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Dad's P.38 German Pistol-would like info.

hitch1959hitch1959 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
edited December 2010 in Ask the Experts
Dad brought back a souvenir P.38 to the US in 1945. I'd like to know about it. Here are the markings: Right side - WaA135 with 3 wing airplane stamp above, then to the right a 4 wing aircraft with eagle head and a swastika below, then to the right a 2 wing plane with WaA135 below. Looks like a 637 and some mark underneath under the end of the barrel. Left side markings: P.38 then to the right SVW with 45 underneath, then to the right 532f (appears to be the serial number repeated near the trigger.) To the right is another WaA135 with a 3 wing plane above. It also has the black leather holster and one clip still containing bullets with another WaA135 and 3 wing plane marking on back, P.38 v with U underneath on the side. He locked it up after the war and it hasn't been touched until now, after his death. He was in the Army in the Central Europe and Rhineland campaigns between 1943 until after VE day in 1945, returning to the US. Thanks for any information

Comments

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    SVW = Made by Mauser, Walther was not the only P38 contractor.
    45 = Made in 1945

    Those "airplanes" are stylized Nazi eagles simplified to a small metal stamp.

    WaA = Waffenampt = German ordnance bureau in charge of equipment procurement and inspection.
    135 = Oberndorf Germany WaA office overseeing Mauser products.

    532f = Serial number


    637 = I don't know for sure, may be a serial number indicating the barrel was a replacement salvaged off another gun.

    Magazine marked P.38 v U is a late war magazine, the U means "unhardened" no doubt to save time and money.

    Question: What is the finish on the gun? Blue/black or rough gray phosphate (Parkerizing)? What are the grips? Plastic or stamped sheet metal?

    Pictures would be nice, sticky at the top on how to post.

    I did a little Googling on the French Connection
    P38s were assembled by the French after the war, using svw 45 Mauser parts. They also took over completed guns in stock. Either way, it was supposed to have a star as a French inspection mark.
    But Mauser apparently got out some guns in 1945 before VE Day, which would be a liklier souvenir for a Yank at war's end.
  • 1KYDSTR1KYDSTR Member Posts: 2,357 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    SVW 45 indicates it was produced by the French under occupation of the plant in Germany. The "planes" you are seeing are actually Eagle Waffenampts, or proof marks. The mismatched parts normally indicate a gun that was assembled from parts in stock at the time of occupation.

    Sorry Hawk Carse...do I have that wrong on the French assembly?

    Gotcha. I have a 98 SVW45 *...never thought to ask him if that was there or not. Mine is a grey park finish, and I seem to remember that most of the SVW guns (98's & P-38's) were that way too. Thanks for the info!

    EDIT #4: Everything looks as it should. Great condition all parts and leather as well. Wonder how the innards look? Barrel condition etc. Very impressive indeed!
  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,520 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Marschall's book notes that Mauser assembled approximately 14,500, SVW code P-38's during the last months of the war in Europe. The lower case "f" range was from 1 to 2,299 at the end, in April 1945.

    This makes it appear that 532f would probably date to March/April 1945?
  • hitch1959hitch1959 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Guys - Thanks very much for all the info. In a day or so I will get my camera returned so I can post a photo.
    To answer the questions, the finish appears a dull gray, similar to tarnished silver. The grips are black ribbed plastic. Regards.
  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,520 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by hitch1959
    Guys - Thanks very much for all the info. In a day or so I will get my camera returned so I can post a photo.
    To answer the questions, the finish appears a dull gray, similar to tarnished silver. The grips are black ribbed plastic. Regards.


    Obviously depending on it being factory original, and also VG to excellent condition? It would be a very valuable to a military handgun or a P 38 collector. Not many of the SVW's were made in the first place, many didn't survive the war. Also less then 3,000 of the "r" series were made at the very end of hostilities in March and April of 45. Hold on to it, it's a big buck collectors piece now, that could only go up in value.
  • gary wraygary wray Member Posts: 4,663
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by hitch1959
    Guys - Thanks very much for all the info. In a day or so I will get my camera returned so I can post a photo.
    To answer the questions, the finish appears a dull gray, similar to tarnished silver. The grips are black ribbed plastic. Regards.


    hitch1959.......sounds like your Dad got one of the last German SVW's out the door before the French took it over! Few SVW's were made under German control (15k+-) in three subvarations. From your description you might have a SubVar 2 pistol in the last "f" block. Very rare indeed! Take those good closeup photos, including photos of the holster (which also could be big buck item) and the mags if you can. I would also establish the history of the weapon with your father as you have done at the end of the post (for example, what unit was he in and any other details you can provide) as that establishes the provenance of the weapon. Exciting[:)][^]! Look forward to the photos!
  • hitch1959hitch1959 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hey- you guys are great. I thank you for your expertise and willingness to teach me about this pistol.
    To correct one statement I made in my original post, which was: "Looks like a 637 and some mark underneath under the end of the barrel"....I was completely wrong. The mark is 532 with the lower case f. Therefore, this serial number appears on the slide, barrel and frame (near the trigger) Sorry for the misinformation.

    My camera didn't show up in the mail today, (left at mom's when picking up this gun, after excitedly taking pictures of the 2 "German officer dress swords" he shipped back, if I remember his description correctly from 50 years ago) so I laid the gun, clip and holster on my scanner and will post those 'photos'. I think they will be satisfactory.

    Also, I do have my dad's Army history from draftee to ASTP at U of Oklahoma to the various forts for training before being shipped off to Europe, landing in Marsailles with the 103rd Infantry. He was an ammo truck driver going up through France, into Germany, across the Rhine and southeastward, eventually to Innsbruck around VE Day.

    Thanks again. Looking forward to your feedback.
    Now I need to figure out how to post these photos. - I'll go ahead and post this and do the pics separately.
  • hitch1959hitch1959 Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hopefully this works. I've uploaded 4 photos to the ImageShack, URL: http://profile.imageshack.us/user/mcfree33/

    Pls let me know if this didn't work. Thx.
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Matching numbers is a big plus.

    It is ironic that a roughly made gun in the losing phase of a war is one of the more unusual and collectable versions. Nice ones made while they were still winning aren't as scarce.
  • gary wraygary wray Member Posts: 4,663
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by hitch1959
    Hopefully this works. I've uploaded 4 photos to the ImageShack, URL: http://profile.imageshack.us/user/mcfree33/

    Pls let me know if this didn't work. Thx.


    hitch1959.....we are running out of time on this thread but from what I can see of your photos it looks to me like you have the "real deal"....one of the last SVW's to come out the door before the collapse of the "Thousand Year Reich." If you look closer at the back of the holster for markings and send them to me by email I can tell you what you have there. But you have quite a set, worth some real dough, and much prized by P38 collectors. But hopefully it is worth more to you as it was your father's. By the way, the grips are bakelite, an early form of plastic used extensively on German weapons as they had perfected the process before the war. Kudos to your father for his service to our country and his sharp eye[^]
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