Introductory article

At the beginning of the 1900’s there was much interest in the use of the first semi-automatic pistol both as pistol and carbine. This   demand   was   felt   both   in   commercial   and   in   military   domains.   The   Borchardt ,    the   Mauser   C96 ,   and   the   Luger   Carbine    are   some   examples   of this   interest.   The   Artillery   Luger   represents   an   historical   milestone   in   the   development   and   use   of   the   pistol-carbine   semiautomatic   in   the   military domain. The   military   use   of   the   Luger   Artillery   Model   ended   after   the   Great   War,   even   though   a   limited   production   of   automatic   LP08   pistols    was   made during the Second World War. In   the   commercial   domain   the   success   of   the   Artillery   Luger   Model   continued,   especially   in   the   United   States,   up   to   the   second   half   of   the   1930’s. Several catalogs of the epoch are reporting to us this interest ( Stoeger ,   Frantzius , Pacific Arms ). After   the   Second   World   War,   the   Mauser   firm   produced   the   Luger   Artillery   Model,   under   French   control,   from   1945   up   through   1947.   Most   recently Mauser produced this model in a limited commemorative series during the 1985-86 time-frame. This   article   will   briefly   summarize   the   history   of   this   model.   Those   who   are   interested   in   a   thorough   analysis   of   Artillery   Luger   history   can   refer   to   the book   “La   Luger   Artiglieria   –   The   Luger   Artillery” ,   the   first   book   completely   dedicated   to   this   model.   This   book   contains   more   than   190   photos   and describes various models and accessories. Military Requirements In   1907,   the   German   Artillery   requested   the   development   of   a   pistol-carbine.   Comparative   tests   were   done   between   several   pistols   of   the   day,   the Borchardt, the Mauser C96, and the Frommer, but these pistols were not chosen for adoption. In   1908   the   German   Army   adopted   the   Pistole   08   (P08).   The   Kriegsministerium   decided   at   that   time   to   re-consider   the   artillery   requirements.   Captain Adolf   Fischer   was   assigned   to   head   a   team,   that   in   collaboration   with   DWM   /   Deutsche   Waffen   –   Und   Munitionsfabriken,   was   tasked   develop   such   a variation. It   is   possible   to   trace   several   technical   solutions   back   to   the   previous   models.   The   first   stocked   Lugers   with   7   inch   barrels   were   produced   for   the South   American   market   around   1900.   Many   of   these   Lugers   have   the   GL   stamp   which   indicates   that   Mr.   Georg   Luger,   inventor   of   the   pistol,   was directly   involved   in   the   supervision   of   their   manufacture.   The   serial   number   of   these   weapons   falls   in   the   interval   10.000-10.050.   Experiences   with these    pistols    were    refined    and    incorporated    into    the    Luger    model    Carbine.    The    Imperial    German    Navy    also    adopted    a    pistol-carbine,    the Selbstladepistolen 1904 (P04) . Captain   Fisher   was   inspired   by   these   preceding   models   to   fulfill   the   Artillery   requirements.   The   result   was   a   Luger   with   an   8   inch   barrel,   an   8-position tangent   rear   sight   (calibrated   to   800   meters)   and   a   shoulder   stock   with   holster.   Kaiser   William   II   approved   the   official   use   of   the   LP08   on   June   3   rd 1913. LP08 Use The   Imperial   Artillery    was   the   first   military   unit   to   use   the   new   Luger   but,   due   to   this   model’s   extreme   flexibility,   other   types   of   military   units including   the   famous   elite   troops   Sturmtruppen    also   employed   it.   The   new   aviation   military   units   also   used   the   Luger   Artillery.   Several   tests   were performed    for    evaluating    the    effectiveness    of    the    pistol    in    aerial    fights,    and    in    the    damage    experienced    on    the    airplane    engines.    But    the Sturmtruppen,   on   the   Western   front,   proved   to   be   the   most   important   use.   The   historical   pictures   are   today   a   useful   instrument   to   analyze   and   clarify the use of the LP08. World   War   I   quickly   turned   into   a   stagnant   trench   war.   A   philosophy   of   "live   and   let   live"   silently   and   comprehensibly   emerged   among   the   soldiers   on both   sides.   The   soldiers   clearly   preferred   to   maintain   their   trench   positions   instead   of   inconclusive   and   costly   blood-thirsty   attacks.   With   the   intent   to break   this   "status   quo",   a   new   tactic   of   fighting   was   developed.   The   new   tactic   introduced   the   use   of   small   groups   of   well-armed   soldiers   with   limited objectives. For the first time, infiltrations into hostile lines were used. The   Sturmtruppen   were   also   armed   with   the   LP08   with   a   new   large   capacity   magazine.   The   Trommelmagazine    provided   a   great   volume   of   fire   that was   effective   in   the   trench   fighting.   This   magazine   loaded   up   to   32   rounds   of   ammunition.   It   was   carried   in   unusual   holsters   made   of   cloth   (some Trommelmagazine    holsters   presented   in   my   book   are   shown   in   leather,   but   there   is   no   confirmation   on   their   actual   use   in   combat).   