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Unread 07-30-2004, 12:19 PM   #1
Panu
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Post Krieghoff Parabellum in Finland - Question

Hi everybody,

My name is Panu Kolju. I was kindly allowed join your discussion forum, so bare with me if this question has already been stated here in this discussion forum before I joined . I hope to gain more knowledge of the Parabellum (Luger to you US memebers <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ) histories from you, since I have just basic knowledge of these fine firearms, most of which information comes from the fact that m/23 and m/08 models served several decades in Finnish army before and after WW2 wars Finland had to fight at the time (three "war episodes" during WW2).

I'm member of the "Armshistorical Association in South-East Finland" which is group of people interested of all kind of military weapons and their history, or military eqipments, uniforms. medals etc. of military origin.
My personal interest lies expecially in WW2 time weaponry (small arms up to cannons). I own presently one Finnish Army owned Parabellum of type m/23 (7,65 Para).

Well, enough of me <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> , here's the Krieghoff question which two of you have already seen before (part of old message follows). I'll try to get pictures of this piece in near future too:

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I visited my old friend little while ago, who belongs to same Arms Historical association I do. He's an old chap, with interesting items in his collection. One thing he has is an almost mint condition Parabellum in 9 mm Para. It is said to be delivered into Finland during WW2 when Finland bought tens of Messerschmitt Bf 109 G2 and G6 models from Germany to fight against Soviets back in 1943-44. Every fighter was said to be delivered with one pistol for the pilot, and this is how this one came to Finland according to my friends telling. This makes sort of sense, since e.g. all armoured vehicles Finland bought from Germany during WW2 were delivered with all the small arms mend to the personnel using it. That's why e.g. "Sturmgesh?¼tz"
(STU-40) panzers that Finns bought from Germany were delivered with new MP-40 SMGs for the crew using it. Same principle was said to be used with other motor vehicles bought from Germany as well.

This pistol has interesting markings on it:

On top of the receiver there is carved "1936" and anchor below it, on which's left side there is letter "H" and on right side letter "K". There is also a text "KRIEGHOPF SUHL" on it. The weapon is "SA" stamped by Finnish Army (Suomen Armeija = Finnish Army), meaning it has been property of Finnish Army - this fact can be verified - I just checked it. Serial number is 6410.

The pistol has also Waffen ampt/stamped eagle markings, one with Eagle with letter "L" in circle (Luftwaffe?). Beneath this label there is a number "2" (G2?).

According to one German made book, this pistol is part of the set ordered for German Luftwaffe by G?¶ring's order. Still the low serial number and year 1936 labelled on top of the Parabellum (1936) makes me believe it could be made before the hostilities? Still, this is pistol attached to Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane, and first Finnish owned G2 came to Finland in 1943. The condition is very good with this piece. About 20 or so rounds shot with it ( <img border="0" alt="[typing]" title="" src="graemlins/yltype.gif" /> note: my friend shot these after purshase, but it seems it has been shot more than just this, even though the condition indicats it is well kept). My friend lives very close to historical Army airfield where the "Mersus" (Messesrschmitt's) were stationed during WW2. They ofcourse operated on other fields too at the time.

Rgrds,

Panu

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Unread 07-30-2004, 05:01 PM   #2
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Hello Panu,

First Welcome! Your friend actually has a very rare Krieghoff â?? but first, a bit about Heinrich Krieghoff Waffenfabrik (which Iâ??ll refer to as â??HKâ?) and your questions on that Luger specifically.

In 1934, HK was awarded a contract for producing Lugers. The initial military contract was for a quantity of 10,000 9mm Military production for the Luftwaffe â?? and by the end of 1937, there were enough frames/toggles/parts to produce roughly 13.000 HK Lugers, fulfilling the original military contract and allowing HK to sell some 9mm/7.65 in the commercial market and providing several presentation Lugers. To note your comment about the affiliation to G?¶ring, yes â?? the HK contract was a special contract in appreciation for HK principle contract, other armaments for the Luftwaffe. Frankly â?? I could write a book about all this â?? so, if you are interested in the complete history â?? I would suggest â??The Krieghoff Parabellumâ? by Mr. Randall Gibson as an excellent source of information.

Regarding the 1936 HK production and your example. Estimated production for â??1936â? HKs was approximately 2,900 pieces. They are somewhat more common then other variations as the next largest production run was â??1937â?.

For â??1936â? Serial Number 6410 â?? I am familiar with 640X (just below that), and therefore would perceive that yours would have a â??C-1â? type toggle, which you appear to describe. However â?? a photo of the Toggle would be most appreciated to confirm.

Also â?? under the right grip panel, you should see either a six-point star stamp, or the number â??7â? Inspection mark. Since serial number 640X has the Six Point Star, Iâ??m predisposing yours will as too â?? but at that number (6410), it could be either.

As for the LWaA markings â?? if you do a â??searchâ? in the Krieghoff section of this Forum â?? Iâ??m certain you will find a great deal posted on the subject. In short â?? I believe what you are trying to describe is noted as LWaA 1st Acceptance â?? Stage 2 (Early Variation (hence the â??circle around the â??Lâ? with the â??2â? at the base. Again â?? a picture would be simply wonderful!

