Jan C. Still Lugerforums banner
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quote:Originally posted by Jan C Still

My observations are that the parts found on DWM Lugers with the Erfurt style test Eagle appear to be machined and finished by DWM (not Erfurt). ( These are recollections on my part and a detailed study may be instructive.)
A comparison of two 1917 DWM LP-08 barrels--one with a DWM Eagle, one with an Erfurt--and an Erfurt LP-08 show this to be the case. (The comparison was posted on the old board.)

NOTE: the rest of this post contains SPECULATION based on evidence and documentation at hand, and pertinent questions when I don't know the answer.

A discussion of this topic elsewhere has caused me to wonder if the Erfurt-proofed parts on DWM Lugers are actually original to the guns?

Görtz & Bryans, in "German Small Arms Markings", also include the 1913 "Inspection and Acceptance of Pistols 08 and Parts Thereof". Annex G of that document (pp 118-120) lists the requirements for "Power-Proof Shooting and Rapid-Fire Shooting of Pistols 08". As required, completed pistols are subjected to:
C. Power Proof [...];
D. Rapid Fire [...];
E. Cleaning [...];
F. Examination [...];
G. Stamping "Pistols which meet the specifications receive at this time (italics mine) the power-proof stamp on barrel, receiver, and breechblock."

So, according to Army regulations, there is no reason for Erfurt test proofs to show up on DWM pistols. In addition, if an inspector holding Erfurt stamps inspected the weapon after power-proof (or if the die was otherwise available to the Inspectors) it seems most reasonable that -all three- proofs would be Erfurt adlers.

A fair speculation would be that DWM provided repair parts as well as finished pistols--I imagine that documentatin for this actually exists somewhere, perhaps in the original contract wording, but I do not have it.

Joachim Görtz, in the February 1996 "Auto Mag", noted the list of parts available to armorers for field repair, and noted that barrels and receivers were not included, that barrel and receiver repair was an armory-level function. (Although this was a WWII-era edict, I have observed that Weimar and Wehrmacht practices regarding the P-08 tend to follow those established by the Imperial German Army, so I am confident that this practice was current in WWI.)

Where did these repairs take place? Certainly not at DWM, which was a civilian contract manufacturer who would have no responsibility for the weapon once it was delivered to the Army.

Was the Erfurt Armory (or Spandau, for that matter) a major repair depot for weapons repair?

The 1913 annex goes on to specify that if the barrel, receiver, or breechblock have been replaced, the weapon must undergo the power-proof and rapid-fire tests again. As these parts would not have been previously proofed, they would then be stamped and thus bear the proof mark of the repair armory. Is -this- where the Erfurt barrel proofs on DWM pistols come from?

There are interesting implications here, regarding the huge numbers of 1917 LP-08 with Erfurt proofs. Still ("Imperial Lugers" p 16) notes that LP-08 serial# are interspersed with standard P-08 serial#s. Is it possible that DWM sent Erfurt completed pistols from the regular production run, along with LP-08 barrels, sights, and rear toggles, to have them converted into LP-08 at Erfurt? This would be one way to account for the Erfurt barrel proofs (hmmm, did I just reinvent the wheel here?).

Yes, I recognize that the receiver notch is a fly in this ointment, the guns might have had to be shipped "in the white". Iirc P-08 were proofed before they were blued, so this is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Is there a recognizable difference between DWM and Erfurt bluing?

Do -any- Lugers which have DWM receiver proofs and Erfurt barrel proofs display perfect witness marks?

Annex G continues with the requirements for power-proofing of breech blocks as spare parts for troop use, i.e. unit armorer field replacement. Spare breechblocks were to be assembled into pistols (which could be made up of otherwise rejected parts) and subjected to test "as if a factory-new pistol were proof fired." Breechblocks which passed the subsequent inspection were proof stamped "on the spot."

If spare-part breechblocks were delivered to an arsenal, say Erfurt, and then proofed for distribution into the field, they would naturally bear that stamp rather than DWM. Under this circumstance, then, Erfurt proofed breechblocks on DWM P-08s would be the result of field replacement.

Comments are certainly appropriate and edifying, flames are probably inevitable.


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Thanks for the witness mark report.

The human element seems to be the imponderable here, I was casting about for an explanation which eliminated that or arbitrary procedures.

I seem to recall reading that Lugers were blued after proofing (I cannot now find the reference). If this was the case it would have been easier to proof stamp the breechblock after disassembly. In any case, I just examined my 1917 LP08--it has an Erfurt barrel proof but a DWM breechblock proof--and the breechblock was definitely stamped by a different die from the receiver.

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