen-u. Munitionsfabriken A.G., Wesloerstraße, Lübeck-Schlutup

eej – Märkisches Walzwerk GmbH, Straussberg bezirk Potsdam

eey – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Röderhof

emp – Dynamit A.G., vormals Alfred Nobel & Co, Werk Empelde bei Hannover

eom – H. Huck, Metallwarenfabrik, Nürnberg

fb – Mansfeld A.G., Metallwarenfabrik, Werk Rothenburg/Saale

fer – Metallwerke Wandhofen GmbH, Schwerte/Ruhr, Westfalen

fva – Draht-u. Metallwarenfabrik GmbH, Salzwedel, Sachsen

has – Pulverfabrik Hasloch, Hasloch am Main

hhw – Metallwerke Silberhütte GmbH, St-Andreasberg im Harz

hla – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Sebaldushof

hlb – Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Selterhof

hlc – Zieh-u. Stanzwerke GmbH, Schleusingen, Thüringen

hrn – Presswerke GmbH, Metgethen, Ostpreußen

kam – Hasag, Eisen-u. Metallwerke GmbH., Werk Skarzysko Kamienna, Polen

lpk – Servotechna A.G., Prag

nbe – Hasag, Eisen-u. Metallwerke GmbH, Werk Apparatebau Tschenstochau, Polen

oa – William Prym, Metallhalbfabrikate, Stolberg, Rheinland

oxo – Teuto-Metallwerke GmbH, Osnabrück, Hannover

pae – Unknown but possibly Hasag Eissen-u, Metallwerke GmbH., Werk Skarzysko Kamienna, Polen

pmt – Kabel- u. Metallwerke Neumeyer A.G. Nürnberg, Werk München

SB – Patr. -Zundh. -u, Metellwarenfabrik AG, vorm. Sellier & Bellot, Vlasim,Czechoslovakia

SMI – Societa Metallurgica Italien

tko – DWM, Werk Lübeck-Schlutup

va – Kabel-u. Metallwerke Neumeyer A.G., Nürnberg

wa – Hugo Schneider A.G. Abteilung Lampenfabrikation, Leipzig

wb – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Berlin-Köpenick

wc – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Meuselwitch, Thüringen

wg – Hugo Schneider A.G., Werk Altenburg, Altenburg, Thüringen

Z – Waffenwerke Brunn A.G., Povazska, Werk Povazska Bystrica, CSSR (Hungary)

 

STEEL MILL CODES

I – Krupp ACL, Essen

II – Vereinigte Oberschiesische Huttenwerke. Gleiwitz

III – Mannesmann, Dusseldorf

IV – Hosch A.G., Dortmund

V – Eisen and Huttenwerke, Bochum

VI – Rheinmetall-Borsig Dusseldorf

VII – Bochumer Verein fur Gusstahlfabrikation Bochum

VIII – Dortmund-Horder Huttenverein. Werk Union Dortmund

IX – August-Thyssen-Hutte, Hamborn

X – Klockner-Vilerke AG.,Marienwerke Osnabruck

XI – Klockner-Vilerke A.G_, Haspe-Westf

XII – Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke, Werk Henningsdorf

XIII – Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke Werk Riesa

XIV – Eisenhlittenwerke, Male Thala

XV – unknown

XVI – Huttenwerke Siegerland

XVII – Maximilianshutte abt Unterwellenborn

XVIII – Maximilianshutte, abt SulzbachiRosenberg

XIX  – unknown

XX – unknown

XXI – unknown

XXII – unknown

XXIII – unknown

XXIV – unknown

 

Other plants

 

Stahlwerk Dahlen, Freiberg/Sachsen Steel for Polte case (P 1 28) St-cu 120′

Eisen-HOttenwerk, Berlin

Gutehoffnungsheate, Oberhausen

Thyssen-Rheinstahl, Werk Hamborn

Vereinigte Oberschlesische Huttewerke Werk Zawatzki/Andreashutte

Ruhrstahl A.G., Werk Henrichshutte, Hattingen

Mannesmann-Rohrenwerke, Gelsenkirchen

 

PLATING COMPANY CODES

a, az – Verein. Deutsche Metallwarke, Werk Altena/Westf_

b – Hindrichs-Auffermann AG :Walz– und Plattierwerk Wupperthal/Oberbarmen

ba – Sundwiger Messingwerk vorm_ Gebr. V.d. Becke Sundwig/VVestf.

