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View Full Version : Help with Supposed ww2 revolver


rkarren
September 20, 2012, 04:24 PM
I am picking up a German 38 special for next to nothing. The guys says it was picked up by his grandfather in Normandy..."smashed the soldiers face with his helmet because he was out of rounds..." uh huh! Anyway, I cannot find any info whether Germany even had a military ww2 38 special. Any knowledge out there on this?

Jim Watson
September 20, 2012, 04:30 PM
Well, Hermann Goering handed over a Smith & Wesson .38 when he surrendered.

I guess you are going to have to show pictures.

Buy the gun, not the story.

Winchester_73
September 20, 2012, 04:56 PM
The only way that could be true is if it was a pre WWII private purchase by the German (like Goering's), or it was captured and then used.

Either way, not very likely...

It could be WWII, and a revolver, and a 38 special BUT if it is that, it probably has a more modest history.

James K
September 20, 2012, 07:06 PM
Pictures? More information?

As to Göring's S&W, that can't be true. I have been offered at least six Walthers that the ex-GI owner took off "ol' Hermann" personally.

Jim

mete
September 20, 2012, 07:09 PM
Mauser at one time made a revolver but that was 'in the old days' ! Official German handguns were the P-o8 and the P-38 both autos .The revolver in 38 Special was not a European cartridge so it would have been American made.Purchased before the war or taken from an American during the war.

Winchester_73
September 20, 2012, 07:55 PM
I'm glad my post was regurgitated. It must mean that my post was worth quoting ;)

carguychris
September 20, 2012, 08:27 PM
The only German military revolvers used in the 20th century were the Reichs Revolvers, Model 1879 and Model 1883. Both were officially retired in 1919, and most military examples were probably either exported or scrapped in accordance with the post-WWI Treaty of Versailles disarmament. Both guns were chambered in 10.55mm, supposedly a variation of .44 Russian. This cartridge would not have been found in the German military supply chain in 1944, and IMHO the chances of a front-line German soldier carrying this gun at the time would be nearly nil.

The US military used .38Spl S&W "Victory" revolvers in WWII, but these were mostly issued to rear-guard troops and aircrewmen, and would appear obviously American, with "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" markings on the topstrap. Although a German soldier could conceivably have been carrying one, IMHO it's unlikely, and the gun would be easily identifiable as non-German.

British troops used a variety of Webley & Scott, Enfield, and S&W revolvers during the war, but these were mostly chambered in .38 S&W, not .38Spl.

My hunch is that the seller is trying to pass off some sort of cheap 1950s or 60s German revolver as WWII vintage, probably out of ignorance, but possibly with malice. Keep in mind that a WWII or earlier German military firearm would not bear English-language markings, particularly "MADE IN GERMANY" or "MADE IN W. GERMANY". These markings clearly identify the gun as having been made for American commercial sale, and the latter marking indicates that the gun is definitely postwar. (Some such markings may have been added by American military surplus importers, but these markings are usually very small and inconspicuous, and it's usually obvious that they are not original.)

geetarman
September 20, 2012, 08:37 PM
I have been offered at least six Walthers that the ex-GI owner took off "ol' Hermann" personally.


Man. . .you should have bought them. They would be worth a load of dough today:rolleyes:

RJay
September 20, 2012, 09:00 PM
Spanish guns were readily available in Germany and many of them were chambered in .38 Special, I'm sure there was some source of ammo. There were number of sporting good stores that stocked all brands of ammo, even American. As has been mentioned, pictures to identify the weapon and if American a serial number . The story sounds more plausible than liberating a post war PP after hand to hand combat with a crazed SS Colonel, but I also agree it is unlikely.

Tidewater_Kid
September 20, 2012, 09:16 PM
I'm betting he means P38.

TK

Webleymkv
September 21, 2012, 10:57 AM
While they preferred handguns chambered in 9mm or .380, the Germans were known to re-issue captured handguns such as Webleys and 1911's to certain troops like cooks, doctors, mechanics, and others who didn't shoot for a living. It is possible, I suppose, that the gun could've been a captured U.S. issue Victory model or British lend-lease gun that was re-issued, but that's doubtful.

