Pistols, Rifles, Machine Guns and Crew Served Weapons of Partitioned Poland and the Polish 2nd Republic
Article about: by stoggie I don't know what the K represents, but I do recall one for sale that also had that marking, and it was said to be from the Krakow armoury. For all I know it could be a inspector
Re: Reczny Karabin Maszynowy wz.28 magazine pouches, charger and spare parts kit
You undesrtood it properly. This website for the Polish armament is probably the best in Net. There are small mistakes and there is lack of some informations but I've got to admit someone did good job.
On your pictures there are pouches for wz 28 magazines. Two types for three magazines (with ferrules on the corners and without) and later introduced for 5 magzines.The next is magazine charger and tool kit with some spares (fire pin, spring, fastener/latch?, key to the screw etc.)
Regarding to these tarpaulin bags there was no special models.Text is taken from the wz 28 crew regulation and we can only assume that there were breadbags for example.
If you need any translation don't hesistate to send me text and I will try to explain it in English. Even if text will be very large I will do it but please note, sometimes I don't have time so please be patient.
Also, if you have any question feel free to ask. Fortunatlely I know very close the guy who is the best expert on Polish machine guns. I'll just say that he is preparing wz 28 monography ( probably in 2 separate parts-books) with dozens ( or maybe even hundreds) unpublished photos of wz 28 and equipment related with it. He spent several years in the military archives on the study of wz 28 and browning wz 30 documents and I'm sure that no one has more knowledge and documentation at this time.
Small Arms Ammunition Production in Poland
Small Arms Ammunition Production in Poland:
In February 1921 the Polish Ministry of Defense established the first government owned facility to produce military rifle cartridges. The factory, which produced completed cartridges, bullets, primers, cases and ancillary items, was called Wojskowa Wytwornia Amunicji Karabinovej (WWAK), and was located in Warsaw. The cartridge fabrication machinery had been nationalized from the holdings of the Georg Roth A.G. subsidiary formerly located in Poznan (Posen). Production efforts were divided amongst three manufacturing divisions. After four years of operation in Warsaw, the plant was moved to Skarzysko-Kamienna, southwest of Radom, where it was renamed P.W.U. Fabryka Amunicj (National Ammunition Manufacturing Facility). Cartridges produced at the original WWAK factory in Warsaw were headstamped with a 'W', and often the Polish eagle as well. After the 1925 move, the headstamp contained the Polish eagle, but not the 'W'.
Eventually five major arsenals producing war materiel, including ammunition, were to be established. Each of these was officially identified by a numerical designation:
Arsenal Number Arsenal Location
Machine gun ammunition.
As the Polish treasury between the wars was in a perpetual state of fiscal crisis and the state run factories were not achieving the volume of ammunition production desired, private investment and contracting were encouraged. As a result, a commercial organization with both Polish and French investors called Zaklady Amunicyjne, Pocisk, Spolka Akcyjna (Corporation for the Manufacture of Ammunition) was created. This company, generally known as Pocisk S.A., began to produce ammunition in 1921, using machinery purchased from Hirtenberger of Austria. The ammunition produced bore an abbreviation of Pocisk, 'Pk' on its headstamp, while boxes had the abbreviation Z.A. Pocisk S.A. stenciled on them. By 1922, Pocisk was operating two plants, one the Warsaw 'Praga' division which made cartridge making machinery and weapon parts; and the other an ammunition plant at Rembertow, some 15km west of Warsaw. Rembertow's production was not limited to small arms ammunition. The plant produced components and complete cartridges, primers, explosives and artillery shells. In 1925 the government sought to maximize Pocisk's capabilities while minimizing costs, and began a program with resulted in complete nationalization of the firm by 1932. At the same time, all operations were transferred to the Rembertow plant. Pocisk played a critical role in Poland's preparedness - supplying over 30% of the nation's ammunition requirements by 1935.
Z.A. Pocisk S.A. 'SC' 1930 cartridge box.
Z.A. Pocisk S.A. 'SC' 1934 cartridge box.
Another important Polish ammunition manufacturer was Norblin S.A. Located in Warsaw, the company was established in 1922, and was a key producer of 7.9mm rifle ammunition until the invasion in 1939. Norblin's trademark was a capital letter 'N' which can be found on the headstamps of cartridges assembled by the firm. If the cartridge was made entirely with components manufactured by Norblin, two diametrically opposed 'N's appeared on the headstamp. Norblin's owners were a Mr. T. Werner and the Buch brothers, and throughout its existence was a privately owned and funded company. While Norblin's main plant was in Warsaw, it operated a foundry and brass mill at Glownie (near Lodz). The Glownie facility not only supplied Norblin's needs but also provided cartridge brass to Pocisk and other government arsenals.
Government arsenal produced ammunition: Polish eagle stamp, year of production, brass supplier (Norblin) and 67% copper composition, green primer annulus indicates 'SC' heavy ball bullet.
