View Full Version : nickel plated P38

July 27, 2000, 12:57 PM
A coworker gave me a Walther P38 to clean that was apparently brought back from WWII. It is nickel plated and comes with a holster marked 1944 and WaA159 below the nazi eagle, and also P38. The gun itself appears to be a late production gun, as the frame has many tool markings, as there was not enough time to polish these out in production. Several spots on the pistol bear the marking 42 z, and the marking WaA135 under the eagle appear on the left side of the frame, and the right side of the slide. Two additional eagles are on the right side of the slide. On the left side of the slide the marking is bvf 44 and 42 z. The gips are brown bakelite. Does anyone know how many guns were made in nickel, or is this a gun that was never finished? The magazines are marked P.38 on one and jvd on the other. Any help is much appreciated.

Jim V
July 27, 2000, 04:36 PM
I think that it belongs with the nickel palted Remington Rand 1911A1 I was once offered as military issue. If it is nickel plated, I would wager the plating was done after the war.

Ne Conjuge Nobiscum
"If there be treachery, let there be jehad!"

July 28, 2000, 09:22 AM
Well, jvd was the production code for Erste Nordboehmische Metallwarenfabrik, Adolf Roessler, Niedereinsiedel, Sudetenland, but they only made small metal fabrications, like the magazine. The "WaA135" is a Waffenamt, or acceptance code. What you describe as "bvf 44" is most likely "byf", which was the code for Mauser-Werke KG, Oberndorf on the Neckar, or the huge Mauser plant where the pistol was made. P-38s also were made with the code "ac" for the Walther plant or "cyq" for the Spreework plant in Berlin-Spandau.

The "42z" is also a production code, of sorts. As the plants reached the end of 4-digit serial number runs, they added a letter to the end of the number as the stamping machine rolled over to "0000". It's not unusual to see later frames with earlier parts - many sub-assemblies were made elsewhere and the parts stockpiled for later use. Given that arms plants were being bombed pretty vigorously in those days, frame production often lagged behind parts production.

As for the nickle, well, I'd say it's safe to assume that was done here in the US, most likely by the guy who brought it back. Late war finishes on German arms were really bad and many vet bring-backs were refinished to preserve them. Nickle was pretty rare in wartime Germany and it was most often used for badly-needed machine tools.

Hope this helps

Ken Strayhorn
Hillsborough NC

July 28, 2000, 12:47 PM
Thank you for all of the help. Strayhorn, you would not be related to the Strayhorns I used to get as wrecker rotations one city over would you?

July 28, 2000, 03:52 PM
Yep, they are distant relations - only one link and that was 4 generations ago. "Strayhorn" is pretty common in Scotland and we are two different families with the same name, but there was a marriage in the 1880s between the families.

Sorry to bore you other fellows with geneology, but my email link seems to be broken today.

Ken Strayhorn
Hillsborough NC

James K
July 28, 2000, 08:44 PM
Hi, guys,

I have been told that many GIs had German souvenir weapons plated in France as well as here. Safe to say, no P.38 (or P.08 or Model 1911/A1) was ever nickel plated by the factory.