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Thread: Austrian Police S&W Revolver

  1. #1
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    Default Austrian Police S&W Revolver

    Gentlemen:

    I thought I would show an interesting Smith & Wesson revolver that was issued to the Austrian Police during US Occupation. Austria was occupied by United States Forces Austria (USFA) at the end of WWII. Policing was generally done by the US Constabulary in conjunction with the reconstituted Austrian Police (Osterreich Polizei). The 4th US Constabulary Regiment came under the operational control and command of the Area Commander in Austria. The photo below shows an Austrian made USFA shoulder patch and distinctive insignia with the red/white/red colors of Austria overlaid with a sword and olive branch. The pistol is a Smith & Wesson revolver that was issued to the reconstituted Austrian Police by USFA.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] S&W Austria.JPG
    47.06KB

    This Smith & Wesson is one of the "pre-victory" Model 10 revolvers made in .38 S&W caliber. This particular pistol is in the serial number range of some that were shipped to Hartford Arsenal in December 1941. It has full US Army Ordnance inspection stamps by Col. Waldemar Broberg. It has no British proofs or markings, so perhaps it was retained because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] S&W 38 ctg.JPG
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    The pistol is blued with case hardened trigger, hammer, etc. with checkered walnut grips as would be expected of a lend-lease S&W.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] S&W right side.JPG
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    The pistol has the expected roll stamps, including the "United States Property" stamp on the topstrap.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] S&W US Prop.JPG
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    Finally, the pistol frame is stamped with the Austrian Police property stamp indicating USFA issue to the Osterreich Polizei.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] S&W Austrian Polizei.JPG
    39.14KB

    Other Smith & Wesson revolvers in this caliber are also known to have been issued to the German Police. In all probability this caliber was chosen to tightly control the ammunition allocated to the German and Austrian Police. Similar pistols were issued by US Occupation Forces to the German Railway Police, Bavarian Rural Police, etc. All were property stamped on the pistol, generally on the left side of the frame as with this example. An interesting pistol that can be classified as either a US or Austrian weapon.

    George
    NRA Endowment Member
    KSRA Life Member
    Certified Police Armorer

    "You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  2. #2
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    Excellent posting ; I believe that there are holsters out there made by Robert Larson which were made for these forces/revolvers in case you were of a mind to find one.
    Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase. kk

  3. #3
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    Huggiebear,

    Thank you for the kind words. I would like to find a proper Austrian Polizei holster for this pistol. If anyone has one for sale, or knows of one for sale, I would appreciate a "heads up."

    You know, I also find it interesting that when Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring surrendered to US forces, he was armed with a Smith & Wesson that he had obtained before the war.

  4. #4
    Johnny_Peppers Guest

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    George,
    There was no Harford Arsenal, but there was a Hartford Ordnance District in which both Colt and Smith & Wesson were located. The United States Property is typical of Lend-Lease weapons, and following WWII the pistol may have been shipped by the British military as aid in rebuilding the police force in Austria. In that case it would not have had British commercial proofs applied before leaving England.

  5. #5
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    Johnny,

    Thank you for the information on the Hartford Ordnance District. I presumed the "arsenal" was really a central distribution or shipping point but that terminology is old information from a letter from Gun Report. It is also perfectly logical that this pistol did actually make it across the pond and was then again shipped over by the British. All these .38 S&W pistols that were issued to the German and Austrian Police had to come from somewhere. I wonder if they were also issued to the police in the British Occupation Zone of Germany as well? Has anyone seen one of these with markings outside of the US Occupation Zone or Austria?

    I really should send off to Smith & Wesson some day and get a letter for the pistol.

    George

  6. #6
    Johnny_Peppers Guest

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    In addition to the Osterreich Polizei there was also issue to these native security forces.
    Bavarian Municipal Police
    Bavaria Rural Police
    Frankfurt Railroad Police
    Hamburg Railroad Police
    Polizei-Gelsenkirchen
    Polizei Berlin
    Railway Police Augsburg

  7. #7
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    I thought I would resurrect this thread to show a holster that I just picked up for this pistol.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Austrian MP holster.JPG
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    This is the Austrian made police holster that was issued with this S&W Military and Police revolver during occupation. It has dual belt loops that are secured with typical Austrian flat rivets.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Austrian MP holster back.JPG
    37.29KB

    The holster also has the typical Austrian Police ammunition pouch beneath the flap. The S&W fits perfectly in the holster and while in excellent condition, it does show wear corresponding to the S&W.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Austrian MP holster interior.JPG
    35.01KB

    There are no markings on the holster. The only markings found are the maker marking "WK" on the snap on the ammunition pouch.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Austrian MP holster pouch.JPG
    44.19KB

    I was very lucky with this holster as I found it in a pile of used holsters at a gun show this weekend for $20. I am now a very happy camper.

    George
    NRA Endowment Member
    KSRA Life Member
    Certified Police Armorer

    "You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  8. #8
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    This is the original instruction for the 38. S & W revolver and the
    .30 carbine M1 for the Bavarian police after WWII.

    I think it is not necessary to translate the cover text.

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Polizei-Instrukt..jpg
    274.98KB
    Heinrich

  9. #9
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    Heinrich,

    Thank you for the photo of the Bavarian Polizei manual. I have seen the S&W revolvers and M1 carbines with Bavarian Police markings and this would be a great accessory for one of those firearms.

    Foreign arms were required for issue to the postwar German and Austrian Police as a rule of the Four Powers Agreements during occupation of both countries. Here is a similar stamp of the Austrian Gendarmerie found on a British SMLE rifle.

    George

    Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Enfield Aust Gend 1.JPG
    40.36KB
    NRA Endowment Member
    KSRA Life Member
    Certified Police Armorer

    "You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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