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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 1912 Erfurt manufactured 21,000 Lugers in the 62 to 866b serial range. These were manufactured without hold open or stock lug.

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Figure 1. The 1912 Erfurt shown above bears serial number 5435. All Erfurt’s bear military style serial number placement (exposed) and Crown/gothic letter acceptance stamps on all parts (except springs). Note: double click to see largest photograph.

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Figure 2. Top of 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435.

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Figure 3. 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435, right side. This Luger is Bavarian unit stamped. A hold open has not been added. According to a May 6,1913 directive all P08's in service without a hold open were to have the hold open retrofitted by Erfurt. I have examined numerous Bavarian unit marked Lugers. All those that lacked the hold open at manufacture did not have it added. Apparently World War I started before the Bavarian’s had time to have the hold open added to their Lugers. Once the war started the troops and Lugers were scattered in battles on two fronts in a dozen countries and the hold opens were never added.

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Figure 4. Right receiver and barrel of 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435. The barrel proof is well formed and delicate compared to the receiver proof.

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Figure 5. Front of frame and bottom of barrel, of 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435. Some Erfurt’s display a halo around the barrel gauge digits. This one does not.

The frame of this Luger has a crown/RC on the front of its trigger guard. This indicates that the frame has a defect that is not significant to the proper functioning of the assembled Luger. The senior inspector has stamped the frame with a crown/RC. This stamp is to clear the inspector of future liability. (Added 08/18/04)

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44.1KBFigure 6. Left frame details of 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435, showing details of serial numbers and acceptance stamps on each part. White (called whiteout) was added to the numbers and c/gothic letters so they could be better seen in the photograph. The “GESICHERT” safety stamp was white lacquered at the factory. In time this stamp ages with a yellow tint.

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Figure 7. Even the grip screws bear the C/Gothic letter acceptance stamp. The proliferation of acceptance stamps makes Erfurt Lugers particularly interesting to collect.

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Figure 8. The grips bear the crown/gothic letter stamp and last two digits of the Lugers serial number, 35. Erfurt’s left the factory with matching grips.

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Figure 9. Matching early Erfurt magazine with two acceptance stamps. In about 1914 the magazine base with two acceptance was replaced with a magazine base with one acceptance stamp.

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Figure 10. Front of 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435. It is unit stamped B.13.R.12.4. and was issued to the 13 th Bavarian Infantry Regiment.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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Figure 11. 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435, with issue matching 1912 dated holster.

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Figure 12. 1912 Erfurt, serial number 5435, showing holster, tool, and extra magazine. This is a typical Erfurt magazine with a flat loading button and acceptance stamps on the bottom.

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Figure 13. Open holster showing details of magazine pouch and tool pouch.

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Figure 14. Back of holster.

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Figure 15. Details of tool. It is typical Erfurt. In the white and C/scriptic letter accepted.

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Figure 16. Details of holster markings: 13.J.R.: signifies 13. Infantry Regiment.(matches Luger above)
3.(very faint) B.: signifies: 3rd Bataillon.,
B ST N/10/12: signifies: Bavarian Strafanstalten 1912.
AWM/16/12 signifies: Artillery Workshop Munchen 1912(Bavarian Army Workshop that specialized in artillery equipment, holsters and other leather goods)

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Figure 17. Details of Bavarian unit stamp, B.13.R.12.4. which signifies: Bavarian 13 Infantry-Regiment 12 th Company, weapon nr. 4.

During World War I the Bavarian 13 th Infanterie-Regiment was part of the 6th Bavarian Infanterie-Division. During 1914 it battled in Lorraine as part of the 6th Bavarian Army. In October 1914 the 6th Bavarian Division attacked and forced the surrender of the French Fort Camp des Romains. In 1916 the Division battled at in the titanic battles at Verdun (Thiaumont and Fleury) and at the Somme. During 1917 the Division battled at Artois and Flanders. In 1918 the Division battled on the Western Front ( Lille, Cambrai, Dixmude, Verdun and Royce). Allied Intelligence rated the Bavarian 6th Division as a first class division.
Bold print = illustrated below.

The following illustrations show Bavarian troops battling on the Western Front during World War I.. The 13th Bavarian Infanterie-Regiment (and this Luger)as part of the 6th Bavarian Division fought in all the battles shown. Some of the illustrations show pistols in use. (Judging from this Lugers excellent condition, it probably spent most of the War in a regimental armorer’s storage box)

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Figure 18. Bavarian troops battling French troops in Lorraine during 1914. (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Figure 19. French surrender of the forts of the Camp des Romains to Bavarian troops, October 1914 (Elements of the 6th Infanterie-Division accepted the surrender). (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Figure 20. Bavarian troops battle in the Fleury section of Verdun during 1916. This was a titanic struggle eventually lost by the Germans. The losses were 377,000 French and 337,000 Germans. (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Figure 21. Bavarian troops battle at the Somme in 1916. British troops attacked the German line and took 60,000 causalities on the first day. This titanic struggle cost the British 420,000 losses; the French195,000 losses, and the German’s 650,000 losses. (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Figure 22. Bavarian troops battle the British in Flanders during 1917. (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Figure 23. German Western Front Spring Offensive of 1918. Bavarian troops take a British trench. (From “Das Bayernbuch Vom Weltkreig 1914-1918", 1930.)

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Jan, it's good to see you back in form.

· Registered
841 Posts

Wonderful presentation on a very interesting German Imperial Army Erfurt unit marked WWI Luger RIG!

This outstanding presentation shows why anybody interested in vintage collectible military pistols NEEDS to be a member of this forum!

Very educational, instructive and informative. Shows why you are one of the Worlds leading authorities on the history and collecting of German WWI Imperial Lugers!!

Many thanks for a great tutorial on a classic WWI German Army Luger pistol rig!

· Registered
66 Posts
Thanks for the presentation, the photos and paintings are great. The history is always the most interesting part of collecting. It is nice to pick up pieces with unit marks so you can place them in time. I recently picked up a 1913 Erfurt in a 1914 holster marked to the 68th Artillery and an Erfurt marked tool. I am looking forward to researching information about this unit.
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