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Unread 03-21-2019, 10:57 PM   #1
DonVoigt
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Smile Mauser Artillery 1945-6 - #855- French assembled at Oberndorf

I picked up today this interesting Mauser L P08 variant which was assembled from parts in the Mauser factory after the French occupied the factory. The French assembled some 2500 to 3500 lugers(from June 1945 to April 1947) ; the large majority being 4" P 08s, and "very few" of the 8" L P 08. Finish is hot blue, and most grips were wood, with one set noted to have E/135 acceptance markings.

These lugers are classed into 3 main varieties, some with a "star" before the serial number on the left chamber and no date; others with the Eagle over N nitro proof, either under or in front of the serial on the left chamber and no date, and finally those with the E/N left of the serial with a "42" date receiver.

Some 1200 or so of the second type were transferred to the Austrian Army in 1955 and have an additional "BH" applied, for Bundesheer

This example is of the second type, and has wood grips- also with the E/135 acceptance of Mauser. The pistol is in near new condition with some handling marks. Other markings are minimal, with the last 2 digits of the serial on the take down lever, side plate, mid "Banner" toggle link, and rear toggle link. Some pistols had numbers on the sear bar, and toggle pin- this one does not.
The magazine is the fxo type, sans any markings on the body, and with only "855" on the aluminum base. Barrels had no marking other than the alignment mark.

The story is gleaned from The Mauser Parabellum 1930-1946, Hallock and van de Kamp, and to their contributors. One of whom is our own member Joel Giraudeau. Thanks to all for the great info contained in Chapter 34,on pages 593 to 604. Serial numbers of approximately 100 P 08s are listed, and 10 L P 08s; the lowest number noted is #96, and the highest #3,334

This luger is numbered 855, and its brother #854 is listed by serial number and was brought home by a returning Gi. The story noted is that this GI, a lieutenant, bought 12 of these "French lugers" from the French authorities, 6 with 4" and 6 with 8" barrels(for $6 each at the time).

I like to imagine that this example is one of the other five that this guy bought and distributed to his battalion.

The Mauser Werke was destroyed in 1947, before destruction much of the machinery and parts had been sent to France.

Pictures of the Mauser/French L P 08 are below.

For those interested in such things, there is no obdurating ring in the chamber, but it does look like it has been removed by reaming- sorry but it is impossible(at least for me) to photograph.

How I came to buy this pistol is almost as interesting as its history.
I saw it online at the price of a good 4" shooter, and figured it was something someone put together -
well it was a "put together"- by the French in Oberndorf in early 1946!

I believe there are some other threads on these French Mauser Lugers, I'll add the links when I find them, or someone else feel free to add a link, or post another French Mauser luger!
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Unread 03-22-2019, 02:34 AM   #2
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Hello everyone, thank you for this beautiful article ... I am, in fact, at the origin of the study, with the late Georges Matchtelinckx, in the 70s, the production, by Mauser, of the assembly of about 3300 P 08, for France, in 1945-1946.
Attached is a summary of this production, with the numbers listed:

HYPOTHÈSE CONCERNANT LA CHRONOLOGIE DE L’ASSEMBLAGE PAR MAUSER DE P O8 EN 1945-1946 POUR LE COMPTE DES AUTORITÉS FRANÇAISES.


Particularités générales de fabrication : les pièces constitutives sont numérotées sauf, curieusement, le canon, la culasse, l’extracteur, le percuteur, l’arrêtoir de culasse et les deux pièces de sûreté ; le calibre est de 9 mm, la carcasse porte, parfois, l’inscription P 08 et la genouillère porte la bannière Mauser.

Le chargeur est de fabrication Haenel, extrudé, bronzé noir, similaire aux modèles allemands des années 1940-1942, mais il ne porte aucun marquage sur le corps, le fond aluminium, retenu par une goupille convexe bronzée, est numéroté ; le second chargeur est numéroté mais sans signe distinctif, indiquant qu’il est de rechange.

1ère série : avec poinçon aigle N sur sabot de guidon, culasse et, au dessus du numéro, sur la glissière ; fabrication numérotée de 1 à 200, environ.
Production avec des canons de 10 cm, seulement ; numéros reportés : 10, 14, 33, 43, 63, 80, 96, 118, 126 et 184.

2ème série : avec une étoile, précédant le numéro, sur la glissière ; fabrication numérotée de 200 à 500, environ.
Production avec des canons de 10 cm ; numéros reportés : 204, 223, 225, 269, 280, 283, 311, 355, 358, 366, 367, 368, 372, 377, 380, 381, 408, 415.
Production avec des canons de 20 cm ; numéros reportés : 257, 260, 400, 450, 456.

