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  • 7,92x57 (8mm Tysk)

    In the beginning of WW II Sweden was in a desperate need of weapons and ammunition in order to support its rapidly mobilizing and expanding defense forces and it’s policy of armed neutrality. In addition to increased domestic production, limited amounts of weapons and other military goods were also being imported. A majority of these imports were coming from Germany. The German imports not only helped support the mobilization but also aided in maintaining a necessary balance of trade and political neutrality.
    The first order with Germany for small arms weapons and ammunition was placed with the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft fur kriegsgerät G.mb.H. In this order Sweden purchased 5,000 Mauser K98k rifles with bayonets as well as 3,000 Czech BRNO ZB vz 26 light machine guns produced by Waffenverke Brünn in Prague. Both weapons were chambered for the standard issue German 7.92x57mm cartridge. The Swedish Army designated the rifles as the m/39 and the light machine guns as Kg m/39.

    As noted above, both the m/1939 rifle and the Kg m/1939 light machine guns were originally received in the 7.92x57mm caliber but each were ultimately converted to a different caliber. The m/39 rifle was soon re-chambered to the more powerful 8x63mm cartridge and re-designated as the m/40. The Kg m/39 light machine gun continued in service through the World War Two period in the 7.92x57mm caliber. In the immediate post-war period they were altered to the 6.5x55mm caliber, however, no changes were made to the model designation. The Vapenregister för armén (1951 edition) continues to refer to them as the Kg m/39 in the 6.5x55mm caliber.

    In order to support these weapons the initial weapons order also included a total of 38,000,000 rounds of brass-cased 7.92x57mm ammunition. The 7.92x57mm, as adopted by the Swedish Army, was identified as the 8mm m/1939 and commonly referred to as the 8mm Tysk (8mm German). The contract cost for the ammunition was 3,040,000 Reichsmarks with delivery scheduled for September of 1940.

    Generally, the imported 8mm ammunition was standard issue ball cartridges with s.S projectiles (schweres Spitzgeschoß meaning "heavy pointed or spitzer bullet"). Case construction was of either brass initially or of steel in later orders. All of the ammunition delivered had standard German military headstamps. In the contracts Sweden did not specify Swedish military-style headstamps. This was a common practice for Swedish off-shore ammunition purchases at this time. The only minor exceptions known, to this date, were some acquisitions of 6,5x55mm ammunition from Germany that actually received factory headstamps of the Swedish style.

    One noted exception to the above “s.S. ball ammunition only rule”, was ammunition for the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). According to an inventory list of 1940 the Air Force had several types of 8mm ammunition in storage that included:
    7.92 m/m Sk ptr torpedkula (spitzer projectile)
    7.92 m/m Sk ptr pbr (armor piercing)
    7.92 m/m Sk ptr sl grön (green tracer)
    7.92 m/m Sk ptr sl röd (red tracer)

    The 8mm m/1939 cartridge is listed in the AmRegister of 1942 listing the following specifications:
    Projectile weight: 12.8 gram
    Powder: "German"
    Powder weight: ca 2.7 gram
    Pressure brass case: 3200 atmosphere
    Pressure iron case: 3700 atmosphere
    Velocity v25: 735 m/s (Kg m/39)

    The 8mm Sk ptr m/39 (brass case) ammunition was packed in 15 round boxes with 80 boxes for a total of 1200 rounds in m/98 crates weighing 39 kilos (86 pounds). The 15 round boxes were all of the "Czech"-type which have light green adhesive labels and red print. There are at least two different label language variations with one printed in German and one in Czech.

    The second order with Germany was traded through Waffenverke Brünn, Prague for an additional 2,000 BRNO ZB vz 26 (Kg m/39) light machine guns. Along with the weapons, an additional 25,000,000 rounds (steel case) of ammunition was included valued at 2,680,000 Reichsmarks and expected delivery dates from April to August 1942. As some boxes can be found with manufacturing dates well into 1943, it can be easily concluded that the deliveries met certain delays due to deteriorating wartime conditions in Germany. The 8mm Sk ptr m/39 E (steel case) ammunition was packed in 15 round boxes with 20 boxes to a carrier (battle pack) and 5 carriers in a standard German ammunition crate for a total of 1500 rounds weighing 45 kilos (99 pounds).

    The ammunition in the second purchase is packed in brown cardboard boxes of the German-type. The labels for the 15 round ammunition boxes are most interesting as they are printed in the Swedish language (Germany?). The Swedish letter "å" used in the print font on the boxes looks a bit improvised as the circle on top is slightly out of line and of an unusual size and form.

    The factories referred to on all the box labels from 1942 are always either AMF 32 or AMF 33.

    AMF 32 is a bit of mystery even to this day. It was a ‘shadow’ factory set up inside the Linköpings tändsticksfabrik. The factory did not, for sure, produce any 8 mm m/39 ammunition. It also seems doubtful if they would have gone to the considerable effort of repacking the ammunition locally. If they had repacked the ammunition, it would have seemed likely that Swedish boxes and labels would have been used? The mystery deepens a bit more when you find that the ammunition in the boxes was, in fact, produced by Patr.-Zündh.-u. Metallw.fabrik AG, vorm. which was the Sellier & Bellot factory under appropriated German ownership in Vlasim, Czechoslovakia.

    There are four known lots from 1942 and one lot from 1943 including:

    AMF 32 1/42

    AMF 33 is the Waffenverke Brünn, Prague, Czechoslovakia.

    There are 35 lots known from 1942 and seven from 1943 including:

    AMF 33 3/42
    AMF 33 14/42
    AMF 33 54/42
    AMF 33 55/42

    One interesting note of interest regarding the 8mm m/39 cartridges is a comment from the Amregister of 1941 which states:

    “The cartridges can use the short abbreviation "8 mm Y-patroner" , whereof the boxes and labels can be marked with a "8Y" label in an appropriate text size and color.”

    It is also noted in the Amregister that the 8mm m/39 cartridge is for "Y-vapen" (Y- weapons) as compared to the 8x63mm caliber weapons, which are called "X-vapen" (X-weapons).

    At this time no label, box, carton, or crate has been found with the “8Y” marking nor has a reference been found that explained the purpose of such markings and what they might stand for.

    There appears to have been no major Swedish domestic military contract for the 7.92x57 cartridge. One collector, however, has reported finding a brown container of ammunition stamped:

    Amf 27
    Kal. 7,92 m/m

    Regretfully, there are no other markings on the box that might give any production data or dates. The ammunition itself in the box cannot be dated as the cartridge cases have a standard Norma commercial headstamp of “-NORMA- 8X57 JS”. It is speculated that the ammunition was acquired in a limited quantity for test purposes in which the cartridge’s consistent projectile and powder weight was critical. Potential applications and use of such a cartridge could have been but are not limited to the conversion testing by Carl Gustaf Stads Gevärsfaktori of the Ag m/42 ‘Ljungman’ to the 7.92x57mm caliber for Egypt as the ‘Hakim’ rifle?

    AmRegister (1942)
    Input from Willem Van Eijk
    Input from collector AMF30
    Tygdepatrementet order book of 1940-1942
    Vapenregister för armén (1951)

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