History Writ in Steel
German Police Markings 1900-1936

L. Donald Maus

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New Insights

1.      Chapter 4, p. 64 & Chapter 7, pp. 113-114 – A combination of new information and reconsideration leads me to believe that the Type 3 markings S.D.I, II, III, IV and V represented the large Schupo commands in Essen, Wuppertal, Düsseldorf, Duisburg-Hamborn and Oberhausen, respectively.  The bases for these identifications are as follows:

a.       S.D.I is convincingly identified in the book as the Schupo command at either Essen or Düsseldorf.  Upon further consideration, I believe it is more likely to be Essen as that city was the location of the headquarters of the police general responsible for the Ruhr region and probably would have been designated by the Roman numeral I.  This is however a tentative identification.

b.      S.D.II is convincingly identified in the book as Wuppertal. 

c.       If S.D.I was Essen, S.D.III would have been Düsseldorf.  This identification must also be considered tentative.

d.      Recent information from Klaus Merzbach has confirmed that S.D.IV was Duisburg-Hamborn (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?p=115963).

e.       S.D.V probably was Oberhausen. A police bayonet has been reported with S.D.V.336 stamped on the crossguard and the scabbard. These are in a 1929-dated frog stamped Pol. Präs. Oberhausen. Although it is possible that these items were mismatched at some time after issue, I think it is more likely that they were issued together originally. For photos and more information, see http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?36306-Revised-Interpretation-of-S-D-V-and-S-D-VI-markings&p=241663#post241663.

This leaves the mid-size commands located in Krefeld-Uerdingen and München-Gladbach as S.D.VI and VII, although it is not yet possible to say which was which. [Revised 11/14/2013]


2.      Chapter 5 – I have identified a previously unrecorded Imperial-era factory-applied police marking K.P.P.Hr.No186. on the lsf of FN Browning serial number 335140 as being from the Königliches Polizei-Präsidium Hannover.  This is the first marking from this police headquarters that I have seen and it is not listed in the book.  The bases for this identification are (a) Hannover had a police presidium in the Imperial era (HWIS, Table 4-1, p. 52) and (b) the pistol is also stamped S.H.61. on the front grip strap by the Schutzpolizei of Hannover.

3.      Chapter 16, p. 253 – I must change my opinion that the L.K. markings of the Württemberg Landjägerkorps were applied only after WWI, even on those items issued during the Imperial era.  The key evidence is my learning of the existence of Imperial-era police Pickelhauben (spiked helmets) with Württemberg crests and markings such as LK 01 and LK 03 (e.g., http://www.kaisersbunker.com/dunkelblau/helmets/dbh37.htm).  The numbers in these markings indicate the years the helmets were placed in service, as was the practice of the Prussian Landgendarmerie (HWIS Fig. 13-6).  Unlike the Landgendarmerie, the Württemberg Landjägerkorps continued to use the same name and marking after the war.  [Revised 7/7/2010]


4.      Chapter 20, p. 319 – Reconsideration of the G.P.Md. and G.P.O. markings in Table 20-1 has led me to believe these are Gemeindepolizei markings and not Grenzpolizei.  Md. very probably stands for Münden and O. may represent Osnabrück.  Both cities were in Hannover province which probably accounts for the similarity of the markings.  The markings more appropriately belong in Chapter 5.


5.      Chapter 20, pp. 322-24 – Five more of the mysterious K.L.?. markings have been brought to my attention. Two are K.Lj.13. and K.Lj.35., on the front grip straps of two 1916 DWM P08s with 1920 government property stamps and Schiwy safeties (one has been removed). Another two are K.Lj.44. and K.Lj.51. on the spines of P08 magazines. The fifth is K.L.J.136. (J reversed) on the front grip strap and spines of two matching magazines of a 1918 DWM P08 with a 1920 property stamp. Statistical analysis of the 13 observed property numbers suggests that this unit numbered about 150 men and the "survival rate" of these pistols (or magazines) is a relatively high 8-9%. Photos of the markings suggest there were two or perhaps three variations of markings from this unidentified police unit.

a.       The first variation is characterized by a lower-case "j" and no period following the L. Recorded markings with property numbers 13, 17, 35, 44 and 51 exhibit this. 

b.      The second variation employs what appears to be a reversed capital "J" that is stamped slightly lower than the L. The L is followed by a period. This variation is found with property numbers 58, 59, 66, 68, 78, 80 and 136.

c.       The possible third variation is the same as the second except that the reversed "J" is on the same line as the L. It is quite possible that this alignment is simply a result of the armorer's positioning and not significant. Property numbers 100 and 120 are associated with this variation.


