MG 34/42 ammunition box – Patronenkasten 34 – 743/1940 – E-kasten
The Germans where the first to fully implement a general-purpose machine gun or Einheitsmaschinengewehr. This machine gun was meant to be in the centre of every infantry group or Gruppe bringing more firepower to the front.
Whilst other armies still struggled with multiple machine guns for multiple roles the German army was (as so much of the times) way ahead. With the implementation of Blitzkrieg tactics the Germans needed a machine gun that was light, accurate, reliable and had a high rate of fire. The MG 34 was a excellent air-cooled, recoil operated light machine gun that could fire semi- and automatic at 850 rounds per minute. It could be easily adapted to fulfill different roles on the battlefield. As a light machine gun it was light enough to carry around and fast enough to lay down suppressive fire. On a tripod with the addition of a sight it was a anti-aircraft weapon and on the MG 34 Lafette a excellent sustained-fire machine gun. The Germans where the first to fully implement the tactic that every infantry squad or Gruppe worked around a light machine gun. During the war when materials became more scarce and production had to be sped up the Germans developed the MG 42. This new machine gun had a even more devastating rate of fire of 1200 rounds per minute. It was efficiently made of stamped steel and had a different bolt.
With this new machine gun a whole series of accessories was introduced.
The Patronenkasten 34 was developed to be a lightweight ammunition box to carry ammunition for the MG 34. It was capable to carry 300 belted 7,92 mm rounds. The first models where manufactured in Aluminium and as the war started the first steel variants where made. The Patronenkasten 34 was well designed but had a complex design with a slanted lid and a clasp closure which often broke. In 1941 or the Patronenkasten 41 in steel was designed. This steel ammunition box had a straight lid and a clasp closure on the side. Also it featured a rubber seal in the lid making it waterproof. On the short sides they where marked Patr. Kast. 41 f. M.G. which is short for Patronenkasten 41 für Maschinengewehr.
Model box : Patronenkasten 34
Markings : 743 / 1940
Maker : –
Year : 1940
Material : Aluminium
Handle covers: Untanned leather
Paint: Feldgrau factory paint
Notes : This tin has the weapon number painted on top and features a very light green camouflage paint as was used in 1940 to camouflage over the Feldgrau paint. On top of the box a painted E can be seen with two yellow lines. This indicates this was the so called E-Kasten or Ergänzungskasten which contained spare parts. Multiple nice examples of these tins with a in depth explanation on these can be found here!