The Trommelmagazine, together with the special loading tool   and the ammunition, were stored and transported in a wooden box called a P-Kasten . The Model History This section will briefly describe the Luger Artillery models, from the Imperial types to the Commemorative models produced in 1985-86. We   begin   with   the   acceptance   prototypes   produced   by   the   DWM   for   the   Army   qualification   trials.   DWM   made   about   fifty   pieces   between   1912   and 1913.   Charles   Kenyon,   Jr.   wrote   a   very   good   article   on   these   pre-production   pistols.   These   pistols   obviously   don't   have   the   standard   military acceptance stamps. The followings aspects characterize them: 1. The date is not present on the chamber; 2.   The   rear   sight   numbers   are   engraved;   indicative   of   the   care   applied   to   this   pistol   (this   is   also   evidence   that   not   all   the   production   tools   were available yet. DWM used the results of the trials as justification to invest in the production tools). 3. The diameter of the sight adjusting screw is larger than the later production. 4. The serial number was stamped on the front of the frame and doesn’t follow the military standard at all. 5. The inner rear frame re-enforcement is not present. It   seems   that   the   first   Luger   Artillery   were   equipped   with   a   prototyping   stock ,   similar   to   the   one   used   with   the   Mauser   C96.   In   fact,   it   is   possible   to put   the   LP08   inside   this   stock   as   for   the   C96.   Recently   some   replicas   of   this   holster/stock   have   been   produced   and   the   result   is   really   interesting.   This stock was not retained for the final configuration. Following   Army   acceptance,   the   production   of   the   LP08   was   assigned   to   DWM,   and   also   to   the   Royal   Arsenal   of   Erfurt.   Erfurt   produced   the   LP08   only in   the   year   1914,   DWM   production   continued   up   to   the   end   of   the   First   World   War.   When   WWI   was   over,   the   Treaty   of   Versailles   placed   the   LP08 among   the   weapons   that   were   prohibited   for   manufacture   and   issue.   Many   of   them   were   unfortunately   destroyed.   Some   were   reworked   by   an   arsenal and had the barrel shortened and many others were hidden away. The LP08 only remained in service with the Navy. With   the   intent   to   distinguish   government-owned   weapons   from   those   that   were   contraband   or   clandestine,   on   August   7,   1920,   an   order   was   issued by   the   Reichstag,   known   as   "law   for   disarmament   of   the   people,"   that   forced   all   persons   to   turn   in   all   contraband   war   weapons   obtained   from   the battlefields   during   the   conflict   and   also   during   the   revolutionary   movements   that   followed   the   war.   The   directive   "Inspektion   der   Infanterie   Nr.   657.T 20   J2s   (W.2)"   introduced   perhaps   a   most   unique   circumstance   in   history,   in   that   the   year   “1920”   was   stamped   on   government-issued   weapons   as evidence   of   state   ownership.   This   activity   created   the   variation   known   as   the   Luger   “double   date” .   These   pistols   are   characterized   by   the   double date   over   the   chamber.   Actually   the   state   property   mark   of   “1920”   was   stamped   above   the   manufacture   year   chamber   date.   There   are   some   LP08s known in this configuration. After   WWI,   the   German   economy   was   characterized   by   enormous   inflation.   The   American   market   was   the   only   national   market   to   experience   growth. In   the   United   States   during   the   1920’s,   several   different   importers   commercialized   the   sale   of   Luger   pistols.   Among   the   principal   vendors,   we   can identify   Stoeger   &   Co.    (of   New   York),   and   Pacific   Arms   Corporation    (of   San   Francisco).   In   this   period,   Artillery   Lugers   with   barrels   as   long   as sixteen   inches   (twice   as   long   as   the   basic   model)   appeared.   For   the   first   time   the   Artillery   Luger   appeared   in   caliber   .30   (7.65mm)   Luger.   These weapons   were   often   mounted   with   a   10-position   rear   sight.   Stoeger   is   considered   the   most   active   importer   and   requested   that   DWM   personalize   the production   of   its   Lugers.   Starting   in   1923   the   Lugers   imported   by   Stoeger   have,   on   the   right   side,   the   inscription   A.F.   STOEGER   Inc.   /   New   York.   On October   5th   1929,   Stoeger   was   granted   exclusive   commercial   trademark   in   the   use   of   the   name   Luger.   From   this   date   all   the   Stoeger   imported   Lugers bore the stamp GENUINE LUGER - REGISTERED U.S. PATENT OFFICE along the frame rail below the upper receiver. Beginning   in   1930,   the   production   of   the   Luger   pistols   moves   from   DWM   to   Mauser    located   in   Oberndorf;   Mauser   was   part   of   the   Loewe   Group   since December   1887   and   DWM   was   set   up   in   November   1896.   Loewe   was   the   parent   company   of   DWM.   just   as   DWM   was   the   parent   company   of   Mauser. In   1928,   the   control   of   the   DWM   Company   was   obtained   by   the   Quandt   Group.   