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Thread: Kü mystery answer?

  1. #1
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    Default Kü mystery answer?

    Hello fellow collectors- I posted this in the Luftwaffe section because am cross posting it to the Mauser section in case others don't see it. I believe I may have solved the mystery of the "Kü" marking. Background, some may know me some may not. I am active in the K98k collecting field and have co-authored a few books on the subject. We are working on Volume 2 in which I will cover the repair depots that repaired K98k's. In doing so I have acquired a bit of a feel for how the Germans marked depot weapons and such. For the Heer, the typical abbreviation for depots uses the first and last letter of the depot: for instance Spandau is shortened to Su, Mainz is Mz, Krakau is Kru, and these abbreviations were applied to the rifles in the way of inspection stamps to show the repair facility responsible to doing the work on the rifles. You guys may be more familiar with Jt depot markings, i.e. Ingolstadt (in German the J and I are interchangeable).

    However, I don't believe that this carried over for the Luftwaffe, exactly. We do know that the Luftwaffe had individual repair depots known as Luftzeugamt. These Luftzeugamt would be responsible for repair of weapons/equipment. It's clear that these Kü marked Lugers have been through a depot, as they bear the Luftzeugamt eagles associated with them. With that in mind, i did some searching for possible Luftwaffe LZA facilities and found 1 perfect match:

    Sagen-Küpper. Known as Küpper bei Sagen, but even better known locally as just "Küpper". So, armed with my working knowledge of the repair system used by the Germans, it seems very clear to me that the Kü marking is the marking of the Luftzuegamt repair depot at Sagen-Küpper.

    The following PDF file contains info about the Sagen-Küpper airfield (P.585): http://www.ww2.dk/Airfields%20-%20Ge...Borders%5D.pdf

    From that page under the History tab:

    " History
    : built in 1936.Luftzeugamt located there"

    If this isn't the answer, I hope that my posting will cause some discussion that might lead to the answer, but I'm fairly certain that this is the answer we've all been looking for.

    It's very buried if you try to Google it. You can search Kupper (without umlaut) and some more searches show up.

    For further research I've contacted Jon Speed and asked if Mauser had any transfers of P.08 components to the RLM, there may be some documents that show large transfers of parts and sometimes facilities are mentioned in these entries. Below is a workers badge from the Küpper LZA.

    11701488_1_x.jpg
    www.thirdpartypress.com

    "Experience is a hard teacher, because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards!" -unknown

  2. #2
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    That is a great summary reference of Luft airfields...

    What about "Küsten" near Berlin?

    Any thoughts on a place where Luft archival materials might be in storage that could help with the search?

    Marc
    Igitur si vis pacem, para bellum -
    - if you wish for peace, prepare for war.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrerick View Post
    That is a great summary reference of Luft airfields...

    What about "Küsten" near Berlin?

    Any thoughts on a place where Luft archival materials might be in storage that could help with the search?

    Marc
    Küstrin had no infrastructure according to that listing so I personally would eliminate that one. The one at Küpper was large, and included an LZA that operated from 1938-1945:

    Luftzeugamt Sagan-Küpper (c. 1938-43); Luftzeugamt 1/VI (1943-45)

    Apparently was reclassified in 43 timeframe to Luftzeugamt 1/V1, but as the badge I posted shows both names were in use.
    www.thirdpartypress.com

    "Experience is a hard teacher, because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards!" -unknown

  4. #4
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    Had a few questions asked about my theory and was asked to expand it a little. In order to further your knowledge, in 41-42 the German Wehrmacht ran into a rifle shortage (the Luftwaffe as well, there are also depot assembled Luftwaffe inspected K98k rifles made from depot spares but these were not done at Küpper it seems, but are LZA 4 marked). According to some this was due to mishandling of the wartime economy by the NSDAP and an acute shortage or weapons occurred (other theories are that the massive expansion of forces once war started led to the shortages). This is well documented in K98k collecting, and the appearance of depot assembled K98k rifles occurs in this timeframe. The largest of the depots began to assemble 98k rifles from armorers spare components. I'll share a few such rifles with you for perspective (this appears to be what happened with your Kü marked P.08 pistols as many are assembled with armorers spare components).

    These large depots held a massive quantity of spare parts (and reclaimed components) to repair issued weapons when damaged during use. The HWA authorized this, as these rifles were built and issued to normal troops as a stopgap measure. By the end of 1942 it appears this program was over, as factories were added and production simplified/increased (this may have been one reason Mauser stopped P.08 production and started P.38 production). On these depot rifles, the depots district number was placed in front of the serial number to indicate the facility that assembled the weapons. This was all about the accountability in case of failure/recall.

    The following K98k's were assembled at a depot from spare parts and reclaimed parts, with the depots Wehrkries used to identify the depot. The depot number was part of the serial number (in this case XX for Graudenz. This is just a small sampling of these, many depots built rifles in the same Period.

    DSC_0033.jpgDSC_0034.jpgDSC_0037.jpgDSC_0038.jpgDSC_0201.jpgDSC_0207.jpg

    Below, Posen XXI depot build:

    DSC_0016.JPGDSC_0009.JPGDSC_0008.JPGDSC_0020.JPG

    Attached, Luftwaffe depot assembled K98k made from reclaimed components and depot spares:

    DSC_0011.jpgDSC_0010.jpgDSC_0005.jpgDSC_0004.jpgDSC_0001.jpgreceiver.jpg

    I hope this helps put in context the idea of why the Kü was included as part of the serial number on the pistols, it was about accountability for future repair/replacement.
    www.thirdpartypress.com

    "Experience is a hard teacher, because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards!" -unknown

  5. #5
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    Thank you. Excellent research and information.
    abzug

  6. #6
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    Nice theory! Küpper certainly seems like an outfit that had the place and staff to carry out this kind of work.

    Co-Author 'The Parabellum Is Back! 1945-2000'.

  7. #7
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    Good example of the advantage of a "cross- disciplinary approach" (rifles/pistols) for lack of a better term.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrown View Post
    Good example of the advantage of a "cross- disciplinary approach" (rifles/pistols) for lack of a better term.
    It's a shame that more of these exchanges don't occur. While I'm guilty of a fair amount of "tunnel vision" in my research, expertise from collectors of bayonets, rifles, uniforms and other items was of tremendous value. Thanks very much, mfarb, for your contributions.
    Best regards,
    Don
    [email protected]

    Author of History Writ in Steel: German Police Markings 1900-1936
    Updated at: www.historywritinsteel.com

  9. #9
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    So interesting!!!! Love it.

    Is that last photo a Radom factory stamp on the receiver?

  10. #10
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    This is great research and much appreciated. I have one question, however, in the case of using old and spare parts for assembly, we don't see that in the Ku lugers. Those lugers are all of similar date. Someone who has examined a few can offer observations regarding the parts on Ku lugers, that is, do all the parts seem to be of new manufacture? The Ku lugers are probably not reworks but are restricted to newly assembled lugers from Mauser parts. If that is the case, there must have been a capacity problem at the Mauser factory resulting in (some) luger assembly (Luftwaffe contract only) being done at Luftwaffe facility. This would have required skilled assemblers and testing personnel. It might also have required personnel to finish metal and prepare magazines for supplying with the lugers. This seems difficult to accomplish when someone could set up an assembly facility closer to the Mauser factory (perhaps in a building right in the closest town) and have access to much-needed expertise from Mauser personnel. Perhaps this explains why the Ku lugers were not produced in larger numbers.

    Just some observations.

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