A Brief Overview of Polish Small Arms:
The interwar Polish Army used several ingeniously produced Mauser type rifles as well as the wz.91/98/25, which was a conversion of the Russian Mosin-Nagant to 7.92x57mm. The standard Polish light machine gun was the rkm wz.28, a modified Browning Automatic Rifle. Heavier automatic weapons included the Maxim MG08, the Hotchkiss 14/25, and the ckm wz.30, a type of water cooled Browning. The Polish Air Force used a number of Vickers Armstrong designs, such as the wz.23 (a 7.92mm Lewis gun), and the 'F' and 'K' models. Fixed aircraft weapons were largely 7.92mm Browning derivations.
7.92mm Polish Ammunition Overview:
Polish military forces were supplied with a number of 7.92mm cartridges. These included:
'SC' Heavy Ball
'P' Armor Piercing
'PS' Armor Piercing Tracer
High Pressure Test
Additionally, the rifle assembly plants used several types of wzorcowy, or reference cartridges with which to test new weapons. These cartridges were assembled using carefully chosen 'S' or 'SC' projectiles and components. If a rifle, carbine, or machine gun failed to meet the required accuracy standards with these rounds, it was assumed that the gun was at fault and that a mechanical correction was in order. These cartridges were identified by box labeling only and did not bear any special marking on the case or bullet. The Air Force received special high grade aircraft armament ammunition in 'S', 'P', 'PS', and 'Z' varieties. This ammunition was given special consideration with respect to primer and propellant quality control. These elements are especially critical when the ammunition is to be used in weapons synchronized to fire through the propeller arc; cartridge ignition and response time must happen in a constant, predictable manner, or the resultant damage to the propeller could literally result in the aircraft shooting itself down!
Note: Polish documentation uses the terms 7,9mm and 7,92mm interchangeably.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Szpiczasty 'S' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Model 98, Pointed Bullet)
The standard ball cartridge, it can be recognized by a black primer annulus and pointed bullet. Polish ammunition box labels were usually printed in the same color as the primer annulus on the cartridges found within. For example, in this case, the markings on the box would be black. Total weight of this round was 24.5g or 378 grains.
Z.A. Posick S.A. 'S' 1935 'do kbk' cartridge box.
This was a duplication of the original German S-patrone with a 10 gram (154.3 grain) bullet, and was intended for Polish military rifles such as the K98, wz.98a and wz.29 Mausers. Many Polish service rifles were manufactured on machinery that had been originally owned by the Imperial German Arsenal at Danzig (Gdansk). Ammunition box labels will indicate the intended use for rifles, short rifles or carbines by the following inscriptions: 'do kbk' or 'do Kb' (Karabin). Some labels go a step further with the inscription 'Syst. Mausera' or 'Nb. Mauser,' with the latter imprint meaning 'Cartridge, Mauser'. References like this are generic, and indicate that the box contained ammunition for Mausers, and not the Lebel, which was also in use at the time. Average muzzle velocity 790 m/s (2,592 fps).
Z.A. Posick S.A. 'S' "Mauser" wzor 98 cartridge box, 'stripper' clip and cartridges.
The typical Polish ammunition box was constructed from tan card stock measuring 85x60x30mm. It contained three tiers of five cartridges, which were divided with two brown paper sheets whose purpose was to restrict movement and provide a cushion. Stripper clips were made of steel or brass, with some being nickel plated as an attempt at environmental protection. Nickel plated clips will bear a T within a triangle. Steel stripper clips were designated Lodka wz.98, and brass strippers were designated Lodka wz.17.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Szpiczasty 'S' cartridge schematic.
When pulled from an assembled cartridge, the 'S' bullet will often have the bullet maker's mark or monogram in relief on the exposed rear of the core. These markings are usually 'Pk' or 'N', as bullets from the government arsenals were not usually marked. The core was lead alloyed with two to three percent antimony and weighed 7.5g. There were four official variants of jacket material: unplated steel, cupronickel, cupronickel clad steel, and gilding metal clad steel. Unplated steel bullets are believed to be of very early issue, likely made from remaining stocks of Austro-Hungarian supplies. Both the unplated steel and gilding metal clad steel are very rarely encountered. Bullets were crimped into the cases by a six segment collet device pressing the case mouth into the cannelure. Polish cannelures were not sharply rolled into the jacket as the late German ones, with the exception of the Maroszek 'DS' bullet. The 'S' bullet was typically 27.8mm long and weighed 10 g. It was propelled by a 3 g (46.2 grain) charge of square flake powder. The bullet diameter was typically around 8.2mm (.322").
Comparison of the 7.92x57mm 'S' cartridge with the 7.92x107mm 'DS' cartridge.
P.W.U. Fabryka Amunicji 'DS' cartridge box. 12 cartridges per box.
Government arsenal production, year of manufacture, Norblin S.A. produced brass, 67% copper composition.
Primers (in Polish, splonka zapalajaca or kapiszon) used on the 'S' cartridge were designated wz.90, weighed 0.28 g, had a height of 2.6mm, and a diameter of 5.5mm.
