1906 Navy  Gouv Kiau 1st Issue Altered  

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This is a 1906 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) 1st Issue (Altered) Imperial Navy.  This piece is a 6 inch (150mm) barreled 9mm Parabellum with the Navy adjustable rear sight and matching Navy magazine. The DWM monogram markings appear on the 1st toggle link and the extractor is marked 'Geladen' (Loaded).   This example has all matching serial numbers. The thumb safety is marked "Gesichert" and when exposed (safety down) means safe. This is a very rare gun that bears the unit markings of the III Sea Battalion from Cuxhaven and assigned to the German Colony Tsingtao, China  (1440)


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.


In August 1904 the German Navy underwent testing of 5, 9mm Selbstladepistolem Model 1904 from DWM. The trial was successful and in September 1904 the Navy asked the Kriegsministerium to order 2,000 Model 1904 navy pistols as soon as possible.  Thus began to first acceptance of the 'Luger' by the German military.  The 1904 Navy incorporated the new coil mainspring, the new extractor with the loaded-chamber markings.  These "improvements" were underway during the testing an acceptance of the navy model.


Serial number placement is in the civilian ("hidden") style.   The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the locking bolt, on the trigger, on the bottom of the barrel, the side plate,  the left side of the receiver, and under the first toggle. The safeties include both the grip safety and the thumb safety.

This is a very difficult gun to find in such a pristine condition. The German Navy was a salt-water service and the survivability of the German Imperial fleet was not enviable.  These Parabellums were initially issued with the safety down but then with the 1908 conversion to safety up the Navy recalled all the Luger's and had the thumb safety modified. See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 152.

This Navy is the classic; complete with matching magazine. The first toggle link is marked with the DWM logo.  There is the two-position (100-200m) sight on the rear toggle link and the last two digits of the serial number appear on the rear toggle.

 This Luger is identified as a curio and relic and can be send directly to C&R licensees and above.  Questions to: 


The Seebatallion [sea battalions] were naval infantry troops or marines serving in the Prussian navy, the navy of the North German Confederation, the Imperial German Navy and briefly in the modern Federal German Navy, the Bundesmarine.

Prussian army Generalleutnant Albrecht von Stosch ended the practice of placing marines aboard warships. Instead he adopted a concept that became known as Infanterieismus. He would train seamen as naval infantry, qualified in using small arms and competent in infantry tactics and amphibious operations. That approach would position the Seebatallion as a compact, self-contained organization, roughly equivalent to the British Royal Marine Light Infantry. Enlargement of the battalion to six companies allowed a reorganization and the transfer of half of the battalion to Wilhelmshaven to form the II. Seebatallion. Both battalions were then increased in size to four companies. Scheduled exchanges of officers from the Prussian army brought current tactical thinking to the sea battalions.


The inside of the Luger has been well cared for and there is no signs of rust under the grips from salt water exposure. The Luger is shown in full recoil and one can see  the  oversize rear main axel pins. Serial numbers appear on al the small parts.  One can also see the partly obscured  Gesichert from the original thumbs down safety.

This Luger has all matching numbers. The magazine is the original with the Marinen Crown Proof and the matching serial number. Here you can see the matching serial number of the barrel, the front of the frame, the locking lever and the bottom of the side plate plus the grips are numbered to the gun.

The difference between the 1st issue Altered and 2nd Issue 1906 Luger is very hard to determine at times.  One of the keys is the type of lettering used was distinctive for the thumb safety.  The "Gesichert" used a serif type lettering with upper and lower case letters.


In 1891 the Qing government decided to make the area a defense base against naval attack and began to improve Qingdao's existing fortifications. German naval officials observed and reported on this Chinese activity during a formal survey of Jiaozhou Bay in May 1897.

After the successful occupation of Kiautschou in China on 14 November 1897 by the navy’s East Asia Cruiser Division in a flawless demonstration of Infanterieismus, two companies from the first and second companies from the second battalion were combined to populate a third formation, the III. Seebatallion. This new battalion arrived at Tsingtao on 26 January 1898 to garrison the East Asian Station of the Imperial Navy.

 China conceded the area to Germany the following year, and the Kiautschou Bay concession, as it became known, existed from 1898 to 1914. With an area of 552 square kilometers (136,000 acres; 213 sq mi), it was located in the imperial province of Shandong (alternately Romanized as Shantung or Shan-tung) on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula in northern China. Jiaozhou was Romanized as Kiaochow, Kiauchau or Kiao-Chau in English and Kiautschou in German.  It was and remained the only all-German unit with permanent status in an overseas protectorate.

