Presentation  1945 (Post War) Krieghoff

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This is a post-war custom engraved Krieghoff that was presented to Sergeant Frank Butterfield who was responsible for bringing the Krieghoff family out of the Soviet designated "zone" into the US area at the end of the war. This is an undated Krieghoff Parabellum with Eagle 2 H.K. proofs and post-war serial number 7. (1865)

Beautifully engraved and provenance provided by none other than the Krieghoff family (enclosed) this one of one end-of-war Krieghoff 9mm Parabellum represents the zenith of the Krieghoff craftsman talents even under the duress of war.

NOTE: Photographs taken today with the high mega-pixel camera show more than we sometimes can see with the human eye. Magnified close-ups show us tool marks and natural surface conditions that one normally doesn't see in the ordinary handling of the weapon.  Photographs are copyrighted, all rights reserved, any extraction, reproduction or display of gun pictures without the express consent of the Phoenix Investment Arms is strictly prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation. Please visit Legal (tabbed) for Conditions of Sale.

 

On April 26, 1946, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued JCS Directive 1067/14 to General Eisenhower instructing that he "preserve from destruction and take under your control records, plans, books, documents, papers, files and scientific, industrial and other information and data belonging to German organizations engaged in military research"; and that, excepting war-criminals, German scientists be detained for intelligence purposes as required.

 

The tale of this Luger is intertwined in the end of the war and many characters that played a part in the termination of the hostilities. To set the stage U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at the Yalta Conference in the Crimea from February 4–11, 1945, during World War Two. At Yalta,  lines of influence were drawn to divide Germany for occupation and reparations. Reparations were to be paid in surrender of patents, factories, labor and coal.  The military region of Suhl Germany was the home to many arms makers and represented a major price in both technology and skilled labor.  This region unfortunately fell under the Soviet boundary of influence.

The major military force in Southern Germany at the close of the war was the Third Army under General George S. Patton Jr. who in addition to being an open critic of the Soviets foresaw the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviets.  The Soviets had directed their armies into Berlin in the north so Patton simply kept the Third Army moving into the Suhl region.

Operational Directive No. 101 was received from Headquarters XII Corps at 5:30 a.m. on April 4, 1945, designating the limit of Corps Eastern advance as a Gotha-Suhl line. The 4th Armored Division on the North was directed to seize and hold Gotha and Ohrdruf. The 26th Infantry Division assignment was a separate zone between the 4th and 11th Armored Divisions for clearance. The Thunderbolts were ordered to hold Suhl and Oberhof, and thereafter to patrol to the East as far as a line from Grafenroda to Gehren. The Division was also ordered to clear the enemy from its zone West of the Oberhof-Suhl line and protect Corps right flank East of Fulda. The Division therefore was stopped short of its original objective and found its offensive mission had been substantially completed.

 63rd Armored Infantry Battalion (CCA) on April 3rd, 1945 attacked Suhl where the Germans were said to have fought back hard with anti-tank, bazooka, small arms, and mortar fire.  Nazi party and city officials had fled Suhl, leaving the city to be defended by a hastily organized Volkssturm (or home guard) of old men and teenage boys.  Suhl quickly fell to the Americans who captured a quantity of ammunition and equipment plus five military hospitals containing 600 wounded German soldiers. CCA had planned its own operation, this being to open a direct lateral route to the bulk of the Division. This plan was approved at Division Headquarters with the exception that the forces were not to proceed further North of Benhausen where contact with elements of CC R was directed. CC A continued its clearance of Suhl while cavalry and tank destroyer elements patrolled the Division South flank. The majority of resistance was met on the outskirts of the town where small arms fire was met in considerable volume. Volkssturm sniping troops, in civilian clothes and with no distinguishing armbands, delayed the action to some extent.

Into all this chaos of war was the discovery of the true prizes of the war. It is reported that with the capture of Suhl, Zella-Mehlis, and several surrounding smaller Thuringia towns, one of the largest munitions industry prizes of the war fell to the 11th Armored Thunderbolts. Included among them was the famed Krieghoff and Walther Arms Works. A capitulation of the arms, armament parts, and materiel seized in the area included: Pistols, P38—1,600; 7.65mm— 4,600; Signal—598; 22 Cal.—325. Sniper rifles and scopes complete—2,210; scopes incomplete—4,420; rifles partly assembled—1,140; 113 lathes, 97 milling machines, 41 drill presses, nine punch presses, two hydraulic presses, and 40 grinders. At least 500 new type enemy carbines and 2,500 Burp guns with sufficient parts for an additional 5,000 were uncovered at Suhl. Over a million rounds of small arms ammunition were included. This material was found in several large plants and over 50 small, decentralized plants. In addition to weapons, several of these factories produced parts of robot aircraft.

