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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI,
I am new to Luger collecting. I purchased Jan's book, Axis Pistols, which is excellent. I have a large model of the Bismarck. I am collecting Kriegsmarine militaria and firearms of the period that the Bismarck existed. I am looking for a representative example of an unmarked Luger for my collection. As I understand it the Kriegsmarine utilized un-marked Lugers starting in late 1940.
1. Were these unmarked Lugers of this time frame typically marked like standard Army issues? Did they have the same acceptance stamps as Army issues?
2. What serial blocks would represent a Luger manufactured between Jan 1 1941 and May 1 1941?
I am bothered by the fact that many Kriegs Lugers of earlier manufacture have been faked. Since I am not an expert and don't want to get stung I have decided to buy a Luger that fits the period of the Bismarck but is not Kriegsmarine. Thanks much for your help in advance.
 

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Hi Paul,
* Welcome to the Forum. Ref. your questions above:
(1) Yes, those byf'41 P.08's which went to the Navy were marked like a standard Army issue. No way to tell them apart unless some other artifact (holster??) or documentation accompanies an example and can be verified. Same acceptance stamps on each.
(2) Per J.Still, Third Reich Lugers-Vol.3, Pg.66, the Navy received 3000 byf marked P.08's in 1941. The byf code was initiated in Feb., 1941. Overall military byf'41 production was 126,000 spanning the S/N range 3300n-9950a blocks as of the book's publication date. As you can see, this is a little over one suffix letter block (of 10,000) per month. Byf'41's shared the "n" block with the last of the 1940/42 Codes & the '41/42's marked pistols. Essentially these earlier 2 variations used the majority (91%) of the "n" block. I've been advised, by one very advanced collector, the '41/42 also uses most (85%) of the "o" block and is very infrequently seen in the "q" & even "r" blocks. Recall, the '41/42 code pistols were essentially produced in Jan., 1941. Now, the "p", "q" & "r" blocks were virtually all byf'41's as are subsequent blocks within the above given range until about the no suffix & "a" blocks where the byf'42's take over.
* SO: Assuming linear production/day, I'd think it safe (probable) any standard Army "n" to "r" block, byf'41 or '41/42 would fit your 1/1/41-5/1/41 period. Certainly, the byf'41 will be seen more frequently at gun shows & For sale/Auction listings.
* Frank, and others, may wish to amend this with further updated insight. However, this analysis should get you in the right ballpark.
* BTW: Would the Bismark be outfitted this late (before a mission) or did she take aboard her compliment of pistols earlier...maybe at induction into Kriegsmarine service after her trials were complete? I'm woefully short on my history here an would enjoy the benefit of your understandings.
* Trust this helps.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi guys,
Thanks much Frank and especially RockinWR for the help. Great work and very valuable to me. RockinWR raised an interesting question about when the pistols would have been put on board the Bismarck for the first time. The Bismarck was put into service in late August 1940. Sea trials began shortly after. Sometimes the ships are not completely finished even during sea trials. In fact "yard birds" will actually go to sea during trials and work on completing the ship while at sea. I think it is safe to say the pistols would have been put on board between Sept. 1940 and early 1941 or possibly slightly earlier. Anyway this is my best guess. This would expand my "window" of possible Luger serial blocks.
1. What would the serial blocks be from Sept 1 1940 to Dec. 31 1940?
2. What serial block and date was the end of the Kriegs marked Lugers in 1940?
This is becoming an interesting exercise for me. I really appreciate your help on this project.
Thanks again
 

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Paul, the serial range from 1 Sept to year end 1940 is approximately Late I-Block to Early O-Block. Don't forget there were no J-Block Mauser Lugers.

The Kriegs Mauser Lugers were marked just like the standard military Lugers, but also had Kriegmarine markings. These markings were N-XXXX usually across the rear grip strap for North Sea Pistols (Nordsee) and O-XXXX usually along the front grip strap for Baltic Sea Pistols (Ostsee). The XXXX indicated the pistol number for that region.
 

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Paul,
* Thank you for your "Bismark" update.
* To add to Frank's sound advice, most of the following can be read in J.Still, Third Reich Lugers-Vol.3, Pgs.65 & 107-108.
- According to German archive reports, the Navy received 3000 1940/42 code marked P.08's in 1940. The Navy practice of applying property markings (Nxxxx & Oxxxx) to Luger grip straps ceased in about mid-1940. As you will quickly learn from studying Lugers, all "rules in Lugerland" have seemingly legitimate exceptions. To wit, a few "N5xxx" marked 1940/42 Navies have been reported in the S/N 5xxx "i" block and even an "O3045" marked Navy bearing S/N 2081 "L(small cursive)" block is recorded. But, Navy property markings were essentially over by the "g" block as best as we currently know.
- Jan estimates 2000 of the 3000 Navy 1940 procurements were grip marked. The other 1000 were left to meet your unmarked criteria. Thoughtful of them to appreciate us collectors wasn't it!!
- About 135,700 Code 42 P.08's are now estimated for 1940 spanning the S/N range 7000z to 7000n. Actually a very, very few appear as early as the "y" block. At the tail end of 1940 production, the 'n' suffix block is pretty solid through 2500n with a decreasing scatter of examples showing up afterwards.
- With your 9/1/40-12/1/40 representing 1/3rd of a year production, approximately 136,000/3 = 45,333 examples are to be accounted for in establishing the S/N block range for this period. Counting backwards; "n"=2500 + some later stragglers, "m"=10,000, "L(small cursive)"=10,000, "k"=10,000, "j"=0, & "i"=10,000 provides a pretty good planning wedge for your future acquisition.
* Hedging for the unknowns, Frank's suggestion to pick a late "i" to the previously agreed byf'41 "r" block should put you into your expanded "Bismark window".
* Of course, we know where most of the "real" Bismark P.08's resides. Are you planning a submersible robot, selection mission?? Get me one w/out barnacles, preferably the one in a ship marked vacuum sealed can, OK?? Guarenteed to top even some of my more "illustrious Luger fishing expeditions".
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks much again guys. Your help and advice are great. By the way if you are interested you can see one of the Bismarck models on the website Fine-Art-Models.com Click on the US flag, then ships, then Bismarck. Anyway thanks again.
 
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