H51 Small Arms Ammunition Box

Tonight we are looking at a very common type of ammunition box- The H51. This box is made of plywood and was used to carry a variety of small arms ammunition:imageTwo of these boxes were carried in a larger H50, (see here) but were designed with folding metal handles to allow their contents to be more easily transported to where they were needed than would have been the case with a big metal box. The handles fold flat on the lid for transport:imageBut can be folded up to form a comfortable hand hold:imageThe edges of the box are reinforced with metal strips and a pair of metal clips secures the lid:imageInside the box would originally have had a metal liner to prevent moisture damaging the ammunition, this has now gone though:imageThe boxes can be found with a large range of stencils for different ammunition; 9mm, .38 and of course .303. The .303 round was packaged in boxes, belts or bandoliers; as the markings on this box indicate:imageFrom this we can see the box contained 300 rounds of Mk 7 .303 ammunition packaged in bandoliers on 30th December 1953. The 1948 guide to inter-service ammunition and ammunition package markings, provided a representative diagram on how to mark these boxes:UntitledThe H51 box was introduced right at the end of World War II for use in the Jungle, “Pamphlet No11, Small Arms Ammunition “ dated February 1945 has the following description:

“Jungle Packages 16. as the result of requirements of a “Jungle pack” for S.A.A., Boxes H.50 and H.51 (not listed in Tables 14 and 15) have been introduced and will probably eventually become universal standard packaging”

A post was pamphlet describes the H51 and H50 boxes:

“These packages were introduced during the late war in order to give full protection to ammunition carried into jungle and tropic zones. The steel outer box is designed mainly to provide protection during transport and storage and during free or parachute dropping from aircraft.”

This box is one of two I own, the other having 9mm ammunition markings.


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