After WW2, Yugoslavia pressed a number of German MG42 machine guns into service and then in 1953, they designed their own copy, the M53. These Yugoslavian M53's were originally chambered in 8mm Mauser, just like the original MG42's. Later they re-chambered them to .308 NATO.
The can I received is sized for the original 8mm Mauser rounds.
The MG42's and MG42/M53's were widely used by the Yugoslavian Army (JNA). After the break-up of Yugoslavia, these M53's and MG42's went on to continue their service with the Serbian Army. Surplus MG42' s and M53's are still in use all over the Third World.
|JNA Yugoslavian Soldier with MG42/M53.|
|The M42 / M53 ammo can in use! Post-War Yugoslavia.|
My can was obtained from Serbia by the importer, after use in the Serbian and Yugoslavian Armies. It is dated 1967, however the manufacturer of the can is Spanish!
The can is marked "FA-OVIEDO CM-MG42 / 58 1967". MG42/58 is the designation of the post-war German version of the MG42, the MG1A1. FA-OVIEDO is the manufacturer designator for the Spanish Arsenal Oviedo. I checked the measurements of the ammo can, and it is definitely sized for 8mm Mauser ammo(8mm Mauser ammo is longer than .308 NATO). The can is also painted in Yugoslavian olive green, as opposed to Serbian light green.
I am not sure what the "back-story" is on this ammo can, but somehow it found it's way from Spain, to Yugoslavia or Serbia, and then to me.
These post-war foreign made cans differ only slightly from the post-war German and WW2 German ammo cans. There are rivets substituted for pinch welds on the handle and latch brackets, but other than that, they are WW2 knock-offs. Very cool!
|German .308 NATO can is on the left. Yugo 8mm can on the right.|
Now let's take a closer look at this ammo can.