About a year and a half ago, I participated in a couple of threads about police-marked Red Nine C96s that had been reworked to shorten the barrels and replace the tangent sights with fixed rear sights. These threads (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=21133 & http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?p=133878#post133878) created a lively discussion and produced a number of insights about these pistols. Some of the learnings I took away from those discussions as well as subsequent research are:
1. Nine-mm C96s and LP08s were issued to expanded and newly created police units very early in the Weimar era (1919-20) as a "temporary" measure until sufficient P08s could be obtained. The C96s very probably were unmodified pistols with 5.5" barrels and tangent sights.With this as an introduction, I present another example of a reworked Red Nine C96 that was issued to the Reichswehr’s Eisenbahnbatailon, transferred to the Schupo command at Elbing, replaced during the 1920s with a P08 and reworked again or refurbished by the Spandau Arsenal in the late 1930s for military usage. This pistol is not mine but belongs to Wayne Warren who has permitted me to present it here.
2. The police C96s received the 1920 government property stamp as well as police unit markings. The 1920 stamp is observed in various locations on these guns, probably as a result of the lack of explicit instructions for this model in the order for this stamp. Many of the police markings differ in format from that specified in the Prussian Schutzpolizei marking instructions of April 1922 and probably predate this order.
3. The "temporary" period apparently lasted longer than originally planned as a result of the IMKK shutting down DWM's production of 9-mm P08s in 1921. The IMKK action may have been the stimulus for the police to rework the C96s and LP08s since they would have to remain in service for a longer period of time.
4. The police C96s were reworked to shorten their barrels to 4" and replace the tangent sights with fixed rear sights. This was almost certainly a decision taken by the police because the long barrels were not suitable or necessary for police use. There is no evidence that the IMKK ordered these modifications. By 1925, at least some of these pistols had been reworked and returned to police service. Eventually, nearly all police C96s were reworked.
5. It is still unclear to me whether the reworks were conducted at factories or major repair facilities or whether they were done by local armorers. It seems unlikely that large numbers of needed weapons could have been taken out of service at one time and sent to a central facility to be reworked. Wherever the work was done, it probably required a number of months to accomplish for each police unit.
6. Reworked C96s clearly remained in service in Köln until the late 1920s (HWIS, Chapter 8). It seems likely that they were used in other police units as well until the large-scale issue of new 29 DWM P08s and reworked former Landjägerei LP08s in 1929-30.
7. Many of the former police C96s were again reworked or at least refinished by the Spandau Arsenal for reissue to the military in the late 1930s. These bear the straight-wing eagle/Su4 acceptance stamps on the right side of the receiver.
8. Reworked C96s with canceled markings 2/E.4., 2/E.31., 2/E.118. and 3/E.32. on the left side of their magazine wells and S.Ma.I. police markings on their front grip straps were initially (following WWI) issued to the Reichswehr’s Eisenbahnbatailon (railroad battalion) and then transferred to the Schupo of the Marienwerder district in the early 1920s. The first number in the mag well markings represents the company within the battalion: 1. Kompagnie stationed in Königsberg; 2. Kompagnie, Dresden; 3. Kompagnie, Stuttgart; 4. Kompagnie, München. The grip strap markings indicate these weapons were reassigned to the Schupo command in Elbing, the largest city in the Marienwerder district.
The serial number is 18298 and it is all-matching except for the grips which are numbered 139374 (r) and 139944 (l). It has the Neue Sicherung (New Safety), is commercially c/c/U proofed and also bears the 1920 government property stamp. There is no Imperial military proof eagle (Reichsadler) on the right side of the receiver but it does have the eagle/Su4 stamp of the Spandau Arsenal. The trigger is fire-blued and has the serial number 298 stamped on the right side. I cannot tell if the bolt stop and safety lever were fire-blued.
A very interesting and puzzling feature is the presence of a Reichsadler and the number 2 stamped on top of the receiver on surfaces that were machined during the process of removing the tangent rear sight and therefore did not exist before the rework. In the second of the previous threads, a reworked C96 (sn 10307) was presented (post #13) having a partial eagle and the number 3 stamped in the same location. Because the eagle is incomplete, it was not positively established that this was an Imperial marking. In the present example, the eagle is fully stamped and is definitely the Reichsadler.
The marking on the magazine well is 1/E.19. and represents the 1. Kompagnie, Eisenbahnbatailon stationed in Königsberg. As in all other reported cases, this marking is lightly x’d out. Now, only the 4. Kompagnie from München is unrepresented among the reported C96s transferred to the Schupo.
The grip strap marking is S.Ma.I.K.33. representing the Schupo command in Elbing. This marking apparently predates the April 1922 Schupo marking instructions as it contains a letter designating the Hundertschaft (company) rather than a number. A similar marking is reported in HWIS Chapter 11. This marking is canceled with a single straight line which seems to be a characteristic of former police C96s reworked by the Spandau Arsenal.
The holster with this pistol is a brown pebble-grain model by Robert Larsen dyed black on the front and designed specifically for a shortened C96. While there is no discernible date on the holster, other similar examples from this manufacturer have been observed with 1925 dates proving that reworked C96s were in police service by this date. The outside of the holster cover is stamped S. . .2.121. (partly illegible) which does not match the grip strap marking on the pistol but may have been from the same unit. The inside of the cover bears the following in ink: Bock, Günther / 010125/40. There may be an additional character at the end of the numbers. The name “BocK” is also scratched on the back.
Generally, this latest example confirms conclusions drawn during the previous discussions. The Imperial eagles and numbers on the tops of the receivers of this and #10307 were definitely applied after machining the tops of the receivers to remove the tangent sight. Either the machining was done before the end of WWI or the Reichsadler stamp was in use for a presumably short period after WWI.
Comments will be most welcome.