The cartridge case will usually have a very revealing headstamp. At the twelve o'clock position is the case maker's mark; 'Pk' for Pocisk, 'N' for Norblin and an eagle for a government facility. At the three o'clock position is the year of manufacture. At the six o'clock position is a marking indicating the supplier of the cartridge brass, and at nine o'clock is a marking indicating the percentage of copper in the brass alloy, either 67% or 72%. The 67%/33% alloy was officially adopted in May 1925. Despite the official adoption, the earlier 72%/28% alloy shows up as late as 1937. Experiments were made with other materials including copper and steel. Pocisk produced a run of steel cases with a phosphate and lacquered finish in 1937 - 1938. There are twelve known brass supplier codes, and these include 'B', 'D', 'DZ', 'E', 'F', 'Fr', 'Hr', 'K', 'N', 'NW', 'W' and an 'arrow'. Of these, only three have been positively identified; 'N' for Norblin, 'Fr' for Fabryka Platerow Herfra (Fraget), and 'DZ' for Dziedzice-Walcownia Metali.
Headstamp 'Pk 29 DZ 67'.
Headstamp 'Pk 37 N 67'.
Headstamp 'N 36 N 67'.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Szpiczasty Cieszki 'SC' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Model 98, Heavy Pointed Bullet)
The heavy ball cartridge can be recognized by its green primer annulus, as well as by box labels printed in green. This cartridge is a duplication of the German s.S. ball, and indeed, some labels are marked s.S. to indicate German origin. Early 'SC' bullets differed from the German produced variety in that they used a cupronickel jacket. This jacket material was used until 1935 when cupronickel clad steel and gilding metal clad steel was introduced. The 'SC' round was intended for machine guns and the label marking 'do KM' or 'Karabinu Maszynowego' or machine gun. Examination of a typical round with the cupronickel jacket reveals that the jacket material consisted of 81.19% copper and 18.81% nickel, while the core was 97.85% lead alloyed with 2.15% antimony as a hardening agent. Official Polish specifications for the SC cartridge indicate a total cartridge weight of 27g (416.6 grains), an overall length of 80.3mm, a bullet weight of 12.8g (197.5 grains), a bullet length of 35mm, a core alloyed with 2- 3% antimony that weighed 10 g (154.3 grains). Jacket material could be either cupronickel, cupronickel clad steel or gilding metal clad steel.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Szpiczasty Cieszki 'SC' cartridge schematic.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Dalekonosny 'D' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Model 98, Long Range)
In addition to the standard 'S' and 'SC' ball types, a third form of ball cartridge was issued in small amounts. Known as the 'D' (for dalekonosny) or long range cartridge, this round was produced by Norblin and Pocisk for use in the Polish rkm wz.28 derivative of the Browning Automatic Rifle. Its designer was T. Lukaszewski of the Military Technical Institute. Lukaszewski's bullet featured a 5 - 8% antimony alloy lead cored bullet that weighed 13.9g (214 grains), giving the cartridge a total weight of 28g (432 grains). The 'D' cartridge was recognizable by its violet or dark purple primer annulus.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wz.98 Szpiczasty Cieszki o wzmocnionem cismen - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Model 98, Heavy Pointed Bullet with augmented pressure)
This was a high pressure test cartridge used for proofing rifle and machine gun barrels. It used the standard 'SC' bullet, and standard components. The only difference was the propellant, which was blended to provide the required pressure level. A white primer annulus identified this cartridge.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Przeciwpancerny 'P' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Armor Piercing Model)
While the Mauser rifle and its ammunition entered Polish service in the early 1920's, it was not until the mid 1930's that a need for an armour piercing cartridge arose. Like the 'S' and 'SC' bullets, the 'P' bullet was based on the German S-Patrone; in this case the S.m.K. armor piercing variant. Polish documents indicate that the 'P' bullet was originally intended solely for use by the Polish Air Force (Lotnictwo Wojskowe), and later issued to ground units. The 'P' cartridge is identified by a red primer annulus. Most of the 'P' cartridges were produced with Norblin cases dated 1936. The 'P' bullet was produced with a steel core remarkable for its purity, comparable to US bearing steels such as AISI type 52100. Tests for Rockwell hardness yielded a range of between 65 and 67. The 'P' bullet was 37.5mm in length, weighed 11.9g (185 grains), and was propelled by a 2.9g (44.75 grain) powder charge.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Przeciwpancerny 'P' cartridge box.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Przeciwpancerny Smugowy 'PS' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Armor Piercing Tracer Model)
This cartridge was very similar to the German S.m.K.Leuchtspur, differing only in that the hardened penetrator was shorter by about 1.5mm, while the cup containing the tracer element is similarly longer. Closure of the base is made with a perforated washer and foil assembly, which covers the tracer igniter. As with the 'P' cartridge, the 'PS' round was made to especially high standards for air force usage. This is evidenced by box labeling with notations such as 'do KM Lot.', 'Lotn.' or 'Lotnicze', all of which refer to air force use. Boxes were printed with red lettering, and had a diagonal overprint, also in red, reading Smuga Czerwona, which indicated a red trace composition. 'PS' cartridges were marked with a blue primer annulus and a painted bullet tip (see photo). Early bullet tip marking was in blue, later in black. A number of theories surround the difference in tip color. One is that the black tipped bullets are for ground use. Another was that the different colors indicated different trace and igniter compositions, with the blue tipped round being optimized for daytime use and the black for night. A third is that the color difference indicated a higher level of quality control for rounds intended for air force use. However, much of this is speculative, as a Polish document indicated that the black tipped variety would become standard once supplies of the blue tipped bullets ran out.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Przeciwpancerny Smugowy 'PS' 'Lotn' cartridge box.
