German infantry ammunition load

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panzerkrieg
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German infantry ammunition load

Post by panzerkrieg » 29 Nov 2022 01:25

At the start of ww1 In august 1914 , how many rounds of ammunition was allotted to each German infantryman ?
I’ve heard from some it was only 10 rounds at a time
Is that true ?

Thank you

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jluetjen
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Re: German infantry ammunition load

Post by jluetjen » 26 Dec 2022 22:03

10 rounds?! Heavens no! I believe (I'm going on memory) that the cavalry carried around 60 rounds, and the infantry around 80. I think that is what would fit in the pouches on their belts. They figured out pretty quickly that they often needed more.

But I've never heard of such drastic rationing of ammunition by the Germans in 1914. They were in the war to win, and were masters of logistics and planning the supply situation. That was the purpose of the General Staff organization.

I fear that this is another of those falsehoods that I've started to see popping up as a result of the most recent version of "All Quite on the Western Front". Just watching the trailers I've seen many significant false narratives in the movie, for example that the Germans reused uniforms from dead soldiers to give to recruits. Absolutely false on so many levels. The Germans had no shortages of uniforms in 1914.

The very idea of the Germans invading France while rationing ammunition to their soldiers in 10 round increments is absolutely silly.

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Appleknocker27
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Re: German infantry ammunition load

Post by Appleknocker27 » 29 Dec 2022 10:35

The standard Gew 98 cartridge pouches came in pairs, each pouch had 3 compartments, each compartment carried 3 five round stripper clips of 8mm catridges. So, 45x2= 90 rounds per Soldier.
The Gew 98 pouches were a little bigger than their ww2 cousins (K98 pouches carried only 2 stripper clips).

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jwsleser
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Re: German infantry ammunition load

Post by jwsleser » 29 Dec 2022 15:34

Appleknocker27 wrote:
29 Dec 2022 10:35
The Gew 98 pouches were a little bigger than their ww2 cousins (K98 pouches carried only 2 stripper clips).
This is incorrect. The M1887 and M1895 ammunition pouches both carried 45 rounds (three boxes of 15 rounds each). The ammunition load was reduced from 150 rounds per man to 120 rounds per man when the rear ammunition pouch was abolished (three to two pouches). The M1895 Tornister pack had two compartments which held one box each (total of 30 rounds). See Lavisse's Field Equipment of the European Foot Soldier 1900-1914 pp.103–104.

This is what the equipment was designed to carry. Of course extra boxes of ammunition could be carried in the bread bag or pack and often were after the war started.

This is different from the rate of resupply. While the soldier could carry 120 (or more) rounds, the supply system for various reasons might not be able to replenish what the soldier used in a day. I do know that basically every army in the first year of the war had an ammunition shortage, the Russian shortage being the one most written about. The other countries also experience similar issues but their better developed industrial base allowed them to weather that situation better than Russia. Like jluetjen stated, I had not read of a severe German shortage where German pouches went empty. It was possible that quieter parts of the front received a reduced daily resupply to ship that ammunition to the parts of the front where it was really needed. This is a common logistical decision/action. That doesn't mean that pouches were empty, just that resupply was less if a soldier shot a lot of ammunition that day.

Without knowing the source of the claim for 10 rounds a day, one really can't address the issue.

Pista! Jeff
Last edited by jwsleser on 30 Dec 2022 15:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Appleknocker27
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Re: German infantry ammunition load

Post by Appleknocker27 » 30 Dec 2022 12:27

Great post, knowing the quality of this forum's contributors I had a feeling something like this would show up.
Cheers

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