This website is dedicated exclusively to providing and collecting information about the cleaning kits used by the Germans in the Second World War from the point of view of a simple collector.

This blog has no sympathy or support to the Nazi regime that devastated Europe on the 40's. Also personally, when I see one of these kits manufactured on the war years, I think of the possibility that maybe it was made by a foreign forced worker under harsh conditions.

Behälter

  The metal case is approx. 8,5 x 13,5 x 2 cm and has two compartments with hinged lids closed with latches. The small compartment was to store the cleaning cotton strings, although sometimes was refilled by soldiers with weapons grease instead of them. The big compartment with an inner divider was for to store everything else.

Case Manufacturing:
  In the prewar manufactured kits the metal case was made from "Weißblech" or tinplate. Tinplate is a thin sheet of cold rolled steel, whose surface is coated with tin, getting a relatively good corrosion resistence. From circa 1939 to the end of the war, the tinning was deleted and the case was paint finished. This was the most significant change in their manufacture. Another external change, circa 1940 onwards, was the use of steel latches instead of the brass ones.

A Rg34 tinned at left, paint finished at right.


From top: tinned with brass latches, paint finished with brass latches and another painted with steel latches.

  Inside the case, the early kits had the inner divider, the two-compartment separation sheet and the internal pins of the closures heavily soldered to the case, although all of this was progressively suppressed in order of simplify the production.
 
The inner separator and pins soldered to the case in a tinned Rg 34 of 1938.
Note also the brass latche.

The separation sheet, also soldered to the case, in the same kit.








  Gustav Appel produced around 1939/40 a version of the Rg 34 with a welded extra clamp inside the lid for to hold a short cleaning brush. It is very possible it was a kit offered comercially to the Army Officers, which had to buy their own equipment, with an extra bush for to clean their 9mm sidearm. This version seems that was discontinued after a limited production.

Rg kit with the extra clamp for the 9 mm brush.
Note also the pin of the latch welded to the case, G. Appel did it always in their cases.

  From 1940 two firms (Hawig and Mundlos) incorporated in their manufactured cases reinforcing lateral grooves for to fix the internal metal sheets to the case. The most significant change on these grooves was that from early 1942 onwards the horizontal long groove was stamped cutted in two lines forming a long "I" and a small "L".
Two cases with diferent reinforcing grooves.


The inner separator fixed between the reinforcing groove.

At the bottom two Rg 34, a painted case with reinforcement groove at left and another tinned at right.


  The rest of firms never incorporated these reinforcing grooves in their manufacturing process, and fixed strongly the inner divider sheet to the case by spot welding.



Marks of the spot welding in a painted case of 1940.


External marks of the spot welding
in a mid war produced kit.

  Today it is more common to find kits with the loose-fitting sheet in cases manufactured with lateral reinforcements grooves because seems that on these the sheet was fixed on place and only very slightly welded or like glued to the case.
 

Note the use of a nail like the pin in a Peter Schlesinger manufactured kit.
  Apart from these changes, there was no other significant change in the production of the case until the war's end. Each firm manufactured their own cases for the kits and seems not subcontracted the production of the case.

Case markings:

  The Rg 34 of 1934 have no markings but from 1935 the maker of the kit stamped their name or logo, sometimes with the year of manufacture, on the lid and from 1940 with the manufacturer's code assigned by the Heereswaffenamt. Also normally a Waffenamt was stamped on the lid (sometimes inside), indicating military acceptance of the Rg 34.

Some examples of the markings on the Reinigungsgerät.


A list of the Waffenamt presents on the rg34 box (always researching !)

Waffenamt 14 on a "cmr" kit.

  In pre war kits sometimes the serial number of the weapon to it was assigned was engraved on the lid, preceded of a "G" or "K" if was a rifle or "P" if was a pistol. Also some kits shows unit markings to it belonged. All this seems to be made ​​at the unit level and with the outcoming of war soon ceased to be made.


A pistol serial number engraved on a kit. Curiously the small compartment is plenty of weapons grease.


A serial number scratched on a kit from 1936.  Not a very orthodox practice


A number engraved on a kit from 1942. Possibly the number refers to the kit and not to a weapon serial number.

Case paint:
 
  With regard to the paint, there were used different shades (depending on the kit manufacturer) of grey or green and at late-stages of the war some were tan colour painted. There were also Rg's painted in sand gelb (mostly from 1942 and 1943). Seems that the type of paint on the kits has no connection with the Wehrmacht's branch of the unit where it was assigned (Luftwaffe, Heer,...).

Different paints applied to the Rg case.


Last ditch cases ?

Probably not, with new information gained recently, it seems that these were leftover or rejected pieces, used at post war. -November 2014-

  A few late war kits without any inner sheets and sometimes also without latches have surfaced today but it is very hard to know if the inner sheets have been lost or were made without them in the production of the last days. Also the latches are easily lost if their pin is moved.
 
  Here two possible examples of very late production. The cases came together, but unfortunatelly without any contents inside (except original cleaning patches in one) that can help us confirm war manufacture of them.

  1. A double marked "G.APPEL" / "64" kit. The central body of the kit seems to be made by Braunschweigische Blechwarenfabrik and not by G. Appel. The latches are tipically from G. Appel but pins are not welded to the case. The paint is OK. Made from leftover parts ?

Note the latches, typicaly G. Appel manufacturer but unpainted.

The lid of the small compartment, "64" marked.

A lot of rust inside !

Side view of the double marked kit. Note the tone of grey paint.
 
  2. An "ab 44" marked without Waffenamt. without inner. The central body of the case seems to be made by Hawig but the lids and latches are tipically of Mundlos manufacture. Very similar also to one "C N X" marked case.

"ab 44" marked kit, no WaA. The latch is missing but the lid has signs that was there.

No inner separators inside.

Side view of the "ab 44" kit.

The other side of the "ab 44" kit, paint is OK.