3ème série : avec poinçon aigle N, précédant le numéro, sur la glissière ; fabrication numérotée de 500 à 3100, environ.
Production avec des canons de 10 cm ; numéros reportés : 500, 566, 588, 595, 604, 620, 621, 629, 642, 788, 810, 818, 832, 906, 914, 938, 939, 956, 967, 978, 986, 990, 994, 1003, 1018, 1020, 1042, 1080, 1121, 1128, 1203, 1254, 1280, 1396, 1693, 1703, 1716, 1773, 1795, 1979, 2033, 2070, 2071, 2081, 2097, 2118, 2172, 2174, 2201, 2357, 2361, 2465, 2547, 2637, 2912, 3033.
Production avec des canons de 20 cm ; numéros reportés : 455, 517, 518, 691, 696, 842, 847, 854, 855, 858, 1158, 1649, 1939, 2426, 2562, 2581, 2584, 2585, 2593, 2596, 2599.

4ème série : avec poinçon aigle N, précédant le numéro, sur la glissière et daté 42 ; fabrication numérotée de 2700 à 3000, environ (chevauchant la fin de fabrication de la 3ème série).
Production avec des canons de 10 cm, seulement ; numéros reportés : 2700, 2743, 2788, 2901, 2922, 2976, 2989, 2992.

5ème série : assemblage divers, après 3100, nombre incertain : une centaine ?
Production à canon de 10 cm ; numéro reporté : 3330 (chambre daté 41, genouillère marquée S/42 portant un aigle des années 1936-1938).
Production avec des canons de 20 cm ; numéro reporté : 3334.

Joël

Last edited by Kri 1942; 03-22-2019 at 07:42 AM.
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Unread 03-22-2019, 07:06 AM   #3
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Great find Don, the "French" Lugers are a real rarity, particularly here in the U.S. I own a French P08 with two matching mags, but the Artillery model is rarer still.
Congratulations, Norm
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Unread 03-22-2019, 07:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonVoigt View Post
--- snip ---
The French assembled...
--- snip ---
At the risk of being pedantic, it wasn't the French doing the assembly work. It was the Mauser factory workers doing all the work as directed by the French occupation forces.

The operation of the Mauser plant under the authority of the French occupation forces, 1945 - 1946, was one of those off-the-wall events. This operation was a clear violation of the Four Powers Agreement and it occasioned pressure from the American, British, and (especially) Soviet occupation forces for the French to cease and desist.

The French ignored that pressure, temporized acting on the demands that it cease production of arms by Mauser, and continued to force the Germans to make arms for the French. Production continued until the leftover materials at the Mauser plant were exhausted and arms production was no longer possible, at which time the French looted the Mauser factory for tooling and destroyed most of the structures.

Prior to the exhaustion of parts and other materials the Mauser plant produced quantities of Lugers, P.38s, Mauser HsC pistols, and Kar 98 rifles for the French.

During this period (1945 - 1946) Mauser was also tasked by the French occupation forces to design and produce a .22 trainer version of the Kar98k. Mauser did so, named this rifle the "Model 45", and produced some quantity of these for the French. The tooling to make the Model 45 was a part of the Mauser tooling taken by the French just before they destroyed Mauser, and that tooling was used in France to produce the Model 45 under the nomenclature "MAS 45".

After the destruction of the Mauser plant Mauser management sent the French a bill for the development and production of the Model 45 rifles delivered to the French occupation forces.

The French ignored the bill.
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Unread 03-22-2019, 07:44 AM   #5
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Kyrie,
I count on you to be pedantic!

How about:

"Assembled under French authority"?
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Unread 03-22-2019, 07:47 AM   #6
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Norm,
thanks.

Joel,
thanks again for your and Georges primary work, and today's update.

If you have sufficient detail, could you comment on an estimate of the % of long vs. 4" pistols
assembled?

Please comment on the numbers reported from the US if you can.
I suppose many of the "BH" marked pistols may have been "surplused and sold in the US";
but not so many of the other versions.

Other:
-It is interesting to note that there is perhaps at least one consecutively numbered pair of "French" artillery lugers in the US, #s: 854 and 855!
Pictures are found of #854 on page 908 of the green volume II, and of #855 in the 1st post above.

