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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Walking around one of the battlefields of the 1948 war in what is now southern Israel, I've found several spent and unspent cartridges - among them a locally made 7.92x57 cartridge casing with a distinct oval shaped firing pin marking (as which I've never seen before).
I searched a bit, and stumble upon this thread, which helped me assume that my cartridge was shot from a Czech machine gun, but unfortunately had no photos attached. Anyway, after reading that thread, I think my cartridge is a Besa one. And my question is: am I correct?
I'm asking it, because due to quite rare circumstances, I may be able to connect that single bullet to a single specific soldier. This is because the battlefield - near the now razed Palestinian village Ibdis - is a well documented one, and reading veterans' memoirs I now know only two Besa machine gun were there. Their operators' names are known as well.
Here's the cartridge:
Metal Coin
Ruler Antique tool Measuring instrument Cylinder Metal
 

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That could also have been fired from a ZB30 or 8mm Bren gun both of which were used by the Isreali's early on along with a multitude of other weapons acquired from left over WWII stocks the world over. . .

Frank
 

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That could also have been fired from a ZB30 or 8mm Bren gun both of which were used by the Isreali's early on along with a multitude of other weapons acquired from left over WWII stocks the world over. . .

Frank

Give the location of what I assume is the ejector strike in relation to the axis of the firing pin oval I would say it is not of the ZB26/30/Bren family and since I am not familiar enough with the ZB37 I can only speculate that it ejects right or left and this round could be from one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the help.
This specific battle (8-9-10th July 1948) is relatively well documented, with numerous testimonials by veterans. The various sources mention only two ZB37 machine guns - whose two operators were KIA. One of them, it is said, bravely ran uphill carrying the heavy Besa and shooting from the hip. As I found that cartridge relatively high on the hill's shoulder, I was wandering if I could 'connect' my finding to that specific soldier - quite a rare thing.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily say that there were no other machine guns there - pre-IDF units used whatever they could find. I guess it will remain a mystery..
 

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As I recall we've been down this road last year trying to identify the MG that fired the 7.92 casing, or is this a differen quest? It could be any of several LMG ZB, variants including the 7.92 Bren which seems unlikely, a BESA or a ZB37 as they all have vertically "oval" firing pins, and eject the case in the same direction from an extractor in the same position at the bottom of the bolt face. I can't imagine any possible way to positively identify the specifc type of ZB MG that might have fired that round.......further, the case could have been deposited on the shoulder of the hill in quite a variety of other ways aside from direct ejection from an MG.


Bob Naess
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's a different quest.
But focusing on the fact that we're talking about a Czech weapon is good enough for me, at this stage (I'm a novice collector).
In the mean time I've been told that if I'm really into it, I can try to get some help from Israeli police forensic experts - they have a large data base of firing pin markings and they may help me on a good will basis, given the historic and emotional nature of the story. Don't know if I'll try.
 

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Age of ammo....

Not really: in "O Jerusalem" (history of Palestine leading to War Of Independance, 1948) mention is made that ammunition and rifles arrived by Air from Prague and were immediately employed in the Struggle.

So a mere 6 months lag time is not exceptional.

AS to the Characteristic Firing Pin Mark, the main contenders for the honours are the ZB26 and ZB30 LMGs, and the ZB53 ( aka Vz37) medium (Belt fed) MG. An outside contender would be the British made BESA ( copy of ZB53) but it is a "Tank" gun, so unlikely in this particular battle.

Forget about 7,92 Canadian (Inglis) Brens, which mostly went to China...at the time, China was otherwise occupied with its own Civil war.

As most of Israel's armaments came from Europe ( the Biggest slice from the Czechs, both new made and War surplus)...The finger points directly at the LMGs/MMGs ....

Battlefield Forensic Archeology is a fascinating subject...By the way, as with "normal" archeology, what was the context of this case find (other cases, depth in soil, other equipment, coins, etc???)

Without the "Context" which give the find "time" and "place", it is just another fired shellcase....

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Battlefield Forensic Archeology is a fascinating subject...By the way, as with "normal" archeology, what was the context of this case find (other cases, depth in soil, other equipment, coins, etc???)
Depth in soil: none, actually. Just resting on the loess soil. I think things tend not to move around much around there - by rains or mud slides - as it's a dry place. I've encountered a similar phenomenon in another battlefield, where I collected numerous of .303 WWI era cartridges/cases.
Other cases: I didn't spend much time there, but I managed to collect a Winchester made .303 from 1942, several 9mm squashed bullets and an unidentified 7.92x57 case (headstamp ruined by corrosion/patination).
Coins: funny that you mention it, because I did find - not more than 2-3 meters from the case in question - a 1 Mil coin from the British Mandate era, dated 1939.
I'll attach photos of the case as I found it, the .303 and the coin, as I found it.


 

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Thankyou for the excellent Photographs....I mentioned "Coins" because in all "Digs" going back to Ancient Greece and Rome, the presence of Coins give a very clear Picture of Dates of the Stratum ( ie, it is "Not Before" the year of issue of the coin....after it, yes, and then you need other factors...like other coins, or the complete Abscence of particular coins ( sort of "bracketing" the date., Like Naval artillery fire).

A couple of years ago I did a Consult with a University of Jena ( former East Germany) researcher on a "dig" at the Citadelle of Damascus, ID'g the various shell cases found there...my researcher enquirer was an Archeological Numismatist, but knew very little on cartridge cases...anyway the cases found were Turkish 7,65 ( WW I years) and French 8mm Lebel cases ( WW I dates, but mixed with 1920s and 30s Coins....France Occupied Syria after WW I, taking over from the Turks.)

SO there you have the importance of the "big Picture" of Context....Coins, Shellcases, other items...since coins and shellocases are usually dated, it gives a "furtherest back date" indication...The rest is "history"

Regards,
Doc AV
AV ballistics.
 
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