Mike Irwin
September 21, 2012, 11:38 AM
The Germans did that primarily with the weapons of Nations they had conquored (many of the German troops on the Atlantic wall were armed with French Betherier rifles and Lebel revolvers, for example) or in the case of Russia, where they had captured enormous amounts of equipment.

Webleymkv
September 21, 2012, 01:01 PM
The Germans did that primarily with the weapons of Nations they had conquored (many of the German troops on the Atlantic wall were armed with French Betherier rifles and Lebel revolvers, for example) or in the case of Russia, where they had captured enormous amounts of equipment.

As I said, it's a long shot. I have heard of 1911's that were captured and re-issued in very small numbers, but they were not preferred primarily because they were difficult to obtain ammunition, magazines, and other such accoutrements for. You are correct that guns and ammo from either conquered enemies or the eastern front were issued more liberally and I would venture to guess that's because ammunition and accessores were much more avialable than they were for captured U.S. and British weapons.

James K
September 21, 2012, 01:30 PM
How about we wait until the OP provides pictures or more info? All that "mebbying" is plain silly.

Jim

Winchester_73
September 21, 2012, 11:23 PM
While they preferred handguns chambered in 9mm or .380

Actually, for what its worth, the Germans did NOT prefer 380 at all. It was a non standard caliber for the Wehrmacht. They primarily had 9mm or 32 acp. 380s were made and or issued in much smaller numbers.

How about we wait until the OP provides pictures or more info? All that "mebbying" is plain silly.

Mebby you're right.;) I am thinking that mebby the OPs gun is a S&W model 15 from the war. I read that the WWI Nazi's issued large numbers of S&W 15s to their green beret divisions. Anyone ever hear that before?

RJay
September 21, 2012, 11:43 PM
No, but I was told that Lewis and Clark carried Winchester 1894s on there trek up the Rio Grande.

egor20
September 21, 2012, 11:54 PM
I'm with Tidewater_Kid, I've got a fiver that says he meant a P-38. :cool:

http://www.p-38.net/images/canopener.jpg

:D

Webleymkv
September 22, 2012, 12:20 PM
Quote:
While they preferred handguns chambered in 9mm or .380

Actually, for what its worth, the Germans did NOT prefer 380 at all. It was a non standard caliber for the Wehrmacht. They primarily had 9mm or 32 acp. 380s were made and or issued in much smaller numbers.

As the war drug on, the Germans began using about any decent handguns they could get their hands on. I suspect that the main reason that they used so many .32's is because there were simply a lot of arms factories in countries like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and others that they invaded that were already tooled up to make .32 semi-autos.

I am reminded of an interesting story I once heard. An acquantence of my dad's worked as a hospital security guard several years ago and was allowed to carry a gun while on the job. What he chose to carry was an Erma .25 Auto that he'd picked up inexpensively in a pawn shop and one day he decided to take it apart in the break room and was having trouble getting it back together. While mulling over his situation, an older doctor that had immigrated from Germany noticed the gun and asked if he could give it a try. Much to the security guard's surprise, the doctor assembled the gun quite easily and quickly. Upon asking how he knew so much about the gun, the doctor replied that he'd been a physician in the German Army during WWII and was issued the same type of gun for a personal defense weapon.

Hunter Customs
September 22, 2012, 07:00 PM
Buy the gun, not the story.

Very wise words.


Best Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com

James K
September 22, 2012, 07:28 PM
I don't know if a German doctor could have been issued an Erma pistol, but American doctors and nurses were issued Colt Model 1903/1908 pocket pistols. Medical personnel were allowed to be armed for personal defense and defense of their patients, but only with "defensive" weapons; the standard M1911A1 was considered an "offensive" weapon. Medical personnel could refuse a gun if they wished, and I understand many did.