'PS' cartridges were packed fifteen to a box, and eighty-two boxes for a case, for a total of 1,230 rounds per case. The 'PS' round is normally found with a cupronickel clad steel jacket or a gilding metal clad steel jacket. The bullet weighed 10g (154.3 grains), was 37mm long, and had a 2.8g (44 grain) charge of either flake or tubular propellant.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Przeciwpancerny Smugowy 'PS' cartridge schematic.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm wzor Zapalajacy 'Z' - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Incendiary)
Polish incendiary cartridges came in two varieties, those intended for use in rifles and those intended for use in machine guns. Cartridges with yellow tips and a yellow primer annulus were intended for rifles, while cartridges with all black bullets and a yellow primer annulus were intended for machine guns. Both cartridges were packaged in boxes labeled with yellow ink. The rifle incendiary bullet is similar to the German 'Spitzgeschoss mit Phosphor' (pointed bullet with phosphorus) or S.Pr. type. However, there is speculation that it was not the German cartridge to which the rifle 'Z' round can trace its history, but rather the Belgian Fabrique Nationale incendiary round. The Belgian bullet is identical to the Polish bullet, and given the fact that FN supplied both weapons and technical assistance, the development of an incendiary bullet from Belgian sources is not unlikely. The rifle bullet has the same profile as the 'S' bullet.
The machine gun incendiary bullet is found with the profiles of both the 'S' and 'SC' bullets, and is clad with gilding metal, which, while a rarity in Polish 7.9mm ammunition, may have been added to promote the chemical blackening of the bullet. The reason for the issuance of two incendiary rounds of the same caliber is largely unknown, but it is possible that the rifle incendiary round may have served double duty as a spotting or observation bullet. The rifle incendiary bullet weighed 10.36g (159.8 grains), was 36.83mm long, and had a 2.86g (44.13 grain) charge of propellant. The machine gun incendiary bullet weighed 9.72g (149.9 grains), was 37.33mm long, and had a 2.9g (44.75 grain) charge.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm slepy do Kbi, Kbk - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Blank for rifles, short rifles and carbines)
Naboj kal. 7,9mm slepy do K.m. - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Blank for machine guns)
These are early style blank cartridges that derive from the original Austro-Hungarian types with wooden bullets 31mm in length. It is believed that those blank cartridges with dark blue bullets were intended for rifles while those with dark brown or reddish bullets were destined for machine gun use. Bullets were hollow and light weight. The machine gun bullet was 1.45g (14.1 grains) and the rifle bullet 0.92 grains (10 grains).
Early Polish cartridges and blanks used the Austro-Hungarian form of primer ignition, which consisted of a central flash hole through the case anvil. This Austrian influence was due to the state appropriation of Austrian plants located in the territory assigned to Poland after the 1918 armistice and the establishment of the Pocisk plant in Warsaw by Hirtenberger. The Poles used once fired cases, cases unsuited for full power loading, and German World War One brass for blanks. Polish blanks will have a light grey primer annulus.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm slepy do Kbi, Kbk 'nowego wzoru'- (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Blank for rifles, short rifles and carbines, new model)
Naboj kal. 7,9mm slepy do r.k.m., c.k.m. - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Blank for light and heavy machine guns)
These 'new model' blanks had a grey primer annulus and a reddish bullet if intended for machine guns and a blue bullet if intended for shoulder arms. The bullets were 32mm long, and had thicker walls. Box label printing was in grey ink.
Naboj kal. 7,9mm slepy do K.m. Hotchkissa wz.25 - (Cartridge, caliber 7.9mm, Blank for Hotchkiss Model 25 machine gun)
This was a special blank produced for the Hotchkiss 14/25 machine gun and had a natural wood bullet with a conical point. The bullet was 31mm long and weighed 0.43g (6.6 grains).
Naboj Szkolny - (Cartridge, dummy)
The initial type of official Polish dummy round was formed from one piece of hollow brass. A second variant was made from a lathe turning of brass with a large knurled band at the base, and a primer pocket filled with a rubber composition. Another version had copper in the base, and was produced with and without the knurled band. There was also a chrome plated version with an 'SC' bullet and four radially disposed holes.
7,9mm Luska naboju do strzelania izbowego - (7.9mm cartridge case for gallery shooting)
This cartridge was an auxiliary device for indoor short range training with standard service rifles. The cartridge was obsoleted in about 1933 with the general issue of .22 rimfire training rifles. The cartridge featured a brass case-like holder that chambered in the service rifle. This holder had a provision for a snap on bullet or kulka, that weighed 2.8g (43.2 grains), and was 10.5mm high. The kulka was propelled by a special primer called a splonka, that looked like a miniature blank. It was 5.74mm in diameter, and 7.1mm in length. The primer compound was a mixture of smokeless and black powder. After firing, the holder was ejected as a normal case, and decapped with a special tool. The gallery cartridges were made by Pocisk.
7,9mm Luska naboju do strzelania izbowego gallery cartridge schematic.
Information sourced from an article at Crufflers.com. Photographs from Wikipedia and other websites and a previous thread in this forum.
Last edited by dastier; 06-09-2012 at 12:12 AM.
Reason: added captions to images, correct grammar and spelling.