Mauser   production   through   1934   was   based   on   the   old   DWM   orders. The   Stoeger   Artillery   Lugers   were   produced   by   Mauser   maintaining   the   DWM   stamp   on   the   toggle.   After   1934,   Mauser   distinguishes   between   military and commercial Luger production orders. In this period, two interesting variations of Artillery Luger are produced, the Persian and Siamese models. The   Persian   model    is   characterized   by   numerous   Farsi   language   inscriptions.   These   models   are   considered   very   interesting   and   “exotic”.   The Siamese model is the first LP08 created with the commercial Mauser Banner. Recently   a   new   variation   resurfaces;   in   fact,   some   Imperial   Luger   (P08,   Navy   and   LP08)   with   Thai   marks   have   been   found.   These   pistols   survived WWI and were sold as surplus to the Royal Thai Police somewhere between 1919 and 1937. They are characterized by particular Thai stamps . There are some examples of use of LP08 during WWII; for sure some LP08 where used in Italy during the Anzio’s battle. It   seems   that   a   telescopic   stock    has   been   associated   to   this   pistol   but   there   are   no   official   documents   tracing   this   point.   Recently,   it   has   been discoved that the above mentioned telescopic stock was manufactured in Japan by MTC as an accessory for their Luger pistol copies. At   the   end   of   the   Second   World   War,   the   French   Army   occupied   the   Mauser   factory   in   Oberndorf   and   took   over   the   production   of   the   P08.   During   this period   of   French   control,   a   small   number   of   LP08   models   were   also   produced.   The   P08   was   used   by   the   French   Police   (Gendarmerie),   and   also   by   the French   Army,   especially   in   Indochina.   Up   to   know   five   variations   of   P08   have   been   reported.   It   is   possible   to   find   the   LP08   in   the   second   and   third variations.   The   second   variation    is   characterized   by   French   “*”   (star)   proof   mark;   the   third   one   by   the   Commercial   nitro   German   eagle/n   proof mark.   The   total   amount   of   Luger   production   under   French   control   should   be   not   greater   than   3500   specimens.   Up   to   know   only   ten   Luger   Artillery have   been   reported   by   collectors.   Therefore   the   1946-1947   Mauser   LP08   made   under   French   control   is   one   of   the   most   rare   and   collectible   variations. The   P08   was   mainly   used   in   the   Indochina   and   Alger   wars.   In   1950,   5000   P08   manual    have   been   published   mainly   for   the   army   gunsmith   involved in the Indochina war. These manuals are today really rare. The French Army used also the P38 pistol. Also for this model a similar user manual has been published in the same year. In the 1948, the dismantling process  started and in 1953 the Mauser firm is completely liquidated. In   1969,   Mauser   was   awarded   a   contract   by   Interarms   in   the   United   States   and   production   of   the   P08   was   commercially   resumed.   Mauser   initially bought   the   entire   production   package   of   the   1929   Swiss   model.   In   particular,   it   has   been   acquired   all   the   inspection   gauges   necessary   to   evaluate   the dimension   of   each   single   part   of   the   gun.   Not   all   the   gauges   where   adequate   to   evaluate   the   new   produced   pistols   therefore   Mauser   made   specific   of gauges . Recently the gauges acquired by Mauser from the Swiss and made also by Mauser have been found in Oberndorf . The new Mauser was based on three pistol types: · The model known as 29/70 , similar to the 06/29 Swiss model; · The model 06/73 , analogous to the P06 model; · And the Commemorative  models. The   contract   with   the   Interarms   called   for   100,000   Parabellum   Pistols   to   be   produced   in   10   years.   It   is   interesting   to   highlight   that   Mauser   in   the 1970’s   was   only   able   to   produce   1000   guns   per   month   against   the   500-600   per   day   that   were   produced   in   1939.   In   1986,   the   production   of   the Commemorative   models   concluded   with   the   production   of   the   LP08.   This   last   Artillery   Luger   was   manufactured   both   in   7.65   mm,   and   9   mm Parabellum.   In   the   advertising   of   the   period,   it   is   written   that   the   last   Artillery   models   produced   by   the   Mauser   were   inspired   by   the   Stoeger,   Persian, and   Siamese   models   of   the   1930’s.   It   is   important   to   note   that   the   blueprints   and   production   tools   for   both   pistols   had   been   saved   from   destruction   by August   Weiss   in   1947.   The   LP08   in   caliber   7.65   mm   Parabellum ,   due   to   the   rarity   of   this   calibre,   is   highly   sought   after   by   collectors.   These   guns were furnished in a particularly luxurious case that contained the pistol, the stock, the cleaning rod, the screwdriver and the sight adjustment tool. An   extensive   research   has   been   performed   by   the   author   and   Gerben   van   Vlimmeren   about   the   post   WWII   Parabellum.   The   result   of   this   study   has been summarized in a new book: “The Parabellum is back! 1945 - 2000”. Additional information can be find in the web site “ The Parabellum is back ”.
 Artillery Luger pistol and Mauser Parabellum  
 Artillery Luger
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