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Mike T. 05-05-2002 03:23 AM

OT--sidearms for officers
I have read several times on various forums that in WW2, German officers were required to carry a sidearm wherever they happened to be and that each officer had to acquire it personally at his own expense. Barring very high-ranking officers, whom I presume could carry or not carry whatever they wanted, how did this work? If the officer had to purchase his own pistol, would it not be likely that he would acquire one with commercial and not military markings? Who were in fact issued the millions of P.38s or military Lugers--was it NCO's, medics, artillerymen, etc.? Would officers ever use little-bitty calibers, like some of the American generals did with .32 1903 Colts? What about something even smaller and more token, like a .22 Walther PP? Were there in fact any limitations to the type or brand of the pistol (as long as there was ammo available)? It appears to me that a country who would issue sidearms ranging from Polish Radoms to Norwegian .45s would probably be tolerant about their officers using any reliable sidearm.

Sorry for the bandwith, but I have always wondered about this, and it seems to be the sort of question many of the people on this forum would be able to answer.


Marvin 05-05-2002 06:39 AM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers

There is a document issued by the German Government which shows who is authorized to carry a pistol. It was called the "Kreigsstaerkenachweisung" or abbreviated "KStN" (War Strength Record). In the US Army it is the same thing as the "Table of Organization and Equipment", or as better know, the TO&E.

The KStN showed the Authorization for Requisition for personal weapons. The KStN had a number, a date, and it specified the type & title of a unit. It listed how manyofficers, Civil Service Civilians, NCOs, men, weapons, vehicles, horses, etc. were to be in the unit, and it also mandated who was authorized a specific type of individual weapon.

In the great series of books by Col. Whittington, "German Pistols and Holsters 1934-1945" Vol IV, shows many of the pertimnent KStN that deals with the handgun. The book is available, sort of boring reading, bu should be in your library.

This did not specifically answer yur question, but in short, front line officers were issued handguns. Higher ranking officers did have to purchase their own weapons, but again it was what their duty was. Most Lugers, P,38s, Radoms, etc. were issued to the NCO ranks, civilians, etc. that were at or near the front lines.


Tom Heller 05-05-2002 07:32 AM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers
Mike, You and Marvin are basicly correct. I've alway hear, from former German officers, that they were require to purchase commerically, a pistol upon commissioning and if sent to a hot zone, that would be issued something more appropriate, with an MP40 being my first choice. Then when they were rotated from the front, on leave, dress parade, etc. they would wear their personal pistol and holster. Perhaps this is why one sees a lot more commerically marked pocket pistol holsters than WaA marked ones.

Bernard 05-06-2002 11:39 AM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers (EOM)

Bernard 05-06-2002 11:49 AM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers
Based only on conversations with people who were there (former WWII German Army ans Luftwaffe officers), tom has it right. They purchased their own pistols. If there were any restrictions, I am not aware of them. It is interesting to note that many did go for the small pistols as they were more comfortable to carry. One good friend carried a small .32 Sauer. Small Mausers and various Czech pistols were also very popular and Spanish guns such as the Astra were occasionally seen. The then-current manufacture Walther PP-series guns were apparently all being built for various government and police orders and were apparently not generally available for individual sale.

Unless they were in a hot area and issued the full-size guns, officers did not really expect to use their small pistols, except perhaps a shot-down pilot. My friend with the Sauer told me he fired probably one magazine full of ammo through his gun the entire war! And he was part of the festivities all the way from 1939 to 1945.

Mike T. 05-08-2002 02:16 PM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers
I appreciate the info. Since I am married to a librarian, I should be able to borrow the recommended reading material.

Bernard indicates that wartime PP production apparently went primarily for police or governmental use. Would this also apply to the .22 PP's, some of which were made during the war with commercial proofs? Would any governmental or police agency have a use for a .22 pistol? This is a sincere question where I really would like an answer; I did not mean it to sound argumentative (if it does).

Thanks much.

Bernard 05-08-2002 08:33 PM

Re: OT--sidearms for officers
Not argumenatative at all. Good question!

I think, ok, I guess, the .22s may have been for training??? Can't imagine what else.

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