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A Unique Smith & Wesson M&P Revolver


SARGE
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Gentlemen:

 

A unique Smith & Wesson M&P revolver for your viewing. thumbsup.gif

 

This is a wartime "Lend Lease" Smith & Wesson, Special Model .38 Hand Ejector Military & Police Model of 1905, Fourth Change, with an interesting history.

 

According to Smith & Wesson records, it was shipped from the factory on January 7, 1942, one month to the day after the United States entered World War II after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. It passed through US Army Ordnance and received full US military proofs. It received the designation of .38/200 British Service Model Revolver as a "Lend Lease" pistol. It remained in service after the end of the war and was issued by the Allied Occupation Forces (USFA) to the Austrian Police.

 

Here is a view of the pistol with a United States Forces Austria (USFA) patch and distinctive insignia.

 

S_W_Austria.JPG

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Here is a veiw of the "United States Property" marking on the backstrap.

 

S_W_US_Prop.JPG

 

Here is a view of the commercial style markings on the right side of the pistol, including the caliber designation.

 

S_W_right_side.JPG

 

Finally, here is a closeup view of the Austrian Police property marking on the left side of the frame.

 

S_W_Austrian_Polizei.JPG

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The proper full flap holster that was issued by the Austrian Police for this pistol is shown along with the pistol.

 

Austrian_MP_holster.JPG

 

The holster is as difficult to find as the pistol is to complete the rig. This police holster was Austrian made and is distinctive in that it has an ammunition pouch under the flap in the Austrian Police manner.

 

Austrian_MP_holster_interior.JPG

 

Closeup view of the distinctive Austrian ammunition pouch.

 

Austrian_MP_holster_pouch.JPG

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Interesting revolver. I have seen the holsters, but not the revolvers.

 

At one time, I had a British MKIII .303 Enfield rifle with the same marking on the chamber.

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Interesting revolver. I have seen the holsters, but not the revolvers.

 

At one time, I had a British MKIII .303 Enfield rifle with the same marking on the chamber.

 

 

45 Auto,

 

I have a Smith & Wesson letter stating that this particular pistol was shipped from the factory in this configuration, with the commercial blue finish and these checkered walnut grips. Later examples had either a sandblasted blue finish or a military midnight black finish. Later ones also had different grips. Some of these S&W revolvers were also issued to Bavarian Police units by the US Occupation Forces.

 

I have one of the British Enfields with a similar chamber marking as the one you describe. The Enfield below is marked to the Austrian Gendarmerie (Rural Police) instead of the municipal police like the pistol. It makes a nice companion piece to this pistol.

 

Enfield_Aust_Gend_marking.JPG

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Charlie Flick

Hi Sarge:

 

That is a very nice example of the pre-Victory .38 S&W (.38-200) revolver. You did not mention the serial number. I am going to guess that it is between serialed 880,000 to 900,000 based upon its features and the ship date, correct?

 

With another collector I maintain a Database on pre-Victory and Victory Model revolvers. Would you mind PMing me with your complete serial? I would like to add it to our Database. (BTW, we do not record ownership info as that is irrelevant to our study and we maintain the confidentiality of all info submitted.)

 

Are your stocks numbered to the gun? I assume that your butt markings include the Ordnance shell and flame insignia, the P-proof marking and the WB initials of Col. Waldemar Broberg, correct? Although it was shipped to the Hartford Ordnance Depot, it was indeed a Lend Lease gun intended to be shipped to the UK and Commonwealth forces. The US markings on it indicate that it was US Property but not necessarily US military. (A few, very few, .38-200 S&W revolvers were accepted by the US military.) Lend Lease revolvers were inspected/accepted by the inspectors working under the authority of Col. Broberg, who was the Ordnance Dept. inspector for the Hartford Ordnance District at that time.

 

The Austrian Police holster is a nice addition. They are scarce in the USA. The one in my collection is similar but not identical to yours.

 

A nice gun and a good post. Thanks.

 

Charlie Flick

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Charlie,

 

I will be happy to PM you with the serial number.

