8 x 50 mm R Mannlicher
8 x 50 mm R Mannlicher – rifle cartridge (R - rimmed) introduced into the Austro-Hungarian army in 1888 as M88, for Mannlicher rifle. It was the standard rifle of the Austro-Hungarian Army. After the First World War it remained the main rifle of the Austrian, Hungarian and Bulgarian armies. Many countries used them for guard duty or secondary units. The 8 mm Mannlicher cartridge was also used in the Austro-Hungarian Schwarzlose heavy machine guns. After World War I they were used, among other things, in the bunkers of the Czechoslovak fortifications. They found considerable use at the very end of the war, when they were used by the Third Reich's secondary forces. Thus, the concentration of 8 mm Mannlicher cartridges at the sites surveyed by the Silesian Museum may be related to the use of both Mannlicher rifles and Schwarzlose machine guns, used by the Germans due to the lack of other weapons. The markings on these cartridges are always divided into quarters by dividing lines. At 12 o'clock there is a Roman numeral marking the month of manufacture, at 9 o'clock the first half and at 3 o'clock the second half of the year. At 6 o'clock is the maker's mark.
Mark "GR" – Georg Roth Metallwalzwerk, Metallwaren- und Munitionsfabrik, Vienna, Austria. Originally a family business focused on the production of buttons and medals, it was transformed into an ammunition manufacturer in 1866. The first cartridges with metal cases still had a primer on the side, which presented complications both in production and in the eventual reloading of already fired cartridges. In 1869, GR patented the centre match, which gave the company a monopoly on the production of cartridges in the Austria-Hungary in the second half of the 19th century. In 1867, a branch ammunition factory was established in Pressburg (now Bratislava), which operated until 1928, when it was sold to Zbrojovka Brno (see 7.92 x 57 mm Mauser cartridge). GR was the main Austro-Hungarian supplier of ammunition during the First World War. After the war, however, it continued its transformation to peacetime production (forced by the Versailles Treaty) and declared bankruptcy in 1927.
Mark "BMF" – Berndorfer Metallwarenfabrik, Berndorf, Austria. Founded in 1843, as a factory for metal goods, especially spoons and forks. The company's specialty was products made of alpaca, an alloy of copper and nickel (or other elements), also called new silver. From its foundation, the company was linked to the Krupp family from Essen, Germany, who became famous for the production of ammunition and weapons in the 19th and especially in the first half of the 20th century. In the official history of the factory we can find a reference to a complete conversion to ammunition production from 1914 (the beginning of World War I), however, during an archaeological survey in the vicinity of Opava a cartridge case with the embossing "BMF" and the date of production January 1895 was found. It is evident that ammunition production in this factory, at least in small quantities, was already taking place before WWI. Between the wars, the factory again produced silverware, but also, and above all, bells. In 1938, the factory switched back to arms production. At the end of the war in 1945, the site was almost destroyed. Until 1955, wire and sheet metal were produced here under Soviet administration. Then the plant was nationalised by the Austrian government and switched to aluminium products. In the early 1990s the plant was privatised and gradually transformed into a large multinational company. Today, the Berndorfern factory mainly produces parts for the automotive industry ( by the way, it also supplies parts to Škoda in Mladá Boleslav).
Mark "eagle" – K. u K. (I. and R. – imperial and royal) Munitionsfabrik Wöllersdorf, Austria. In 1815, a factory was established between Wiener Neustadt and Wöllersdorf for the production of primitive rockets for the then emerging rocket artillery (operating on the principle of launching bundles of primitive rockets, similar to today's fireworks). From 1868 onwards, production was transformed into standard artillery and infantry ammunition, as the rockets proved to be extremely inaccurate and short-range. During World War I, the factory was one of the main suppliers of ammunition to the Austro-Hungarian army. After the First World War, from about 1922 onwards, the factory buildings were cleared, but continued to be maintained for possible later use. In 1933, a parliamentary coup took place in Austria and the Austro-Fascist regime came to power, establishing an internment camp for political prisoners on the factory grounds, both for National Socialists and Social Democrats. In October 1934, up to 5,000 political prisoners were interned there. In 1936, a great amnesty took place in Austria and the number of prisoners fell to 500. In February 1938, after talks between Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg and Adolf Hitler, the camp was closed. Just after the Austrian Anschluss in March 1938, several political prisoners were interned there again. In April, the buildings used for the camp burned down and the remaining prisoners were transferred to the Dachau concentration camp. It was then decided to use the site and its well-maintained buildings (since 1920!) for a Luftpark, or large central supply and maintenance base for the German Luftwaffe. On 29 May 1944 the site was bombed by the Americans, and the rest of the buildings were either blown up or destroyed during the fighting with the Red Army in the last week of March 1945. Most of the site is still an overgrown rubble field today.
Mark "W" – Weiss Manfréd Acél- és Fémművek (shortly Csepel Művek), Csepel Island, Hungary. The factory was founded on the island of Csepel near Budapest in 1897 by Manfred Weiss, a businessman of Jewish origin, who was also the sole owner of the entire complex. It was the second largest industrial complex in Austria-Hungary and the largest in the Hungarian part of the monarchy. Initially, it was purely an ammunition factory, which gradually gained a monopoly in Hungary for supplying the Austro-Hungarian army and navy. From 1911, thanks to the huge profits, production could be greatly expanded and the factory also supplied considerable quantities of ammunition to Serbia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain, Mexico and the Russian Empire. During the First World War, M. Weiss was promoted to nobility and became Baron of Csepel for his services. Just after the war in 1918, the factory was nationalised during the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. Afterwards, the complex was looted by the Romanian army and then spent two years recovering from the economic crisis and transforming to peaceful production. Between the wars, the complex produced sewing machines, bicycles, airplanes, car engines, tractors, etc., as well as raw metallurgical materials and components (e.g. in cooperation with Vitkovice Ironworks, in 1922 they introduced the production of rolled pipes). During World War II the factory was still managed by the Jewish Weiss family. It produced e.g. aircraft engines for German Me210 planes, off-road cars and other war production. In March 1944, Hungary was occupied by the Germans and the factory on Csepel Island was taken over by the Gestapo and the Weiss family arrested. Subsequently, they were allowed to emigrate to Portugal. Towards the end of the war, the factory was severely damaged by Allied bombing. In 1946-47, 90% of the production was destined for war reparations to the Soviet Union. In 1948 the factory was nationalised. From the 1970s onwards, almost half of the production went to the West. In the 1980s, the economic decline of the entire complex, coupled with the crisis in the entire Eastern Bloc, began. Today, heavy industrial production is no longer carried out at the Csepel Island site. Only a few companies engaged in commercial and service activities are located here.