Original Rare German WWII 1944 Dated Luftwaffe Tan Fallschirmjäger Paratrooper Ammo Bandolier - RBNr. Marked

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great example of the standard ammunition bandolier issued to German Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger Paratroopers during WWII. As they were often dropped behind enemy lines and far from the supply chain, they were provided with these bandoliers, which have 6 pockets on each side. Some of these pockets are double layered, so the bandolier fully loaded would carry 20 stripper clips of 5 rounds each for the Mauser K98k rifle. The bandolier has some attachment straps on the back to integrate with the standard combat rigging.

These were produced in "field blue" earlier in the war, but later on having them in "tan", which is more of a green color, was definitely advantageous. It should be noted that the snaps are still the blue Luftwaffe color. The bandolier measures 56 inches when fully extended, and is faintly marked with RBNr. 0/0510/0052 over a 1944 date on the back of the left side. We have seen this same number on other examples, and unfortunately the supplier has not been identified. The snaps used are “STOCKO” brand, which was a snap manufacturer at the time, and known makers of snaps on these bandoleers.

Condition is very good, with the main issues being some moderate pulling and tearing of the fabric around the male sides of the snaps. The bandolier does not look to have been issued, so all of the wear is from age and storage. A great chance to pick up a seldom seen accessory from WWII!

Reichsbetriebsnummer or RB number (also represented as RB Nr or Rbnr). Before the war, the Germans set up a system for registering and recording the factory information, the Reichsbetriebskartei. This was to help enable machine tabulation of facts and figures. It was from this that the Reichsbetriebsnummer came into being. The Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (Ministry for Armaments and War Production) files survive today in the Bundesarchiv, however, these are only fragmentary. There is a holding file from the working group created by the Office of Machine Reporting in the Armament Office of the Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production - their main focus was the operations of the industry group for which an economic interest was Armour production. This index provides information on the most important data of the companies covered by it, production profile, operating area, number of employees and the responsible operator.

As a prerequisite for the intended use of the punch-card method in the armaments industry, it was this system which gave rise to the Rbnr. The operating numbers were assigned by the competent local district offices of Machine reporting. (Bezirksstellen des Maschinellen Berichtswesens.) The index is in the form of index cards that are accessible numerically (approximately 14 meters of index cards!). Access to this register is only possible through the naming of this company, stating the place of production. The Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion files have multiple entries on the introduction of the factory and also the lot no.

The Rbnr code was used from 1943 onwards and replaced the makers name and address (or company logo) on government contract uniforms, caps and field equipment and knives. It is either rubber ink stamped on cloth or die stamped onto leather & metal items. It has been written countless times that this numeric code system was introduced as a security measure to help mask production locations. This was not the case but it was perhaps, a helpful by- product of the system. It is not unknown to find the Rbnr together with the maker’s info. Had it been a security measure, clearly this practise would have been banned.

So what was the Rbnr? It was a nine digit number and was normally represented thus: RB Nr: 0/000/0000.

The first prefix number could range from 0 through to 9. This number determined the membership of the various groups in the realm of Trade and Industry (Reichsgruppenleitzahl)

• 0 Industry
• 1 Crafts
• 2 Commercial wholesale trading companies
• 3 Banking
• 4 Insurance Companies
• 5 Energy (Electrical companies and such)
• 6 Tourism (Including Hotels, Wine and Mineral Water companies)
• 7 Traffic
• 8 Food Industry
• 9 Not otherwise mentioned groups

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