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German Pistols and Holsters 1934-1945 Volume IV
Lt. Col. Robert D. Whittington III U.S. Army (Ret.)
1991 Brownlee Books, hardbound, 208 pages

This is the fourth volume of Lt. Col. Whittington's ongoing ouvre about German sidearms leading up to and during WWII. Unlike the previous volumes this one does not deal specifically with pistols, but rather with who used them.

Whittington introduces this volume with a customarily breif, concise and detailed description of the organization of the German Army, and then describes the documents which make up the body of the text. These are the Kriegsstaerkenachweisung (War Strength Records) and the Kriegsausruestungsnachweisung (War Equipment Records), the equivalent of the U.S. Army's Tables of Organization and Equipment. He translates and presents 413 of these documents, ranging from the Field Army Command and Higher Staff Units Armed Forces Command; through Infantry and Artillery Companies and Batteries; Propaganda Companies and Detachments; to Fuel Inspection Detachments and Carrier Pigeon Detachments!

There is no way to adequately describe the content of this book, so I will take the liberty of quoting two of the shorter entries. The underlines are Whittington's, as are the concluding commentaries.
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Army Motor Vehicle Railhead Depot (1942) Heer KStN number 1084 for a Heereskraftfahrpark auf Eisenbahn, dated 1 November 1942, lists an authorizatin of 2 officers, 2 civilians , 7 NCOs, and 64 men.

Six issue pistols and holster rigs were authorized--for the commanding officer, z.b.v. (special) officer, civilian paymaster , workmaster civilian, sergeant major, and medical sergeant.

The depot was also authorized 69 rifle/carbines. The KAN lists an authorization of 69 S84/98 bayonets, no rifle grenade launchers, and no flare pistols.

Authorized depot transportation included 1 light personnel carrier, 2 cargo trucks (1.5t), and 2 cargo trucks (3t).
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Commandant's Office , Hitler's Headquarters (1942)

Wehrmacht KStN number 75 (W) for the Kommandant des Fuhrer hauptquartiers, dated 1 October 1942, lists an authorization of 9 officers and 7 civilians.

Sixteen issue pistols and holster rigs were authorized--for the commandant, adjutant, staff major, z.b.v. (special) officer, two "Z" midical officers, IVa (Administrative) paymaster civilian, three billetting (lodging) paymaster civilians, two construction civilians, and technical civilian.

The office was authorized no other weapons and was one of the very few units in which all personnel were issued pistol and holster rigs.

No organic transportation was authorized the office.
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Remember, there are -413- of these, many of them a couple of pages long!

At first glance this book would not seem to be of particular interest to collectors of German automatic pistols. Aside from noting that prior to 1939 only the P-08 was listed, there is no specificity of which issue pistols were assigned to particular units. Whittington notes that whatever pistols were available in weapons depots at the moment were those issued, and refers the reader to his earlier volumes to identify issue pistols. The evidence in this book does thoroughly debunk the theory that only officers were issued pistols.

However, the more one reads these selections, the more fascinated one becomes. The documents provide an interesting look into the Wehrmacht on the indvidual basis, and not just the soldier--the civilian and Hilfswillingen (foreign POW volunteers) element is noteworthy. I find that the book privides interesting reading for the odd moment, picking it up and reading a few entries at a time.

--Dwight
 
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