 

You are correct on all counts concerning serial and markings. This pistol was inspected with Col. Waldemar Broberg's die stamp initials, Ord bomb, and P-proof. One grip is numbered and one un-numbered and they are the proper checkered style for this particular pistol, although the one stamped serial number does not match but is in range. There are no added Commonwealth markings.

 

The interesting final markings to me are the Osterreich Polizei stamps on the frame that were a police armorer property marking. If you look closely at the photo of this mark you will notice a series of punch marks below the cylinder release. There are six small punch marks surrounding a central punch mark making a star or "flower" design, if you will. I presume this to be a police armorer marking as well. Having been trained as a police armorer by S&W I know that it is not uncommon to rap this area with a wooden screwdrive handle to free the sideplate. But this is a deliberate design and is not that type of armorer activity. I speculate that this is an early police star marking placed there before the more elaborate Osterreich Polizei die stamp was obtained. I suspect that you are aware this punch marking is the same place on the frame that the Bavarian Police markings were placed. Any thoughts?

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Charlie Flick

Hi Sarge:

 

I got your PM with the serial. Thanks very much for the data.

 

I saw the "star" shaped mark under the cylinder release but frankly did not attribute any significance to it. I will check my own Osterreich Polizei Victory Model tonight when I get home to see if it has a similar marking. It is serialed V455796. It has not been lettered but from our Database I can estimate that it was likely shipped in the November 1943 to January 1944 time frame.

 

Can you elaborate on why you think this "star" might be a police armorer's marking? I have not heard that expressed before and would like to learn more on that topic. If it is a police armorer's marking what do you think the meaning of the marking is?

 

BTW, have you ever seen any period photos of Austrian Police with one of these Smiths and holster rig?

 

Thanks again.

 

Charlie

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Charlie,

 

My thinking on the punch marks are as follows...

 

The Austrian Police were merged with the German Police after the Anschluss until 1945. Austrian Police armorers were uniformed and trained in German Police procedures and the police armorers at the 100 Polizei Waffenwerkstaaten throughout Greater Germany (including Austria) used the same inspection dies, procedures, etc. These armorers would have still been Austrian Policemen when these pistols were handed over to the newly re-established postwar Osterreich Polizei.

 

The German Police used the early Prussian Police dies until they were replaced in the late 1930s with the eagle & swastika die stamps. These inspection and property stamps consisted of a police star (later eagle & swastika) often in conjunction with a letter if used as an inspection stamp.

 

Here is an example of a pre-war Prussian Police inspection stamp on a P.08 magazine. It consists of a police star with a letter "K" below it.

 

1921_Luger_magazine_1.JPG

 

These die stamped markings will be found on various police weapons including bayonets. Here is an example on a S84/98 police bayonet with a police star over a letter "F" also used as an inspection stamp in this instance.

 

Bayonet_Prussian_Police_marking_F.JPG

 

Here is a more clear example of this stamp used as a police propertly stamp on a 1933 Sauer police holster.

 

Sauer_Prussian_Police_holster_marking.JPG

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These markings were accomplished with a sharp die stamp. The Osterreich Polizei stamp is also a (then) newly made specialized die stamp. My theory is that this marking made with a simple hardened armorer punch is an armorer attempt at a police property stamp.

 

Here is a pre-war (and/or wartime) Austrian star marking made with a die that is on the pommel of an Austrian Model 95 bayonet. These bayonets were used by the military and the police in Austria and this particular bayonet was refurbished and re-issued during German occupation.

 

Austrian_marking_LR.JPG

 

Finally, here is a Police property stamp found on the frontstrap of another P.08 pistol (this one is not mine) that indicates it is Berlin Police property in the Soviet Zone of occupation. This indicates that this sort of police star continued to be used postwar to indicate occupation period police property.

 

MVC_014F.jpg

 

I hope this explains my thinking to some degree. It seems that this could have been a make-do property marking before a proper die stamp could be manufactured and obtained.

 

George

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Charlie Flick

Hi George:

 

Thanks for the excellent pics and discussion on the police "star" marking. I can readily see where you were coming from on this topic.

