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Old June 20, 2013, 11:55 AM   #17
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 22,786
The first push-through link belts, used by the Germans in the MG.34 and MG.42 are not disintegrating; the links are attached to each other by coiled wire. Like the cloth belts, they could, in theory, be reloaded and reused. I suspect theory didn't "cut much ice" during a Russian winter.
The Germans did consider their ammo belts, and ammo cans to be re-usable, unlike our troops, who generally considered them to be throw away items after use.

A lot of effort (and so, some monetary savings) was made during the early part of the war to collect and reuse belts and ammo cans after the battle. It was done whenever possible. Later it became "whenever practical", and as the Germans lost more and more engagements, was seldom practical.

Our guys did collect used ammo cans after the battle, or when the campaign was winding down, and I expect there was some organized reuse at different times and places during the war. Like a lot of things, ammo belts and cans were considered expendable, and collecting, sorting and reusing them wasn't done until well after the pressure of combat was gone, and they were just "lying around" and some local officer needed something for troops to do.

I have always loved the fact the our military sold used cans (and sometimes new ones) as surplus or scrap. GI ammo cans are great for many things.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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