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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was watching WW2 metal detecting video(s) and the guys dug up German ammo boxes filled with spent casings. I've seen this on a few different Youtube channels.
Were they being sent back to Germany to be reloaded or recycled? The videos are always in Russian with no English sub titles so I had no idea what they were saying
 

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Not sure but the 20mm Flak 38 reloaded in the field, they had kits for it.
 
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They were surely recycling metals, and throughout the war. Reloading? Mostly likely not, but then again, there there were depots and factories in the east fully capable of doing so.

Reloading in the field would be awkward, but rear areas not so much.

When I read the bombing surveys and associated documents decades ago, the allied commissions wanted to know what happened to all the crashed airframes and weapons. The answer was: they were recycled.

Germany was short of raw materials, which was one of the reasons why Lebensraum and other expansive matters were such imperatives to the Nazis.
 
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They were surely recycling metals, and throughout the war. Reloading? Mostly likely not, but then again, there there were depots and factories in the east fully capable of doing so.

When I read the bombing surveys and associated documents decades ago, the allied commissions wanted to know what happened to all the crashed airframes and weapons. The answer was: they were recycled.

Germany was short of raw materials, which was one of the reasons why Lebensraum and other expansive matters were such imperatives to the Nazis.
They than resorted to ersatz (replacement) materials in order to manufacture things such as shell casings...Brass being replaced with lacquered steel....The lacquer being used as a rust inhibitor, but also as a form of lubricant which helped the weapon cycle the rounds...This however was not unique to Germany, as the US also resorted to using materials which were more readily available....Bodes
 

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Both sides recycled crashed airframes like nobody's business. Aluminum was always at a premium.

During the war I would not be surprised to find that the same Aluminum in crashed airframes didn't eventually end up in 5 or 6 different aircraft, on both sides of the conflict..
 

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I now of Fred Bear Archery encompassing recycled aircraft aluminum into some of his post war bows that he offered.
 
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In the series The World at War, British soldiers were surprised that the Germans would take the trouble of retrieving their damaged tanks and other vehicles.....They (British) commented that their equipment had to come just as far, but didn't seem to be given the same amount of appreciation....Course the Germans recycled just about every piece of military equipment they captured....Bodes
 

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It was a routine practice of collecting every spent cartrige before WWI and WWII during range shooting practice among the troops - German, Russian, KUK. Not only for brass recicling, but also for reloading - German and Polish reloaded rounds are marked with a ring stamped on the casing near the bottom. Cases with as many as 3-4 rings can be found. I'm not sure however if anyone tried to practice it in combat conditions - it is a fact though that German WWI trenches have much less litter and somewhat less casings than the Russian ones... During WWII whole brass casings were not that common being pushed out of service by steel brass plated/coated, and later on, steel lackered casings - not sure if these were meant to be reloaded at all
 

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It was a routine practice of collecting every spent cartrige before WWI and WWII during range shooting practice among the troops - German, Russian, KUK. Not only for brass recicling, but also for reloading - reloaded rounds are marked with a ring stamped on the casing near the bottom. Cases with as many as 3 rings can be found. I'm not sure however if anyone tried to practice it in combat conditions - it is a fact though that German WWI trenches have much less litter and somewhat less casings than the Russian ones... During WWII whole brass casings were not that common being pushed out of service by steel brass plated/coated, and later on, steel lackered casings - not sure if these were meant to be reloaded at all
Thats how looks a reloaded casing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It was a routine practice of collecting every spent cartrige before WWI and WWII during range shooting practice among the troops - German, Russian, KUK. Not only for brass recicling, but also for reloading - German and Polish reloaded rounds are marked with a ring stamped on the casing near the bottom. Cases with as many as 3-4 rings can be found. I'm not sure however if anyone tried to practice it in combat conditions - it is a fact though that German WWI trenches have much less litter and somewhat less casings than the Russian ones... During WWII whole brass casings were not that common being pushed out of service by steel brass plated/coated, and later on, steel lackered casings - not sure if these were meant to be reloaded at all
Thats interesting about the reloading. Here's a link to the video of the spent shells retrieved from a river.

They also dug some out of the ground along with a couple of skeletons
 

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The German pushed it to the extremes - they recycled webbing, canvas and leather from captured equipment and uniforms and "employed" slave labour from the Ghettos to make it feasible:

 

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In the series The World at War, British soldiers were surprised that the Germans would take the trouble of retrieving their damaged tanks and other vehicles.....They (British) commented that their equipment had to come just as far, but didn't seem to be given the same amount of appreciation....Course the Germans recycled just about every piece of military equipment they captured....Bodes
as stated- waste not want not!! the GERMANS KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING!
 

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Now days, it's all left behind for the Taliban...
 
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