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Another Veteran of World War I ... from the other side.

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by drk1, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Thought there might be some interest in seeing another veteran of World War I … from the other side. In terms of computers, I admit that I'm an idiot and hope that the photos show up. The pictures are of a 1910 DWM P08 that went off to war in 1914 with the Kürassier-Regiment „Königin“ (Pommersches) Nr. 2, serving in the 1st eskadron. Originally formed in 1717, the regiment fought in the Napoleonic wars, the Second Schleswig War, the Austro-Prussian War, and the Franco Prussian War. During this earlier period the Regiment adopted its signature silver helmet, which made an excellent target when they rode off into World War I. In fact, the Regiment took part in one of the first cavalry charges of the war on August 12, 1914. Even though there were other German cavalry regiments involed, The Battle of Haelen became known as the "Battle of the Silver Helmets." From Belgium, the Regiment moved to the Eastern Front in 1915, and then back to Belgium in 1917, fighting in Flanders before going home to Pomerania and being disband in 1919.

    Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.16.13 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.16.31 PM.png
     
  2. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    drk1

    Always nice to get a bit of history to go along with a particular gun! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  3. jwamplerusa

    jwamplerusa Member

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    Wow, Over 100 years old, and probably in perfect operational condition! (Better than we'll be)

    I love the history which goes along with arms such as these, which were marked in a way that ties them to their issue.
     
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  4. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    Very interesting and a real piece of history. I have a 1916 Erfurt Luger and have no idea of its history other than where it came from at the end of WWII.Someday I'd like to try to decipher some of the markings on it. All I know for sure is that it wound up in a display case with a Nazi parade flag in an office area of Germany's underground V-2 Rocket factory, known as the "Mittlewerks at Nordhausen" until shortly after the surrender of Germany in May 1945. One of my late uncles liberated it from there when the U.S. went in and packed everything in that factory up to send here. If that thing could only talk it would surely have an interesting tale from World War I to the end of WWII. Luger -2.JPG Luger -3.JPG Luger - 4.JPG
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Looks pretty standard. There had to be a reason it was framed at a missile factory.
     
  6. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    That's the big mystery on that Luger...... We always wondered why it was in a glass display case on the wall in an office area of the factory with a Nazi Parade flag. My uncle was there because he was bi-lingual in German and Uncle Sam needed bi-lingual G.I.'s like that to act as translators between the U.S. folks and all the German civilians that had been hired for the huge job of packing the entire place up and shipping it here. I wish that he could have at least got capture papers on it but he always said that he and everyone else was so happy that the war was over that it didn't seem important anymore. We used to joke around that maybe it was Wernher Von Braun's or someone else in the V-2 hierarchy but who knows? Now that I'm retired I should devote some time to a research project on a gun that most certainly has an interesting story...... If it could be discovered.
     
  7. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Hello 22250 Rem:
    Thanks for posting pictures of you 1916 Erfurt. It looks to be in pretty good condition. You mentioned the "markings on it," but exactly which ones did you mean? The series of small markings on the right side of the slide or others? Those are generally military acceptance marks, but we might be able to shed a little more light if we had some more detailed photos. Are there any markings on the front of the grip?

    With regard to the question of why it was in a display case at Nordhausen, there are at least a couple of possible answers. First, there is the issue of what the German military referred to as "traditions." After the Great War, when the German military was formed into the Reichswehr, there were many historic units that were eliminated. The "traditions" of these units, meaning their history, banners, awards, and even things like regimental silverware, were passed on to designated units in the newly created Reichswehr to be preseved. It is possible that your luger was in a case that represented the "traditions" of one of these abolised units that were being preserved by a unit in the Nordhausen area. However, most of the "traditions" had been returned to the recreated units when the Reichswehr was transformed into the Wehrmacht in the mid to late 1930s. So, while it's possible that this was a "traditions" display, it is not real likely. The second possibility is that it was a display to honor another type of tradition. The links between Erfurt and Nordhausen are very old. They were linked by a rail line beginning in the late 1860s, and the connections became more numerous and stronger until the Communists took control. One of those long-standing links was the metal workers union which continues to this day with IG Metall. But there were all sorts of other links as well. It is possible that the display case with the flag and the luger was to honor the war effort put forth during the First World War in producing lugers and to inspire the continuation of that military production during the Second World with the production of rockets and other materials. But enough of that. Lets hear more about the markings you'd like to understand. Thanks again for your comments.
     
  8. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    drk1.......... Thanks for your information about German military "traditions" and the Erfurt / Nordhausen link; both of which I was unaware of. AFAIK the Luger has only the usual acceptance and proof marks on it but then, I'm by no means an authority on that subject. Since inheriting it in 2002 I've done some reading on the V-2 rocket program and discovered a web site called; www.V2rocket.com which has lots of material about the Mittlewerks At Nordhausen and got a book from there entitled "V-2 A Combat History of the First Ballistic Missile", by T.D. Dungan. I regret not sitting down with my late uncle and getting some stuff about Nordhausen on tape as an oral history project, as he had a sharp memory and was very familiar with that facility which was hidden inside a mountain that was formerly a gypsum mine, to protect it from allied bombers. I've taken some close-ups of the markings on the pistol and perhaps you or some of the collective knowledge here on THR can decipher some of it, although to me I think they may only be proof and acceptance marks. Thanks for the information and help. click on pix and they should enlarge. IMG_4398.JPG IMG_4399.JPG IMG_4400.JPG IMG_4401.JPG IMG_4402.JPG IMG_4403.JPG IMG_4396.JPG
     