Re: Reczny Karabin Maszynowy wz.28 magazine pouches, charger and spare parts kit
Thank you, I will take you up on your offer when necessary.
Please ask your friend to have it published in English as well.
Re: Pistols, Rifles, Machine Guns and Crew Served Weapons of Partitioned Poland and the Polish 2nd Republic
Here are links to threads in this forum which have pertinent information and photographs on topics of this sticky:
Cleaning rods for the Radom VIS 35 pistol:
100% original Wz.35 Radom Vis stripping tool ?
Polish Ammo canister used by the Finnish Army:
Polish Warzawa Ammo can
Replica Mors wz.39 submachine gun (has a link to a Polish Army demonstration video of the actual gun):
Rare replica of a Wz.39 Mors gun
Roth Steyr M1912 pistol used by Austro-Hungarian 10th Dragoons Regiment in Partitioned Poland:
Roth Steyr pistol, 10th Dragoons Regiment, Krakow
Last edited by dastier; 06-09-2012 at 07:50 PM.
Karabin przeciwpancerny wz.35
Karabin przeciwpancerny wz.35
The concept of the Maroszek anti-tank rifle was originally inspired by the WW1 German Mauser T Gewehr, when the German l3mmx92mm Tank und Flieger cartridge (TuFmk.1919) was utilized in a massive version of Mauser M98 bolt-action rifle. Velocity was not significantly greater than the standard military rifle, the armour penetration being achieved by bullet weight. Although it penetrated 20 mm armour from a distance of 100m, it's low rate of fire and huge recoil (very often causing the operator's collarbone to break), resulted in the abandonment of that path of development.
Britain followed a similar route in developing the .55 caliber Boys rifle in the 1930s (with similar injury inflicted upon the operator during WW2), but by then the German and Polish engineers were following a different path. They had realized that velocity was extremely important in achieving effective penetration. Accordingly the Germans and Poles designed rifles around cartridges which kept the standard military caliber of 7.92mm, but achieved very high velocities through the use of massive cartridge cases.
Work on this type of anti tank rifle had not stopped in Germany at the end of WW1, and subsequently influenced Polish research. In 1928 a Mr. Gerlich invented an ultra-fast bullet: the Hagler 280 HV Magnum with a muzzle velocity of over 1000 m/s. His research was described in "Heerestechnik" magazine (no.4) in 1931.
Lt. Colonel dr. Tadeusz Felsztyn from the Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw began doing tests with the Hagler ammo in 1931. Other highly confidential tests were performed in 1932 using a rifle constructed by a Cpt. Kapkowski. After tests of German-made Hagler bullets proved the possibility of that type ammunition perforating steel plate, the Research Office of the National Ammunition Factory in Skarzysko-Kamienna was ordered to develop its own 7.92 mm bullet with a muzzle velocity of over 1000 m/s. Initial tests were made using a 'SC' bullet in a cartridge with larger load of propellant. Tests were then run with different types of nitro-cellulose gunpowder.
Standard 'SC' cartridge vs 'DS' cartridge
After a series of tests, the new 'DS' bullet was proposed. The 'DS' ammunition was based on a standard 7.92 mm bullet as used by both the Mauser rifle Model 1898 (wz.98) and the Polish karabinek wz.29. The length of the cartridge case was extended to 107 mm containing 11.15 g (172 grains) of propellant, and was topped by a 14.579 g (225 grains) bullet. Overall weight was 64.25 g. After an additional series of tests the copper cartridge case was replaced with a case made of brass (67% copper/ 23% zinc).
'DS' cartridge headstamp:
Compared to other armour piercing designs, the 'DS' bullet, instead of using a tungsten alloy core, was a lead core bullet with steel jacket. Utilizing a large 13mm (.50 caliber) cartridge case necked down to 7.92mm, it achieved a high muzzle velocity of 1280m/s or 4200 f/s. The 'DS' bullet was not designed to penetrate through armour. Instead it created secondary projectile upon impact, relying on kinetic energy to punch out a 'plug' shaped piece from the armour plate it hit. Both this secondary projectile (which typically was 14-20 mm in diameter) and the actual bullet entering into the armoured vehicle would cause damage and injury or death. There was no incendiary or explosive content.
The ammunition was made by P.W.U. Panswowa Fabryka Amunicji in Skarzysko Kamienne. The rounds were packed in cardboard boxes of 12 rounds which, in turn, were packed in hermetically closed cans. Cans were packed into wooden crates.
'DS' cartridge and cardboard box holding 12 rounds
Józef Maroszek and the Karabin przeciwpancerny wz.35 (kbk ppanc wz.35):
Parallel to the development of the ammunition, Mr. Józef Maroszek, a recent graduate of the Mechanical Department of the Warsaw Technical University, was ordered to design an anti-tank rifle. In the later part of 1931, he was employed at the Fabryka Karabinow (Rifle Factory) in Warsaw and had constructed the KP-32 rifle.
The rifle research team consisted of:
- E. Szetke
- T. Felsztyn
- J. Maroszek
In August, 1935 the Armament and Equipment Committee issued a memorandum initiating research on the anti-tank rifle. This document may be considered as a counter-intelligence effort of the Polish II Department to mislead enemy intelligence. Design and construction are assumed to have occurred from 1933 to 1935; as the prototype made by Armoury No. 2 in Warsaw was tested at the Brzesc and Pionki military test grounds in October, 1935 - just two months after documented beginning of research!