With the arrival of the Americans there was a respite before the Soviets would swing south and take over the entire Thuringia area, capture the remaining works and disassemble the plants equipment and ship everything of value to the Soviet Union. They then blew up the factories.  The higher command quickly recognized the skill of the Krieghoff family, manufacturer of the Luftwaffe machine guns, and the FG 42 "paratrooper rifle 42" (German: Fallschirmjägergewehr 42) and other innovative weapons.

 

Early on, the United States created the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (CIOS). Much U.S. effort was focused on Saxony and Thuringia, which by July 1, 1945 would become part of the Soviet Occupation zone. Many German research facilities and personnel had been evacuated to these states, particularly from the Berlin area. Fearing that the Soviet takeover would limit U.S. ability to exploit German scientific and technical expertise, and not wanting the Soviet Union to benefit from said expertise, the United States instigated an "evacuation operation" of scientific personnel from Saxony and Thuringia, issuing orders such as:

"On orders of Military Government you are to report with your family and baggage as much as you can carry tomorrow noon at 1300 hours (Friday, 22 June 1945) at the town square in Bitterfeld. There is no need to bring winter clothing. Easily carried possessions, such as family documents, jewelry, and the like should be taken along. You will be transported by motor vehicle to the nearest railway station. From there you will travel on to the West. Please tell the bearer of this letter how large your family is."

 

 

So from all the facts we know it fell to Sergeant Butterfield to assist the Krieghoff family from the zone about to be turned over to the Soviets.  Apparently his job was well done and appreciated because Heinrich Krieghoff  commissioned this one of one presentation 1945 Krieghoff to Butterfield in the waning days of 1945 prior to the US evacuation of the weapons experts and families to the U.S. Zone.    

Above the side plate of the Parabellum is engraved with the presentation inscription to Frank Butterfield. Above Right; the extractor is in the "Loaded" GELADEN position indicating both visually and tactilely that the Luger is loaded.

Under the barrel is the Krieghoff Eagle 2 wartime proof, obviously  inspected by the Luftwaffe inspector. Krieghoff early post-war style of numbering did not include the barrel but did have the barrel gauge and Eagle 2 proof.  There is a 'v' notch rear sight on the rear link and a full bladed inverted 'v' sight on the front. The magazine is an early extruded silver sleeved side Arrow marked "Haenel SchmeisserPatent" proof; a very rare magazine in itself. The bottom of this presentation magazine is unmarked (standard practice).

"EICHENLAUBORNAMENT" – German-speaking engravers use this term to describe oak leaf engraving. Engraved oak leaf designs are a popular motif on German and Austrian firearms though gun engravers of all nationalities occasionally base designs on oak leaf patterns.  Over the chamber and on the first toggle is the traditional German oak leave engraving.

 

Randall Gibson wrote in "The Krieghoff Parabellum"; "Numerous intelligence teams, both British and American interviewed the principals of various arms manufacturing firms in Suhl.  This included both Heinrich and Ludwig Krieghoff, Heinrich Krieghoff's abilities had not gone unnoticed by the Americans, and he was interned in Heidenheim. His classification was that of "Industrial Specialist along with other industrialists and technical specialists. .... Krieghoff's role was to continue the development of the 20mm cannon."  These men were released upon the termination of the Pacific campaign. 

 

The Krieghoff family has had a long tradition of craftsmanship and innovation in firearms development. The Krieghoff dynasty was founded in 1886 as Sempert & Ludwig Krieghoff in Suhl, a hub for German gun making for 500 years. Sempert left the firm to work in the new field of electricity with the association with Thomas Edison.  Ludwig's son Heinrich, had gun making in his veins and was an apprentice with several German master gunsmiths. 
This is a magnificent gun representative of former era of craftsmanship and perfection in firearms manufacturing. Then clearly professionally engraved and dedicated to an individual to commemorate a significant event in the preservation of the German firearms industry and the Krieghoff dynasty.

