7.62mm Ammunition Box

The H50, H51 and H52 ammunition boxes had been introduced in World War II for use with .303 and 9mm ammunition predominantly. This set of three boxes consisted of a sealed metal can containing the ammunition itself that was then packaged into a wooden box with wide handles and two of these were finally packaged into a steel ammunition box for protection.

After the Second World War these boxes continued in widespread use and once 7.62mm ammunition was introduced they were used for that calibre as well. Today we are looking at a particularly well marked example of the H50 ammunition box for 7.62mm ammunition:

The box is the standard steel affair, with a hinged lid secured by two metal clips:

Metal carry handles are secured to either end of the box (note also the remains of an orange explosives label):

The box’s designation and a stores code are stamped into the metal of the lid:

As are the manufacturer’s initials and the date of production, here 1963:

Of most interest however are the stencilled markings, which here are very extensive. The front of the box contains the most detail about its contents:

From this we can see that the box contains 700 rounds of 7.62mm ball ammunition, which is the L2A2 version of this cartridge. These rounds are packaged in sets of five, held in Mk 3 chargers and these chargers are then packed into bandoliers. These rounds were produced by Radway Green and packaged in the afternoon of the 4th May 1970.

The lid of the box repeats a briefer version of this information but in white:

Finally the ends of the box indicate the package serial number (103), a repeat of the manufacturing information and the weight of a full box, here 72lbs:

These markings almost completely match the exemplar illustrated in the 1962 copy of the Joint Services Ammunition and Ammunition Package Markings Handbook for small arms ammunition:

This box is unusual in having survived in such nice complete condition and not having been reissued or having had its markings obliterated so it is a nice addition to my Cold War collection and goes rather nicely with my SLR.

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