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Erfurt Lugers were manufactured from 1911 to 1918 by the Prussian Government owned Erfurt Arms Factory for the Imperial German Army. During 1911 Erfurt manufactured 10,000 Lugers in the no suffix serial range. These are reported in the 1 to 9548 serial range and were manufactured without hold open or stock lug.

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Figure 1. The 1911 Erfurt shown above bears serial number 6616. All Erfurt’s bear military style serial number placement (exposed) and Crown/gothic letter acceptance stamps on all parts (except springs).

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Figure 2. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616. Right receiver. According to Gortz and Walther the stamps were applied in the following order ( Gun Collectors Digest, Vol. 5, 1989; Gortz and Bryans 1997;see Herb and Gerber, General Discussion, Witness Marks):
1. left most inspection stamp, date struck over chamber, and inspection stamp on barrel. All applied after receiver hardened.
2. Next from left inspection stamp, barrel and receiver serial number added. All applied when pistol ready for power proofing and shooting in (26a).
Index stamp (chisel mark) added to barrel and receiver after sight adjustment. Length of mark 3mm to 4mm and of equal length on both parts. Note the barrel band is almost 2mm wide.
3. Furthest right, the proof eagle applied to receiver, barrel, and breech block.. All applied after power proofing (26b).
4. Inspection stamp on left side of proof eagle, applied after power proofing and shooting in, which indicated that the pistol had survived its post-proof inspection (26c). The barrel gauge was also applied.
Based on the examination of 13 original condition Erfurt Lugers (dated 1911 to 1914) the following was observed on almost all: The right receiver acceptance stamps and proof eagle appear dull (washed out); the barrel proof eagle is sharp and delicate. The barrel serial number is sharp but most often does not display a halo. The barrel gauge digits display haloes. These observations are consistent with the right receiver and barrel of this Luger.

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Figure 3. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616. Bottom of barrel and front of frame.

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Figure 4. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616. Bottom of barrel showing barrel gauge, serial number and index mark. Note the halo around the barrel gauge digit “2". The barrel-frame index line is aligned and over 6mm long. The barrel flange portion is less than 2mm long and the receiver portion is over 4mm long.
Observations of 13 original condition Erfurt Lugers dated 1911 to 1914 indicates that the barrel-receiver index lines are aligned, are not always of equal length, and are not always struck with one blow. Apparently the index line is a non-critical item. Apparently inspectors were not concerned with the exact configuration of the index mark and this is an example where such instructions(26a) were not always followed exactly.

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Figure 5. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616. Showing magazine bottom, serial number 6642. This luger is a recent addition. When I received it, I replaced a beat up DWM magazine with a proper brushed finish early double accepted Erfurt magazine. At first, I did not notice the magazine serial number and was quite pleased to see that it was only 26 digits off.

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Figure 6. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616. The grips each bear an inspection stamp and the last two digits of the Lugers serial number.

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Figure 7. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616 shown with tool, extra magazine, and 1913 dated holster. This Luger has an added hold open indicated by a small acceptance stamp below the frame rail. The holster shows evidence of shrapnel damage

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Figure 8. Details of holster showing unit and manufacturing markings. The unit markings indicate issue to a machine gun company of a Jager Bataillon.

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Figure 9. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616, showing front of Luger.

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Figure 10. 1911 Erfurt, serial number 6616, showing unit stamp. Note the halo around the unit stamps (typical). 8.J.M.G.13. signifies: 8 Jäger-Bataillon, Maschinengewehr-Kompagnie, Waffe Nr. 13.
This is a rare unit mark to an elite World War I machine gun unit. Of 740 reported unit marked Imperial Lugers, 202 bear machine gun unit markings. Only six of these bear Jäger Machine Gun unit markings.

Rheinisches Jager-Bataillon Nr. 8. Founded 3-10-1815. Standort: Schlettstadt
The 8th Jager Bataillon was part of the 5th Army Corps (Strassburg)
During World War I the 8th Jager Bataillon was in succession part of the 39th, 199th, 212th and 101st Divisions.
At the end of August 1916 the 8th Jager Bataillon became part of the 9th Jager Regiment.
The 8th Jager Bataillon battled on both the Western and Eastern Front during World War I.. It fought at the Pass of the Bonhomme, Albreschwiller, Champagne, Flanders, Verdun, Galecia, and Macedonia. In March 1918 the 9th Jager Regiment was transferred from the Eastern Front to Alsace. Like a few other elite units, the 8th Jager Bataillon was designated for war training instruction at Vogesen in Alsace.

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Figure 11. Illustrated is a Jager Bataillon Machine Gun Company ambushing a munitions column on the Eastern Front.

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Figure 12. The 8th Jager Bataillon was part of the39th Division which lost 69 percent of its infantry at the battle of Verdun. Illustrated, German machine gun battles French machine guns during a fierce battle at Verdun.

Jan C Still
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Thanks very much for the detailed descriptioin of the receiver and barrel markings on this gun.

You made particular mention that there is no halo around the barrel serial#, obviously this was applied before bluing along with the receiver marks. The Instructions imply that this would be universally the case; however, as you yourself note on the pistols you present, serial numbers are observed regularly as stamped through the blue.

We have August Weiss's comment that "thousands" of WWII Mausers were rebarrelled after power proofing. Several questions (some repeats) come to mind:

Does a "halo" observed around a barrel serial# imply that the weapon was rebarrelled before it left the factory?

Were barrels replaced at the factory more commonly, and for reasons yet obscure, than we think?

My recollection is that Mauser manufactured Lugers pretty consistently have barrel serial# stamped through the blue. Does this represent a fundamental (and undocumented) change in the manufacture of these guns? Are there any examples of Mauser Lugers with perfect (one-tool/one-strike) witness marks with the serial numbers haloed?


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* As always, I sincerely appeciate your time, dedication, & patience in assembling this marvelous presentation, photographic work, & historical tie.
* Especially admire your clarifications & detailed explaination of the Assembly acceptance marking sequence related to marking (halo, washed, etc) appearance.

Good Luck & Great Hunting! Bob

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Hello Jan,

Do you know if the "flat" style of checkering on Erfurt magazine follower buttons remained so or did the checkering vary during the production years ? Should all Erfurt magazines display this flat style, regardless of year produced ?

Attached is a close-up of an Erfurt magazine I was able to pick up a few months back :

Download Attachment: ErfurtMag8a.jpg

Thanks for your help !

Best Regards,

Bulding A Luger Collection, One Pistol At A Time

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As I recall, all the Erfurt mags that I have observed have the flat buttons. The Erfurt mags have one or two acceptance stamps on the bottom and the DWM mags have only the serial number, so its easy to tell the difference (unless the case is switched).

Jan C Still
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I really enjoy reading the unit histories of these grip marked Lugers.
I started collecting Imperial unit marked Lugers about 10 years ago and still find them more interesting then those manufactured during the 3ed Reich.
I understand why they stopped unit marking their equipment after the war started, but I wish they had continued this practice as it provides significant history to these weapons.
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