 The area had the highest school density and the highest per capita student enrollment in all of China, with primary, secondary and vocational schools funded by the Imperial German treasury and Protestant and Roman Catholic missions. Commercial interests established the Germania Brewery in 1903 , which later became the world-famous Tsingtao Brewery. German influence extended to other areas of Shandong Province, including the establishment of diverse commercial enterprises.

Identified by the German authorities as a strategically important port, Qingdao was administered by the Imperial Department of the Navy (Reichsmarineamt) rather than the Imperial Colonial Office (Reichskolonialamt). The navy based their Far East Squadron there, allowing the ships to conduct operations throughout the Pacific. Beginning January 1898 the marines of III. Seebatallion were based at Tsingtao.


It is hard to imagine the path this rare variation must have taken from the defeat of the garrison at Tsingtao, China in 1914 to the US. Only three are known in the US and this Parabellum, although worn at all hand and holster points from extensive use still gives one a hand full of history that has been documented but from which little survived.

In addition to the matching serial numbers throughout this fine Luger, and the matching Navy magazine this weapon is unit marked. The German military in WWI marked a large percentage of the individual weapons with unit markings.  These were a rather simple code that consisted of initials of the unit and then the weapon number.

The few (comparably) Lugers issued to the German Navy, plus the losses suffered by the sinking of ships and submarines makes the unit marked Navy very hard to find.

The unit markings raise the collector value of those guns to show that not only were they of a specific model but that the individual weapon was issued to a military person, and then survived. The Gouv. Kiau. 82  is from the III Sea Battalion from Cuxhaven and assigned to the German Colony Tsingtao China


The original 1904 Model (with the toggle lock) were issued with the 'up-safe' thumb safety configurations.  So too were the original 1906 Models.

The German Navy then wanted the safety moved to the upward position to match the '08 models that had been issued. This resulted in the recalling of all the weapons issued and the thumb safety was reversed and the Gesichert was milled out (in some instances crudely filled).  So now we have the down-safe model. 

1906 Navy Imperial Luger Thumb Safety Unaltered

The picture at left is a 1906 1st Issue (Unaltered) and is a very rare specimen of this series. (This is not the gun for sale.)

Some of the originally issued guns were not sent back to the factory for the conversion of the safety and as such became are rarity.


This gun is known as a 1st Issue Altered. (This is not gun for sale.) This is an early altered example where the Gesichert is simply milled out.


Collectors refer to these as the 1st Issue Altered.  Then came the 2nd Issue (collector name) where the safety was filled, buffed and stamped in the down-safe configuration like the 1908 model.


The picture at left:  is a 1906 1st Issued Altered meaning that that gun was factory modified with the safety in the Upward Position. The Upper/Lower case is representative of the latter 1st issue altered.

As with the other Imperial DWM the thumb safety was 'straw' blued.


Here is a 2nd Issue, 1906 Imperial Navy.  Note how the block type has not been reset to the upper location making this gun a true 2nd Issue.

So within the German WWI official designation of the Pistolen 1904 (Navy) collectors have established four categories briefly distinguished as Old Model (with the right rear toggle lock, - extremely rare); the 1906 1st Issue Unaltered (thumb up-safe, no toggle lock), the 1906 1st Issue Altered (thumb down-safe, milled/filled and re-stamped Gesichert and finally the 2nd Issue with the manufactured down-safe configuration.


It is entirely subjective to give any Luger a rating of excellent or fine, just as it is to declare it xx% blued or strawed. Few Lugers are out of the box new and these are premium priced. Bluing percentages is like Beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  We strive to provide pictures so you can judge for yourself if the gun meets your criteria.


Above Left: German Post Card with a picture of the III Seebatallion of the Kaiserliche-Marines coming ashore at Tsingtao. 

Above Right:  The German Imperial Great East Asia Fleet at Sea.

Left: The Bismark Kaserne at Tsingtao.

 On 6 March 1898, the German ambassador and Chinese viceroy signed a 99 year lease for Kiautschou.  A naval base with a supporting, neighboring infrastructure was then built at the impoverished fishing village of Tsingtao (now Qingdao) to create the Ostasiatische Station [East Asian Station] of the Imperial Navy

After a minor British naval attack on the German colony in 1914, Japan occupied the city and the surrounding province during the Siege of Tsingtao after Japan's declaration of war on Germany in accordance with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The four small gunboats Iltis, Jaguar, Tiger, Luchs and the torpedo boat S-90 of the East Asia Squadron that had been left at Tsingtao were scuttled by their crews just prior to the capture of the base by Japan in November 1914 during the Siege of Tsingtao.

"The heroes of Tsingtau in the Japanese prison camp."


 This excellent example of the early Imperial Navy Luger gives the collector a chance at a very rare and hard to find 1906 2nd Issue weapon with all the proofs and matching magazine. No import marks, just a beautiful WWI bring back.