The firing pin is the new type with the vent cut; the firing pin retainer is proofed.  Below you can see under the 1st toggle link the Stage I and late Stage II proofs plus the serial #7.  Below Right is the Eagle 2 proof on the connecting rod.

 

In 1934 the Luftwaffe announced it was seeking bids for military pistols.  It is assumed that Krieghoff had acquired the old Erfurt Luger tooling from Simpson to enable it to contract for only 10,000 Lugers in 9mm.  The chamber date places the assembly as an example of the original military contract.

Production commenced in the Suhl plant in 1934 and by the end of 1937 the 10,000 gun contract was completed. This completed the "Early" military contract of which this Luger is a member. While there are very few examples known of the "G" chamber marked date (less than 50 believed produced) they are believed to be the 1934-5 production. The "S" dated chambers were begun in 1935, followed by the "36" and then the full "1936", hereafter the full year dates were used.

 

The side plate is engraved on the exterior and has the Eagle 2 proof and serial # of the gun on the interior; in the same pattern as the late Krieghoff military guns.  No small part missed the eye of the engraver with the rear toggle inscribed with the Eichenlaubornament Oak Leaf design.

The end of the war freed many foreign craftsmen who had either sought work through their trade experience or were pressed into labor forces to perform the robotic functions of the assembly line.  These people once freed, were homeless and jobless in a defeated country that couldn't provide for themselves.  The gypsies went back to being gypsies and others stole whatever was available to enable a trip back home.  Sergeant Butterfield duties probably had to deal with that threat to the now-empty factories set with expensive weapons making machinery.

As characteristic of the early contract Lugers, the polishing prior to bluing of these pistols was excellent and superior to the other manufacturer's processes. These contract pistols were salt blued in a bath of 300°F, which produced the uniform premium blue appearance.

Details, details, details.  The fine grip screw and beautifully carved grips give testament to the time, effort and craftsmanship of the engraver.  This was not laser-etched or cut with a precision machine but the work of someone who hand carved the metal and perfectly replicated the pattern on each side.

The front and rear of the gun truly represent the magnificent engraving of a master engraver and the gun is one of the very last presentation guns made by Krieghoff with all the old craftsman. The finish is the deep royal blue that is applied to a finely polished surface and it gives the gun the fine quality of a sporting arm that Krieghoff is famous for.

 

Krieghoff used four distinct grips. The early walnut grips that appears on the 1935-1936 models were not the same as the DWM or Simson grips but Krieghoff grips had an almost slab configuration and the diamonds were  more course. The appearance of the brown plastic grip started in the mid "S" range and were a fine diamond design and manufactured by Hermann Ritzmann & Sohne and bore an 8964 stamp on the obverse.  These were phased out in 1937 for a more courser diamond grip through 1939 when the black grips were introduced for the 1940  production.  Wood grips were for extraordinary presentation Parabellums.

 

The inside of this Krieghoff is immaculate as this presentation Parabellum does not appear to have ever been fired or holstered. It has been preserved in this pristine condition to give the owner a real glimpse of the past craftsmanship of the Krieghoff personnel.

The rear toggle is marked with the Eagle 2 and #7 while the wood grips are numbered 07. The charging knobs have the slight mortise that is only found on the Krieghoff.

No detail too small to escape notice, the side rails are carved with a scrolling decoration on both side, even the locking lever gets an oak leaf.   Look down at the top of the Parabellum one cannot be impressed by the details expressed by the engraver.  Truly a well documented one of a kind piece.

This Luger can be shipped under a C&R License. Click here to contact us regarding this weapon or any questions you might have:  josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com

 

Contrary to popular opinion that pilots carried the Luger the principle recipient of the Krieghoff Luger was the German Paratroops (Fallschirmjäger)  A Luftwaffe general, Kurt Student, was given charge of airborne training.  The Parabellum was the weapon of choice.

 

Photographs are copyrighted, all rights reserved, any extraction, reproduction or display of gun pictures without the express consent of the Phoenix Investment Arms is strictly prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation.

This is a once in a lifetime to possess a fully engraved Krieghoff, Serial #7 from the post-war occupation of the Suhl plant and documented by the Krieghoff family. Not only a one-of-one  historical gun commemorating an event but documented by the presenter's son. Any questions or requests for additional information to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com.     This early Post-War Historical Presentation Krieghoff is offered by      POR (price on request) and may be withdrawn by prior sale in-house.

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