Also, no one has mentioned that though the barrel is without markings, the tangent rear sight components have an assembly number, on the leaf and on the move able base on either side of the rear screw. #855's sight has matching assembly numbers of "43". The assembly numbers
on #855's rear sight do not, the visible ones being "86" and "59".
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Unread 03-22-2019, 08:13 AM   #7
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Its noteworthy that Mauser never made artillery barrels. All arty barrels used between 1930 and 1948 came from old DWM stock that was transferred to Mauser in 1930.
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Unread 03-22-2019, 10:13 AM   #8
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Indeed, it is indeed the employees of Mauser who assembled the P 08, with the stock of spare parts, stored in the factory, since the stop of the manufacture in 1942, in favor of P 38.
And as rightly said, our friend Vlim, the long barrels, for the P 08 LP, are from the DWM and served, at Mauser, to assemble, the Stoeger, the Siamese and Persian contracts, and in 1945- 1946, the P 08 LP.
These P 08 LP were mainly intended to be offered to personalities visiting the factory but also, it should be known that these P 08 short and long were sold to the French military but also to the military occupation zones and c that's why we find some in the USA ...
France sold a small amount of the P 08 of the 3rd series to Austria in the 1950s. The Austrians hit the BH marking, which differentiates them from the other P 08 and subsequently, they were sold as surplus on the European and US markets.
I do not have the amount found in the US and it is estimated production at about 2500 P 08 and 800 P 08 LP.
This is only an estimate because the French authorities have been consulted, have never wanted to answer on this subject ...

On the paperback, Automag, Napca, that some of you have known, a US citizen, then a soldier, reported having recovered in 1945 or 1946, at the Mauser factory a lot of these P 08, in exchange with Jeep tires!
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Unread 03-22-2019, 10:46 AM   #9
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Default 1945 lp 08

Great story/history.Thanks for sharing!
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Unread 03-22-2019, 07:54 PM   #10
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Don, good pick, glad you caught that one. This is a great thread also. John
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Unread 03-22-2019, 08:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Don, good pick, glad you caught that one. This is a great thread also. John
Yes, I was "lucky"
There is a very good chance it would have become "just an artillery shooter"; and be lost to collectors.
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Unread 03-22-2019, 09:00 PM   #12
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Also, the Mauser factory where Lugers were assembled (Building "D") was never destroyed by the French. The "C" building where K98 rifles were made was destroyed, and a Rhinemetal factory building stands partially in that area.

Back in 2012 when I was filming the Mauser documentary, we walked through building "D", which is now a subdivided industrial space.

One of our friends, the retired market manager for Mauser, gave me a monograph (in German) written by the first post war Mayor of Oberndorf a Neckar in which he describes the post war efforts to save the industrial facilities of Mauser from destruction. That combined with Ott Helmuth von Losnitzer's debriefing by the Americans as part of their Operation Paperclip and post war intelligence work paints a detailed picture of the end game at Oberndorf at the end of WW-II.

The French looted Mauser's facilities of parts, tooling, gauges and in process work, taking much of it to Mulhouse near Strasbourg. Many pieces from the Mauser museum collection (including pattern patent models and firearms Mauser collected for competitive analysis) left with the French, only to be made available later in private sales. I have seen some of the recovered firearms in the Oberndorf Weapons Museum, located in the old Swedish contract factory building.

Don, you have something rare and unique. Congratulations.

A couple of years ago, I purchased this French post-war assembled HsC (star acceptance marked) brought back by one of Patton's aides:
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Unread 03-27-2019, 12:18 PM   #13
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On the same topic, here is a SVW 46 P.38:

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/805369066
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Unread 03-27-2019, 01:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Yes, I was "lucky"
"Luck is a term the mediocre use to describe the accomplishments of genius." - Unknown author
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Unread 03-27-2019, 07:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
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"Luck is a term the mediocre use to describe the accomplishments of genius." - Unknown author
Thanks, I think.
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Unread 03-27-2019, 08:30 PM   #16
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I think Don showed great depth of knowledge in recognizing an obscure and very rare Luger variation, and was also extremely lucky that no one else did.
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Unread 03-31-2019, 11:06 AM   #17
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Don,
I understand the smiley face in the title. When I found the Mauser P08 variant, which had been assembled from parts in the Mauser factory under French occupation, I was more than happy, and the seller, (D&B Militaria in the UK), did not know what they had, once again. The example in my collection is the second type and bears the Austrian Army "BH" stamp, and sadly, the EU deactivation stamp too!
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Unread 03-31-2019, 11:47 AM   #18
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Whoever deactivated that should go to eternal luger hell.
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Unread 03-31-2019, 12:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Whoever deactivated that should go to eternal luger hell.
Bump


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Unread 03-31-2019, 01:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
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The example in my collection is the second type and bears the Austrian Army "BH" stamp, and sadly, the EU deactivation stamp too!
That is the first 'deactivation stamp' I've seen here. Could we get a better pic of it for the FAQ???
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