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German cross  MG34 accessory & spare part boxes German cross

The MG34 was issued with a wide variety of equipment and accessories, often carried in the Patronekasten für MG. In this article I will focus on the
equipment of the supplement box, the small storage box and the accessory box for the MG34.

(Picture above by courtesy of Carles in Barcelona)

First of all, I would like to give credits to Mr. Vidar Andresen, who provided the original list and has helped me tremendously with the translation!
This article is based on a document called "Allgemeine Heeresmitteilungen" issued by the Army High Command and dated 21 February 1941.


The contents of the individual boxes were probably altered several times during the war-years, as this list from 1941 contains a special section on the MG34 with Patronentrommel 34 (PT34), which was discontinued by 1943!
First of all, here are the three pages that make up the complete and full list:

The original document can be accessed by clicking on the pictures above!

As the original document was printed in the now-a-days-not-so-popular Fraktur Font, I have transcribed it and retyped it with the font Arial.

The combined list in a "readable" version can be accessed by clicking on the image above!

In short, the boxes contained the following
The "Ergänzungskasten" contained cleaning accessories, some (spare) tools for the gunners pouch and a few replacement components and parts.
The "Vorratskasten" contained spare parts for the lower-level Waffenmeister to enable him to keep the guns running by replacing parts.
The "Zubehörkasten" contained complete spare components that could be used as replacements for broken or missing components.

There is no illustrated part list to accompany this order, and none of the diagrams in the manuals use the stock numbers (J xxx) so I have edited a set of pictures taken from the D 124/1. The headers below will open the corresponding picture showing the part.

- Mantel mit Visiereinrichtung
- Gehäuse
- Kolben
- Lauf mit Verschluß
- Zuführer
- Patronengurt
- Schießgestelle
- Außerdem

But, as most of my readers don't understand German I have also translated it to English!

The combined list in English can be accessed by clicking on the image above!
The headers below will open the corresponding picture showing the part. (Note! These are the same pictures as found with the German text-links above!)

- Barrel jacket with sights
- Receiver
- Butt stock
- Barrel with bolt
- Feed mechanism
- Cartridge belt
- Firing mounts
- In addition

As can be seen from the list above the contents of each box was contained in a standard MG ammunition box. The box was marked with a single letter (normally found on the lid, but sometimes also on the short end) to show what type of contents it carried. The letter "E", "Z" or "V" was normally applied in white paint using a stencil.

The box above is from a German export to Portugal in 1943, and is not 100% correct in terms of paint, and I am unable to tell if the stencil used is correct according to German standards. But it does show what the boxes would look like!

To make the list even more readable, I have split it in 3, so that each list below only show the items included in the individual box!

The E-Kasten (Supplement box) The V-Kasten (Small storage box) The Z-Kasten (Accessory box)

Special notes to the lists:
The V-kasten has two driving springs in containers. The containers' only mission is to compress the springs so that they are "storable" in the standard ammunition box!
Also note that there are two versions of the V-Kasten. One for Mg34's with belt feed, and one for MG34's with drum feed. The only difference between these two boxes is the lack of spare parts for the feed mechanism in the later!
The E-Kasten also came in two varieties, just like the V-Kasten. The box for MG34's with belt feed contains spare parts for the feed mechanism (blue square in picture below), but did not contain the drum keys and locking tube for drum adjustment (red square) and vice versa!

And as the last twist on this part of the article, the following pictures shows the contents of each individual box! Click on the picture to get a larger image

The E-Kasten (Supplement box) The V-Kasten (Small storage box) The Z-Kasten (Accessory box)

The MG42 "Ersatzteilkasten"
The German WH also developed a similar system for the MG42. The information is so far incomplete but I have received a list for the contents of the "Kleiner Vorratskasten für MG42". But even more interesting, Herr Christian Kada of Austria has supplied a set of unique pictures of a MG Kasten in his personal possesion which was exstensively marked with the contents of a MG42 "E" Kasten inside the lid!
All pictures below has been reproduced with the kind permission of Herr Kada. He also also provided the transcription of the text on and inside the lid!

Note the "E" to the right. Unfortunately, not much of the text in the central area remains.

But the text reads "Ersatzteilkasten für MG42
". The inside of the lid is much better preserved though!

-          1 Büchse m. Schraubdeckel

-          1 Behälter mit Schliessfeder

-          1 Schloss Komplett

-          1 Verschlusskopf

-          1 Bürste

-          1 Gurtschieberhebel

-          1 Auswerferstange

-          1 Auswerfer mit Feder

-          3 Einführstücke

-          4 Mündungsschoner

Note that for the MG34 the "E" box is called an "Ergänzungskasten", while on the MG42 variant the "E" stands for "Ersatzteilkasten"!
The contents of the MG42 Ersatzteilkasten appears to be most similar to the "Ergänzungskasten", but in addition it  has items from the "Vorratskasten"! A very interesting item indeed!

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