German Propellant Nomenclature

By Christian Ankerstjerne

Propellant Name Structure

German propellant descriptions were divided into four parts. A description of the abbreviations used for the type and shape of propellants can be found below.

When a primer charge (Beiladung, or Bldg) was included, it was listed first, with an addition sign seperating the two.

Propellant Types

Canister Stamps

Abbreviation German name Description
Digl Diglykol Smokeless propellant, based on diethylene glycol dinitrate and nitrocellulose, stabilized with centralite. Potassium sulphate was sometimes added to reduce flash.
Gu Gudol Diglykol, with the addition of nitroguanidine, which lowers the temperature at which the gunpowder ignites, reducing barrel wear, as well as acting as a stabilizer.
Ngl Nitroglyzerin-Pulver Smokeless propellant based on nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose, stabilized with centralite, akardite, or diphenylamine.
Nz Nitrozellulose-Pulver Nitrocellulose, also known as gun cotton, stabilized with diphenylamine, and with sodium oxalate and potassium sulphate to reduce flash.
Nz Man P Nitrozellulose Manöver-Pulver Nitrocellulose propellant, with the addition of potassium nitrate to make the gun powder more porous for use in primer charges.

Charge Bag Stamps

These abbreviations were stamped on propellant bags for artillery pieces that used multiple charges.

Abbreviation Meaning
D Diglykol-Blättchen- und Ringpulver
DR Diglykol-Röhrenpulver
DST Diglykol-Strifenpulver
DV Improved (Verbesserten) Diglykol-Blättchenpulver
GU Gudol-Pulver
NG Nitroglyzerin-Pulver
NZ Nitrozellulose-Pulver

Propellant Shapes

Abbreviation German name Description Dimensions (mm)
Bl P Blättchenpulver Flakes, literally leaf powder Length×width×thickness
N P Nudelpulver Stick propellant, literally noodel powder Length×diameter
R P Röhrenpulver Hollow tubes
  • Length×external diameter/internal diameter
  • Length-tolerance, external diameter/internal diameter
Rg P Ringpulver Perforated disks, literally ring powder Thickness×external diameter/internal diameter
St P Stäbchen Stick powder Length×diameter
Str P Strifenpulver Strips Length×width×thickness
W P Würfelpulver Cubes Side length


These examples are presented exactly as they appear in the original documents.


  1. German Explosive Ordnance : Projectiles, Projectile Fuzes, Volume 2. Washington, DC : Ordnance Publications Distribution Center, 1946. 279 p. OP 1666.
  2. Handbook of Enemy Ammunition, Pamphlet No. 15 : German Ammunition Markings and Nomenclature. The War Office, 1945. 69 p.
  3. Koch. Handbuch Die Munition der deutschen Geschütze und Werfer. Berlin : Heereswaffenamt, Oberkommando des Heeres, 1940. 324 p. D 435/1.
  4. Koch. Handbuch Kennzeichen der Munition für deutschen Geschütze und Werfer. Berlin : Heereswaffenamt, Oberkommando des Heeres, 1943. 159 p. D 435/3.