Although part of the research team, Maroszek was considered the team leader. For the mechanical system, he used the design taken from his earlier KP-32 rifle. A prototype designed by A. Karczewski was tested, but but was rejected as it was heavier - 16 kg compared to 9.5 kg (36 lbs to 20 lbs).
Maroszek designed bolts: kbk ppanc wz.35 and KP-32
kbk ppanc wz.35 bolt disasembled
Underside of the kbk ppanc wz.35 bolt showing rear locking lug
The kbk ppanc wz.35 was based on the proven Mauser rifle, a standard pre-World War I infantry weapon. The receiver/bolt lock was modified to sustain the higher pressure of the new cartridge and the barrel was lengthed significantly. The first tests carried out in Brzesc and Pionki showed that the new anti tank rifle was capable of perforating a vertical 15 mm steel plate from the distance of 300 metres. Similar results were reached after firing at a deflected steel plate. Initially the barrel could only sustain up to 30 shots, after which it had to be replaced with a new one. However after subsequent testing, the final prototype could fire approximately 200 to 300 shots. The committee accepted the new design on November 25, 1935 and in December, the Ministry of Military Affairs ordered the delivery of 5 rifles, 5000 bullets, and a set of spare barrels for further tests.
After the tests carried out by the Centre of Infantry Training in Rembertów proved the high effectiveness and reliability of kbk ppanc wz.35, the Ministry of Military Affairs ordered 7610 rifles to be delivered to the Polish Army by the end of 1939. It is uncertain how many rifles were actually produced, but it is often estimated that there were more than 6500 pieces delivered by September 1939.
Production and Discrepancy:
Initial production of the first 1000 kbk ppanc wz.35 by Panstwowa Fabryka Karabinow Warsawa was expected to be delivered to the Wojsko Polskie by May, 1937. Due to undocumented technical or financial difficulties these rifles were not delivered on time. The production process was split and final assembly took place in secret at the Warsaw Citadel. From the initial Ministry of Military Affairs order for 7610 rifles, the first 2000 were delivered to the army units by October, 1938. Recovered documents confirm the delivery of 3500 rifles by August 1939, but some archives are ambiguous. Production number documents state that 6500 kbk ppanc wz.35 and 15,000 barrels were made. A large discrepancy exists between production numbers and delivery numbers to the Wojsko Polskie. But it seems that number of 6500 rifles is very possible, if the numbers of kbk ppanc wz.35 in infantry and cavalry units are checked. As well the highest receiver serial numbers of surviving specimens are in 6500 range.
Barrel and receiver markings:
Top: Polish eagle, G/2 in oval
Side: 7.8, G/2 in oval, serial #4041
Muzzle Brake: Polish eagle
The rifle was delivered in a wooden crate, which contained the kbk ppanc wz.35, 3 spare barrels, 3 spare magazines, ammunition packed in a hermetically closed can, barrel key, and a manual. The production cost per kbk ppanc wz.35 was 900 prewar Polish zloty (PLN). The cost of a Kbk wz.29 rifle was 164 prewar PLN. The cost of 'DS' wz.35 cartridge was 0.96 prewar PLN.
The kbk ppanc wz.35 was a manual bolt action repeater with a four round detachable box magazine held in place by two magazine catches (one in front and one behind the magazine). It could be be recharged with ammunition by exchanging the magazine or by reloading the empty magazine with single rounds. It also had fixed rear sight and laterally adjustable front sight. The high velocity of the bullet made for an extremely straight flight path, therefore sights up to a range of 300m were used. The kbk ppanc wz.35 was easily recognized by the lack of a true pistol grip which was rather uncommon for anti tank rifles. It was carried by a sling attached to the wooden stock with two sling swivels, one behind the wrist on the bottom of the butt stock and one attached to the barrel band.
kbk ppanc wz.35 carrying methods: on foot or on horseback
The barrel profile was 6 grooves/right hand twist and parallel throughout most of its length, increasing in diameter toward the breech until it equaled that of the receiver. The barrel is screwed into place. After 300 shots it had to be changed, which could be accomplished quickly and simply with a special key. If there was too much barrel wear the muzzle velocity started to drop very quickly. At the muzzle, a portion of the barrel was threaded to take a muzzle brake. This well-designed muzzle brake absorbed 65% of the recoil forces and the recoil of the weapon was, contrary to other anti tank rifles, only slightly more forceful than that of a regular infantry rifle. This also aided accuracy. Typical to anti tank rifles, the kbk ppanc wz.35 had a bipod which was of light construction and attached to the barrel by a yoke. The legs of the bipod terminated in circular shoes which were cut away on the inside to clasp the barrel when they were folded forward in a closed position.
Action locked, top view
Action locked, side view
Stock, magazine and open bolt, right side
Stock, magazine and open bolt, left side
Stock with rear sling swivel
Bipod and front sling swivel (missing) attached to barrel band
Muzzle brake with laterally adjusted front sight
Secrecy, Deployment and Confusion:
Since the weapon was initially one of the top secrets of the Polish Army, it was also known under many different code names. Until the mobilization of 1939 the combat-ready rifles were held in closed crates marked with the enigmatic inscription 'Do not open; surveillance equipment'. Among the cover names was Urugwaj (hence Ur) being the Polish name of Uruguay, the country to which the surveillance equipment was supposedly exported.