 

I just got through checking my own Victory that served post-war in the Osterreich Polizei. Under magnification and bright light I could not find any marks that came close to the punch marks that you appear to have under your cylinder release. Have you ever examined any other Austrian Police pre-Victory or Victory revolvers to see if that mark was duplicated?

 

If the mark is a property marking I wonder why it would be so small as to be almost indistinct? Property markings typically are large enough to announce to the casual observer just who owns the gun.

 

Anyway, you have a very interesting theory there, and a very handsome pre-Victory as well. Thanks again.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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Thanks Charlie for checking your pistol. I have found other police property markings on these revolvers. For instance, Bavarian and Railway Police markings were generally pantographed in this same area of the frame below the cylinder release. Of course that required a pantograph machine and the Munich Police Directorate Armory did in fact have one from the mid 1930s or before. They pantographed property markings on the left side of the frame of their Walther PP and PPK before the war. This was also common German Police practice during the Imperial and Weimar Republic time periods. I have not found any Austrian Police pistols with pantographed markings, so it appears they did not have a machine. I have found both engraved and die stamped Austrian Police markings however.

 

I am just trying to make sense of this marking. It is obviously not a random mark as it took seven spaced punch strikes to produce it. While it may well have another meaning, this seems the most logical to me. Of course, the meaning was clear to the armorer when it was placed there but 60 years later it is rather enigmatic to us poor collectors of such oddities.

 

Anyway, thank you for the kudos. I particularly like the US, Brit, and Austrian history of this particular revolver. The history is what these material culture artifacts are all about to me.

 

George

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  • 8 months later...
OccupationM1Carbines

Hey Sarge, you're interested in the handguns used by Germany and Austria, I'm working on the U.S. M1 carbines used during the Occupation and afterwards by West Germany and Austria.

 

Have a look at the website I'm building at www.BavarianM1Carbines.com

 

Any info you can share about markings, I'd appreciate it.

 

OMGUS Civil Administration Division, Bad Nauheim, 08 Sep 1949, Semi-Annual German Police Personal & Equipment Report as of 30 Jun 1949

 

Bavaria

8,864 pistols

11,721 M1 carbines

Bremen Enclave

1,721 pistols

1.044 M1 carbines

Hessen

4,590 pistols

2,458 M1 carbines

Wurttemberg-Baden

4,226 pistols

3,743 M1 carbines

 

This does not include what was received by the Bundesgrenzpolizei in 1952 or the Bundeswehr in 1956.

 

Jim

BavarianM1Carbines.com

 

Thanks Charlie for checking your pistol. I have found other police property markings on these revolvers. For instance, Bavarian and Railway Police markings were generally pantographed in this same area of the frame below the cylinder release.

 

Anyway, thank you for the kudos. I particularly like the US, Brit, and Austrian history of this particular revolver. The history is what these material culture artifacts are all about to me.

 

George

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  • 8 years later...

Thanks Charlie for checking your pistol. I have found other police property markings on these revolvers. For instance, Bavarian and Railway Police markings were generally pantographed in this same area of the frame below the cylinder release. Of course that required a pantograph machine and the Munich Police Directorate Armory did in fact have one from the mid 1930s or before. They pantographed property markings on the left side of the frame of their Walther PP and PPK before the war. This was also common German Police practice during the Imperial and Weimar Republic time periods. I have not found any Austrian Police pistols with pantographed markings, so it appears they did not have a machine. I have found both engraved and die stamped Austrian Police markings however.

 

I am just trying to make sense of this marking. It is obviously not a random mark as it took seven spaced punch strikes to produce it. While it may well have another meaning, this seems the most logical to me. Of course, the meaning was clear to the armorer when it was placed there but 60 years later it is rather enigmatic to us poor collectors of such oddities.

 

Anyway, thank you for the kudos. I particularly like the US, Brit, and Austrian history of this particular revolver. The history is what these material culture artifacts are all about to me.

 

George

 

Hello George!

 

I was searching through my collection and I found my Smith & Wesson Revolver and guess what Holster it was in?

 

Please have a look!

 

holster01210s2u.jpg

 

holster02gustv.jpg

 

holster037ps53.jpg

 

By the way: Revolver was deactivated!

 

 

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