Finally â?? for those not familiar with the historical milestones of the Finnish Air Force (â??Suomen Ilmavoimatâ?) during WW2, itâ??s somewhat interesting. These are from my notes, so I may stand to be corrected, especially by Panu.

Of relevance â?? in August of 1939, Germany and Russia sign Treaty of Non-Aggression. Since they were â??alliesâ? at the time â?? it precluded Germany from supporting Finland when the Soviets â?? out of frustration in non-compliance of the Finns (Germany and Russia in the Treaty of Non-Aggression â??splitâ? up Denmark, Norway and Finland for themselves), and Russia invaded Finland in the winter of 1939 â?? commonly referred to as the â??Winter Warâ? 1939-1940). As a side note â?? Britain had been negotiating and trying to offer military assistance to Finland before and for a short time â?? during the â??Winter Warâ?)..

In early March, 1940 â?? Finland then signed a â??Treatyâ? with Russia â?? and while Russia had only made small advances into Finland, in the Treaty she abdicated 10% of her land mass to the Russians (which there was a loud public outcry about at the time).

Soon after in April 1940 - Germany occupied Denmark and invaded Norway, and Norway capitulated in June of that same year. It was not until 1941 that Finland had any Luftwaffe field or flying troops, and according to the National Archives, as in June 1941, Germany invaded Russia and barely a week later - Finland declared war on their old rival the Soviets. Therefore, in June 1941 - Germany and Finland became "reluctant" Allies - which is when German Luftwaffe (field/flying/bases became prevelant in Finland) presence became a reality.

Now â?? about your HK and why all this is important - it precludes the chance that a "1936" was delivered to the FAF in 1936/1937..!! According to the records at the Finnish Air Force Museum in Tikkakoski, the British Imperial War Archives and historians, an initial order was placed in either November or December 1942 for thirty Me 109-G-2 fighters by Finland. In February 1943 17 (seventeen) Messerschmitt Me-109s were initially completed and started making their way to Finland and left the factory for Wiener Neustadt (one crashed en route â?? leaving a total of 16 to be initially delivered). With the Finnish pilot training at Wiener Neustadt Luftwaffe Base concluding in the first week of March 1943 - the newly trained Finn Pilots took off from Wiener Neustadt on March 10, 1943 and headed to Breslau â?? in possession of the first shipment of 16 aircraft - and their Lugers (see below). However - I do not know if the Finnish Pilots recieved their HKs at Wiener Neustadt - or - if they were included in the shipment of Me-109s as they left the factory, as there is no historical record to that point.

Further â?? in the records as delivered to Wiener Neustadt and accepted by the FAF, you will see that these remaining 16 were included with â??1 - small armsâ? (it was translated for me â?? so I do not know if that is verbatim). I believe my source for that was the Tikkakoski archive, but I would need to check â??my notesâ? â?? which are scattered all over the place. (Further, the following shipments of Me 109s apparently did NOT include Lugers â?? but, the remaining ship records are a mess for example: include airframe numbers which â??were deliveredâ? but never existed?). Further, when the original shipment of 16 planes landed in Finland to their base, all articles were inspected and stamped as Finnish Military property (your â??SAâ?) â?? and the FAF Insignia applied along with the FAF numbers.

In so far as HK having done this on previous occasions â?? yes, there is historical evidence as well that the Luftwaffe did previously with a shipment of aircraft to the Turkish Airforce (Early Series â??Sâ? production).

However â?? the question you should have is why a â??1936â? was delivered in 1943? My respected reply is that there is absolutely no documentation that exists (that I am aware of â?? in any form) â?? which states that all chamber dated HKs were delivered the year of the chamber dated stamp "for field use/troops". Further â?? based on the condition of many of the early HK production coupled with verified capture documents â?? Iâ??m somewhat convinced that not all HKs were field issued, but may have been passed out of the factory (so it counted towards the contract fulfillment) to a Luftwaffe facility. Is it then more then plausible that a â??1936â? would appear un-issued as late as 1943? Yes â?? based on the evidence, I believe so â?? especially in a limited variation quantity of up to 30 pieces (again, I could write pages on this aspect alone â?? but I will spare you.)

Therefore â?? it sounds like your friend has an extremely rare HK. In fact, one of a production series of 2900 pieces - BUT a very rare variation of either â??16â? or â??30â? total, depending on how the second shipment of Me-109s were delivered and whether they included an HK (I would want factual archive information on the subsequent Me-109s delivered, which I have never found).

In either case, this is the second piece I am aware of in this variation. The first lives in Europe - and I verified that HK several years ago for that collector - from where the preponderance of this research stems (which originally took me months to conduct for that owner).
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Unread 07-30-2004, 08:06 PM   #3
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Wonderful story and great discourse on a most interesting pistol!!!

Thanks Guys!!!
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Unread 07-30-2004, 10:23 PM   #4
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Christ al'mighty John! It's going to be tough to try to blow something by you about HK's that isn't right!!! I am amazed as to your resource and knowledge base, concerning these pistols!! By the way, all is well here... I'm just fighting in a'nother direction!! Best to you John! til...lat'r....GT <img border="0" alt="[jumper]" title="" src="graemlins/jumper.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[jumper]" title="" src="graemlins/jumper.gif" />
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Unread 07-31-2004, 09:09 AM   #5
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Hey G.T...!

