The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 4, 2013, 01:18 AM   #1
huntinggaucho
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 3, 2013
Posts: 4
Fn high power 9mm wwii nazi occupation of belgium with holster

I am new to this site, I hope someone can help me with a couple of questions about this pistol. I received this pistol from my dad before he passed. He brought it back from France during the german occupation.

I have attached some pictures which show the S/N 955 in two places and 31 955. Not sure what the 31 means or it's just not a matching gun. It has the Nazi Eagle over WaA 140 on all the parts of the gun. Both magazines have no markings at all. The grips appear to be plastic, so they had to be replaced at some point.

Like to know if there is any value and the approximate age of this gun. Thank you very much in advance for any information you can provide.

Pete
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20130402_194028.jpg (248.3 KB, 209 views)
File Type: jpg 20130402_194054.jpg (230.0 KB, 174 views)
File Type: jpg 20130402_194216.jpg (252.2 KB, 171 views)
huntinggaucho is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 03:38 AM   #2
JT-AR-MG42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 319
Your father left you with a very nice gift that was considered one of the most desired handguns by either side in the war.

That Hi-Power is known as the third (and final) sub-variation of the German occupation pistol designated the P.640b.

Those brown plastic resin grips are original to that gun as are the rather roughly machined and finished major parts. The blue finish on the b suffix pistols was thin to say the least.
The abbreviated serial numbers on the barrel and slide were common practice for Hi-Powers produced in that time frame.
Unmarked aluminum follower magazines are also correct for guns in your serial range.

Serials up to 63,000b in the b suffix when the Germans had to fall back to the East out of Belgium in September of 1944.
No fixed dates of manufacture are around that I am aware of. Stands to reason that yours was made in the latter half of 1944.

Good looking correct supple holster that does not look either over oiled or dried out.
While I realize it might just have been for photographic purposes, it is best for the finish of the gun to not store it in the holster where rust has a better chance to develop or gun oil that would stain the leather and stitching.

In my experience the plastic grip 3rds are more rare to encounter than the much more common wood gripped, fixed sight variation Hi-Powers.

The majority of WWII Hi-Powers, due in large part to their popularity with shooters, have been shot and handled to the point of large degrees of finish being lost.
Yours does not seem to have that apply as the front grip finish is the first thing to go on the Hi-Power and it looks like your gun would rate in the high 90s for condition.

It has been years since I kept up on values, but would imagine value at least 9 to 1000.

That is a sharp rig and one that would definitely generate collector interest.

Thanks for sharing, JT
JT-AR-MG42 is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 03:48 AM   #3
6.8
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2013
Posts: 316
That is a fantastic WWll pistol I love the older Hi Powers
6.8 is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 05:35 AM   #4
BoogieMan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2012
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 1,274
Beautiful pistol. I love the HP's and have yet to add one to my collection. Im sure that one is not leaving your possession, but if it might be had keep me in mind.
Also if you post the same on the C&R forum you might find out even more information.
__________________
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
Milton Freidman
BoogieMan is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 08:52 AM   #5
amd6547
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2006
Posts: 1,430
If your Dad brought it home, there is a good chance he had paperwork allowing him to do so. If possible, you should search for this paperwork. Even though you likely will never sell this pistol, having the paperwork adds to its value and confirms its history.
When my Dad passed away, I found the paperwork for two pistols he brought home from the war. My brother has one of the pistols, I have the other...both with their paper hand typed in France.
__________________
The past is gone...the future may never happen.
Be Here Now.
amd6547 is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 09:28 AM   #6
jrothWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2006
Posts: 1,961
Word of caution...

SOME of the nazi Hi-powers were subject to sabatoge by factory workers, changing the heat treat settings.

Recommend that you contact FN to see if they can ID the SN (records may have been lost) or if they would test to confirm proper HT.

Very Nice!
jrothWA is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 11:25 AM   #7
huntinggaucho
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 3, 2013
Posts: 4
Fn high power 9mm wwii nazi occupation of belgium with holster

Thank you very much for all information you guys provided! I have appreciated this gun for as long as I can remnember, now it represents all the stories my Dad told over the years. Now I have some info about the gun to go with it.

Thanks again!

