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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: Need a little help...wooden ammo boxes. US and British/Canadian. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Need a little help...wooden ammo boxes. US and British/Canadian.  (Read 939 times)
smoke
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« on: September 04, 2017, 06:57:41 am »


I have wound up with a pile of pretty decent 1x4" boards and some 1x2" also.  So I have decided to build some ammo crates.  I am not looking to build museum grade replicas but decent copies.   I am having a hard time finding pics on line of original military markings on the crates.  Most of the crates are well worn or dirty and hard to make out.  If anyone has some good pics of the markings or websites they could share, I would appreciate it.

Markings that I am looking for.

.45 Colt pistol

.45-70-405 and .45-70-500

.30-06 Govt.

.38 cal Govt.

Any .303 Brit....I have found later WW2 era pics but Boer war seems tougher to find.

Martini Henry .450

I will be having stencils made to do this.

I can get additional ones made...they will be pretty cheap.

Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 09:12:55 am »

Do a Google search.  I searched for .303 ammo crate boer war and found some cool stuff.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to link it here.  Good luck!
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 09:49:31 am »

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,41621.0.html

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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 11:49:06 am »

Do a Google search.  I searched for .303 ammo crate boer war and found some cool stuff.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to link it here.  Good luck!

Doh!!  Slaps self upside the head.

I searched for British .303 ammo crates but never even thought about adding Boer war.

Thanks!
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 11:53:50 am »


Thanks!  I started to look through that.  I will go through the rest of it.

I am primarily looking for post CW up to the Punitive/Pancho Villa expedition.
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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 12:22:15 pm »

Anyone know the correct color (OD?) and lettering for a 1917 watercooled .30-06 Browning wooden ammo box?
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 01:54:36 pm »

Anyone know the correct color (OD?) and lettering for a 1917 watercooled .30-06 Browning wooden ammo box?

I've seen natural and OD used. I have one at home with the stamping, I can take a pic if you like.
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Baltimore Ed
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 02:12:24 pm »

Yes please. Here's one that I redid the handle and painted od with my dummy '06 rds. I also built the mounting bracket. I've got another  ammo box to do. Eventually I'll get back to completing my 1917.


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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 11:39:29 pm »

Greetings from the British Empire!

Until 1903 (when charger-loading capability finally came along with the "Rifle, Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield) British/Canadian rifle cartridges were always packaged in packets of 10 rounds, wrapped in paper and tied with twine (the military equivalent of Mary Poppins' "brown paper packages tied up with string" in the song "My Favourite Things ....  Grin )

 



As you can see, the outer wrapper of these packets was always printed/stamped with information identifying the contents ...

Various patterns of "Box, Ammunition, Small Arms", in which these packets were stored and transported, were standardized over the years, with details for each being published in the British War Department's "List of Changes in War Materiel and in Patterns of Military Stores" ("L.o.C.") but the general form for all was unpainted wood construction, usually screwed together but sometimes having some dovetailed joints, with an opening in the center top, accessible via a sliding wooden cover.  (From the time of the Martini-Henry, if not earlier, these boxes usually had a tinned sheet-metal lining, but that is a feature that is difficult if not impossible to duplicate in reproduction boxes.)

Here are details of the Mark XI/XII S.A. ammunition box as used with Martini-Henry cartridges -





As mentioned in the text of this L.o.C. entry, earlier versions were not dovetailed where the sides and ends joined but were instead entirely screwed together, and some of them were reinforced with metal (tinned iron or, later, copper) bands around the ends -





During that period, all such boxes had spliced rope handles at the ends (or perhaps only one end in the case of pistol ammunition or "half-boxes" for rifle ammunition) secured there by wooden cleats (grooved at the back to accommodate the rope handle) screwed to the end of the box.  

Primary labelling was by means of a paper label pasted to the sliding top cover, usually duplicating the information printed on the paper wrappers of the cartridge packets inside. although usually with the addition of the total number of cartridges inside;







Additional information (e.g.. a packing date and "lot number") was often stencilled on the box ...



... or (in the case of the date and place of manufacture of the box, and its "Mark" designation) stamped into the wood on one of the ends ... as on this Mark IV box produced in 1873 at the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich -



From the time of the adoption of the .303 Magazine Lee-Metford rifle in 1888 (and its successor the Magazine Lee-Enfield which followed in 1896) .303 cartridges were also packed in paper-wrapped packets of 10 rounds stored and transported in similar wooden small arms ammunition boxes - for at least ten years in the existing pattern(s) in use for Martini-Henry cartridges ... although those boxes would hold considerably more (i.e. 1,100) .303 cartridges.  