As to German WWII calibers, the 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP) was not in the German military or police supply system. Pistols in that caliber captured as a result of German occupation of countries like Czechoslovakia and Belgium were seized and used, but new manufacture was in the standard 7.65mm. Of course, the Germans made 9mm Kurz and used captured ammo in that caliber, but it was not a standard caliber.

Jim

Winchester_73
September 22, 2012, 09:17 PM
As the war drug on, the Germans began using about any decent handguns they could get their hands on. I suspect that the main reason that they used so many .32's is because there were simply a lot of arms factories in countries like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and others that they invaded that were already tooled up to make .32 semi-autos.

Not quite. As the war drug on and even early on, they had a tremendous need for handguns. The main reason for 32 being common is because it was standard. Before WWII and even during WWI there were tons of different 32s. The Sauer 38H, PP and PPK, Mauser HSc, Mauser 1934, and many others were all 32 in their base forms. These were all German designs.

The 32 instead of caliber X had nothing to do with the occupying countries. The reverse is actually true. For example, Germany annexed Czechoslovakia in 1938 and invaded Hungary in 1944 (who was an ally and member of the axis powers before that). In both instances, pistol wise, the Germans mass produced 32s in these countries' factories rather than their own 380s which both countries had issued. Ever notice how a CZ 38 is 380 and a CZ 27 is 32, and yet nearly all of the German CZs are 27s? Why would that be? Its because they wanted 32s produced, not 380s. It was not because CZ 27s were the latest and greatest being made for the Czechs. The Czech army was going to adopt the CZ 38 as standard issue. Also, the Femaru pistol in its original Hungarian form was 380, but once again the Germans designated it the P.37 and had it chambered in 32 acp.

Also, FWIW, I know of no Polish 32s issued by the Nazis nor do I know of any Yugoslav 32s thay were issued. Many of the foreign 32s that the Germans had were from Belgium (FN), Italy (Beretta), Hungary (FEG), France (Unique, MAB, SACM) and a few other pistols made in much smaller numbers such as the Spanish Astra 300.

Here are my two FN 1922s, both WaA140 with an original Hungarian 37M in 380. It does not have the German markings.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/GEDC0600.jpg

Right CZ 24, middle 2 are CZ 27, the phosphate one is WaA76 on the right a CZ 38. That CZ 38 has one of the most beautiful blue finishes of all of my guns.

http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww332/357SandW/CZpistols.jpg

emcon5
September 24, 2012, 10:28 AM
While not likely, anything is possible. Captured 1917s were in the German system as "Revolver 661(a)", although not all firearms in the system were issued.

There is a list here:
http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1374

While tanks (http://www.achtungpanzer.com/ctpic.htm)and trucks (http://www.achtungpanzer.com/ctpic2.htm)were much more commonly used, firearms were used as well.

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/4955/3fjdfjr9sten7nr.jpg

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/2290/3fjdfjr9sten2lt.jpg

This is a subject much discussed in the various military history forums, (example: http://www.military-quotes.com/forum/allies-nazi-forces-usuing-captured-t22560.html )

BlueTrain
September 24, 2012, 01:49 PM
Never a day goes by that I don't learn something, even here. For instance, this is the first time I've heard that the Colt 32 and 380 pistols were defensive pistols while the .45 auto was an offensive pistol.

Rainbow Demon
September 27, 2012, 11:10 AM
Aside from George Patton firing at a German Bomber with his Colt .32 I can't think of any other offensive use of the .32 ACP by the U S in WW2.

In occupied countries were attacks on German soldiers were not uncommon no German was allowed to go into town for any reason unless armed.
They kept any confiscated handguns, either military or civilian on hand so any soldier could pick one up if going to town to buy bread or any other reason. This were not marked or in the supply line in any way.

My Uncle (actually a cousin of my dad but I always thought of him as an uncle for some reason)had a Polish Radom he had taken from an SS Sargeant. It had been carried in a rough copy of a U S Tanker type holster that looked to have been hand stitched from leather salvaged from an old saddle. I suppose it was a personal trophy the SS man had picked up in Poland.