During the years I have heard a lot of theories of why the kpist m/45 were upgraded to the "B" version, and also discussions of why there were so many unaltered m/45 still in storage. Some m/45 sub-machine guns were altered to model "B" and quite a number were produced as a model "B". The significant upgrade were done in the end cap of the mechanism, the parts keeping the bolt and the recoil spring in place. An extra "hook" were added, securing the end caps position. The main track has been in the direction of the use of blank ammunition. One of the theories I heard were that the end cap could disconnect when doing an "American" unload, to point the barrel up in the air and firing the gun until emptied.
One day the collector AMF30 supplied me with a package of scanned documents, where of one of them contained a full story. From my point of view it is an ammunition related story, while others might claim it is user related instead. Anyhow, it is a nice piece of history that did happily not cost any life, even if some persons were reported to of been injured.
The report is made by Försvarets fabriksstyrelse, aimed for
Försvarsstaben, with a diary date of 6/6 1955.
This is not a Swedish translation of the text, it is a condensed version made by me. The names has intentionally been left out, I do not believe they would add to the story.
An investigation were committed in 1955 at the Karlsborg factory due to four police reports claiming the finding of live 9 mm ammunition mixed in the packages of blank ammunition. In each case there has been found one live round among the blanks. One common factor for each report is that the content of the boxes of blanks has been tilted over in a pile, or already loaded in a magazine. In one case the soldiers cap was used as a collector, in one the footstep to a truck. It is not possible in any of the cases to trace the round to a specific ammunition box. In two of the cases, the live round were fired in the weapon with the result that the bullet were stuck in the blank firing barrel, and the end cap of the SMG flew away together with the bolt and recoil spring.
In the investigations conducted, comparing the year and factory of the live rounds with the boxes of blank ammunition, a conclusion were made that in two of the cases the live round could impossible come from the boxes of blank ammunition. In the second two cases it was not possible to judge in one case as the live round went missing, and in the last case it could not be without any doubts that the round could not be from one of the boxes of blanks.
The four reported occasions are:
FO 44 28/11 1954 Försvarsområde Stockholm, Järvafältet
I 18 24/1 1955 (Kungl. Gotland's infanteriregemente)
I 5 17/9 1954 (Kungl. Jämtlands fältjägarregemente)
I 5 23/2 1955 (Kungl. Jämtlands fältjägarregemente)
There is also additional cases, but these are not included in the report, just briefly mentioned in the report used as base for this article.
Case nr 1, Fo 44, 28/11 1954
The soldier were handed 10 boxes of blanks, 500 cartridges. He started to load the rounds in the truck, and when it stopped, he tilted some of the contents of the boxes onto the footstep of the truck. There he found the live round in the pile. He swears that no live round were on the footstep before tilting the boxes over, and no loose ammunition were in his pockets to start with. The round itself is misplaced, but the bottom stamp of the case were noted as K-50 and the boxes to be K-5401.
At an investigation of previous deliveries to Fo 44, there has been found to of been delivered K-50 marked ammunition. Therefore, it cannot be fully excluded that the live round is not coming from that delivery.
Case nr 2, I 18, 24/1 1955
Here the live cartridge were fired in the sub machine gun, with the result that the projectile were stuck in the blank firing barrel, and the bolt to fly away backwards out of the weapon. No-one has noticed the live round when handling the ammunition or filling the magazine. In this report there is no claim that the ammunition actually were mixed up in a box of blanks.
The blank ammunition used at the exercise is of the batch K-5328
Case nr 3, I5, 17/9 1954
The soldier had emptied the box of plank ammunition in his cap, and loaded a full magazine of 36 rounds. Left in his cap were 13 blanks and one live round. (36+13+1 = one full box of 50 rounds). The live round were marked 32-45, and the box K-5329
At an investigation of previous deliveries to Fo 44, there has been found to of been delivered 32-45 marked ammunition. Therefore, it cannot be fully excluded that the live round does not come from that lot.
Case nr 4, I5, 23/2 1955
Once again had a live round been fired in a sub machine gun altered for blank firing. The soldier had used up his ammunition, so he borrowed a magazine from a fellow soldier. The live round were in the borrowed magazine. The same thing happened as in previous cases with a stuck projectile in the barrel and a lost bolt, this time disappearing in the deep snow. Also in this report, there is no real claim that the ammunition were delivered mixed in a box of blanks. The blank ammunition used in the exercise where from the lot K-5402.