  9. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Hello again 22250Rem:
    Thanks for the additional information and pictures. Unfortunately, I don't have much more to add. There are no marks on your pistol that would tie it to any particular unit. The German military officially abandoned unit marks in 1916, but some really officious units continued to mark their equipment after it was no longer required. Let me explain that I'm not an expert. What I know about German military marks comes from the books by Joachim Gortz and Albrecht Wacher, and Jeff Noll. With that and a lifetime of hands-on curosity, I might be able to offer a little insight into the marks on the right side of what is sometimes called the "fork housing". They are, as you mentioned, "proof and acceptance marks," although there is really no "proof mark" in the formal traditional sense of the terms, but rather the proofing process was part of the inspection process and designated by the inspection marks. In the last picture on the far right in your post there is a series of 5 different marks. The first marks in this photo (viewing them from left to right) are really two marks -- one above the other. The one on top is small crown over the letters RC. Known as the "RC und der 'Stern' Stemple," this is the mark of the "Revision Commission" which means that this pistol did NOT pass all the inspections originally, was submitted to this "commission" which inspected the pistol again and give its approval that it fulfilled all of the contract satisfactorily. This is not an "acceptance mark," it means that it passed inspection.... finally. The mark immediately below it is a capital letter in Fraktur script that is the first letter of the last name of one of the inspectors at Erfurt during the period your pistol was produced. The next two marks are similarily the initials of the last name of two other inspectors at Erfurt. These people were the Prussian acceptance officials and represented the interests of the government. The crown above each of these initials is important in that the crown was the symbol of national sovereignty and indicated that this pistol had fulfilled the specifications of the contract to the government's satisfaction. It was during this evaluation process performed by these individuals that it was "proof" tested. However, by putting their initial on the pistol, it meant they were also testifying that it meet the contract in terms of materials, workmanship, quality, completeness, functionality and accuracy, with different individuals conducting different parts of this list of tests. Here is an example of how the process worked: The first initial under the crown generally indicated that the breech metal hardening specifications and standards were met. The next letter under the crown indicated that an inspector found that it functioned well enough to go forward to loading a shelll and shooting. The last stamp, the small eagle, often called a Reichsadler" means that the pistol has been shot and accepted by the military inspector at the factory. And the last initial under a crown means that it was inspected again after shooting. Somewhere along the line of that process, your pistol failed and was diverted to the Revisions Commission, which reevaluated it and made a decision to send it on to the next step or not. The RC put its stamp on it, so they accepted it and it was sent to the military for distribution to the units. The unit would then inspect the pistol again and either accept it or send it back for more work. There was such a shortage of pistols, however, there seems to have been very few rejected at the unit level. Forgive me if I've made this all boring. One last point, the serial number involves both the number and that small letter under the numbers. It indicates that your pistols was the 5187th luger manufactured in the "d" or 4th series of 9999 lugers made at Erfurt in 1916. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive list of when that would have been in 1916, but my best guess is that it would have been in the first 3 or 4 months of they year or earlier. But.... once again, nothing is certain. For example, evidently there were no lugers maufactured at Erfurt in 1915, and no explanation for why or when manufacturing of lugers resumed in 1916. Hope this has help shed some light without being too boring. Thanks again for posting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  10. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    drk1, Thanks for shedding some light on this; as it sure beats being in the dark about it, and it's far from being boring. I was unaware of how that inspection process worked and had no idea what the letter "d" beneath the serial number represented. Also never knew of the link between Erfurt and Nordhausen. I now have some basic information and what seems like a couple sound theories. Thanks again for your help; there really is a wealth of collective knowledge available here on THR and it's great to be able to access it.
     
  11. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Hi once again 22250 Rem.
    Thanks for the comments, but I need to correct something that I wrote. I wrote that the small letter "d" indicated it was the 4th series. In reality, the small "d" would have been the 5th series of the year. Generally the serial number system worked like this:
    1 thru 9999 -- first series
    1a thru 9999a -- second series
    1b thru 9999b -- third series
    1c thru 9999c -- fourth series
    1d thru 9999d -- fifth series
    I just always seem for forget that 1st series that didn't have the letter suffix. Thanks again for your kind works.
     
  12. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    drk1...... Corrections duly noted and thanks again for shedding some light on an old, obscure topic. Other than my late uncles oral history that I regret never got recorded for posterity, I knew very little about the markings on that gun and never had any theories as to why it was displayed in an office area of the V-2 Rocket plant. It could well have been a "traditions" display or something commemorating that Erfurt / Nordhausen connection. My uncle never mentioned anything else concerning the display that would have stated why it was there. It was just him and another bi-lingual American that walked in there and he said the place was untouched, as if everyone had just gone out to lunch. He said they had to have been the first Americans to walk into that office; otherwise the display case would have been emptied out already. They cut a deal on who got what and my uncle got the gun and the other G.I. got a large, gold braid trimmed, Nazi parade flag. He said the other guy was really interested in that flag! So it will be 74 years come April/ May of this year that its been in the same family and it's great having some background information concerning how it could have got there.
     
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