M104 Ammunition Box

It has been a while since we looked at any ammunition boxes on the blog. Tonight we have the first wartime box I ever picked up. When I first acquired this box it was painted black and had clearly been used for a tool box at some time. Since then I have stripped it back and repainted it in ‘service brown’ and applied some markings. These are based off an original example of the box and although a little crude (I am not that good at cutting out stencils with a Stanley knife) they really help the box look the part:imageThis box is stamped into the top with its designations ‘M104’:imageThis type of box was used for carrying fuzes for artillery shells, either the 117 fuze for 25 pounders or the No213 fuze. This fuze was used for high explosive and bursting smoke rounds for the 25 pounder, 5.5 and 7.2 inch guns and was both timer delayed and percussion fired. For an excellent information sheet on this fuze, please look here. The other use it saw was to carry the ammunition shell for ‘U’ type 3” rockets. Originally the box would have had cardboard inserts to protect the contents and hold them securely for transit.

This particular box is dated 1941:imageAnd has a manufacturer’s code of AMC:imageThis is probably the mark of the Austin Motor Company who made ammunition boxes and jerry cans during the war. The box is made of steel and has a hinged lid with two wire spring fasteners to secure the lid:imageNote the small lop above the fastener- this was to pass a piece of wire through to allow the fastenings to be wired shut so it was clear the box had not been tampered with. With its early date, this box still has the rubber grips on the handles:imageThese were later deleted to save valuable rubber supplies after the Japanese invasions in the far east. The main details of the contents of the box are stencilled on the front in yellow, again this is a direct copy of an original marked example:imageI went through a phase of buying a lot of ammunition boxes a few years back, and I do really like them. Unfortunately they take up a lot of room and although useful for storage there has to be limits so I now restrict myself to only picking up nicely marked examples (and preferably the smaller boxes!)

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