The rifle was the main anti-tank weapon of an infantry platoon. Each infantry company and cavalry squadron was to be equipped with three rifles, each operated by a team of two soldiers. Additional anti-tank teams were to be created at a later stage. Although the weapon was successively introduced to the units, secrecy was maintained. The rifle was carried by the leader of the two-man rifle team by the rifle sling. The other member of the squad was his assistant and provided cover fire. The weapon was usually fired from prone supported position with the bipod attached to the barrel. However it could be also used in other positions such as prone unsupported and crouch. Starting from July, 1939 the teams were trained in secret military facilities, and then had to give an oath that they will not disclose the secret.
Polish re-enactor with replica?
Despite the well-established mistaken belief, the kbk ppanc wz.35 was extensively used during the Polish Defensive War of 1939 by most Polish units. The maximum range was 300 metres and the kbk ppanc wz.35 was effective at 100 metres against Panzer I, II and III, as well as Czech-made LT-35 and LT-38 tanks in September, 1939. At up to 400 metres it could destroy all lightly armoured vehicles. German military captured them in relatively large numbers and used over 600 of them during their attack on Belgium, the Netherlands and France in 1940 as the Panzerbuchse 35 (polnisch). Germany also modified the ammunition that Poles had manufactured for this weapon by replacing Polish 'DS' bullets with same tungsten-carbide/cobalt alloy core bullets already used in their own 7.92 mm PzB 39 antitank rifles. This German modified ammunition achieved a 1297 m/sec muzzle velocity. After that the Germans sold 800 PzB 35(p) to Italian troops, mostly to the Italian 8th Army, that used them on the Eastern Front under their own designation of fucile controcarro 35(P).
Captued kbk ppanc wz.35 and other Polish weapons
Finland also purchased thirty kbk ppanc wz.35 from Hungary for use during the Winter War although these rifles did not arrive before the conflict ended.
"The Italian army had neither indigenous antitank rifles nor recoilless antitank weapons during World War II. They did, however, receive stock of the Polish Wz 35 Marosczek 7.92mm antitank rifle which the Germans had captured in 1939. This weapon... was of sound design... the Marosczek was a good weapon and commendably light." - THE WORLD ALMANAC OF WORLD WAR II"
American soldiers with a captured kbk ppanc wz.35
kbk ppanc wz.35 Specifications:
Maker: Panstwowa Fabryka Karabinow Warsawa (PFK Warsawa)
Caliber: 7.92 mm x 107mm, 225 gr 'DS' bullet
Action type: Mauser Bolt-action repeater
Magazine type, capacity: detachable box, four rounds
Muzzle velocity: 1275 m/s (4183 fps)
Overall length: 176cm (69.3")
Barrel length: 120cm (47.2")
Weight w/o ammo: 9.5kg (10kg with bipod)
Practical rate of fire: 6-10 rounds per minute
Penetration in steel plate:
"From 300 meters the bullet could penetrate a 15 mm (0.6 ") steel plate mounted at 30-degree angle and still retain sufficient energy to penetrate a 4 cm (1.6 ") wooden board. Additionally the bullet would punch out a 20 mm secondary projectile from the armour adding to the destructive effect. At 100 meters the bullet would penetrate around 33 mm (1.3 ") of armour. This means that in theory at a range of 100 m, a bullet fired from the kb ppanc wz.1935 could damage any German or Soviet tank used in any 1939 attack against Poland. Other lighter armoured vehicles could be destroyed from even greater distance." (Polish Firearms Page)
Panzer II damaged by a hit from a kbk ppanc wz.35
"Figures vary upon source but about 20-22 mm at 100 meters when fired at a 90° vertical plate. This plate is equivalent to the side armor of the Panzer IV ausf B & C, both present in the Polish Campaign of 1939." Another source (Wikipedia) indicates the kbk ppanc wz.35 could penetrate 15 mm of armour, sloped at 30° at 300 m distance, or 33 mm of armour at 100 m.
From Jaeger Platoon...
Distance Hitting angle Penetration
'Arma Fennica 2' (1,220 m/s):
100 m 90 degrees 15 mm
300 m 90 degrees 14 mm
Nowa Technica Wojskowa 6/95 (1250 - 1275 m/s):
100 m 90 degrees? 33 mm
300 m 30 degrees 15 mm
Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the Third Reich (1280 m/s, German modified ammunition?):
300 m 90 degrees 25 - 33 mm
Panssarintorjuntakiväärit (1250 m/sec):
300 m ? degrees 16 mm
Finnish live fire testing year 1943 (1350 m/sec):
100 m 70 degrees 18 mm
200 m 70 degrees 16 mm
300 m 70 degrees 14 mm
The Finnish live fire testing continued out to 1500m, with the expected decrease in penetration. I did not included those results as the kbk ppanc wz.35 rear sight is only graduated up to 300m. Draw your own conclusions.