My thanks - but, now you know how I feel when one of you posts a topic/reply in your specialized area..!! Sort of like when you post about a P 38 with a "0" and a special "thing-a-ma-bobby" that makes it "this" rather then "that" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

Also - thanks for update!!! Glad to hear that all is OK with you and yours! Keep up the "good fight" - as we've discussed - it's worth it.....!

My thanks at several levels..!!!!

John
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Unread 08-11-2004, 06:40 AM   #6
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Hi Gang,

I'm very sorry for delay in my reply, it's been bit hecktic at work, and I also had some of my summer holiday days in between here :I.

Thank you very much John of the very detailled story for my question . I must say I'm very impressed of your knowledge on Finnish WW2 wars !

Finland didn't have no allies after Winter War, even the offers from Britain for assistance were part of British politics to get access to nickel mines and secure them from Soviets and Germans. Only open choise was Germany who was willing to sell Finns the wepons it needs - badly. Some volunteers came from Britain to fight the Soviet invasion during Winter War, and many volunteer soldiers came from Sweden too to assist in FAF with their own planes, and infantry with their own weapons. Many Finns also took their personally owned small arms with them to battle (if they had any), expecially the Civil Guard memebers. There was huge need for all kinds of weapons (cannons, small arms, planes, practically no tanks, etc.), especially pistols were in short supply. That is why some men had even small 6,35 cal pocket pistols in battle with them - if they owned any. All Soviet pistols/weapons were immediately taken into action by the Finns against their former owners. Calibers I have seen ranges from 6,35 up to .45 ACP, biggest handgun in size are probably those broom handle Mausers. I've seen one Colt Government 1911A1 (nickel plated, ivory grips (Tsaar's order- too long a story to tell))
with Russian markings on it. Some Thompson SMGs were also captured from Soviets in 1941.

The last shipment of Me Bf-109 G6 & 2's from Germany were drawn straight into fierce battles when they came from Germany. Actually the situation was so desparate after the Soviets lauched their massive attack against Finnish lines in 1944, and Soviets had so huge superiorioty in number of planes they had in use, that no FAF markings were painted to some of the Messerschmitts due to lack of time to do so. This is why some Finnish pilots flew with Luftwaffe markings on their fighters through the hardest battle periods in 1944. German flight attachment K?¼hlmey took part into the heaviest battles also during 1944 in South-Eastern part of front lines.

I will take those pictures of this Krieghoff piece when I get a change to do so, and I'll post them for you all to see.

Due to being a small nation, we Finns had to use what ever was available for battle during WW2. This shows very well in the number of calibers and weapon types soldiers had in use. This shows out in all weapons used: pistols, rifles, cannons etc. Lots of captured weapons were used also, most of which came from Soviets (war booty).
This is why you see so much different kinds of weapons still around in Finland, even though lot of wepons have been destroyd by the Finnish Army too and sold abroad, like to USA, especially in 1950's and 1960's (InterArms deals).
Here's a pretty good link to Finnish war histories of WW2 battles for those of you who want to know more:

http://hkkk.fi/~yrjola/war/war.html

or shorter story:

http://hkkk.fi/~yrjola/war/finland/summary.html

Rgrds,

Panu
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Unread 08-11-2004, 08:48 AM   #7
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Hello Panu,

You are most welcome! I know that many would enjoy seeing pictures of your HK, and I would be very interested in any proofs and/or markings. As well, if this Krieghoff came with a holster, how the holster was marked, and as importantly, the color. While these may seem like small details, in conducting research, the smallest detail sometimes makes a tremendous difference!

As well - my sincerest thanks for sharing your additional information about the Finnish involvement during the War. Frankly - when I mentioned in my first post that "Germany and Finland became "reluctant" Allies..", I was never certain how or why that came about. Germany's willingness to supply armaments makes perfect sense!

One perception I found in doing my research is that many historians outside of Finland considered the Germans and Finns very close Allies - simply based on the similiarity of the markings on the aircraft. In fact, from what I understand - the German swastika and the FAF emblem carry very different meanings and histories. And in reality - their agreements were borne out of necessity rather then a common belief in government. Perhaps ".."reluctant" Allies..." is an understatement!

Panu - our thanks again for your excellent information and post, and sharing such terrific details..!!!

<img border="0" alt="[cheers]" title="" src="graemlins/beerchug.gif" />

With Best Regards,

John D.
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Unread 08-11-2004, 02:28 PM   #8
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I really enjoy reading from a european angle of WW2 and how things are considered. Very interesting reading!

Thanks, <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

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Unread 08-11-2004, 11:32 PM   #9
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Like Ed, I really enjoyed reading the above posts. From what little that I understand, the Fins did some pretty serious butt kicking on the Russian army until the shear weight of numbers of the Russian army took hold.

Panu,
I am eagerly awaiting the pictures of your prize and its holster.
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