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PART 2/2, DISTRIBUTION OF UNIT MARKED IMPERIAL LUGERS BY YEAR



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Table 3. Note: click table twice for legible size.
Almost all LP08's are war time and the ratio of unit marked to produced is from 1/1,184 to 1 /25,000. Wartime P08's have a similar ratio range. In a ballpark sense, these ratios generally correlate with observations published in Imperial Lugers(page 92-93) of from 1-5 percent for 1914 Erfurt’s and for 1915 -1917 DWM LP08's. DWM LP08's dated 1914 and 1918 had too few reported unit marked to establish a percentage unit marked estimate. However, it is apparent that the estimates for percent of LP08's unit marked (Imperial Lugers page 92-93) needs to be adjusted (The original estimates were based on a very small number of unit marked LP08's reported in 1991.) An updated estimate is:
1914 LP08 Erfurt: 2 percent.
1914 LP08 DWM: 3 percent
1915 LP08 DWM: 1 percent
1916 LP08 DWM: 1 percent
1917 LP08 DWM: 5 percent
1918 LP08 DWM: less than0.2 percent


Of 888 reported unit marked Imperial Lugers 102 are LP08's. Of these 102, 76 were issued to infantry regiments, 11 to infantry regiment machine gun companies, 11 to infantry regiment minenwerfer companies, 8 to artillery regiments and 6 to various other units.
By far most unit marked LP08's, 75, are dated 1917. Of these 75 1917 dated LP08's, 64 are marked to Infantry Regiments, 6 to Infantry Regiment Machine Gun Companies, 8 to Minenwerfer Companies and 3 to other units. These unit marked 1917 dated LP08's mostly went to the assault troops mentioned below.
Following is a list of annual LP08 production dates verses the distribution of marked and issued LP08 Lugers for that year.

Note: Machine gun and artillery units expanded more rapidly than most other units during the War Years. Application of unit markings greatly slowed after the War started. It is likely that more machine gun and artillery Lugers were issued than indicated by unit markings.

1914 LP08 ERFURT: predominantly artillery (50 percent) and infantry regiment machine gun ( 30 percent) Lugers were marked and issued. Some infantry regiment Lugers were also marked and issued.
1914 LP08 DWM: predominantly artillery (67 percent) Lugers were marked and issued. Some infantry regiment machine gun Lugers were also marked issued.


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Figure 3. Field Artillery soldier armed with the LP08 with wooden stock. It is worn in the official style-note, the two magazine pouches fixed at the belt. In 1914 LP08's were predominately marked and issued to artillery units.


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Figure 4. Railroad mounted 24 cm Krupp cannon. All the soldiers sitting on the barrel are armed with LP08's with stock. Most of the remaining crew are P08 armed.


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Figure 5. World War I battle scene from the “Book of German Field Artillery” showing an artillery soldier defending his cannon from the British with a LP08. The artillery man refused to surrender and fought to death. He earned the admiration of the advancing British.


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Figure 6. Bavarian 08/15 machine gun crew armed with the LP08. Some machine gun crews were LP08 armed.

1915 LP08 DWM: predominantly infantry regiment (60 percent) Lugers were marked and issued. Some infantry regiment machine gun and artillery Lugers were also marked and issued.
1916 LP08 DWM: predominantly infantry regiment (88 percent) Lugers were marked and issued. Some minenwerfer Lugers were also marked and issued.

Note: A directive dated 2 November 1916, advises that arms issued for field services need not be unit stamped and a directive dated 26 December 1916 eliminates unit stamping on clothing and equipment (Gortz, page 48). Some Lugers continued to be unit stamped during 1917 and 1918 in spite of these directives.


1917 LP08 DWM: predominantlyinfantry regiment (85 percent) Lugers were marked and issued. Some infantry regiment machine gun and minenwerfer Lugers were also marked and issued.
The number of LP08's marked to infantry regiments during 1917, 64, is very large when compared to infantry regiment marked P08's . This very large number of infantry regiment marked LP08's is related to the issue of LP08's to assault troops on the Western Front during 1917.(see below)

A directive dated August 11, 1917 ordered each infantry company on the Western Front to be armed with 10 Long P08's for attack purposes (Gortz, 1994). A similar directive ordered the arming of the Sturmbattilone with Long P08's with 6 extra magazines each (Schad, 1993). This special arming for assault troops would require most of the 1917 Long P08 production (Imperial Lugers, page xxv). These assault troops consisted predominately of infantry, machine gun, minenwerfer, and flame-thrower personnel.


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Figure 7. Infantry assault patrol advancing through barbed wire.


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Figure 8. Minenwerfer crew armed with the LP08.


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Figure 9. Minenwerfer crew attacking across no mans land.


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Figure 10. Western Front, pionier flame-thrower crew attacking and clearing a trench.


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Figure 11. Assault troops break through trench line on the Western Front.


1918 LP08 DWM: insufficient information, one marked to an infantry regiment.

Based on unit markings, LP08's were predominately issued to artillery units and infantry regiment machine companies during 1914. During 1915-1918 they were predominately issued to infantry regiment, infantry regiment machine companies and minenwerfer units.

Click on the link below for more information on unit marked Imperial Lugers.
CONTENTS 1900-1918: LUGER UNIT MARKINGS Jan C Still http://www.gunboards.com/luger/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=16

Click on the links below for information on unit marked LP08
* 1917 LP08, MINERWERFER Jan C Still (1917 LP08, sn1096a, R.J.R.72.M.W.5.)
----- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=129

* 1917 LP08, MACHINE GUN MARKED Jan C Still (1917 LP08, sn 7670f, J.R.57.1.M.G.K P.7) ------ http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=631

1/2,1917 DWM, LP08, SN 6237m, 122.R.4.6. Jan C Still
---- http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3440

*2/2, HISTORY, 122 FÜSILIER REGIMENT (4.WURTT.) Jan C Still
--------------http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3441
 

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Jan , An outstanding presentation. And thankyou for the excellent information. What a referrence. Are you planning a book on unit marked Luger? I hope!!
I forgot to add that the incorporation of the photos is great! It adds a historical perspective, that otherwise is left to imagination.

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dave
Your guess looks good to me.
"R.J.B. 15. I'm thinking 15th Reserve Jaeger Battalion ???"
According to directives J.=Jager Bataillon; R.J. = Reserve Jager Bataillon

other possibilities are R.I.B.= Reserve Infantry Brigade
Jan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dave
The directives require a script R for R.J.B. 15. to signify: 15th Reserve Jäger Battalion(see page 25, German Small Arms Markings) However, by 1917 the directives were sometimes not completely complied with and the most probable meaning for R.J.B. 15.(no script) is 15th Reserve Jäger Battalion.
Jan
 

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Usually best to start a new thread on a specific question; but here is my take;

A "pure" imperial with say a 1918 is worth more than a 1918/ 1920 stamped luger. Although I would not say a huge difference.

Do some searches on the forum and you'll see what the property stamping stands for to help sell the luger.


Ed
 

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Dave and others, I also have a 1917 LP08 marked "R.J.B.15." It is serial number 353g and has an original matching stock. My research led me to believe that the issue of LP08's to this unit coincided with the unit's training as an assault unit.
 
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