At about the time of the Boer War, a new pattern of somewhat smaller box holding only 750 .303 cartridges  - the "Box, ammunition, S.A., 750 rounds .303 inch (Mark I)" -  was introduced , and a modified version of the 1,100 round box was also adopted (Mark XV).  Here are the L.o.C. entries for them -



Unfortunately, neither L.o.C. entry includes an illustration, but if you wanted to try to reproduce either of these patterns (rather than just using an earlier pattern (such as was used with Martini-Henry cartridges and shown above ... which would obviously be entirely correct, historically, for the Boer War era) I believe the larger 1,100 round box would be fairly similar to the earlier boxes either, subject to any specific differences noted in the L.o.C. entry.  And I THINK this is a version of the smaller 750 round box introduced under L.o.C. 10750 - if only because the original packing date stencilled on the end is "25, 11, 99" (i.e. 25 November 1899) -

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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2017, 05:44:03 am »

 (the military equivalent of Mary Poppins' "brown paper packages tied up with string" in the song "My Favourite Things ....   )

Right actress, wrong movie.   That was Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music".  Good analogy though and a great writup.

CC Griff
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2017, 08:40:47 pm »

Right actress, wrong movie.

Oops!  Roll Eyes
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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2017, 06:05:00 am »

Not quite what you were asking about, but similar. US M-2 WW II vintage


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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 06:44:41 am »

RattlesnakeJack....Thanks!!

I was hoping you would show up.  Those are some great pics.  They really will help out.
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 09:32:57 am »

I neglected to mention, although it may be evident from their stout construction, that British small arms  ammunition boxes were intended to be  re-used.
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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 09:51:25 am »

How accurate is the sequences in Zulu Dawn where it's so painfully difficult to get the darn things open that the soldiers ran out of ammo? Supposedly one of the causes of the catastrophic defeat? When you underestimate your enemy you set yourself up to loose.
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 07:43:33 pm »

Not accurate ...  the "old wives tale" about difficulty opening ammunition boxes which led to that depiction in the film were was almost entirely unfounded. The sliding lids of the ammunition boxes were kept in place by a single brass woodscrew and British Army Regulations actually called for the screws to be removed when the ammunition supply was moved up to front lines.  Even if the surprise attack on the camp meant that these screws had not been removed in advance, only a single screw needed to be removed on each box, and the tin cover soft-soldered over the corresponding opening on the tin box liner was then easily ripped off using a pull handle on the cover.

Also, if things were rushed, a sharp blow on the edge of the sliding lid (with a boot or rifle butt) sufficed to free up the sliding wood lid ... and in fact it is quite evident (from artifacts recovered in the areas from which the ammunition was being distributed) that this "emergency method" was well used at Isandlwana:
http://www.martinihenry.org/index.php?route=product/product&path=61_65&product_id=106

It now seems to be accepted that the primary cause for the British defeat on that day was the deployment of the men much too far out - as much as 1,100 yards! - resulting in the lines being spread much too thin to maintain the effective volley fire which worked so well at Rorke's Drift ... and also making ammunition resupply to the lines very problematic, of course.

Another very inaccurate movie scene is the one in "Zulu", where an ammunition box is shown being opened, and then a covering resembling aluminum foil being torn off to expose loose cartridges - as already noted the boxes actually were lined with tinned sheet iron for moisture-proofing, with a cover of the same material soft-soldered over the center opening - and removing that would be more akin to tearing the lid off a sardine can.  Also, as mentioned, the rounds in that scene were shown loose in the box once it was opened, and cartridges being dispensed by the handful ...  as already noted, the ammunition box would actually have been filled with the 10-round paper-wrapped packets shown above.

For what it may be worth, quite some time ago for my own purposes I did up the printed portion of the ammunition label for Canadian-issue ammunition ... the "DC" in a diamond-shaped border was the Dominion of Canada government/military ownership mark at that time - akin to the British Broad Arrow.   This is based on an original packet of Snider-enfield cartridges, and I also did a modification of it for Martin-Henry cartridge packets -



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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 08:57:53 pm »

Thanks for the Zulu Dawn ammo box information Jack. I've always wondered if that was a hollywoodism or a reality. But why didn't they form a British Square around the ammo wagons? Outnumbered as much as they were a square would have been the best tactic.


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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 11:19:46 pm »

Overconfidence, if not utter stupidity ...

The Boers strongly advised the British to "laager" their camp, just as they had learned to do in their decades of conflict with the Zulus and other tribes ... and it was, in fact, standard practice in the British Army to entrench/enclose a camp in that fashion when in hostile territory with danger of attack.  Such a fortified camp was referred to as a "zareba" (the name in parts of Africa for camps enclosed by a protective enclosure of thorn bushes and such.)

Apparently the British officers at Isandlwana couldn't conceive of an attack on such a strong camp by "a few savages" armed with spears ... to their ultimate dismay.

Even in Canada's North-West Rebellion (1885) the Canadian Militia camps were protected from attack by a zareba.  This is the zareba at the rebel "capital" of Batoche, the site of the main battle in that campaign ... one of a batch of photographs taken by an Artillery Captain who dragged his cumbersome box camera along on the expedition -



And this contemporary map shows the location of the zareba ... marked as "entrenched camp" -

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Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/
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