Pete
huntinggaucho is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 08:51 PM   #8
RJay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,666
I am quite sure the Belgium workers and the factory kept careful, precise records of guns they sabotaged and the workers involved, The Germans could then read off the names as they shot people at the morning roll call.
__________________
Ron James
RJay is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 07:10 AM   #9
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,458
Quote:
SOME of the nazi Hi-powers were subject to sabatoge by factory workers, changing the heat treat settings.
I've heard this claim a number of time, but it's not one limited to Hi-Powers.

That said, I've yet to find any historian or expert on the subject that confirms such sabotage ever took place as more than a odd event -- as most of the guns used by the Germans were closely examined and proofed before being turned over to the military.

If you actually found one that was sabotaged, you might have a true collector's gun.

As it is, if they were sabotaged, they probably dropped out of the system pretty quickly, by self-destructing with use. Any gun that shows much use is/was arguably NOT a sabotaged gun.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 02:16 PM   #10
57K
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2013
Location: Heart of Texas
Posts: 788
As pointed out in post #2, this is a collector. And since the serial numbers match and has the Nazi Eagle over the manufacturers code, you may find that it has even greater value with collectors.
57K is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 03:04 PM   #11
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,458
I didn't see any of the military markings in the photos. There was an eagle on the barrel, but there's usually a number under the eagle denoting the inspector or inspection region.

Those marks are called a Waffenamt, and I'm pretty sure it's not a NAZI marking, as their use (and, I think the "eagle") predate thes rise of the NAZIs.

You don't generally see Waffenamt on every part, but you do often see the last several digits of the serial number on many parts. (Barrel, slide, and frame, here, were matching.) That was especially true of some of the older guns, like Lugers, which required more hand fitting during production. Marking the parts with serial number digits helped keep the "fitted" pieces together when the guns were disassembled and worked on by an armorers unit.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 04:21 PM   #12
57K
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2013
Location: Heart of Texas
Posts: 788
Walt, here's what he said in his first post:
Quote:
It has the Nazi Eagle over WaA 140 on all the parts of the gun.
If it has the Eagle over the Waffenamt, it is highly collectable.
57K is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 07:04 PM   #13
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,458
Quote:
Walt, here's what he said in his first post:
Quote:
It has the Nazi Eagle over WaA 140 on all the parts of the gun.
If it has the Eagle over the Waffenamt, it is highly collectable.
I know he wrote that, but I didn't see it in the photos. I don't doubt that the gun has a WaA 140 Waffenampt.

I thought all Waffenampt had the eagle? Everyone I've ever seen on German weapons did. I've had several, including several Lugers and Star Model Bs. If I'm wrong on that point, I'm ready to be corrected, but in any event, the eagle is NOT rare. I doubt that Waffenampt are found on all the parts; he probably meant the last few digits of the serial number.

Looking at my Fjestad Blue Book, if the model shown is a Pattern III model, as suggested, in 90% condition, it's probably worth at least $600. The Bakelite grips in good condition adds another 15% to the base value. The WaA140 Waffenamt is less valuable than some. (A different number, an "N", or no number might increase the value by another 20%.)

If my reference materials are correct -- they may not be -- this gun is not as rare as other FN/BHPs from the period .There were more of the Pattern III guns produced than any of the other BHP-type guns used by the Germans. More importantly, product quality began to degrade toward the end of the war.

Earlier models (Pattern I and II), pre-War models, and some Post-war models are worth a good bit more than this one.

It's a nice gun. If it were mine, it would be in the gun safe and not fired (to protect it's condition.) If the owner ever considers selling it, he should take it to a dealer who specializes in collectible weapons for a more useful appraisal. I suspect, however, the gun has more sentimental value to the owner, and it will probably continue in its role as a family heirloom.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 08:02 PM   #14
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,654
The WaA stamps were usually on the left side and the pics of that side are poor. The Eagle/swastika proof mark is clearly seen on the barrel. That gun is a very late pistol. At that time, the full serial number was put only on the slide, with the last three and the suffix letter on the barrel and frame.

Bakelite grips were also used in that period.