Sources: Maroszek WZ 35, polish secret weapon; Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record; FINNISH ARMY 1918 - 1945: AT-RIFLES PART 2; THE SEARCH FOR HIGH VELOCITY; Polish Firearms Page - kb ppanc wz. 1935; Bro? strzelecka - Inne Oblicza Historii; Kb ppanc wz.35 - Zbieram WP - Forum Kolekcjonerskie
Again apologies for any errors of omission or otherwise. If you have something to add, please do.
Last edited by dastier; 06-10-2012 at 09:59 AM.
Reason: Added captions and additional photographs and credits.
Re: Pistols, Rifles, Machine Guns and Crew Served Weapons of Partitioned Poland and the Polish 2nd Republic
A plethora of great pics and info here for the Polish armaments afficionado.
Keep it up.
All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.
"Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne
Prewar Polish Hand Grenades
Prewar Polish Hand Grenades
The prewar Wojsko Polskie used several different types of grenades. Defensive grenades were intended to wound or cause death by means of fragmentation of the shell and hence could pose a risk to the thrower unless cover was taken. Offensive grenades were designed to impair the enemy by explosive force and had thin, egg shaped shells. They were intended to be used in the attack, when entering or inside buildings, or clearing trenches. The last two types are obvious and need no further explanation.
Granat Obronny: defensive grenade.
Granat Zaczepny: offensive grenade.
Granat Dymny: smoke grenade.
Granat Cwiczebny: practice grenade.
Letters stamped into the shell indicated the grenade shell foundry:
K - Kielce
M - Warsaw
W - Vilnius
Kielce had three foundries to produce grenade shells so engraved dots were used to designate foundry 1, 2 or 3.
My understanding is that two defensive and offensive grenades were carried in the bread bag or some other small satchel. They were only to be used upon command.
Upon the establishment of the Polish 2nd Republic, the Wojsko Polskie acquired quantities of WW1 German Stielhandgranate grenades from Imperial German munition stores in Poland. These were used by the Polish forces during the Polish Bolshevik War.
Grenade Weight: 750 g
Explosive charge: 200 g
Length: 360 mm
Fuse Delay: 5.5-7.5 seconds
The Stielhandgranate wz.17 consisted of a metal housing containing an explosive and igniter with a hollow beech wood handle. The handle was threaded at the bottom with a protective cap. Inside the handle was a friction cord. To use the grenade the cap was removed and the friction cord was pulled.
1st Wielkopolska Rifle Regiment soldier with Stielhandgranate wz.17, 1920.
Granat Obronny wz.17-1
This defensive grenade is fitted with the AC23 fuze.
The body is a normal German M17 egg grenade.
Length w/o fuze: 60mm
Weight: 300 g
Granat Obronny wz.17-2
This defensive grenade has the GRN.31 fuze fitted.
Length w/o fuze: 60mm
Weight: 300 g
Granat Obronny wz.KC
Total length: 76.5mm
Weight with fuze: 450 g
Weight of body: 305 g
Charge: 40 g black powder
Fuze: wz. AC23, fuze hole: 11mm
Delay time: 4 seconds
These are two KC grenades with slight differences.
Both fitted with the correct AC23 fuze.
Granat Obronny wz.23
The fuze on this defensive grenade is a GR.31, but also the early AC 25 was used.
Total length: 88mm
Length w/o fuze:
Weight: 580 g
Charge: 60 g Cheditte
Granat Zaczepny wz.23
This offensive grenade is fitted with the AC 25 fuze.
Total length: 87.5mm
Length w/o fuze:
Weight: 320-330 g
Charge: 150-160 g Cheditte
Granat Zaczepny wz.33
Offensive grenade fitted with the wz.GR.31 fuze.
Length w/o fuze:
Weight: 360 g
This grenade was also used by Spain, where it was named "Ofensiva Polaca".
Granat Obronny wz.33
This defensive grenade was produced in different colours, but mainly olive drab and black. Fitted with the wz.GR.31 fuze. (you can just see the inscription stamped on the fuze in the photo).
Grenade Weight: 670 g
Shell Weight: 410 g
Explosive Weight: 60 g
Igniter Weight:137 g
Destruction radius: 50 m
A note about Polish grenade fuses:
There were several different fuses in production until it seems the Poles standardized on the 16mm version of the wz.GR.31.
Early fuses such as the AC24, AC25, WP29, and early GR31 had a thread diameter of 11mm-15mm. The later GR.31 had a thread diameter 0f 16mm. The reason for the increase in diameter was the inclusion of an aluminum sleeve, which gave better humidity protection to the explosive charge. I believe the intention was either to make the grenade more reliable or more safe. Or both.
Type KR fuse:
Here is a book about prewar Polish grenades:
Polish soldiers fusing grenades.
Source: Polish hand- and riflegrenades, Wielka Encyklopedia Uzbrojenia M.S.Wojsk. 1918 - 1939.
Last edited by dastier; 06-14-2012 at 02:50 AM.
Reason: Added addition information and photographs.
Re: Pistols, Rifles, Machine Guns and Crew Served Weapons of Partitioned Poland and the Polish 2nd Republic
I wonder if the type term "Defensive" refers to using or configuring the grenade as a booby trap or anti-personnel mine?
In Imperial Germany and Austro-Hungary