[Revised 8/31/2015]

Chapter 20, Table 20-18 & Fig. 20-22 – Well-known collector and author Jan Balcar of the Czech Republic has presented convincing evidence that the marking ZW/360 and others like it are post-WWII markings of the Austrian customs service (Zollwache).  These markings have been observed on a variety of weapons including P08s, Menz Modell IIs, Mauser HScs, Beretta 35s and U.S. M1 carbines.  http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=11913  [Added 11/5/2009]

7.      Chapter 20, p. 326 – As a result of the recent reporting of FN Browning M1900 serial number 382104 with German safety position labels marked K.G.Ath.No6NoNo, I have re-considered the meaning of the similar marking K.G.Sg. No1 on FN Browning M1900 serial number 378067.  The similarity of the markings and the relative closeness of the serial numbers suggest that these pistols belonged to the same police organization.  It seems very likely that the K. stands for Königlich which would indicate a police force of one of the four Imperial-era kingdoms – Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony or Württemberg.  G. typically represents Gendarmerie in Imperial-era markings.  The Imperial-era markings of the Gendarmerien of Prussia (L.G.), Württemberg (L.K. - see 3. above) and Saxony (SÄCHS.GEND.) are established, meaning these must be from the Königlich Gendarmeriekorps of Bavaria.  This military-style force was headquarted in Munich and divided into eight Abteilungen in each of the  Bavarian Landkreise.  These were further organized into Stationen of a few men each throughout the Kreise.  It seems likely that the abbreviations Sg. and Ath. represent two of these stations.  Many small Bavarian towns and villages are candidate locations.  For example, Sg. could represent Schiltberg, Schützing or Schöngeising, to name but a few.  Similarly, Ath. could represent Algerthausen, Atzenhof, Atzhausen, etc., etc.).  It is highly unlikely that the precise locations of these units will ever be established.  [Revised 7/25/2010]

8.  Introduction, Chapters 14, 15 and 17 – As a consequence of the posting of a P08 rig with SP.Bn. markings (Schutzpolizei Bremen - HWIS, Chap. 17, pp. 277-82) on the pistol and P.D.BR. on the matching holster, I am now convinced that P.D.BR.
and P.D.Br. markings represent Polizeidirektion Bremen and not Polizeidirektion Braunschweig (HWIS, Table 15-5, Fig. 15-11, p. 237).  Details may be found in the forum thread http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=21956.  Furthermore, the P.D.Br. and P.D. markings that I tentatively identified as being from Dresden in Saxony (HWIS, Table 14-4, Figs. 14-17 & -18, pp. 221-4) are almost certainly from the Polizeidirektion Bremen as well.  [Added 3/15/2010]

9. Chapters 16 & 20 –  In Chapter 16, I discuss the police of Baden and note that I have been unable to identify any police markings that can be attributed to these police. In Chapter 20, pp. 320-21, I discuss four P08s with unidentified markings of the form Ma.xxx. and speculate that they might be from the Prussian administrative district of Marienwerder. Since then, three additional P08s and one edged sidearm (Seitengewehr) with Ma.xxx. markings have been brought to my attention (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=22569 ). The Seitengewehr is particularly meaningful since it is a unique type issued only to the Weimar-era police of Baden. Comparison of the font style of the Seitengewehr marking with those on P08s shows them to be identical; therefore, the P08s must have been issued to the Baden police. Almost certainly, the abbreviation Ma. stands for the city of Mannheim, which was the largest city in Baden during the Weimar era. Table 20-2 more properly belongs in Chapter 16.  [Added 6/2/2010]

10. Chapter 15 - The only markings known to me at the time of writing HWIS to be from the police of Thüringen (Thuringia) are those of the Landespolizei Thüringen, L.P.Th., found on P08s and their accessories. Recently, I have become aware of a Walther Model 4, second variation, serial number 194547, with grip strap marking S.P.Th. This pistol is one of 250,000 manufactured for the Prussian Army under a 1915 contract. It is housed in a 1941-dated holster serial numbered to the gun.