As for sabotage, I obviously cannot personally attest that it was done, but I handled and worked on two late BHP's with barrels so soft that a magazine full would cause the locking lugs to upset and jam the pistols. That might have been accidental, but it seemed to me to confirm the stories of Belgian workers skipping the heat treatment as a form of sabotage. Those pistols could and did pass proof firing and were accepted for German service. I "fixed" both; one quit after another half dozen rounds, the second got almost through a second magazine before the lugs peened again and stopped it.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old April 7, 2013, 08:37 AM   #15
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,458
Quote:
Originally Posted by James K
As for sabotage, I obviously cannot personally attest that it was done, but I handled and worked on two late BHP's with barrels so soft that a magazine full would cause the locking lugs to upset and jam the pistols. That might have been accidental, but it seemed to me to confirm the stories of Belgian workers skipping the heat treatment as a form of sabotage.
Could be you worked with some "sabotaged" barrels, but it's been my understanding that heat treating done to barrels (and mostly rifles at that) is done to relieve stress in the metal from the manufacturing process, to help improve accuracy, NOT to harden the steel. Heat treating receivers is done for a different reason and with a different result.

Maybe this is bad info?

Did the guns you worked on appear to have any mileage on them?
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old April 7, 2013, 09:59 AM   #16
amd6547
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2006
Posts: 1,430
I can't speak to all nazi HiPowers, but I had experience with one.
At a gun show, my friend bought a chrome plated, well used example of a late war HiPower. It appeared well used, had moderate pitting, and looked like it had been chrome plated a long time ago...like so many war trophies.
It came complete with cheap fake mother of pear grips...all for the cash price of $175.
We shot the heck out of that HiPower. Maybe a couple thousand rounds, many Rapidfire with 30rd mags.
With the pearl grips replaced With Pachmayr's, it looked pretty good for an old warhorse. The bore was dark, but mechanically, it looked great...lugs and lock cam looked great, and slide, barrel, frame fit were smooth and tight. Who knows how many thousands of rounds were fired through that pistol before we got our hands on it....probably all on the original springs.
With all that said...if I owned the OP's HiPower, I would cherish it, preserve it, and shoot it...a lot.
__________________
The past is gone...the future may never happen.
Be Here Now.
amd6547 is offline  
Old April 7, 2013, 08:06 PM   #17
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,654
Barrels are normally hardened, not only to stand up to firing but to withstand the battering of locking and unlocking, especially in guns like the BHP and 1911 type where the locking lugs take a beating and the barrel is stopped by impacting on the frame. A soft barrel won't last long.

As to sabotage, no one ever said that every gun, or even the majority, were sabotaged. But that does not mean that none were, and skipping heat treatment and hardening of parts would be a good method as it would not be detected until the gun was fired at least a few times. If the failure occurred in proof testing or was easily detected by inspection, the perpetrator(s) would have been found and dealt with.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old April 7, 2013, 09:49 PM   #18
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,458
QUOTE]

Quote:
If the failure occurred in proof testing or was easily detected by inspection, the perpetrator(s) would have been found and dealt with.
Possibly so, or the defective parts quickly replaced by good ones. Given how records were kept in some of these factories, I suspect that any gun in the field (combat) that was identified as sabotaged would also be quickly traced back to the factory and production workers responsible, too. Even an odd case, once sabotage was suspected, could be quickly have consequences. Given how severe the German military (particularly the Waffen SS) dealt with partisans and underground agents in the German-occupied areas, I doubt that anyone suspected of sabotage would have lived long.

Your examples, however, seem possible -- and they are the first instance of possible sabotage I've encountered that had the mechanism of sabotage identified. Lots of folks have talked about sabotage but none could ever offer up examples or methods. You've done that.

I remain skeptical -- it's a common practice to attribute to malice things that might otherwise be due to stupidity or bad practices -- but I'm a bit less skeptical than before.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; April 7, 2013 at 09:56 PM.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old April 10, 2013, 05:15 PM   #19
huntinggaucho
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 3, 2013
Posts: 4
Fn high power 9mm wwii nazi occupation of belgium with holster

I just read all the replies to my post, for some reason I did not receive notifications as in the past...

I have added some additional pictures showing the eagle, swastika and some other markings...

Thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20130410_170741.jpg (210.0 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 20130410_170802.jpg (238.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 20130410_170856.jpg (233.9 KB, 11 views)
huntinggaucho is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:37 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12990 seconds with 10 queries