Editor’s note: I have personally seen it happen. At a shooting during dusk, we all had our pockets filled with blank ammunition. After seas fire, we all plundered our pockets and magazines into an empty ammunition can. One of my friends found the third round of one of his magazines to be a live round. It had most probably been a leftovers in his pocket, not seen when loading the magazine in the dusk light.
Now, as the state police and the military could not to a 100% say that none of the live rounds came from a box of blanks in two of the four cases, an investigation were committed at the ammunition factory of Karlsborg, the supplier of blank 9x19 ammunition found at the investigations.
9x19 had been produced at several factories until this time.
The two last factories is closed since Long, only being war production factories used during WWll.
In two of the reported cases, the live rounds were found before being loaded, but in the second two cases the live rounds were fired resulting in a bullet stuck in the blank firing barrel, and the bolt to be flying backwards several meters from the weapon. Good enough, no one is reported injured in the police reports.
Concluded is that the two cases were the live ammunition were to be examined, there is also concluded that the regiments earlier receives ammunition from the same production, not excluding a mix-up.
An investigation at the Karlsborg factory site Hästboudd were conducted. At the area there were production running of 6,5x55 blanks and tracers, and 9x19 blanks. No live 9x19 is produced in the area. The productions of the different types run in two different buildings, separated 200 meters apart. The 9x19 blanks were loaded using re-used cases.
The only live ammunition to be used close by the factory area is for the driftvärn, for shooting exercises. In the factory area, it was found one opened box of ammunition with the same batch as found in one of the reported cases, owned of one of the employees in the factory, who is also a active shooter at the driftvärn.
Basically, there could not be any mix-up of live ammunition in a box of blanks as no live ammo were manufactured or stored either as loaded or components in the building or area. The only open alternative then is sabotage. But that were not easy to perform if ever the intention were there, if not impossible. In the production there were several built in checks.
First of all, all rounds will pass a visual check were the cartridge is also viewed on all angles supported by a mirror. This check is also concerning production quality, looking for errors in the assembly or material quality. There is no weight control of the ammunition.
The manufacturing of 9x19 blanks at Karlsborg Hästskoudden has run since 8/1 1953. Several developments and checks has been included into the process since the start.
Since 14/2 1953 and lot 5306, all boxes is firmly sealed with a red tape, so boxes cannot be opened unnoticed.
Since 14/10 1954 and lot 5448, each box is then sent through an isotope machine. The function is that the machine has a radioactive isotope beam passing through the plastic projectile to a reader on the other side of the box. If a live round is within the box, the beam is broken and the transportation band stops.
All boxes that has undergone the isotope test is stamped with an "X".
Since 10/1 1955 and lot K-5463, the cartridges is lack sealed and visually checked before being packed in boxes. The ammunition is packed by hand into a plate, 50 PCS in each, and checked once again to be blanks. 20/4 1954 a device were introduced that turns all cartridges around, projectiles up. The lid of the box is then added by hand.
In June 1955 a further development were under construction. A stripper clip for the 9x19 cartridges were under construction. It is a plate looking like 6 rows of stripper clips side by side giving a square frame. A cheap but effective loader could fill up a magazine within seconds. This also secured that the projectiles really were in an upright position when going through the isotope check.
All checks though were not conducted for the batches of ammunition mentioned in the police reports, only the visual checks were done for these batches. But the conclusion were still clear, that it was most unlikely that any live ammunition actually were in the boxes coming from the Karlsborg factory.
A test and demonstration were performed at Karlsborg 15/6 1955. An m/45 sub machine gun with normal wear and tear were fixated in a bench rest and fired with the help of a string. The magazine were loaded with 2 blanks, one live and then two more blanks. The result of the shooting were that the end cap of the sub machine gun were teared loose and ended about 12 meters behind the gun together with the recoil spring. The bolt followed and hit with great force a plank used to fixate the gun. One blank cartridge remained in the magazine. The bullet of the live round were stuck in the blank firing barrel and could not be removed with the tools at hand.
Conclusion: A lot of resources were put into securing the safety for the soldiers using the machinegun m/45. A reconstruction of the end cap of the weapon were constructed so the cap will not disconnect when a live round is fired with the blank firing barrel. The security in the production is increased so no live rounds can be let through by mistake. Also, when looking on older boxes still existing, I do not think I have seen a single box not being revised and x-rayed.