According to the gun's owner, Joe Wotka, a Schutzpolizei was raised in Thüringen following the election of an NSDAP state government in 1930 and the appointment of a Nazi, Dr. Wilhelm Frick as Interior Minister in charge of all police. This suggests that this marking represents Schutzpolizei Thüringen and that it was applied some time between 1930 and 1937 when marking of police weapons was terminated. It is not known where the pistol was between the end of WWI and 1930. [Added 2/25/2011]

11. Chapter 8, pp. 129-31 - When I wrote the section dealing with P08s having missing stock lugs and marked S.W.II. by the Schupo command in Weisbaden, I tentatively speculated that the lugs had been removed by the police at the insistence of French occupation forces based largely on a similar practice in the French-occupied portions of Hessen. Since then, three additional P08s with removed stock lugs have been reported from this command: 1918 DWM serial number 403d marked S.W.II.209., 1918 Erfurt serial number 8971m marked S.W.II.218 and 1917 DWM serial number 6191 marked S.W.II.284. All three pistols have 1920 government propery stamps. Also recently reported is 1913 DWM serial number 6549 marked S.W.II.339. This pistol was manufactured without a stock lug. Of the seven known P08s with S.W.II. markings, six are missing stock lugs. The only one with an intact lug is 1915 DWM serial number 322h marked S.W.II.336. This is one of the highest recorded property numbers, suggesting this pistol may have been acquired by the Wiesbaden Schupo after the end of French occupation in June 1930. These findings greatly strengthen the argument that stock lugs on P08s used by the Wiesbaden Schupo command were removed by the police and not later by US collectors. [Updated 12/22/2011]

12. Chapter 19 - A new marking has been identified as being from the Imperial-era Customs Office in Elsaß-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine). The marking is E.L.Z.V. No39. (Elsaß-Lothringische Zoll-Verwaltung, Waffe 39) on early Dreyse M1907 serial number 54738 as shown below (images courtesy of Ed Hicks). Although there is no known documentation supporting this interepretation, it is known that several German customs services except Bavaria used the Dreyse M1907 and that the municipal police of Strassburg in Elsaß-Lothringen did as well (HWIS Chapter 18). Also, I cannot think of anything else it could be. This is the only example of this marking I have seen to date. [Added 7/23/2012]

13. Chapter 15, pp. 237-8  - In the book, I state that my identification of the marking B.S.XXX as that of the Weimar-era Schutzpolizei of the state of Braunschweig (Brunswick) is speculative. I have recently viewed evidence that this identification is virtually certain. I have examined a complete, serial-numbers matching, police rig (P08, police holster, takedown tool and magazines 1 and 2) that confirms this identification. The P08 is 1915 DWM serial number 6056a with a 1920 property stamp, a Schiwy safety and the police marking B.S.309 stamped on the front grip strap. Both magazines bear this stamp on their spines. The clincher is the holster with the maker C.WEISS IN
BRAUNSCHWEIG and the pistol's serial number 6056 stamped on the rear. Inside the cover are two rectangular ink stamps containing Pol.-Präs. Brschwg. and the date 1932. Short of discovering period documentation specifying this marking as representing the braunschweigische Schutzpolizei, this is about as certain as an identification can get. [Added 7/12/2013]

14. Chapter 2, p. 29 - Based on information available at the time, I reported the highest observed serial number on a Dreyse M1907 as 249656. Martin Krause has recently discovered a 1935 inventory of the weapons in the small state of Lippe-Detmold containing Dreyse M1907 serial numbers 254613 and 254857 (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?42150-Pistols-of-the-Polizei-of-the-Freistaat-Lippe-%28Lippe-Detmold%29-and-a-possible-explanation-for-the-marking-%93P-V-D-%94) indicating the total production of this model was somewhat over 250,000. [Added 7/19/2015]

15. Chapter 18, p. 294 - I discuss a Dreyse M1907 with reported serial number 5288x and police marking STRBG POL PRA3. No9 representing the Polizeipräsidium in Strassburg. I speculate that the marking is really STRBG.POL.PRÄS.No9. This pistol has recently been reported with the full serial number 52884 and confirming my speculation about the marking (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?40671-Dreyse-1907-Database/page7). [Added 7/19/2015]

16. As an adjunct to the book, I have created a listing of all the FN Browning M1900s known to me with police markings (http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?24141-German-Police-Use-of-FN-Browning-M1900). [Added 7/19/2015]

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