bb – A Laue & Co  Berlin-Reinickendorf

bc – Kupfer und Messingwerke Becker & Co_ Langenberg/Rhld

bd – EA_ Lange, Metallwarke„ abt Bodenbach/Sudeten

be – Berndorfer Metallwarenfabrik Artur Krupp BerndortiNiederdonau

c, ca – Verein._ Deutsche Nickelwerke Witte & Co_ Werk Schwerte/Ruhr

d – Verein„ Deutsche Nickelwarke Witte & Co_ Wert Labant/Oberschl

e – Trierer Walzwerk, Trier

eh  – Trierer Walzwerk„ Werk Burg/Magdeburg

f, fa – Manzfeld AG f, Bergbau und Huttenbetrieb„ Hettstedt/Harz

g, ga – Hirsch Kupfer und Messingwerke, Werk Finnow/Mark

h – Wielandwerke Metallhalbfabrikate„ Ulm/Donau

i = j – R u G.. Schmole, Metallwerke, Manden/Westf„

k – Gerhardi & Cie, Metallw..fabrik and Walzwerk Ludenschaid/Westf

l – Durener Metallwarke, Werk Duren

m, ma – F.A. Lange, Neusilberfabrikate .aue/Sachsen

n, na – Westfalische Kupfer and Messingwerke. LadenscleidiNestf,

o – Eduard Hueck, Metallwarenfabrik, Ludenscheid/Westf

p – Stolberger Metallwarke„ von Asten„ Lynen & Schleicher Stolberg

q – William Prym, Metallhalbfabrikate, StallbergIRhid.

r, ra – Dt Messiagwerke Carl Eveking AG Berlin-Niederschoneweide

s – Bergrnann-Elektrizitatswerke AG„ Berlin–Wilhelmsruh

t – Durener Metallwerke, Werk Berlin-Borsigwalde

u – Osnabrucker Kupfer und Drahtwerke Osnabruck

v – Kaabel und Metalwerke Neumeyer, Nurnberg

w – Hugo Schneider AG„ Leipzig

x, xa – Ludenscheider Metalwerke Busch-Jager. Ludenscheid

y – Sachsische Metallwarenfabrik August Wellner Sohne, Aue/Sa

z – Kupferwerk Ilsenburg, llsenburg/Harz

 

STEEL COMPOSITION CODES

1 C : 0,15 – 0,22 % / Mn : 0,4 % / Si : 0,12 % / P : 0,03 % / S : 0,03 %

2 C : 0,08 – 0,12 % / Mn : 0,4 % / Si : 0,12 % / P : 0,03 % / S : 0,03 %

3 unknown

4 unknown

6 unknown

8 unknown

9 unknown

10 unknown

11 unknown

12 unknown

15 unknown

17 C : 0,17 – 0,22 % / Mn : 0,4 % / Al : 0,1 % / P : 0,03 % / S : 0,03 %

 

Al : aluminum ; C : carbon ; Mn : manganese ; P : phosphorus ; S : sulphur ; Si : silicon

 

 

 

 

 

(Pic below is just for when I post links to this blog! It shows this as the preview. Ha!)

P code steel mill
P25 = Metallwarenfabrik Treuenbritzen GmbH, Werk Sebaldushof. IX = Steel mill (August-Thyssen-Hutte, Hamborn). c = plating company (Verein._ Deutsche Nickelwerke Witte & Co_ Werk Schwerte/Ruhr). 1 = Steel composition. 109 = Lot number. 40 = 1940

2 comments

  1. Hi Stephen, I’ve recently subscribed to your posts and wonder if you could help. I live on the North Wales coast (Dyffryn Ardudwy), the local beach was a ww2 air gunnery range used by the RAF and USAAF, aircraft would be based at nearby llanbedr. With a metal detector it is fairly easy to find both 303 and 50 cal cartridges and heads. I’ve recently found bren fired cartridges ww2 dated, 2″ mortar fins and 9 mm heads all infantry weapons so some infantry training took place on the same site. My main query is regarding the discovery of a 6.5mm head, a local chap who is also a ‘detectorist’ tells me he has found hundreds of these smaller heads over the years . I am thinking that this is probably of Italian origin,pos breda HMG ?. A friend has come across a brief mention of captured Italian ammo being used in live fire training. Just south of Dyffryn is Barmouth, where in ww2 the Royal Marines had several training camps mainly relating to landing craft training. I have not yet managed to find any cartridges that fit a 6.5mm round . Have you ever come across captured Italian ammo being used for training in the UK ?. I have known the area for many years but only moved here to live last autumn so am still discovering the wartime history of this part of North Wales. I would be very grateful for any ideas or information kind regards….Mike

    Like

    • Hi Mike. Thanks for your post. Your site sounds very interesting. Please use the contact page to send me a message and we’ll go from there!

      Like

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